Tuesday, June 20, 2006

England vs Sweden

Well here we go again. We really do need at least a point. Rooney and Owen up front, Hargreaves and Lampard in midfield, Carragher at right back. I have to say, with the exception of Citizen Neville for Carragher and Gerrard for Lampard this is the team I would have picked. Go for it lads!

1:00 Owen appears to be in agony, he's rolled off the pitch, looks like his knee's gone. Lewin's immediately called for a substitution, Crouch is coming on.

10:00 England look OK. The straight 4-4-2 makes sense and the midfield certainly looks better than it has in the last two games. I reckon we'll win this one but any more injuries or cards could play havoc in the next game.

15:30 Fine cross from Joe Cole, Crouch couldn't get to it (too high!). This looks like a Premiership game and England are playing, as you might therefore expect, well.

19:00 Owen's off for a scan tomorrow, looks like it may be just a twist rather than ligament damage. Still won't help Sven explain his extraordinary choice (and use) of strikers if we don't win the thing. Not that he'll then care, I expect. Never mind the quality, feel the pay packet.

23:30 Another chance for Crouch either to go for goal or to set someone else up, as against Trinidad & Tobago he did neither.

24:30 Good chance for Rooney contrived by Beckham, well defended.

31:00 Sweden coming forward. We look so much more solid with Hargreaves in the team - perhaps today's performance (if he keeps it up) will persuade the IN-GER-LAND lager crew that there's more to being a good international footballer than playing for Chelski.

33:10 Enland score! Joe Cole! Great goal, whacked in from miles (and no this doesn't justify the Chelski thing).

38:10 Absolutely great tackle in the area by Ferdinand on FL8. Ferdinand's having a fine game: the new formation is helping a lot, methinks.

39:30 Over the bar from Lampard. Unusual...

41:50 England corner. Half-heartedly cleared a couple of times resulting in a Rooney shot over the bar.

Half Time: 1 - 0 to England. Good performance so far, standout players for me are Joe Cole and Owen Hargreaves. Lampard is now looking out of his depth in what is otherwise a genuinely world-class midfield. To be fair to the man he's trying very hard but he's just not up to it. If we play the same lot in midfield next game with Stevie G taking Lampard's place we'll really be getting somewhere.

No Half Time changes, off we go...

50:03 Sweden score! Good header from a corner, defending none too clever, came close to the goal and you have to wonder what the keeper was up to. Not catching the thing, that's for sure.

54:00 Off the English crossbar! Swedish corner... eventually goes out of play in our favour but we're on the ropes ATM.

55:32 Ferdinand limps off, SC23 on. This ain't great news either, though at least SC23 scores from time to time.

58:49 Another Swedish shot clips off the bar. We're looking in trouble now.

60:00 Rooney's looking tired - what on Earth does Sven do now, having been forced to use two subs? Frankly I'd like to see TW32 on, we need strikers on the pitch but we really don't need the Granny Shagger injured/knackered. This is the sort of decision that separates the managerial men from the boys, but it's also the sort of decision Svennis tends to bottle. Time to stand up and be counted, IMHO.

61:50 Great tackle in the area by SC23, the big man's playing well.

68:30 Svennis brings on Gerrard for Rooney. Makes no fucking sense to me but then I'm not paid several million quid a year to screw England's chances of progressing in this tournament.

71:09 Cleared off the English line by Gerrard. If our luck continues like this we'll have a good chance despite Svennis.

74:30 AC3 clears on the right. He's doing a lot of this. Where the fuck is Carragher? I quite like Brainiac's idea of playing Lennon in midfield and Beckham at right back. Think about it...

76:02 There's no one upfield at all for us when Sweden have the ball in our half. What started so well is looking horribly wrong now and it's just down to inept substitutions. Mind you, we only started with a good team by accident.

84:44 England score! Gerrard, great header! I have to say though this puts a false gloss on things, we're still not looking convincing and Lampard's getting worse as the game goes on.

89:47 Sweden score! Well no surprise really; Larson gets it after some awful defending.

FULL TIME: 2- 2. Well we got what we needed, if not what we wanted. Plus side? We're not playing Germany in the next round and Joe Cole and Owen Hargreaves looked very good indeed. Down side? Svennis' decision to take two unfit strikers looks to be backfiring and Lampard looks more of a liability than an asset, which wouldn't be so much of an issue if you didn't know Svennis won't drop him. We really could win this thing, thanks to Svennis I don't think we will. I hope I'm wrong.

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