Friday, June 18, 2004
Whilst England should not be complacent against the Croatians (not something to be concerned about, really; there are many things England could be accused of, but complacency isn't usually one of them), it should be remembered how France let them back into the game.

The French failure was due to a curious mixture of arrogance, complacency and recklessness. The defending for the second goal was appalling. Everyone had been sent forward, there were gaps all over the shop.

The French team's confidence in their own ability can be a double-edged sword. On Sunday, against England, it gave them the assurance to persist even when all seemed lost. But, when all is in danger of being lost, they don't have that extra urgency. cf their world cup campaign in 2002, in which they cheerfully assumed that it would all come good in the end.

On the England game: well, none of us are satisfied with the performance, but - remember when we strolled past Denmark in the world cup two years ago? 3-0 up at half-time. It just wasn't like an England game. Where was the masochistic jouissance in seeing your team easily and deservedly win?

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