Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Why Garth, why? And other questions...

With the end of the Euro 2008 qualifiers in sight, many people are finishing up with some very important questions on their mind. While the problems of Ireland and Wales are well worn topics, so I won’t go into them here (most of them rhyme with ‘banager’ though) there’s a few issues that are left outstanding now that – for the most part – the participants in world football’s second biggest showcase have been decided.

Here’s a rundown…

Should they stay or should they go?
While it’s fairly obvious that many of the men who have led sides to unsuccessful campaigns will lose their jobs, there’s a few that have fate in their own hands. Marco van Basten for one has led Holland to the championships after a rough start to the campaign.
However, with Chelsea supposedly sniffing around and with his old team-mates Carlo Ancelloti and Frank Rijkaard looking shaky in their current jobs, he could yet jump ship prior to next June. There is also the suspicion that the Dutch will be far less than the sum of their parts next year, as was the case in the last World Cup. The fact that many of the players would happily see their national coach head off may also point towards an early exit for Marco Goalo.
Slaven Bilic too has said that he would like to manage in England and the poker-faced Croatian could well make a move to a decent Premier League side in the coming months. With Alan Curbishley continuing to provide plenty of bills but little answers for West Ham could the former Hammer, Bilic end up at Upton Park? Personally I hope so; the guy always talks with intelligence and likes to play good football, just what the league needs. The new Luca Vialli perhaps.

Check their heads
Scotland. Ah, poor old Scotland. Nearly there, not quite, within a whisper… say it whichever way you want but they didn’t make it. While their achievements in their group no doubt deserved more (any country would struggle to qualify from their group ahead of Italy and France); football is cruel and Scotland won’t have a competitive game for the guts of a year. Will their players be able to get themselves up for another mammoth campaign? A lot, obviously, depends on the draw for the World Cup qualifiers but consider these two questions:
(a) Their start striker McFadden has been playing well above himself, can he continue to do this at a high level? And…
(b) Can they overcome their inability to beat middling Eastern European sides away from home? The victory away to France was amazing, but victories against the Ukraine and Georgia would, most likely, have seen them through. Games like this will almost certainly feature in the next qualifying series.

All in all, these aren’t massive challenges, but the assumption they will qualify for the next major tournament is something that might come back and bite them on the arse next time around.

Major tournament England
Will the lessons be learned from the World Cup? Will the hype die down? Will the players play down their chances? Will McClaren be brave enough to drop Beckham for a second time? Will be brave enough to separate Gerrard and Lampard in a major tournament game? I’m guessing… no, no, no, no and just for a change eh… no.

There will be a lot of water under the bridge and no doubt plenty of broken metatarsals in the headlines before England head out to the tournament but you suspect that come next June it’ll be the same damn story. They have some decent players and let’s hope that now it looks like they’ll get there they play some decent football as, though I hate myself for it, I always end up watching their games.

Coverage c**ts
Will the BBC and ITV provide decent, un-biased and interesting coverage? With not a hint of Jonathan Pearce and Clive Tyldesley to be found anywhere? Will they bollocks.

“And now over to pitchside where everyone is shifting nervously next to our man on the inside, Garth Crooks.”
“Slurp…thanks Gary.”

Some things never change: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cugYQ35vtvQ

Later, JJ

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Mark said...

bilic to manage in england - not a chance, these chairmen/owners are too afraid to hire a man who is not part of the old boys club, so chumps like steve bruce are snapped up....

van basten has proven to be a crap manager so far, but so was rijkaard before barca, maybe marco will be on his way.

re england - mcClaren did make one or 2 decisions at the start (that he quickly reversed), things could happen. lets face it, he's out of a job one way or the other next summer, may as well go for it, bring in some young players (young, bentley, agbonglahor, bent)

Mark said...

this is genius, Mr David Beckham:



JJ said...

That Beckham clip is pure class, so hard to stay watching it though. He's over there for the football though, of course.

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