Tuesday, June 22, 2004
  England the blind...
Rooney had an excellent game, playing deep better than any of our midfielders, and up front better than Owen... lets get that out of the way, I'm not traitor enough to suggest that Rooney is anything other than player of the tournament so far.

However, to suggest that a classic insecure reaction from the Croats, caused by their too-early goal is indication that England were impressive is highly dubious. Beckham and Scholes both again had poor games, though hopefully a goal will gee ginger up a little. Gerrard and Lampard were decent in spells, but dire in others - misplacing easy passes and making poor attacking decisions.

The defense also looked vulnerable, better finishers will flourish against England. France was a test, but both teams played too defensively; you can't afford those tactics in the latter stages, and I fear for England (not really, I'm rejoicing in truth) if Deco, Figo or Ronaldo get so many opportunities to shoot from the edge of the box. For some reason both Croatia and Switzerland spurned these opportunities, but certainly over the past two games, the Portuguese have shown greater willingness to try their luck from 18 yards. And who knows, if we get past them it could be the Czechs next.

All that said, it has been demonstrated before in World Cups, that a single brilliant player can lead a team of no-marks to glory, and if Rooney keeps converting his chances to goals at such a remarkable rate, England might just have the firepower to cover up the many frailties in the rest of the team.

Prediction for Thursday - Whole of England will write off the Portuguese, who will find their form. Neville and Cole to get an absolute roasting from Figo and Ronaldo, and Portugal to run off 3-1 winners.

Philip, there's a job for you in the English media... This English-all-too English self-flagellation and rejoicing in the team's alleged shortcomings is part of what makes it almost impossible for us to win competitions. The Morrisseyesque delight in our own failure, a strange kind of auto-schadenfreude; English players have to defeat that in themselves before they even take on the opposition. (cf Tim Henman) The 'I knew we'd lose' mentality as a means of avoiding the disappointment and pain of genuine partisanship...

Rant over... :-)

'Poor' games for Scholes and Beckham are relative (how many times did Beckham give the ball away?) and actually an encouraging sign, i.e. how good will England be if they finally turn it on to the best of their ability? Especially since a year or so ago it would have been argued that England were a three man team ....

If you want to talk about a team of no-marks, look no further than Portugal who, if you disregard reputations, have been mostly mediocre. Deco? Great player for Porto this season. In this tournament, an anonymity. Figo, the most overrated player in the world (and has been for some time). Ronaldo, yeh, he can beat a few players and occasionally there's even some output. I'm being deliberately reductive, just to show that it can be done.

You can demolish any team in the way you've demolished England.

Yes, England's defence is hardly impermeable. But they've not conceded in open play. And they always look capable of scoring more than the opposition. And Portugal's defence inspires no more confidence.
i'm posting after Portugal beat England.

Mark, i agree w'u.

i find Philip's comments quite mistifying...
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Blog for discussion of Euro 2004 football tournament.

June 2004 / July 2004 /


Scott - somedisco

Philip - It's All in Your Mind

Andy - Midland Memorabilia

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