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What the hell was that?

International football England
by Robbo Robson (U5722413) 12 October 2006
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Paul Robinson

Forgive me if I write a totally incoherent piece of ranting (for a change) but that England performance was shocking!

Where do we start? Well I'm not saying I know my musicals, but let's start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start.

Paul Robinson. At the World Cup he commanded the penalty box with all the confidence of a fat antelope in a lion's cage. He was jumpy as hell and a liability.

In the first half in Zagreb, he kept us in it. He went missing for the first goal but then so did the other nine defenders, intent on ignoring the Brazilian Eduardo.

(Incidentally, are we now officially the only international side who haven't got an ex-pat Brazilian playing for them?).

Of course, the poor lad will be best remembered for allowing Gary Neville to finally get his name on the scoresheet. Neville can't score from two yards with the keeper missing but he can find a molehill in his own penalty area from 20.

And if that's how partisan the moles are in Zagreb, it's no wonder the Croats haven't been beaten there for 2,000 years.

Personally, I feel a bit sorry for Robinson - I don't think he could've done much about it, but he'll have to put up with seeing re-runs of that incident for years to come.

The most worrying aspect of Wednesday night was the team McClaren put out. It said 3-5-2 on the tin but, let's face it, it was 5-3-2 at best and at worst 8-1-1.

Bilic must have looked at the team-sheet and started putting the bunting up in the home dressing-room before the match started.

The wing-backs were two full-backs. About as threatening a weapon as a fuzzy-felt knife.

There were two holding players in midfield, and they were so bloody timid the only thing they were holding was each other's hands.

Up front our cutting edge was supplied by those daring out-and-out strikers Rooney and Crouch. They simply don't work together. One of them has to keep Lampard company on the bench.

Given that Rooney is probably our best player (and on a night of utter mediocrity, probably was in Croatia), perhaps Crouchy can come towering on late in the game, which was always his best position to my mind.

Get a fit Johnson or Bent up front with Rooney and the Shrek-like one will at least have someone to aim for.

But if we fans know this, why doesn't the manager?

McClaren continues the Sven policy of asking players to do jobs they're not very good at.

The England team probably get their meals cooked by the coach driver. It's no wonder Scholes won't re-join the squad. He doesn't fancy a stint at left-back right now.

We've got five months 'til Israel away and someone's got to do summat.

We'll have Hargreaves, Joe Cole, Lennon and Gerrard back by then so we can ditch the likes of Carrick and Lampard for the foreseeable.

We'll be back to 4-4-2, no doubt, because when we play a different system we pick the wrong players. Rooney will be back to his best...oh s***, somebody stop me before I start getting stupidly optimistic again.

Latest 10 comments

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posted Oct 17, 2006

Kapt Boris, the only player who has had a "disproportionate number of red cards" under Wengers reign was Paddy Viera, at least half of which shouldnt have stood (and im not even n arsenal fan and can see that) I also think if u look at the stats from the last 10 years when it comes to average number of reds a season not only are arsenal not top they will be below Chelsea and Man utd amongst others.
Also at least unlike Chelsea and Utd they stay within the rule book when it comes to signing youngsters, generally signing players etc. They also stay within the games rules far more than numerous other teams due to the fact that many of their players are respected "fair play" ambassadors (As opposed to Cristiano "if you come within 3 feet of me ill dive" Ronaldo or similar villians like Robben or Drogba who dive several times every game they play in. While Arsenal, like any other team have players who will on occasion dive its not a regular occurance, in fact they have in Reyes a player who only recieves about 10% of the fouls he probably should

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posted Oct 17, 2006

comment by Kapt Boris
posted 6 Minutes Ago

So unable to furnish me with a suitable argument you turn to insults. Who's the child here?

Red cards which have dropped to almost none in the last 4 years in which we've topped the fair play league twice and come second in one of the other years. Your argument (what little there is) is pathetic.

Well done for losing the argument with such good grace.

LOL I can't lose an argument when the other person isn't making one. Well done on making yourself look a fool.

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comment by Ta5 (U5739538)

posted Oct 17, 2006

Firstly, Arsenal's culture of cheating (under Wenger) is demostrated by the disproportionate number of red cards they have recieved compared to, say, liverpool, MUFC or Chelsea. Look at the stats


what can i say we are a team of hardmen.

oh well still top of the fair play league , whats it been now 3 years??

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posted Oct 17, 2006

how can a lot of red cards equal cheating. were any for diving?

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posted Oct 17, 2006

I've never heard so many excuses of why England lost. The simple truth is that Croatia are more suprerior technically and mentally to England. Now stop blaming these 3-5-2 system and the rest when it is obvious that Croatia are that much better.

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posted Oct 17, 2006

smudgepara, I agree with you, but...

Professional sports is becoming, and will become, ever more about the money because there is and will be for the forseeable ever more money. I started following football because it isn't quite as far gone as most American sports; but it's not far behind, and will get worse. As long as the players seem to me to care and to give their all I'll stay interested, but there's no question that caring, at least, is going downhill, and giving their all may be becoming rarer as well. The only thing I can see to do about it is to follow the lower leagues, where it is less about money.

ForzaVelez, how was it, then, that the technically and mentally superior Croatia side lost 4-2 to England at the Euros? Was it because Croatia was missing their four best midfielders. Oh, wait, that was England losing 2-0, wasn't it? In fairness, I think the two sides are pretty well matched, though I'd take a healthy England on neutral ground, even with McLaren managing. Well, we'll see how things go in England.

I can't think of a single poster who supported McLaren, incidentally, when he was named manager. I haven't quite given up on him completely, but I'm getting there...

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comment by alfaq79 (U6179920)

posted Oct 17, 2006

makes a lot of sense! Agreed!!

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posted Oct 18, 2006

why are you shocked at Englands performance ? Its not as if england are better than croatia .Or that they play atrractive attacking football .

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comment by U3909751

posted Nov 15, 2006

England did brilliantly against a far superior side!

They did great to keep the score down.

Are you honestly surprised that Carrick with half the number of assists of Wes Brown this season (ONE) hasn't created all the opportunities Rooney needed?

Are you honestly surprised that a side with an undefeated record at home, didn't capitulate to a side who are overrated on the World Stage.

Without Hargreaves and Gerrard Lennon and Cole, you didn't have any of your first team players and you thought that Parker Carrick and Lampard would not just sit back and wait for the team to help them out.

Croatia deserved to win. They play like that against England at Old Trafford even with the Hargreaves and Gerrards in it too they still will win

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posted Nov 16, 2006

As a neutral i believe it is abundantly clear that England need a complete overhaul in the way they play. International football is turning a corner - the major nations are looking to how Italy won the World Cup. The key to success is obvious - the deep-seated playmaker. The only two players England have at their disposal for this role is either Carrick or Beckham (no prizes for guessing who's the better player). The deep-seated playmaker has only two concerns; i) Finding space & ii) Playing telling, contributive passes (either short or long [Hollywood passes if you will]). This player does not track back - when the opposition have the ball he stays six yards ahead of the game, in space, awaiting the moment his team regain possession. The first thing his team-mates do is look for him - he always has plenty of space. His task is now to assess his options - playing the killer ball, spreading it wide, even just passing it on. The obvious candidate for the role - Mr. Beckham. True he is not half the player Andrea Pirlo is but he does boast the same passing ability and can lay the ball on a sixpence. But football is a team game and his teammates must protect him at all times, one player in particular (read Hargreaves for Gattuso). As the playmaker does not track back the players around him have to carry that burden - The wide players, Gerrard and Rooney must all help out in the same way that Perrota, Camoranesi and Totti all had greater responsibilities than Pirlo. A system like this still provides room for that uniquely British obession - the box-to-box midfielder i.e Gerrard or Lampard (either or, not both - anyone will tell you that would unbalance the team). With this in mind my England XI would be as follows:

Nev. Terry Rio Ashley

Hargreaves (holding)

Beckham (playmaker)

Lennon J.Cole

Note: If someone were to mention the Northern Ireland game people would only remember the result not the fact that Beckham had the game of his life! I posted this last night at 10:55pm and only got one reply - somebody thought Beckham had a "mare" that night and nullified any threat from Gerrard and Lampard. You would have thought he would have noticed that those two always cancel EACH OTHER out. Beckham has a succesful pass rate of 97% that night

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