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England eager to avoid a repeat of 1973

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Phil McNulty | 19:50 UK time, Monday, 15 October 2012

In Warsaw

England and Poland have World Cup history. It is a past that is revisited every time they meet and the next page will be written in Warsaw's spectacular National Stadium on Tuesday.

The history is both rich and poor in an England context - from the pain of Jan Domarski and Jan Tomaszewski at Wembley in 1973 to the pleasure of Gary Lineker's hat-trick in Monterrey in 1986.

Poland still recall memories of the draw at Wembley almost 40 years ago - a result which helped them qualify and prevented England reaching the World Cup - to evoke a spirit that has been a scarce commodity in recent years, exemplified by their failure to negotiate the group phase of Euro 2012 with the emotional weight of a nation behind them as co-hosts.

This is a Poland team in reduced circumstances, rated only 54th by Fifa's somewhat maverick ranking system compared to England's optimistic - make that unrealistic - fifth place.

But every England visit creates an ambience of hope in Poland, albeit based on old battles that ended the reign of World Cup-winner Sir Alf Ramsey, and those passions will be stirred in a sell-out crowd inside a football theatre built for the Euro 2012 showpiece.

Roy Hodgson and his England players arrived in Warsaw on Monday in good heart after a satisfying Friday that saw them wipe out the flimsy challenge of San Marino at Wembley while receiving the good news from Chisinau that close rivals Ukraine had been held by Moldova.

So England's qualifier with Poland offers opportunities for Hodgson. Victory gives England a measure of control in a potentially tight Group H and could be used to make a statement about the direction Hodgson is heading in.

Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski will provide a stern test to the English defenders. Photo: Reuters.

Defeat, however, will raise questions and leave Hodgson and England to deal with the unpleasant notion of stewing on a bad result between now and the next qualifying game against San Marino on 22 March.

Hodgson's selection for the procession against San Marino cast more than a cursory nod in the direction of this more testing fixture. Steven Gerrard returns as captain after suspension while Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and possibly Jermain Defoe will all be back.

No-one would insult Hodgson by suggesting England approached San Marino lightly, but there was clearly no doubt in his mind which qualifier would require his squad's heavy artillery.

Hodgson is aware that history provides a colourful background to this fixture, but even this avid student of the game's past knows that only the present and future counts in Warsaw on Tuesday.

He said: "I recall the Wembley game in 1973 and, of course, it came more than seven years after England won the World Cup. Sir Alf Ramsey was probably going into his 10th year as manager and he had that enormous success in 1966 at the World Cup.

"It was a bitter moment when England failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, but the fact is the historical moments don't interest me as far as this game is concerned. I don't ever dismiss history, but the bottom line for us is working for today and for tomorrow.

"It's about what we are trying to build. A knowledge of history gives you some perspective, but it doesn't help you win a football match."

New Poland coach Waldemar Fornalik needs victory to shape his new era after replacing Franciszek Smuda, but he must do it without captain and inspiration Jakub "Kuba" Blaszczykowski, who is out with an ankle injury, although he will have Borussia Dortmund striker and all-round coveted star Robert Lewandowski at his disposal.

England are pivotal to the great eras of Polish football. Wembley in 1973 confirmed the start of a golden age, while Monterrey in 1986 is widely recognised as signalling the end. Fornalik will hope another brush with "Anglia" can be the catalyst for a new generation.

It is the memory of moments like 1973 that fires the Polish footballing imagination, with even a brief television interview as England trained in the rain at the National Stadium swiftly shifting the agenda back to one of Wembley's blackest nights.

Hodgson does not want to be the victim in this bustling city and is well aware that victory on Tuesday will be of some significance in England's attempt to reach Brazil in 2014.

He said: "You are aware of the fact that when you're playing against your biggest rivals in the group it adds that bit of spice. We feel a great deal of responsibility whenever we take part in an England game. We feel the responsibility, whoever the opposition, to go out there and win it in the right way.

"Against San Marino it was 95 minutes of attack against defence. To have a game you need both sides to try and win the game, so this will be more interesting. Poland will think they can play well enough to cause us problems - and we think likewise."

Hodgson admitted the mere presence of England in Poland is an added incentive for the home side to raise their game, no matter how much they are in transition.

"We'll face a very highly motivated team with a very vocal and enthusiastic support because we are a scalp," Hodgson said.

"England have always been a scalp. Poland will be rubbing their hands with glee at this game because, if they can win it, this is a magnificent feather in their cap. We have to make sure we're not the victims."

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I remember that game in 1973 well. Brian Clogh was a pundit on the TV panel and repeatedly called Polish keeper Tomaszewski a clown at half time. Talk about egg on face as said keeper was instrumental in putting England out of the competition.

    I think the talismatic Rooney will decide matters this time around.

  • Comment number 2.

    Poland should not be underestimated. Whilst it is a benefit for England that Kuba is not playing, they still have strong players in Obraniak, Piskcek and of course Lewandovski.

    Prediction 1-1 and not unhappy all round

  • Comment number 3.

    "Steven Gerrard returns as captain after suspension while Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and possibly Jermain Defoe will all be back."

    I not sure whether that's an expression of optimism or pessimisim, Phil. Lescott, Milner and Defoe would strike fear into no international team.

  • Comment number 4.

    I remember being devasted after that game in 1973. McNutley mentions 1966 but he should have mentioned the 1970 England team, one of the best ever, maybe better than '66, very close to the great Brazil team. So to not even qualify for the '74 world cup was unbelievable. Poland were a very good team, I think they reached the semis. Dark days for the national team, they didn't play in a world cup for 12 years after Mexico.

  • Comment number 5.

    @ #1, to be fair to Clough, Tomaszewski was indeed a clown, even if he could pull off great saves and have wonderful moments. However, overall, his tenure in the polish side was a bit checkered. And his contributions as a pundit prove that he was truly a clown, and a rather clueless one at that. Shearer may be bland and unimaginative as a pundit, but Tomaszewski was at times acting as if he needed mental care.

    Funny thing, when I was growing up in Poland, and in the US (I moved there while I was 13) England was viewed as Poland's main rival. This of course, was not seen the same way in England. Basically a one way rivalry, sort of like England has with Germany. Obviously 1973 must have been painful for you lot, but in Poland it was seen as a huge triumph. Rivaling that of the 3rd place finishes in 74 and 82 and the gold medal in 1972. We stopped the mighty England, at Wembley. Tomaszewski and Domarski and that whole side, were cult heroes. In fact I was one of the very few Poles who did not hate England when it came to football.

    I couldn't hate England due to the simple fact that I was a fan of the English game. And how can one love the English football league, it's style, speed, the wingers, physicality, and Bryan Robson (my all time favourite player) and United (thanks to Robbo) and hate the national team as well. There were the players that made the league such a wonderful spectacle after all.

    My view was a lonely one in those days. While I cheered for Poland all these years, through that Linaker performance too, I could not hate the English side. How could I hate Paul Scholes even as he kept scoring against Poland, when every other weekend I cheered for him. But I was very much alone. Most people my age or older truly disliked the English national team. Imagine my shock then when I asked several Poles who lived in the US (some were even US citizens) during the 2010 WC game when the US faced England: Who were they rooting for. And almost all said England!

    I was shocked (plus again I found myself in the minority, as I also support my adopted homeland). The hatred not only gone, but now they are rooting for England over the country of their residence! How could this happen? Well, while I had a rather early start becoming a fan of an English team, they joined in, in the late 90's and throughout this century and most became fans of one or another English club. And now they too cheer for Lampard and Co. Just 15 years ago I wouldn't think such a thing possible.

    To be sure they will all cheer for Poland tomorrow. And if Poland somehow pull of a result it will be seen as a great triumph, and images of Domarski, Tomaszewski and others will once again pop up on Polish tv. But this triumph will not be seen as one as great as 1973. Not many dislike England these days, plus the aura of beating a great side that was World Champion just a few years back doesn't apply. And many will forgive 1986 and all those painful memories brought to us by that Ginger bloke.

    However, while a Polish win or a draw is possibly, it's not probable. We are much weaker than England. The gap in quality will be evident. And England have to be huge favourites tomorrow. Missing Kuba is a huge blow, he is our main creative spark, and without him there will be a lack of quality and Lewandowski might get too isolated. Plus this team is still finding its feet under a new coach. One thing that Capello has done is help England transition for the next phase. Under Roy you lot might be unimaginative and play regressive football, but it is effective and England by now are used to it having had time to play it in the Euros.

  • Comment number 6.

    Oh yes, how silly that Poland are ranked 54th whilst England are ranked 5th.

    England (under Hodgson): P10 W7 D3 L0 F19 A5.

    Poland at Euro 2012 (with home advantage): P3 W0 D2 L1. But then they were in a tough group, what with Greece and the Czechs (who managed to lose a game 4-1 and still go through). And since Euro 2012? A loss against Estonia in a friendly was followed by a draw against the mighty Montenegro, and a 2-0 thumping of Moldova.

    I'm not saying we're going to thrash them, but I hardly think FIFA's rankings are that arguable, given the above. What would you rank the Poles based on their last 10 results, Phil?

    And let's keep in mind, FIFA's rankings are based on recent results, not what happened 40 years ago.

  • Comment number 7.

    @ Robert #5
    Nicely put... Great to hear an interesting and warm-hearted knowledgeable perspective rather than rabid parochial (for club or country) opinion. Thank you for taking the time to share. Cheers

  • Comment number 8.

    And let's keep in mind, FIFA's rankings are based on recent results, not what happened 40 years ago.
    ----------------------------------
    Lets be honest, a ranking system that a month or two ago had England ranked third in the world is not one to be taken at all seriously. Defenders of the FIFA system will point out that England rarely lose in competetive matches, but we never win the crunch games and our ranking is inflated by all the meaningless friendly wins.

  • Comment number 9.

    England may well be regarded as strong favourites tonight, however I'm not convinced 'we' will win.
    A draw in Poland will be seen as a good job well done, and that's what we'll probably get. There is no need to go looking for a win and taking too much risk, keep things simple, don't make mistakes, take the point, sounds simple?
    Should be, but ... an early Polish goal could make it a rather good game!

  • Comment number 10.

    To give younger readers an idea of how the match in 1973 panned out it should be remembered that England actually played very well that night. In fact it wasn't unlike the Man City v B Dortmund game a couple of weeks ago when Dortmund could (and should) have won by 5 or 6 or even 7 but England were denied by an inspired goalkeeper who had both the game of his life and incredible luck before being caught on the break after a defensive error. By the way reader No 4 is right - the England team in 1970 were excellent and I feel that had that World Cup been played in Germany (as it was 4 years later) instead of Mexico then England may well have two stars above the badge.

  • Comment number 11.

    @8: totally, totally irrelevant.

    Why do you suggest that England take friendlies any more seriously that any other country. Are you seriously suggesting that professional players from other countries don't really make an effort when they're representing their countries?

    And, yes, England may lose some "crunch" games, but only on penalties (90, 96, 98, 04, 06, 12). If the scores are tied after 120 minutes, then we're not exactly being "outclassed" by these sides, so logically shouldn't be ranked that much below them.

    That said - as I said before - we're not talking about the last 30-40 years, we're talking about the last 1-2. And in terms of competitive matches, take a look at how poorly some of the other sides did in comparison to England.

    France - did worse than us at Euro 2012 and are ranked below us by FIFA
    Holland - did worse than us at Euro 2012 and are ranked below us by FIFA
    Germany - did better than us, and are ranked above us by FIFA
    Spain - did better than us, and are ranked above us by FIFA

    So what's your argument? That other countries in the top 20, such as Croatia, Greece, Switzerland and Chile should be ranked above us? Based on what? Their results haven't been any better than ours.

    The nitty gritty might be arguable - Brazil should be ranked higher, for example - but overall, based on results, England are clearly a top ten side.

    I mean, you talk of "competitive games", so - OK - let's look at England last few competitive games.

    England 5 San Marino 0
    England 5 Moldova 0
    England 1 Ukraine 1
    England 0 Italy 0
    England 1 Ukraine 0
    England 3 Sweden 2
    England 1 France 1
    And let's keep in mind this was an injury-depleted squad with a brand new manager.
    Plus eight games unbeaten (won 5, drew 3) in qualifying for Euro 2012.

    So that's our last 15 "competitive" games (i.e. non friendlies) without a loss. In fact you have to go back to June 2012 to see the last time England last lost a "competitive" game within 120 minutes.

    So you'd have us ranked where? 30? 40?

    And who else should be above us? I've already covered France and Holland.

    Italy? Since 2010, Italy have drawn with New Zealand, were beaten by Slovakia, lost 3-0 to Russia, lost 1-0 to the USA, lost to England and Uruguay in friendlies, were smashed in the final of Euro 2012, and could only draw with Bulgaria last month.

    So who else in the top 20 should be ranked above us?%

  • Comment number 12.

    * should be June 2010 - the last time England lost a competitive game

  • Comment number 13.

    poland is a decent team, however put them under pressure and they will crack.

    lewandowski is a different player with poland than he is with dortmund, just like rooney. lewandowski thrives off the service he gets at dortmund, which poland cannot replicate

  • Comment number 14.

    Somewhere between 5th and 8th gets you to the quarterfinals of the world cup which is roughly where we are in the pecking order, and typically where we get to in competitions. Actually when I watch English players taking and missing penalties in the EPL you can see why we lose on penalties in internationals. I think its down to the English players admitting to themselves that they just aren't very good at it and practicing hard back at their clubs. Trying a few penalties the day before a game in the world cup isn't good enough. We hear about professionalism - lets see some!

  • Comment number 15.

    #11 has grasped the point of the rankings. It's not 'who's the best' it's 'who's the most consistent'.

    I'll be watching Spain v France tonight as it's the only game I can get, following the live text for England in my lappy of course!

  • Comment number 16.

    Despite England's limitations this really is a group they should win with something to spare, None of their rivals are better than mediocre and I doubt there will be much if any high drama along the way. Even if England lose a match (not out of the question by any means) I doubt any of their rivals are consistent enough to make it count in the end.
    I think Phil, by invoking distant memories of 1973 which have no relevance whatsoever to to-night's encounter, is trying to build this up into something more dramatic than it will actually be. Can't blame him. If England lose he will have a story and ther will be much nashing of teeth for a while. If not people's attention will quickly turn to the weekend's Premeir league fixtures.

  • Comment number 17.

    I was hoping Roy would stick with his youthful and energetic side that demolished SAn Marino on Friday, but alas he is likely to go with his fossils and plodders instead. Shame reallly because I felt Poland were there for the taking, missing a few key players.

    Now I'm not so sure, think it can easily be a 1-1 draw. They're a spiritied side with a few quality players that can cause a few problems.

    Our survey says.......Draw

  • Comment number 18.

    I would have my money on a draw tonight, 2-2.... def a scoring draw. Poland arent to be underestimated

  • Comment number 19.

    17.
    At 09:05 16th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    They're a spiritied side with a few quality players that can cause a few problems.
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    very similar to england without the spirited side to it.

  • Comment number 20.

    Roy Hodgson may turn out to be the Ron Greenwood of his day. Little fancied, following on from a slightly disastrous/volatile period ( i'm conflating the McLaren and Capello tenures there ) and chosen when a maverick popular alternative was overlooked. Hopefully he will have RG-like success in getting England to Brazil in his own quiet way, and once there, hopefully his KK and TB equivalents will have a bit more luck and progress. England were very strong in the Group Stages in 1982.

  • Comment number 21.

    19.At 09:15 16th Oct 2012, King Red wrote:
    17.
    At 09:05 16th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    They're a spiritied side with a few quality players that can cause a few problems.
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    very similar to england without the spirited side to it.
    _________________________

    Hahaha! True.........if the likes of carrick, cleverley & wellbeck are benched then I can see a poor performance from Rooney. It's like asking messi to play for "The Dog and Duck" v Italy and then complaining that the star player has not won the game for you....

  • Comment number 22.

    I don't think Poland are that good. As an earlier poster pointed out they were pretty poor at Euro 2012 in the easiest group.

    That said we need to be more clinical than we were against San Marino.

    I hope Cleverley retains his place. He is maturing into that midfield role and seems to pick the right pass most of the time - the flick for Chamberlain to score being a good example.

  • Comment number 23.

    4. fat bloke down the pub said so-yes completely agree the 1970 England squad was the best to have ever represented us. Although to a large extent there were doubts as to what was the best team from that squad (as apposed to '66 when the team was almost the same throughout the tournament) the depth was extraordinary. Never again would we strut the world stage as we did just prior to that tournament. The likes of Banks moore charlton hurst and peters were augmented by Osgood, Lee, Mullery, Labone, Cooper reaney. We really should have reached the final that year and it was only a silly substitution in the QF that denied us.

  • Comment number 24.

    22.At 09:26 16th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    ___________________

    I think to the English media it looked like the easiest group but far from it. England's group itself was just as easy. Sweden are hardly world class, ukraine are handy, and France are still a shambles.

    The toughest group was B with Germany, Holland & Portugal, and Holland were the worst side (a team that comfortably beat England)!

  • Comment number 25.

    #5 Robert, interesting read, thanks.
    #9 NetleyLucas - "There is no need to go looking for a win and taking too much risk, keep things simple, don't make mistakes, take the point, sounds simple?"

    Than kfark you're not the manager.

  • Comment number 26.

    @24 Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost

    I disagree.

    Ukraine are probably marginally better than Poland (they made it difficult for us at the Euros and again at Wembley).

    France and Russia - both very good teams on their day but the potential to be a shambles.

    England and Czech Republic - i'd go for England every time.

    Sweden and Greece - both limited sides, little to choose between them.

    Of course Group B was by far the toughest - the Dutch reverted to type and lost the plot at a major championship.

  • Comment number 27.

    England should win tonight, let's hope we get the three points.

    Get tonight out the way, then we're back to proper football again at the weekend.

  • Comment number 28.

    ESG

    Plodders, fossils and pub sides. You truly are taking up Soul Patches' mantle.

  • Comment number 29.

    26.At 09:39 16th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    "Ukraine are probably marginally better than Poland (they made it difficult for us at the Euros and again at Wembley)." - Well we must have been watching different games, because they were the better side in BOTH games, and England were lucky to escape with a draw in the last game. So if they're only marginally better, then I guess Poland can expect a draw and go for a win?

    "France and Russia - both very good teams on their day but the potential to be a shambles." - Again, France outplayed England and they were unlucky not to win the game. Russia hammered Italy in the friendly and recently beat Portugal, (a team England haven't beaten in 15 odd years!).

    "England and Czech Republic - i'd go for England every time" - It's a shame as I don't think they've ever met. I wouldn't be so sure. They're a half decent side.

    I think the bottom line is that way too many england fans overrate their team. People talk about them being unbeaten in so many odd games, but how many top teams have they beaten? I'd put England in the Sweden / Greece bracket. They're equally a limited team with a few good players and a poor playing style.

  • Comment number 30.

    @29

    That's short minded.

    How often do Sweden and Greece make the quarter finals of major competitions?

    How many times in the last 20 years havent England made the quarters of a major competition?

    We are clearly a better side than Sweden and Greece but it's the fact areas of the media make us out to be world beaters that people like yourself go the other way and make us out to be far worse than we actually are.

    England are a decent team 'capable' of challenging the best but tend to be found wanting in the crunch games such as quarter finals.

    Oh and we are also the World's Greatest Friendly team which helps our seeding out no end!!

  • Comment number 31.

    28.At 09:45 16th Oct 2012, Frank Black wrote:
    ESG

    Plodders, fossils and pub sides. You truly are taking up Soul Patches' mantle.
    _________________________

    Well, let me explain:

    Exhibit A: Fossils. Why are the likes of Gerrard & Cole in the team when there are more than capable replacements and other "fossils" like Rio have been removed for "footballing reasons"?

    Exhibit B: Pub Sides. Everyone (or a majority) complain about Rooney's england performances and wonder why he cannot transfer his utd fom to the national side. Answer. He hasn't got the same class of players to play with, and has to adapt to an inferior playing style as well. He plays well when he has the likes of cleverley, young, wellbeck, carrick etc around him. He plays poor when he has the likes of Carroll, downing, walcott, gerrard etc with him.

    Exhibit C: Plodders. Are you telling me that the likes of walcott, milner, carroll & co are not plodders?

  • Comment number 32.

    a fat bloke down the pub said so
    LOL ... oh I'm only being realistic mate, let's see eh:)

  • Comment number 33.

    @31

    You may be right, but how about coming up with something original?

  • Comment number 34.

    30.At 09:50 16th Oct 2012, wirral18 wrote:
    _______________________

    "How often do Sweden and Greece make the quarter finals of major competitions?" - But how often have they gone further than QF?

    I agree I'm probably downplaying England to some extent, but I'm sick of everyone making out as if they have a good team that can win the tournament.

    They are light years behind Spain & Germany, Argentina as well. In terms of playing style and tactics they are behind the likes of Italy, Portugal. In terms of playing style they are behind Brazil, Netherlands, France, Russia who all play better football.

    Like I said, it's insulting to Ukraine when people say that England are far superior when they were outplayed at home and lucky to get a draw.

  • Comment number 35.

    31.At 09:51 16th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    __________________________________

    Hi ESG
    Never mind about Soul Patch , that post is definately in the style of the "TheTrawler" :D

    By the way I miss "HaHaCharade" and his obtuse comments.

  • Comment number 36.

    No doubt it will be a return to the awesome pairing of Johnson and Milner on the right, with Gerrard picking out Johnson with all his passes.
    Tip to watch out for: Rooney and Gerrard continuosly getting in each others way.

  • Comment number 37.

    ^^^^
    "continuously"

  • Comment number 38.

    I doubt that you can compare England's tragic night in 1973 to the current challenge later today, although that team back then was a team in transition, trying to replace older veteran players.

    Hodgson seems to recognize the value of our younger players but at times, mystifies me in his selection thoughts. Continual inclusion of Milner to shore up Glen Johnson's defensive shortcomings makes a mockery of why players are selected for international duty. Picking one defective player and then another one to cover up for the first one is utter insanity. If anything, swap them around as Johnson makes a far better midfielder than Milner.

    A difficult game today but Poland are no longer the power they were. Any East European country playing England at home develops a national pride and we'll see that later on.

    I predict a draw and a difficult route to Brazil.

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=4307

  • Comment number 39.

    Whilst Walcott and Carroll are two fine examples of one trick ponies (Walcott with pace and Carroll with heading) at least they have that trick.

    I've yet to see what Milner offers yet. Has he got pace? No. Does he cross well? No. Is he a goalscoring threat? No. Will he find the killer pass? No.

    What exactly does he offer?

  • Comment number 40.

    35.At 09:58 16th Oct 2012, repo wrote:
    ____________________

    Hahahahahahaha!! Morning mate, how's sunny Portugal? How's the maid?

    I reached the conclusion that The Trawler was Mick Phelan in disguise. Ever defensive of SAF, a utd propaganda machine, and what gave it away, tactically clueless.

    I too miss Charade, he was a funny individual. Patches, once you got past his trolling, was quite an amusing character as well. He must've got a job.

    What are your thoughts on England? And how do people rate Portugal? Is there a constant expectation to win major honours?

  • Comment number 41.

    27.At 09:42 16th Oct 2012, Weallfollowunited wrote:
    England should win tonight, let's hope we get the three points.
    ____________________________________

    I am not so confident , Poland are not a bad team.
    They may be ranked 54th by FIFA but the difference in coeffeicient points between Spain and Italy is the same difference between Poland and Italy.

  • Comment number 42.

    "How often do Sweden and Greece make the quarter finals of major competitions?" - But how often have they gone further than QF?

    I agree I'm probably downplaying England to some extent, but I'm sick of everyone making out as if they have a good team that can win the tournament.

    ----

    Based upon reaching the final 4 in the two top competitions....

    Since WW2.....

    England are only the 9th best team in Europe.

    All of these have more success....

    Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, USSR/Russia, Spain, Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic and Portugal.

    However... Sweden and Greece are definitely lower down the European pecking order than England.

  • Comment number 43.

    40.At 10:06 16th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    _______________________________

    So many questions !
    I dont have a clue about the England match , I would not be surprised at a win , draw , or a loss.

    Portugal play N.Ireland at home , it will be the Ronaldo show with him earning his 100th cap tonight.
    The stage is nicely set for the flat track bully to grab a hat trick is my prediction.

  • Comment number 44.

    #41
    This is the thing though, they're not a bad team compared to San Marino and Moldova but by no means are they a good team either. The looked distinctly average during the Euro's.

  • Comment number 45.

    @29 Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost

    A lot of England fans do overrate the team, I wouldn't count myself among them. Having said that a lot of people also go overboard on how rubbish they are. They are clearly in the second tier behind Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands. Argentina, France, and Russia may play "better" football but that has not been reflected in results in recent championships.

  • Comment number 46.

    I predict Hodgson to go for a safety at all costs formation, parking the bus for 85 minutes if England get an fortunate early goal.
    Watch Gerrard fall back to centre half!
    Be amazed at Milner's headless chicken impression!
    Watch Rooney sweat and puff!

  • Comment number 47.

    44.At 10:17 16th Oct 2012, Weallfollowunited wrote:
    ______________________________

    Poland may be average , but we are not exactly head and shoulders above them. They also have the advantage of playing at home.
    Like I said before , I would not be surprised at any of the 3 possible outcomes.

  • Comment number 48.

    43.At 10:15 16th Oct 2012, repo wrote:
    __________________

    Apols! I had a couple too many espresso's today.

    I persoanally think it will be a draw. Poland are not as bad as people make out.

    Yeah I can see a Ronaldo hat trick here. N Ireland are due a tonking, and I'm sure nani, moutinho & co will be playing a supporting role. Why have Portugal got no decent striker?

  • Comment number 49.

    48.At 10:28 16th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:

    It will be a win for England tonight.
    They always beat teams akin to Poland and qualify top of the group causing mass optimism which is entirely unwarrented. Its an ever repeating cycle that the England team and fans go through every 2 years.

  • Comment number 50.

    45.At 10:20 16th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    They are clearly in the second tier behind Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands. Argentina, France, and Russia may play "better" football but that has not been reflected in results in recent championships.
    _____________________

    Maybe not, but they still play better football! And would you rather have a rollercoaster performance or a consistent QF / Last 16 performance?

    England have not impressed me since 2004. They've looked average since then. Argentina will be looking strong in 2014, Russia have shown they can beat pretty much anyone, as have France. I can't remember England beating a top team in a competitive match?

  • Comment number 51.

    #47
    Man for man we are quite far ahead of them, hence we should win. If we pull out a performance as we tend to now and again (Croatia, Germany etc) then we could hammer a team like Poland. Whether we will remains to be seen, but i'd still make us favourites regardless of it being played in Poland.

  • Comment number 52.

    48.At 10:28 16th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    I persoanally think it will be a draw. Poland are not as bad as people make out.
    ______________________________________

    Poland put 10 goals past San Marino a couple of years ago.

  • Comment number 53.

    @Phil,

    What is the point in this blog? My understanding of blogs is that they are supposed to provide some kind of opinion. This is nothing else than a match preview and doesn't offer any opinion whatsoever. Although this kind of game doesn't exactly get my blood boiling (club > country for me), there are plenty of interesting aspects to blog on with regards to this game.

    One could for example take a more detailed look at the poland team - why didn't they do well during the euro's? Are there any signs of improvement since the euro's? Has the new manager changed their way of playing? Or are they basically relying on the 2 dortmund players with the biggest pedigree (and aren't exactly best friends according to some reports - this maybe being the biggest problem they face)?

    Or what about the England team? Wiser to play with or without cleverley? Defoe or Welbeck? Would a 4-4-2 even work against this poland?

    Opinions would be very nice and would make the website a better place to be

  • Comment number 54.

    Test

  • Comment number 55.

    I see, England as hard to beat but never see them as winners. Losing Cups the way they always have, it is the way they play that makes it hard to win a game.
    I will be supporting England tonight and I hope they get the luck to win.

  • Comment number 56.

    My thoughts on the Polish Game are identical to those of the San marino game in other words;

    another mismatch from which england can bask in false glory.

    Up The Arsenal !

    and hello to the usual participants I have missed some of you as well :)

  • Comment number 57.

    I do wish people would stop going on about teams that play better football than England (France, Russia, Holland etc) or somehow better than England because of it. I don't deny that there are plenty of teams who play a more attractive game than England, but, and everyone seems to miss this, the whole point of playing beautiful football is to WIN the game. End of. I bet you that any team that has lost 1-0 playing a beautiful game, would swap it for an ugly 1-0 win. Prove me wrong.

  • Comment number 58.

    @24/29: words like "comfortably" and "outplayed" are your opinion. All I care about (and all FIFA take into account when ranking sides) are scores. FIFA rankings aren't based on flair or possession or shots on goal.

    And if these sides are doing it easy against England, as you claim, why aren't England losing 3-0 or 4-0? They must be very lucky!

  • Comment number 59.

    •Comment number 57.
    At 10:47 16th Oct 2012, Andrew wrote:
    ------------------------------------------------
    FA cup final: Liverpool 0 Wimbledon 1

    :D

  • Comment number 60.

    @45 BaggiosPonyTail: I don't agree with your "second tier" comments.

    Sure, Spain are streets ahead of everyone...

    But Italy? How do they belong in the same tier as Spain, and ahead of England? Their results since and including the 2010 world cup have been almost embarassing. They drew with Bulgaria and New Zealand, and lost to Slovakia, Russia, Uruguay, the USA, England and Spain. When did England last lose 5 games in a calendar year?

    And I'm not convinced about Portugal either. They seem a bit of a one-man team, had an average 2010 world cup, and had some poor results in qualifying for Euro 2012 (4-4 with Cyprus, 1-0 loss to Norway, 2-1 loss to Denmark).

    And even Germany: we have a 50-50 record against them this century (P6 W3 L3 F10 A9) and only two of those were friendlies. And, yes, the 4-1 loss was a hiding, but who knows how that game would have ended up had Lampard's goal stood and England "parked the bus" rather than being forced into all-out attack?

    So frankly, I don't think you can lump these sides in with Spain as being a class above England. Any side that draws 4-4 with Cyprus, or loses 5 games in 4 months is not a class above us.

    Spain are the only side I would bet money on to beat England within 90 minutes.

  • Comment number 61.

    Talking about clown goalkeepers - the Polish keeper plays for Brighton, he is ex-Man. U. and he has had one hell of a season, earned several points making saves he had no right to make.

    Beware, if his defenders are half reasonable he will take some beating.

  • Comment number 62.

    58.At 10:54 16th Oct 2012, Dizzee69 wrote:
    @24/29: words like "comfortably" and "outplayed" are your opinion. All I care about (and all FIFA take into account when ranking sides) are scores. FIFA rankings aren't based on flair or possession or shots on goal.

    And if these sides are doing it easy against England, as you claim, why aren't England losing 3-0 or 4-0? They must be very lucky!
    _____________________

    The rankings are generally a good indication. Some of its faults is that it credits a consistent team that does not necessarily win competitions like England. England are often very difficult to beat and often knocked out on penalties (a draw for FIFA rankings). Given that they don't win competitions or come close to, would fans not prefer to see their team play decent football and bow out at QFs rather than playing dull football and bow out at QFs?

  • Comment number 63.

    57.At 10:47 16th Oct 2012, Andrew wrote:
    the whole point of playing beautiful football is to WIN the game. End of.
    __________________

    And what have England won?

  • Comment number 64.

    And I hope the above (@60) sheds some more light on England's FIFA ranking. If you actually stop and look - do some homework - at the results of the other "big teams", like Italy and Portugal and even France, they haven't been that flash over the past 2 years.

    Italy's last 16 games have been W6 D5 L5. Why should that get them ranked above England?!

    And the teams that HAVE been getting results - like Spain and Germany - ARE ranked above England. Fairly and logically.

    Again, I'm not saying England are world-beaters, but there's no doubt they're top ten.

  • Comment number 65.

    The style of football England currently play alongside the tactics they use, is not good to watch when compared to other nations, that do threaten in tournaments.

    England will more or less role over teams of lesser strength but many of those teams look better than England when we play them. In other words England's style of football when played alongside a weaker nation actually looks inferior.

    We may well get the result but long term it is useless in terms of progression as a footballing nation. England's tournament record proves the fact. England get there, England get out of the group and then fail by not having the quality of football needed to progress.

    Playing well and being able to win games indicates a team has an immediate and periodic future, with a reasonable chance of success. England fail to realise this.

  • Comment number 66.

    a fat bloke down the pub said so 4. ....... are you on the same planet as everyone else comparing the England team of 1970 to one of the greatest teams in history ha ha ha you must be on the Arry Redknapp pills today son....... close to the brazil team of 1970???? aye if you mean close as in the planet your from....can you hear yourself son ?.. !!!!!. get a grip ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • Comment number 67.

    60.At 11:12 16th Oct 2012, Dizzee69 wrote:
    "But Italy? How do they belong in the same tier as Spain, and ahead of England?" - How many World cups have they won? Who did they comfortably beat in the Euros? Did they reach the final?

    "And I'm not convinced about Portugal either" - A team England haven't beaten in 15 odd years.

    "And even Germany: we have a 50-50 record against them this century" - But compare the number of honours won? World cups and Euros? Plus how many points are they ahead in the rankings?

    "how that game would have ended up had Lampard's goal stood and England "parked the bus" rather than being forced into all-out attack?" - England would have probably lost on penalties like they normally do.

    "So frankly, I don't think you can lump these sides in with Spain as being a class above England. Any side that draws 4-4 with Cyprus, or loses 5 games in 4 months is not a class above us. " - And yet both sides knocked you out of major competitions!

  • Comment number 68.

    60.At 11:12 16th Oct 2012, Dizzee69 wrote:

    Put it this way - Since they won the world cup in 2006 Italy have lost 5 competitive games which includes 1 on penalties England have lost 6.

    Italy have made it to a Final, 1/4 final and knocked out in group stage.
    England have made it a 1/4 final, 2 round and not qualified.

    the last time Italy didnt top its Qualifying group was for the 98 world cup.

    There is no comparison.

  • Comment number 69.

    64.At 11:22 16th Oct 2012, Dizzee69 wrote:
    If you actually stop and look - do some homework - at the results of the other "big teams", like Italy and Portugal and even France, they haven't been that flash over the past 2 years.

    Italy's last 16 games have been W6 D5 L5. Why should that get them ranked above England?!
    _______________________

    Because they have lost (to a certain extent) pointless friendlies, but managed to win when it counts (a la finalists in Euros). Look at Spain, the lost to England in a friendly and drew with Costa Rica, but were able to go another gear or two for the actual tournament.

    England are the opposite, they raise their game for friendlies / qualifiers, then play dross when it counts.

  • Comment number 70.

    tinhat65 @66

    a fat bloke down the pub said so 4. ....... are you on the same planet as everyone else comparing the England team of 1970 to one of the greatest teams in history ha ha ha you must be on the Arry Redknapp pills today son....... close to the brazil team of 1970???? aye if you mean close as in the planet your from....can you hear yourself son ?.. !!!!!. get a grip ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Obviously you never watched the 70 world cup. England were the only team Brasil met who were capable of holding them and giving them a real game. Brasil rested several players by the time they met Roumania in the last group game, the score line was close but the match was not.

    England were NOT and NEVER would of been the equivalent of Brasil in terms of style and brilliance but they were certainly top class.

    Brasil 70 were like no other team seen, at the time. Spain today are comparable to Brasil 70, not by the way they play but the fact they play like no other team in their era.

  • Comment number 71.

    1.At 23:55 15th Oct 2012, WordsofWisdom wrote

    RUBBISH! Rooney is totally overated but obviously you are a Man Utd fan --sums it up really!

  • Comment number 72.

    •Comment number 69.
    At 11:37 16th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    "England are the opposite, they raise their game for friendlies / qualifiers, then play dross when it counts".
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    I don't think England raise their game for friendlies or qualifiers, I think this is their level. Any further into a competition and the opposition gets a bit too tasty. It's not a matter of "playing dross.
    For England to go further in a competition an immediate fix would be to practice penalties, a clear failure on every level, and yet know one has addressed it, incredible!

  • Comment number 73.

    eduard @69

    I think you are wasting your time mate. For some it is a source of pride to see England ranked so high even though it is a false ranking.

    I do believe friendlies should never be included in rankings, they offer a truly false view for the actual ability of a team.

    We are probably a top 12 team but nearer to 12 than anywhere else.

    Those rankings mean very little but ensure an easy qualification [or should do]

  • Comment number 74.

    Should be intresting game tonight both teams started well so far Poland is missing Blaszczeykowski and Szczesny but they play at home and stadium will be packed
    I'm expecting lots of action from both sides
    my prediction 2:2

  • Comment number 75.

    72.At 11:53 16th Oct 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrote:

    The top teams grow into a tournament - start slow and get stronger.
    England do the opposite - they wither away under the greater pressure.

  • Comment number 76.

    66.
    At 11:27 16th Oct 2012, tinhat65 wrote:


    a fat bloke down the pub said so 4. ....... are you on the same planet as everyone else comparing the England team of 1970 to one of the greatest teams in history ha ha ha you must be on the Arry Redknapp pills today son....... close to the brazil team of 1970???? aye if you mean close as in the planet your from....can you hear yourself son ?.. !!!!!. get a grip ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Ha ha ha...well said!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 77.

    •Comment number 75.
    At 11:55 16th Oct 2012, clummers wrote:
    The top teams grow into a tournament - start slow and get stronger.
    England do the opposite - they wither away under the greater pressure.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm not diasagreeing, as I memntioned, England have found their level.
    The next step is to figure a way of going beyond that level. I suggest being capable of taking penalties and having that mental toughness could have an instant impact. Ivan Lendl as penalty psycologist anyone?

  • Comment number 78.

    72.At 11:53 16th Oct 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrote:
    I don't think England raise their game for friendlies or qualifiers, I think this is their level. Any further into a competition and the opposition gets a bit too tasty. It's not a matter of "playing dross.
    For England to go further in a competition an immediate fix would be to practice penalties, a clear failure on every level, and yet know one has addressed it, incredible!
    ______________________

    I HATE watching England in major competitions. They play so simple, and there is often little movement and interchange. I mean my team Russia are frustrating because they blow hot and cold, but at least they play an aesthetic style of quick passing, lots of movement, creative play etc.

    It's not about practising penalties but having the mentality that you will win. If you have that mentality you don't even need to practise. England practised v Italy and still lost. It's all in the head.

  • Comment number 79.

    England are lucky to be in a group with Ukraine and Poland.

  • Comment number 80.

    73.At 11:54 16th Oct 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    eduard @69

    I think you are wasting your time mate. For some it is a source of pride to see England ranked so high even though it is a false ranking.
    ____________________

    I get the impression that a few people on here see the FIFA ranking and think Ingerlund are one of the best in the world.

    They are often outplayed by the decent sides, and sometimes even by perceived lesser sides.

    England are unable to raise their game, they are the epitomy of consistency. Others like Italy, Russia, France, Argentina etc are far more inconsistent, but can raise their game further and go on "a run". England could do this before, but have waned over the past 10 years.

  • Comment number 81.

    Edit:
    I'm not diasagreeing, as I memntioned, England have found their level.
    The next step is to figure a way of going beyond that level. I suggest being capable of taking penalties and having that mental toughness could have an instant impact. Ivan Lendl as penalty psychologist anyone?
    Furthermore, as I have suggested elsewhere on these blogs, English players do not have the game play, technique, or fitness levels required to play 6 odd games in rapid succession in a major tourmanent invariably held in summer.

  • Comment number 82.

    81.At 12:07 16th Oct 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrot

    The Technique is the Key - Against Italy the English look out on their feet as they had spent most of the game chasing the ball. If they were to learn patience and the ability to control the ball (which must be embarrassing as a professional footballer watching the foreign players with superb touch but the ball constantly bounce off the English players legs) it would be a start.

  • Comment number 83.

    Comment number 78.
    At 12:04 16th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    I agree, the winning mentality seems missing. I can't see the point of heroically taking a game beyond extra time into penalties if the belief isn't there at the crucial moment.

  • Comment number 84.

    I expect a 0-0 "thrashing" by Poland tonight.

  • Comment number 85.

    parisian @79

    Do I detect a hint of jealousy from you?

    It may well be why we take friendlies so seriously because it does affect our ranking and therefore the group we get placed in.

    England cannot afford [financially] to miss out on a tournament. I strongly believe the commercial view point is ahead of the sporting [to win a tournament] approach, when it comes to English football.

  • Comment number 86.

    I think a draw tonight is the most likely result, but that's not my main concern. What frustrates me is that we have STILL not learned about how to coach youngsters!

    In England, youngsters are thrown into competitive, full-size, 11vs11 games on full-size pitches. That's just not what they do in countries like Spain, Brazil, Argentina and, more recently, Germany as well.

    Here's how you train youngsters. Play five-a-side, on a suitably small pitch. Limited to two touches (trap-pass). Ball must never go above shoulder-height. Shooting allowed only from close range.

    This way you learn ball control, spatial sense of what's happening around you, teamwork, passing moves. You are trying to play like Barca, not Roy of the Rovers. No hoofing it down the other end. No long-shots that once in a while pay off.

    This needs to be learned at very young ages. English clubs, even with a majority of ovedseas players, still try to play a variant of the English game. I could see this in City vs Dortmund....Chelsea vs Atletico....United vs Athletic Club......and so on. Man for man, City's players are at least as good as Dortmund's, probably better, and ditto Chelsea vs Atletico. It's the approach that's wrong.

    We need to modernise from the ground up, which means starting with youngsters.

  • Comment number 87.

    50.
    At 10:31 16th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:

    45.At 10:20 16th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    They are clearly in the second tier behind Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands. Argentina, France, and Russia may play "better" football but that has not been reflected in results in recent championships.
    _____________________

    Maybe not, but they still play better football! And would you rather have a rollercoaster performance or a consistent QF / Last 16 performance?

    England have not impressed me since 2004. They've looked average since then. Argentina will be looking strong in 2014, Russia have shown they can beat pretty much anyone, as have France. I can't remember England beating a top team in a competitive match?
    ________________________________

    It's been a long time since I was blown away by an England performance - probably Germany 1 England 5 in 2001.

    There were spells in Euro 2004 when we played good attacking football and Rooney was on fire but the balance was missing.

    I've actually been impressed by some of the younger players - particularly Cleverley but also Welbeck and have been banging on about giving them a run of games for a while.

  • Comment number 88.

    •Comment number 82.
    At 12:11 16th Oct 2012, clummers wrote
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Totally agree. The English coaching preference for pace over technique has given us a number of copicat players, all of whom can run fast but have little end product.
    Lennon, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain et al are all peas out of the same pod in my opinion.

  • Comment number 89.

    87.At 12:21 16th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:

    That 5 -1 win shows the trouble with England - They qualified greatly topping a group with Germany. Germany then proceed to get to the world cup final in 2002. I know which one i would prefer.

  • Comment number 90.

    In my view, England, in Premier League terms, are somewhat similar to Everton and Villa when under O'Neil. Good enough to mix it with the best, consistent enough to finish in the top six or seven, but don't have the bottle to actually win anything. Or even come close to winning anything. Remember also, there aren't that many international tournemants. The World Cup and the Euros are the only serious ones, and the only ones England can take part in. Only two, and each one is four years apart. One major tournement every two years. That's all there is.

    If the World Cup were a 20 team league system, like the Premier League, held every two years, England would probably finish around 5th. Just missing out on a place in the Galaxy Champions League!

  • Comment number 91.

    88.At 12:22 16th Oct 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrote:

    Players (like Carrick) who like to put their foot on the ball and slow the game down are shunned for folk who are all guts and glory.

    Look at Jamie Carragher - his distribution of the ball is atrocious. If a simple pass is not on his only plan is to knock the ball as far as possible down the wing. This man has 38 caps for England.

  • Comment number 92.

    @1 & 3 Wordsofwisdom

    I assume your name is ironic? Can anyone really be so ignorant about football? I guess you have proved they can be.

  • Comment number 93.

    91.At 12:31 16th Oct 2012, clummers wrote:
    --------------------------------------------------------
    Carrick was poor against the might of the San Marino midfield, but I understand what you are saying.
    Unfortunately the coaching notion of getting the ball forward quickly still seems to dominate. That said, I anticipate a load of crab passing against Poland.

  • Comment number 94.

    60.
    At 11:12 16th Oct 2012, Dizzee69 wrote:

    @45 BaggiosPonyTail: I don't agree with your "second tier" comments.

    Sure, Spain are streets ahead of everyone...

    But Italy? How do they belong in the same tier as Spain, and ahead of England? Their results since and including the 2010 world cup have been almost embarassing. They drew with Bulgaria and New Zealand, and lost to Slovakia, Russia, Uruguay, the USA, England and Spain. When did England last lose 5 games in a calendar year?

    And I'm not convinced about Portugal either. They seem a bit of a one-man team, had an average 2010 world cup, and had some poor results in qualifying for Euro 2012 (4-4 with Cyprus, 1-0 loss to Norway, 2-1 loss to Denmark).

    And even Germany: we have a 50-50 record against them this century (P6 W3 L3 F10 A9) and only two of those were friendlies. And, yes, the 4-1 loss was a hiding, but who knows how that game would have ended up had Lampard's goal stood and England "parked the bus" rather than being forced into all-out attack?

    So frankly, I don't think you can lump these sides in with Spain as being a class above England. Any side that draws 4-4 with Cyprus, or loses 5 games in 4 months is not a class above us.

    Spain are the only side I would bet money on to beat England within 90 minutes.
    _______________________________

    I think others have answered most of your questions but the key point is when England win matches and when we don't.

    We normally qualify well, certainly in the last 15 years or so. Which is why I am bemused when people say Poland will beat England or England wont qualify for the World Cup - our recent record in qualifying suggests otherwise.

    We also generally make it out of the group stages of major tournaments.

    It is when we come up against top opposition in knockout matches that we struggle. Italy in Euro 2012. Germany in World Cup 2010. Portugal in 2006, Portugal in 2004, Brazil in 2002 etc. Apart from the match against Germany we have not been thrashed. In fact the matches have generally been tight affairs. But I can't honestly say we looked like winning any of them. That is the crux of the problem.

    That is why I would describe us as second tier because Germany, Italy, Netherlands, France (although not recently) have beaten quality teams at the business end of a tournament.

  • Comment number 95.

    having been away for so long I fail to understand what all the wahoo about ingerland is about.

    Continually being given easy passages via the qualifiers.

    having said that it makes a refreshing change not to be reading another article about liverpool or have I spoken to soon, surely there must be a way of bring Suarez into this debate, or perhaps the redevelopment of agnstfield.

    I wish Poland all the best , I wont be watching the game, as I have far better things to do.

    Roll on the resumption of the real footy.

  • Comment number 96.

    89.
    At 12:25 16th Oct 2012, clummers wrote:


    87.At 12:21 16th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:

    That 5 -1 win shows the trouble with England - They qualified greatly topping a group with Germany. Germany then proceed to get to the world cup final in 2002. I know which one i would prefer.
    _____________________

    Yes, you have summed up in two sentences what it took me 4 paragraphs to do!!

  • Comment number 97.

    Performance wise England regularly produce 7/10 which gives them their consistency and decent ranking. In friendlies other sides performances (Italy, Portugal etc) fluctuate more but in the final stages such as QF onwards they produce 8/10 or 9/10 hence England are limited to how far they can get.

    Do fancy England for a tight win tonight, maybe 2-1. Milner was great for Villa but only in the centre, HE IS NOT A WINGER!!!!!

  • Comment number 98.

    Very tough game tonight v Poland. There is no talent pool here in England as the greedy pl favour foreign players over developing young, English talent.

  • Comment number 99.

    as for who will actually will win the WC, its not rocket science,

    Spain will successfully defend their title and as such will be confirmed as the best there ever has been.

  • Comment number 100.

    @5 Hope your surname isn't Lewandowski....but excellent comment/article!

 

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