Monday, 25 June 2012

Paying The Penalty Again And Again

There’s a Thelwell cartoon strip – one of them pony pictures with a little plump horsey kid involved – which starts with a lass standing waist deep in water while her nag peers over the fence at her. The reins are still in her hand. The caption says summat like: ‘If you’re having trouble with your pony, don’t worry....


Just remount (picture of lass getting back on horse)...

Take her back to the beginning (picture of lass on horse about to approach the same jump again)...

And make her do it again’ (picture of lass standing waist deep in the same water with the same horse peering blankly at her from the other side of the fence)

[It's not quite this one but you get the idea!]


And so it is with England and penalty kicks. This is eight out of nine spot-kick defeats in major tournaments. The idea that the latest one is ameliorated by Italy’s utter domination of the match itself means bugger-all. We’re owed one by now. Italy have a dreadful record in shoot-outs and even they turned us over.

Hodgson was quick to praise his players for effort, and who could disagree? If there’s one thing Englishmen could teach the rest of the football world it’s how to throw yourself bodily in front of piledriving 25-yarders and still stagger back to their feet to take some more. Scott Parker has been less a footballer and more a walking game of Pong.

But that sort of reckless derring-do doesn’t win football matches. Simple things do. Like passing to a team-mate. Who passes it to another one. Who passes it to another one. Now, it’s not necessary to be so good at this that, like Spain, you become a FUCKING BORE, but it would be nice to keep it long enough to get into the opposition half.

It does seem faintly ridiculous, some twenty years after Graham Taylor’s woeful and inept England team, so devoid of technique that Carlton Palmer made it into the starting eleven, that we are still producing football teams that treat a football like it’s a live explosive.

It’s not Hodgson’s fault. Indeed, he recognised that our boys would spend most of the match trying bloody hard to get the ball back off better footballers and set up his teams accordingly. Supposedly our most gifted player, Wayne Rooney couldn’t have had a less certain first touch if he’d have been wearing flippers. Roy’s diligent faith in Ashley Young was nonplussing by the end. Young should not have been on the pitch to miss a penalty. He’s a lad with, apparently, a lot of ability, but like Wazza, he tends to hide his light under the largest bushel in the universe.

Now, on the bright side, the team were well-organised and did as well as could be expected. There are some players who truly cemented their places: Glen Johnson was very good; Hart will be there until he wants to leave; Welbeck looked the part; and the likes of Gerrard, Terry and Cole played reliably and in the skipper’s case, very well. However them last three aren’t the answer any more.

I have a blue print for the future of England foot ball and it is this:

1. Practise penalties. I don’t buy this frigging argument that it’s a ‘lottery’. If it was England would win the odd one. If that’s what constitutes a lottery we’d all be fucking millionaires by now and Camelot would be out with the begging bowl like a bunch of buggering bankers.

2. When children learn how to play football, let them have a football to learn with. Don’t spend half-an-hour making the poor sods do sprints and stretches and all that shit. If they want that they can do athletics, right? The football is their friend, not the big bloody sphere that gets in the way.

3. When children reach ten years of age, don’t make them play on a full-size pitch. If you do that, the most important player on the park becomes the big dozy lunk who can hoof it down their end. And yes, believe it or not boys and girls, that’s where English centre-halves are born. Keep them on dinkier pitches where control and retention of the ball is a GOOD THING.

4. Do a Germany. Handpick some very good young players and blood them now. As a unit. I’m talking about Rodwell, Wilshere, Sturridge, Walker, Jones, Smalling, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Carroll... there are probably others. Tell em, you’re the team that will be playing for England in 2014, 2016, 2018. (Stevie, it’s been lovely but you’ve never quite lived up to the billing. JT, when you’re released maybe you take an advisory role.) Lamps, good luck on the sofas of punditry. And we stick by this pool of players, and we let ‘em be a bit shit for a while.

5. The media is never again to be permitted to display any optimism whatsoever. Who the hell built this team up just cos they scraped, admirably, past three ordinary teams deserves shooting. There were pigeons, domestic pets, hell even my wife, who knew this team wasn’t going to win this tournament in a million years. So perhaps footy journos might have been able to see that too. It’s a fact that only the England National Party fail to understand that there’s a marked difference between honest patriotism and crass stupidity.

So we’re left licking wounds that are entirely self-inflicted. A short-sighted plan to redevelop Wembley Stadium rather than invest in our footballers and coaches hasn’t helped. It’s like building a National Theatre and then putting school plays on it for years on end.

In the meantime, let us relish the fact that the semi-finalists are the best four teams in the tournament. Let us hope that Portugal (or more specifically Cristiano Ronaldo) can shake Spain out of the metronomic tedium of their football and that Germany win the whole shebang and prove that a bit of long-term planning combined with some brilliant and intelligent footballers can win you a trophy.

133 comments:

  1. From previous blog -

    AnfieldHopeful25 June 2012 11:56
    We paid the price for rooney's red card a bit as well. 'Forced' to play a rusty rooney when a combo of carroll and welbeck wouldve done better. Based solely on last nights performance, surely it would have been carroll on for rooney and not welbeck. And with penalties looming if scotty parker couldnt pull through 120 mins, why not bring in baines and juggle the formation a bit. What possible use could hendo be ? Granted hindsight being 20-20 and all that, you need no sight to know that hendo is useless.

    Anyway, positives from the tourney - topped group, goodish performances from welbeck, ox, carroll, lescott (and theo, but he does that once every tourny anyway). From a liverpool perspective, encouraging to see GJ has learnt a bit of defending. Negatives - 45% possession against Ukraine. Says it all really.

    The next WC qualifier is against Moldova. In the name of all things holy, I hope we put out a really young side. In fact, apart from Ukraine (and possibly Poland) we should be planning to giving maximum playing time to the young uns.

    Reply
    Replies

    AnfieldHopeful25 June 2012 11:58
    And by young side, I mean a side without Young. Or anyone named Ashley. Woy showing some of his Liverpool style stubbornness in refusing to change his side/players/tactics despite obvious failures like Young. There is no way he should have started after his first 3 performances.

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  2. I feel cheated. Now all the smart ass comments are left on the previous blog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Robbo, the FA have already addressed point 3. :

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/may/28/fa

    ReplyDelete
  4. Absolutely gutted - not so much that we are out Euros, that was half (being kind) to be expected, but that I have actually had to do some work and not been able to play on here...

    Thought after the win last night, there would be a lot of lurking (not rhyming slang) Italians on here gloating

    ¸.¤*¨¨*¤.¸¸...¸.¤*¨¨*¤.
    \¸.¤ Englad are crap at penalties
    .\¸.¤*¨¨*¤.¸¸.¸.¤*¨¨*¤.
    ..\


    ..

    / \

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well said. Though don't you already stick with players who are a bit shit?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nicely put, Robbo. Fair-minded, forward-thinking, and I'm sure the FA will ignore it. We'll see what happens with the next international match.

    It was pointed out here on the Yank side of the pond that the likes of Barca, Real, and the Manchester clubs (to a lesser extent) have talent and depth enough to beat a lot of national sides. I guess that also points to Spanish success, as a good deal of their team play for these clubs, and mostly Real and Barca.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yet Barca and Real were beaten by Chelsea and Bayern this season and the Manc clubs provided many of the England players.

      Go figure.

      Delete
    2. You have to realise that Chelsea have to be the worst CL winners of all time. Real were beaten by a German club with a big chunk of their team being Germans, and Liverpool provided most of England's team!

      Delete
  7. Hi Stephen - I am presuming your comment is made towards me
    may I just point out that as the majority of Chelsea first team players are not English, whilst they may be a "bit shit" they are not shit enough or indeed English enough to qualify for the England team, so that was left for players from other teams in the Prem. Not singling anyone out - eg Milner

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BHB

      The "bit shit" was from Robbo's #4, which included "And we stick by this pool of players, and we let ‘em be a bit shit for a while." I should have been more specific.

      I'm actually a Chelsea fan thanks to Zola. (Feels like ages ago.) Though yes, we are a bit shit. But less so than most in the Prem. And less English than most in the Prem.

      Delete
  8. Well, it all goes back to the whole grass roots arguement that is trotted out after every failed campaign. It's almost as tedious as the Spainish tiki taki.

    A comment is made, another is slung back, a debate is held, an article written, but all in all it is as effective as twenty passes around your own box and half way line, which ironically England didn't manage throughout the whole tournament.

    I do agree with many of the points you're making as I too have highlighted them before, the way kids are trained in the UK for example, I especially agree with point 4 that for the WC we need to be looking towards the future. However the squad that we brought to the Polkraine are a bunch of well trained, highly paid professionals who ply their trade in what is widely regarded as one of the, if not the, best leagues in the world.

    So. why in the name of all things holy couldn't they keep the ball for longer then a few minutes?

    And I'm not just talking about against the Italians, who apart from Pirlo who was outstanding and Cassano, who put in a decent shift, didn't really look that great themselves. No, this was also the case against France, Sweden and the Ukraine. On the ball we were absolutly pants and looked more like we were playing pass the parcel with an ignited molotov cocktail that would blow you to smitherens if you were the last in retention with it. How could such intensively trained players be so awful at the very basic skill of passing?

    Some have said that it was like watching Stoke, now, my dislike for the Orks is well documented on these very pages, however I thought that was a bit of an insult to the Potters, because their tactics, even if you/I, like them or not, work. They can grind out results against the bigger teams and more then match the teams of similar ability, England did not.

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed (for the most part) watching England, for once they seemed to be playing for each other and were willing to put in a shift, Roy will recieve the kudos and rightly so, although I think he made a few massive mistakes;

    i) Ashley Young, as I said on the previous post, he just wasn't up to the task, he looked lost in most of the games, why he wasn't pulled off just after half time last night is beyond me, he offered absolutly nothing and looked broke. I cringed when he stepped up to take the penalty, but fair play to him for having the balls to try, I would of told him to sit it out.

    ii) The return of Rooney. Apart from the header into the empty net against the Ukraine he didn't really offer much either, did he? I thought he looked about as sharp as a butter knife made out of jelly. Yet another example of the England curse of a player who has to be in the team due to repetation rather then current form. The two matches he missed killed the chance of him being able to slot effortlessly into the team, he unbalanced us.

    For the rest I feel he got his selection pretty much spot on, I've read that some thought we should of started with Walcott and that he would of made us better, as an avid follower of Arsenal I tend to disagree with that, Theo has flashes of greatness mixed in with periods of absolute nothingness,I think his best position is as impact sub, bring him on when legs are tiring, that's when he's at his best, but if you can't get the ball to him with someone else in support then he's as useless as a behind the line official.

    I also saw the same arguement that Roy should of brought on Ox Chambo instead of Henderson, again, I'm not sure if it would of made much of a difference.

    All in all, I suppose we went as far as could be expected, the QF was always going to be seen as a decent result, to have progressed last night would of been unjust conssidering our performance, although that said Greece won the whole shebang playing worse then us in 2004.

    Fuck it, lets just blame it on bad luck and the fucking penalties.

    Brazil here we come, as Trotts would say; It's in the bag.

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  9. It pees me off that blokes who earn more in a week than I do in a year appear not to have a clue about one of the basic parts of their trade. Now, overpaid "stars", repeat after me: "When someone gives me this thing called a "football", I get it under control, then pass it to someone in the same coloured shirt".

    To be fair, probably the best 4 teams have gone through (Portugal, Spain and Germany are definitely the top 3).

    Simples


    Jedi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've only really been impressed with the Germans and they haven't really had to get out of the proverbial second gear yet.

      Delete
    2. I agree the Germans look the best team, and should beat Italy (who were much better than England, but that doesn't make them world beaters). I think if Portugal win their semi, they should have a proper go at the Germans in the final (like the last 20 minutes of the Group match). Spain v Germany looks a good final, though.


      Jedi

      Delete
  10. I know Greece won it in 2004 but that fact only supports the idea that any old donkeys can luck out in this tournament and hey - in true Lottery style - it could be yoooooouuuu! Walcott should've been on for Young and not the honest but toiling Milner (which tells you how bad Young was). I got the impression that the arrival of Carroll and Theo was always the plan otherwise Woy might've responded to the evidence of his own eyes. I would've put Jones or Jagielka on instead of Henderson. Mind you I would've put a bag of flour on instead of Henderson.
    But we didn't have very good players and, at the end of the day, giving 110% is not enough. You need talent too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robbo

      How do you tell the difference between Henderson and a bag of flour (apart from the wages, obviously)? They move about the same amount.


      Jedi

      Delete
    2. The bag of flour wont miss a football kicked straight at it.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the clarification AH.


      Jedi

      Delete
    4. Bag of flour can dust an opponent.

      Bag of flour might rise to the occasion.

      You can make something useful out of the bag of flour. Though I suppose they both make a lot of bread.

      Delete
  11. The Queen'd be pleased.

    On Her Jubilee, we are all rooting for Ze Germans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She would indeed, Spit.

      Being German herself.



      Jedi

      Delete
  12. 'Mind you I would've put a bag of flour on instead of Henderson. '

    one of the best lines ever Robbo

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  13. My "Greece won it by being crap" comment was me trying my best to do a glass half full post.

    When everyone who knows me knows that any glass, especially those containing beer, is usually, if not almost empty, then very quicly being on the way to empty. Burp.

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  14. Good stuff Robbo. The performance was fuckin' shit yet they're walking away with dignity and pride intact because it was a defeat on penalties? Give me a fuckin' break. Low expectations? No, England expects, not much, but expecting that we don't pass to the opposition every fuckin' chance we get would be my first expectation, that's why we all wear the same color shirts lads. Fuckin' rubbish.

    Of course, we had to go through this to learn the lesson that will lead us to World Cup Glory in 2014.

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  15. The whole, "we didn't have very good players" arguement doesn't really hold water either.

    Last nights starting line up;

    01 Hart (PL winner)
    02 Johnson
    03 Cole (Multiple medals inc CL winner)
    06 Terry (same as Cole)
    15 Lescott (PL winner)
    04 Gerrard (CL winner)
    11 Young
    16 Milner (PL Winner)
    17 Parker (Best 13 year olds haircut)
    10 Rooney (same as Cole)
    22 Welbeck

    So, with the exception of three players, two of which are regulars with a CL playing club, all of that starting XI have won major accolades with their clubs, you could maybe argue that the standard of the PL is low (I wouldn't agree) but then how do you explain the four CL medal winners?

    Nah, the problem must be in the coaching or something in the mental pschy that turns pro footballers into semi amatuer pub looking kick abouters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May be, just maybe, the foreign players playing besides these English players in their club teams make them look better than they really are?

      Bloody foreigners.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I thought that (well I didnt really) but some of the players are the best players at their espective clubs.

      Hart is widely seen as the best keeper in the league, as Cole as one of the best defenders. Terry is the Chavs main man. Gerrard is the talisman of the Mickeys as is Rooney for the Mancs.

      So the question still remains...

      WHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?

      Delete
    3. Quite disappointed to hear pundits suggest limiting the number of foreign players in the PL. Produce better Englishmen and you won't have to worry so much about it. That, and be willing to seek first-team football elsewhere (as in "other countries") if needed. Instead of drawing six figures to sit on the bench, why not go elsewhere and improve yourself?

      Stupid question, sorry.

      Delete
  16. * when they pull on an England shirt.

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  17. Don't want to sound too pessimistic bit the chances of England winning anything at any point during the next decade are round about fuckin zero. I'm starting to think that 1966 wc victory never really happen, its a media construct that god confected just before he put the fossils in the rocks to make us believe in evolution its just a cruel toying with the emotions that makes you wish you were Scottish, yes you'd be a fat heroin addict with a heart condition who points at aeroplanes but at least you'd never ever not even for those first 20 minutes of the game even remotely think or hope your teams going to win.

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  18. Lest we start to forgive terry for being a sneaky duplicitous racist twat because he played well (and he did, as all out defenders did) ......

    The barrister defending Chelsea captain John Terry over a criminal racism charge might make a bad character application against Anton Ferdinand, his alleged victim, a court heard today.....

    I can exclusively reveal the alleged grounds for the application. Terrys barrister is reported as saying "well, he's a black bastard, ain't he, sniff"

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ashley Young and James Milner put in 29 crosses in the four games. Only three reached an England team-mate

    ReplyDelete
  20. 115 Andrea Pirlo had more passes against England than England's four starting midfielders had against Italy

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  21. Well thats over then

    watched the game at home, didnt read any reports as I made my way back to D'land today, but had plenty of time to think
    So I say I am not disappointed, but it was disappointing

    Worst team in group stage Ireland
    Worst team in QFs England

    Now these 2 teams are made up mainly of EPL players, which we always say is the best league in Europe, why is that?
    a)money
    b)which attracts top Euro players, who I think it was SPIT said earlier bring more skill to our game

    there is basic footballing technical ability and then the added skill of individual talent, which can produce special moments of brilliance, but,

    What we lack, to a certain degree compared with many other Euro( and world) teams, is basic qualities, pass, go, receive, control, find space, move forward, not necessarily to the boring Spanish style, and then use the width which we have aplenty.

    Not bothered about the pens, because you cant practise in a cauldron of noise and pressure, but then Pirlo did take the piss.

    Ash and Wazza, worst players, both should have been subbed

    And finally, best 4 teams left in the comp, and worse I have to face my Jerry colleagues tomorrow

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  22. I say I am not disappointed, but it was disappointing -

    tip of the hat to you, tone.

    Summed it up best.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Phil Brown says Pirlo never played outside of italy coz, 'he's homophobic'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like he'd fit in well in England. Or the US. Or any other nation in any other men's sport. Except maybe ice skating or rhythmic gymnastics.

      If he meant xenophobic, well, then he'd only fit in... well... basically any of the same places.

      Doesn't say much for our athletes, but then, we don't want them to say much, do we?

      Delete
    2. So ends another unpromising career in Radio.

      Just goes to show that you have to be careful when using long complicated words. Duuuhhhhh.

      He didn't mean xenophobic (he thought that was the fear of a fantasy female warrior tv show)

      No, no, no, the Tango man thought a homophobe was someone who was afraid of leaving home (i,e home country)

      Delete
  24. England are just a poor team with poor tactics and poor selection methods that date back to the Sven era!

    For me the main points of the English demise can be summarised;

    1 - PLAYER SELECTION - Pick the players to play based on current FORM and not on past performances! much like how club level football is! How Rooney started over Carroll after his second game performance is beyond me! Infact I dare say Carroll would have converted the Rooney missed headers!

    2 - MOVEMENT OFF BALL - Its not really the lack of passing ability that means England couldnt string any passes together! Our players pass on a daily basis at Club level. Its the lack of movement off the ball! Standing still means whoever gets the ball has no options to pass since theyre all marked! This is the one thing always overlooked in England games! Spain are the best passing team because they move the best off the ball! It has nothing to do with passing ability!

    3 - DIVING / PLAY ACTING ABILITY - Nobody likes this but theres no getting away from the fact that countries like Spain get alot of free kicks and cheap fouls as soon as any contact is made which results in penalties, yellow cards and red cards. Not only this but the opposing teams start playing with caution and back off and are reluctant to stick a leg in knowing this. England lack this in every department hence opposing teams are never afraid to rush in for a tackle on english legs. 1st game was a great example where english players got cynically triped after going round a french player. If a spanish player was on the receiving end not only would he be rolling around but his team mates would crowd the ref and therefore the ref would at least be issuing a yellow thus the chances of this happening again or happening again without punishment is slim. This is grass roots stuff where youngsters need to be taught some play acting skills. Its not sportmanship but its where the international game is at the moment and if England dont catch up then they will always be giving a handicap to opposing teams before the whistle is even blown. Until Eufa or FIFA find an end to play acting this needs to be taken advantage of.

    4 - TOUCH AND CONTROL - England lack ball control. look at almost every other team in the tournament and their ball control is much better than england. This discourages tackling as contact to legs are easier to make. The amount of times Rooney got tackled is directly linked to how far the ball is away from his feet when he touches the ball. This is a grass roots thing that needs to be addressed.

    5 - A NEW BREED OF DEFENDER - England for me have still one of the best defences in the international game because all they do is defend. We need to start breeding modern age defenders who are comfortable on the ball and can bring it out. Rio in his prime was the closest England have ever come. We need a Philip Lahm or a Gerrard Pique. If defenders only defend then inevitably the midfield has to work overtime and thus usually drop deeper and deeper and oh we're back to the normal England. Spain are good because their midfielders can push forward and not only push forward but can make runs in order to free up space for their defenders to bring the ball up. Their defenders regularly link up with triangle passing too, something England have nothing of. This again is grass roots stuff and I dont see any young english defenders capable of this yet so we must go to the very youngest level and stop kids from adopting the "if in doubt hoof it out" mentality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So we need to cheat to get better?

      Explain to me why Ashley Young had such a crap tournament then. He's a graduate from the Drogba/Robben/Ronaldo school of cuntery.

      Uefa/Fifa hasn't been able to kick racism out of the game either, should we use that to our advantage too?

      Delete
  25. Some of these jeremiads are losing touch with reality. No we weren't great but tell that to the group we topped. No our players aren't the best. But they're not bad and two or three of them would get in any team. Yes they failed to achieve their potential but before the torn shirts and tearstained keyboards get out of control just whisper to yourselves the words "Russia.... Holland....France".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is indeed some perspective.

      Delete
  26. We certainly did better than 3 teams I can think of.

    Holland

    The Netherlands

    The Dutch.

    They got as far as anyone could imagine.Kudos to Roy for giving them team spirit.

    As for practising penalties,of course you need to Tone.Why else do golfers hit hundreds and hundreds of practice shots every day etc etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jacks, agreed kudos to Roy, what I saw was a team playing to the best of their abilities, unlike SA

      As for pens, not particularly worried about losing like that, what with the pressure from our 'orrible media, yes practice, practice and more practice, but nothing can match the confidence required when put on the spot!!! I fell for the guys who step up to the mark(well apart from Young, Robben and Schweinsteiger)

      I feel the same when on the tee, with one man and his dog watching

      Delete
    2. or even feel for the guys!!!

      Delete
  27. Agreed, Jacks. At least England seemed to give all they had this time (unlike south Africa), so it's more difficult to complain.
    We say the EPL is the best league in the world but is it? And who is "we"? Sky? They might be pushing product. It's exciting, because:

    a) The winner and CL places are not a foregone conclusion; and
    b) There are a lot of errors (especially defensive errors) which makes for more goalmouth incidents. That doesn't help in international football. EPL style football simply doesn't work at international level now (if it ever did); and
    c)There are a lot of creative players in the top teams. Most or all of them are not English.


    Jedi

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  28. Y'know, I was enjoying all the whining until I looked back at FIFA's rankings before the tournament began and compared them to the teams' performances. This isn't to say the rankings are accurate, fair, etc., and it ignores the way the groups were drawn, but...

    1. Spain (semis)
    3. Germany (semis)
    4. Netherlands (group)
    6. England (quarters)
    8. Croatia (group)
    9. Denmark (group)
    10. Portugal (semis)
    12. Italy (semis)
    13. Russia (group)
    14. France (quarters)
    15. Greece (quarters)
    17. Sweden (group)
    18. Ireland (group)
    27. Czech Republic (quarters)
    52. Ukraine (group)
    62. Poland (group)

    So while the Dutch should feel Oranje crushed, either England is overrated or underperforming. Or both. But I think it is the former. Though to be honest, I don't think too many teams ranked below them would take four points from a home-and-home series if both teams played at or near their best.

    And will someone explain to me how the Irish are 18? Yes, they did well to qualify, but I don't see how they are nine places better than the Czechs, nor ten ahead of the US.

    By the way, Uruguay was #2. Can we have them face off against the winner?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Schweinsteiger might be benched for tomorrow's game. Germans arent mucking about this time around. No matter how big a name, dont deliver, make way.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hates a little parable of modern Britain....

    Estonian employed as cleaner at chelmsford railway station works hard so hard the other three English cleaners do nothing. Sit round watching him cleaning everything.

    Management comes in finds them lounging about. Management says to itself we have too many cleaners so they lay off ....the Estonian.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Parallel?

      PL rises to become the best league in the world due to foreign influences. PL decides to limit foreign influences.

      Delete
    2. the locals just can't keep up with foreigners then? wonder why

      Delete
  31. its true. we've gone soft. we all want certainty and then when we get it we switch off. rooneys a case in point. i give him two years before he does a scholes and retires to his mancunian comfort zone.

    hilarious contributtion from a miffed capello...

    “Look, when I spoke they did understand me. But every now and again, when I tried to explain tactics, things didn’t work out. You know what? Maybe it’s because Rooney doesn’t speak English. He doesn’t understand English.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He also added maybe he only understands Scottish.

      Bless.

      Delete
    2. yes jacks which is ridiculous becasue no one understands scottish

      Delete
  32. anyone worked out how to leave a comment on the podcast? its a great double act - manic desperation contrasted with andys determination to find everything funny ...theyre all dead hahahaha ive got herpes hahahaha

    good stuff robbo

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  33. whose got Herpes? You or Andy?

    Best Podcast since they began for me, really helped with the grieving process.

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  34. neither of us, trotts, that was me being an imaginary "someone who finds anything funny".

    i say neither of us, andy will have to speak for himself...i was told you have to have herpes to get an equity card, which is why, at an early age, i resigned myself to playing darts instead of the poxy Dane

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  35. why is nikolas bendtner's ex-manager arsene wenger like withnail's bent uncle montague?

    they will never play the Dane


    (coat)

    ReplyDelete
  36. i couldnt give a rats arse who wins the euros. so thats football done for me for a month or so.

    i need to take a break from wasting time on the internet, in order to find new ways of wasting time, so geezers i'll see you back here for Bengland's (England plus Bale) olympic gold medal triumph

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't, I'm stuck in my ways, but don't go all the same.

      Delete
    2. cheers...sniff...fellahs....sniff...i never thought youd care ....but ill be back with even more bollockier bollocks than before. actually more likely to be the same level of bollocks. when the percentage of your comments on a blog is higher than englands pass completion rate in a major tournament its probably a sign you need to go and ..er...practice your passing .. TO ME, SON!!!!TO ME!!!!

      Delete
    3. yeah but it's not like you passed to McNumpty every second comment.

      You should stay and just restrict yourself to 5 yard square comments in the mornings and go for the long, upfield, direct comments in the afternoons, with backwards comments to no-one in particular on the night shift.

      Delete
  37. The following has nothing to do with football, the Euros, the post or podcast, but the rules of sport as hastily defined.

    A brief summary of the first article: race for last Olympic qualifying spot goes to photo finish--dead heat. Dead heat tiebreaker has to be defined, because there wasn't one in place.
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/olympics/2012/writers/tim_layden/06/26/track-field-photo-finish-felix-tarmoh/index.html

    Second article: includes the most detailed description of a coin flip I have ever read. (Does FIFA define coin flip terms in such high prose?)
    http://www.usatf.org/News/Dead-heat-procedures-announced.aspx

    If US Track & Field officials can make up a tiebreak procedure that quickly--after already making expedient use of technology, as usually within seconds they know if a torso (ball) has crossed the finish (goal) line--why has it taken so long to implement goal-line technology in football?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Harry Redknapp says England will continue their run of tournament failures until their players learn to hang on to the ball.

    Full story: Daily Mirror
    ===
    Says the man who couldn't hold on to his job.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club fans have voted Kyle Walker the best ever club Right Back. Ever.

    This is not a joke.

    Well it's funny but not made up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have they ever had a right back before?

      Delete
    2. Stephen Carr (270 appearances), Mitchell Thomas (157) and Chris Hughton (398) - think they all have a touch better claim than Kyle Walker (39 appearances) - ridiculous vote

      Delete
  40. Borefest Spain vs. Portugal

    ReplyDelete
  41. The ref had an absolute mare!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Can I have the last two hours of my life back please.

    That was awful.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Whose strategy was it to keep your best penalty taker for last?

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'm guessing it was the Portugal manager.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More likely CR's to give him the winning goal and the glorious run to the stands.

      Delete
  45. Watching Spain is a little bit like watching The Chuckle Brothers.

    To me,to you,to me,to you.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Was it worth sitting through those 2 hours for the look on CR7's face at the end?

    No, not really (that was the best moment of the match, though).


    Jedi

    ReplyDelete
  47. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18609772

    Fabulous short film about FC Start,a Kiev team during the 2nd world war.The myth of "The Death Match".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Death_Match

    Highly recommend the book Dynamo by Andy Duggan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very interesting film - dispels a lot of the Stalinist propaganda surrounding the game

      Delete
    2. The book goes much deeper into it Adam.The players that were executed at the camp were just part of a long line of people where 1 in 5 got shot in the head.

      Highly recommend you treat yourself to it.

      Delete
  48. I see Van Marwijk has resigned. No real surprise there. Wouldn't happen in England though. Manager is paid too well.


    Jedi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair Jedi, he's been in charge of the team for more than a couple of years now so the player & tactics were all of his choosing.

      Delete
    2. Agreed Spit, and I'm not suggesting Woy should wesign. At least in terms of team spirit amd togetherness, 2012 was a vast improvement on 2010, and 6 weeks is not enough time to deal with a yawning skills gap.

      That was aimed more at Capello in the wake of the 2010 WC. Wouldn't resign as he would not have been entitled to compo if he had.


      Jedi

      Delete
  49. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18624174

    Well done Stuart Pearce.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rubbish decision - means that we'll have no no-one out wide who can cross a ball properly (just like in the Euros) - should be taking Martin Kelly at right-back and Beckham for one of the midfield roles.

      To be fair he did a lot of networking and face-showing to help win the Olympics the least they could do is let him play especially as Seb Coe gets lots of cash from it ass he is on the IOC

      Stuart Pearce is a rubbish manager anyway

      Delete
    2. Adam,he's not good enough any more.Just because he's done a great ambassadorial job doesn't mean he should play in the team.He's 37,too old and too slow to play with and against teams made up of under 23 players.He's had his day.

      Delete
    3. beckham blew his chance when pearce came to watch his match in LA

      anyway, why bellamy?

      Delete
    4. Needs to be someone from Liverpool in every English/British team.

      Delete
    5. Why do we have 3 left footed players in the team (Bale, Bellamy, Giggs) - I guess we are in for another tournament where no-one crosses the ball properly

      Delete
  50. Beckham shouldn't be on the team but I reckon they should have him in some capacity, coach/spokesman/bookies runner/tea lady.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Nice new pic Robbo. Were you contemplating Henderson's selection when this was taken ?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Germany 2:0 down to balotelli.

    England 0:0 Italy not looking THAT bad now, is it?

    ReplyDelete
  53. Obviously we're much better than germany. Just the boost we needed. Now, if Italy beat Spain we'll be ranked #2 in Europe!

    ReplyDelete
  54. I didn't see that coming! :o

    ReplyDelete
  55. i'm rooting for italy now! i just can't stand barca anymore ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of the Spaniards are from Real Madrid, and they're even harder to watch because they spend so much time diving and playing dirty. (Maybe just Pepe, but still.)

      Which makes them an entertaining foil for Barca, of course.

      Delete
    2. Have you never seen Busquets? He makes Drogba look like a saint.

      Delete
  56. Neither did I, but a bar full of despondent Germans made up for it

    but further kudos to Woy in making SG captain, can you imagine JT doing a respect speech had we got thru to the semis?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was hoping Lahm would include "sexual preference" in his tolerance list.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/29/us-soccer-germany-lahm-homosexual-idUSTRE77S1QV20110829

      Delete
  57. Think Löw is at fault for this defeat.

    Started with wrong players and wrong formation. By the time he got it (partially) right, it was too late.

    Has anyone ever overturned a 2 goal disadvantage vs. the Italians?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does Liverpool in Istanbul count Spit?

      Worried the final will just be tiki taka in front of 2 banks of 4. Or Dullsville, as it's known. Hope not, and well played the Italians last night.


      Jedi

      Delete
    2. Dont think the Italians were dull last night. They have certainly done away with their Catenaccio style and are playing reasonably attractive (without being boring) football while still being strong defensively.

      Balotelli had 3 shots at goal with 2 goals in there. Had Rooney had similar conversion stats we might have nicked the QFs. In crunch matches, thats all the difference there is between winning and losing irrespective of which style you adapt to.

      Delete
  58. Why do so many people compare Spain to Barcaloana, they are nothing alike.

    Barceloana play to score goals, are always on the front foot. Spain basically play to not lose the ball. Both a bit tiki taki, but nowhere near the same ethos.

    ===
    Germany shot themselves in the foot yesterday, thought they just needed to turn up to win and reacted way too late when Balotelli and Pirlo put them to the sword.

    Final should be interesting, I thorouly enjoyed their first meeting in this comp', I think it's anyones game, Spain will be favorites on paper, but as the ol saying goes, footy is not played on paper.

    ReplyDelete
  59. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18652983

    Vale news Blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  60. If Spain win and Torres doesn't play, will he sulk and ask to change his nationality?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Well done Spain. That was some performance.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Told ya those tippy tippy bastards wouldnt win shit.

    Somehow they managed to save their best for last and still get to the finals fairly easily. CR7 would've had the golden boot had he taken and scored the penalty.idiot.

    And how about del bosque? WC,EC and CL. Not half bad.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Even with Torres on the bench in favor of that Italian Man City nutter (who actually kept his cool well enough), I jumped from fifth and took the fantasy league title behind Alba as my captain for the final.

    And Torres for the Golden Boot?! Wow... didn't see that coming.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Spain, having made it look well tough to win made it look really easy in the final.

    Plenty more where that came from: lots and lots of young but experienced & talented players

    ReplyDelete
  65. Well that’s the end of the Euro’s, it maybe wasn’t the best, but it was far from the worst, plus a month of footy on the box is never a bad thing as distractions go.

    So, now that silly season will truly begin I was just pondering the meaning of the phrase transfer window. Maybe it’s like a real window that you open to let bad smells, i.e unwanted players, out and fresh air, in this case shiny brand new signings, in.

    Maybe I’m just overthinking it and the real reason it’s called a window is because with all the rumours, gossip speculation and nonsense envolved it’s realy just a pane in the arse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In liverpools case it's the perfect phrase as all we seem to be doing this time is window shopping.

      Delete
  66. Thanks for those thoughts, H2. It's probably a device to keep us interested in footie till the new season. To be fair, it's better than the Olympics, though.

    Pretty good tournament on the whole. England weren't great, but they weren't the worst (Ireland) or most disappointing (Holland). Probably the right team won (I'd have preferred a Germany v Spain final, but the Italians won that semi fair and square). Does this mean all international teams will try to play tiki taka with no centre forward? Hope not. Won't work for most teams anyway.

    About time to start the "Brazilian stadiums not ready in time" scare stories.


    Jedi

    ReplyDelete
  67. thing is spain play without a recognised forward because the midfield can all become forwards instantly and en masse, like england in reverse

    me, i enjoyed the tourney i thought it was good and at least interesting throughout with a couple of cracking good games

    best for me was italy/germany, the plucky italy played well espoecially mick jaggers dad, while the favourites germany looked unnusually naive and complacent or typically arrogant depending on your stereotypical view of germany, but germany and spain are the ones to watch in two years time, for sure.

    Low points for me:
    1. holland's pitiful capitualtion, im a fan but petulant individualism resurfaced
    2. the bbc pundits/pun-gits stating the bleeding obvious but at least they brought in a few proper experts in the later stages

    High points :
    1. the fact that england weren't the low point
    2. the fact that next time our midfield will comprise cleverley/rodwell, wiltshire, adam johnson/(ANYONE except milner) and the ox instead of rip van winkle, tithonus, Norman Wisdom and Ethel Lang.
    3. german fans in tears after the semis heheheh

    and just as the Britain team thought their wives were safe with terrys omission from the olympic team, they select ryan gygges .... if all goes to plan i should be watching spains next generation in the quarters at old trafford, lets hope theyre a bit average as for Britain, if it goes wrong we can blame the welsh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. does this mean you found yer bike, Blog?

      Delete
    2. ooops, wrong place, see below for bike query!

      Delete
  68. i rode the overnight dunwich dynamo, starting at hackney at 8pm saturday, ending at the lost city of Dunwich in suffolk at 6am yesterday. ill post something on it when the enormity (for me as a ride-to-work cyclist) and the sheer beauty of the experience has sunk in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. does this mean you found yer bike, Blog?

      Delete
    2. I've got a couple trott but I want n+1 where n= however many I happen to own at any one time.

      Delete
    3. I see and I understand, I used to feel the same way about putters.

      Delete
  69. Agreed the spanish saved the best till last

    BUT what twat can put 2 English players into their tourney team,Johnson and Stevie G, Garth Brooks youre a big wanker than ever before

    Equally wierd, one German paper put JT in their best team, and even UEFA put SG into the team, Ithink all the spanish dwarves, Pirlo, de Rossi, Pircek, Khedira and a few others were clearly better

    ReplyDelete
  70. Oh, BTW

    well done Cav, even without the fantastic HTC train of last year, snatched it from Andy G on the line

    ReplyDelete
  71. Spain were brilliant yesterday, clearly modelled on Ron Greenwood's West Ham team, (some time before Big Sam, Sullivan and Gold got there).

    Great news about Sordell being in the Olympic team, he perhaps should have been in Bolton's team instead of Ngog, woulda, coulda, shoulda. Gold medals in the bag.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Tone, this pains me to say, because in case you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly what you would call a JT fan. But fair dues, he played really well in a few of Engerlands games this time around.

    Blogs, after this tournament somebody at the beeb surely must have noticed how bad Shearer and Lawro were. The formers "Balotelli hasn't won anything yet" was a cutting burn that hit the nail squarly on the head, because the 21 year old really has won bugger all..... well apart from;

    Serie A (3): 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10
    Coppa Italia (1): 2009–10
    Supercoppa Italiana (1): 2008
    UEFA Champions League (1): 2009–10
    Premier League (1): 2011–12
    FA Cup (1): 2010–11

    Which is of course pidgoen feed compared to Al Sheraaa's;

    Premier League: 1994–95
    And his, eeer, well, eeer...

    Oh that's it.

    As for Lawro, well he's just becoming a saddo, the negativity is becoming boring, the Poldoski should of played for the country of his birth statement was the tip of an embarrassing iceberg that not only would of sank, but completly oblitirated the Titanic.

    I was surprised (read shocked) to discover that the Beebs viewer total beat it's competition 6 to 1. How shit is ITV's coverage ffs?

    Surely the Great British public deserve better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know who is worse.. Lawro (negative, annoying & whiny) or Andy Townsend (plain annoying).

      Delete
    2. ITV's coverage is awful -

      I came across Ian Wright's only pop single on double vinyl promo the other day and it's well funny. It's called Do The Right Thing and is catchy but he is no singer Wrighty let me tell you

      Delete
  73. Sadly I agree with you about JT, but still there were better central defenders

    And as a gunner, were you a bit disappointed with Poldi, could he just be getting to his sell by date, and he is injury prone, couldnt prevent Koeln being relegated, always seemed to play better for Dland alongside his fellow "countryman" Klose than with the plank known as Gomez

    ReplyDelete
  74. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AEO21i-oN0&feature=em-uploademail

    New Olympic Anthem

    Brilliantly catchy

    ReplyDelete
  75. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Tone,

    I think Sky and Cav both new that he's so good he can take a bunch sprint without the train.If Lotto for Greipel and GreenEdge for Goss are going to do the work,Cav knows exactly where to be.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Tone.

    A lot of gooners are creaming themselves about the arrival of Poldi, I, on the other hand, even though I rate him, am airing on the side of caution because I remember all to well his stint at Bayern which due to whatever reason was not exactly what you would term as succesful. There's no doubting his international record which is top class, I hope he can adjust to life away from his beloved Koln.

    ReplyDelete