Tuesday, 7 September 2010

If I hear the Word Cup mentioned one more time...

It pretty much overshadows everything we do now. If a player, like Adam Johnson, scores, we get "I wonder what would have happened if he went to the World Cup" no. We've all put that behind us now, every single one of us. Except the pundits. And I think It really is time to move on.

What started off as a game that was pretty much all England, the game petered out a little. If Richard Keys and Jamie Redknapp close to a scrap wasn't entertaining enough for you, this game certainly gave you your moneys worth. (On a side note, I would give anything to punch Redknapp right now: "I didn't realise how good Joe Hart was, he was playing at Birmingham last season" - I don't think any more words are needed.)

England started brightly, and were much the better team. It was only a matter of time before we scored, and that goal came from Wayne Rooney who calmly slotted the ball in the net from a couple of yards out, after good work from Defoe amongst other players. This dispelled any worries of if he would be able to cope, after allegations in the media earlier on in the week.

However, in all the celebrations, the Sky camera panned to an injured Theo Walcott, lying on the floor, after twisting his ankle quite badly. It was a tough blow for England as the pacey winger had been great so far in the game, but Adam Johnson ran on to replace him, and the game started again.

England showed a confidence they hadn't shown of late; players like Rooney and both Johnsons were doing little flicks and tricks. It was refreshing to see. As well as that; we were showing such determination - to win the ball back when we lost it; the attack and counter attack. This also, was great to see. The great spirit from the travelling England fans no doubt spurred the team on; with pretty much none stop singing from the off. And that's what we need: we need to get behind the team.

Near the end of the first half the Swiss started to put on a little pressure, but it was nothing England couldn't handle, which meant we went into the break one goal up, with the only bad thing happening in the half being the injury of Theo Walcott. Switzerland were very poor in the first 45, but take nothing away from England; they did everything they were asked.

England hit the ground running in the second half, with the first attack of the half coming on just 46 minutes; a brilliant, sharp ball by Rooney was played into the box, and Johnson connected with it first time, but his shot just went wide and over. And then in the 58th minute Glen Johnson tried one of his long-range shots that we've seen in the past, but again unfortunatly, he failed to hit the target.

Frustration was starting to show in the Switzerland camp, as Stephan Lichtsteiner got booked for dissent. However that seemed to spark something, as just minutes later Switzerland started to pressure more. The game was ow more intense; gone were the pretty little flicks in the first half: now the tackles were flying in on the slippy surface, and James Milner received a yellow card; meaning he is suspended for the game against Montenegro in October.

Joe Hart had a few hairy moments just a few seconds later, but listening to the commentry, you'd think he'd have made some big mistake. The fact was, that he dropped a wet ball and did a wayward kick, yet the comentators jumped the gun way too soon, suggesting that Hart may not be who we thought he was. Really, this is why our goalkeepers lose their confidence. Because we get on their backs. How about, and I know this is totally out there; how about we support our players; how about we cheer them and get behind them if they make a mistake, however little or big. Not criticise at the first wrong thing they do.

Just as the Swiss were getting back into the game, Lichtsteiner received his second yellow card and was sent off, for a tackle on Milner. And then England went two-up: after nice build up and a lovely through ball from Gerrard; Adam Johnson slotted home his second in two games. Seemingly meaning England were home and dry. Defoe, who really did deserve a goal, went off injured shortly after, piling up England's injury woes, and was replaced by Darren Bent, who plently had been calling to be in the side much earlier.

The phrase "it will take someting special to beat Joe Hart" has been used, used and used again lately (and last season too, but if you're anything like Jamie Redknapp, you do not know of Birmingham City's existence, therefore last season, Joe Hart didn't exist either.) And it was something special; a fierce long range shot from Xherdan Shaqiri nearly broke the back of the net, and the home side were back in the game.

The game evened out a little, and England tried to get the midfield even more in their control by bringing Shaun Wright-Phillips on in place of Wayne Rooney. And just minutes later the away side got the goal that sealed the three points, in the form of Darren Bent, who slotted the ball calmy into the net for him first England goal.

England then cruised on to picking up the three points. At the full time whistle, Hart and Shaqiri smiled, laughed and shared a hug - which calmed the commentators down if they thought anything that happened in the game would effect our number one.

The players walked off the pitch with 'England 'til I die' being sung in the background by the traveling Englishmen, who were impressed, like all of us back at home, at the way England had conducted themselves and played out an important and fulfilling victory, against the toughest opponents in the group.

Full Time - Switzerland 1-3 England

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