Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Below Par

I like to compare international teams to clubs. Tonight, England were much like Birmingham City: lacking lustre against teams of a lower calibre than themselves (the olny difference being England have more shots on target, and don't have Roger Johnson or Scott Dann in defence. Or an angry Scotsman in midfield...)

I'm not quite sure who was more bored in the first half; Joe Hart or the rest of us. The best chance of the half came really early on, with Crouch a whisker away from getting his outstretched leg onto the end of a clever ball from Gerrard, but even his long legs couldn't get a touch. It was more of a game of possession for England in the first forty-five, rather than chances. We kept the ball very well, but just failed to do anything with it (yet again, reminding me of Blues..) and with the Montenegro goalkeeper flapping at a few shots he had to save, we really should've taken the bull by the horns and taken advantage.

There was a large amount of freekicks and corners for England, in a half they dominated, but they couldn't make anything out of the set pieces they were awarded, which was disappointing to say the least. Young and Johnson both made some promising runs on both flanks, but, like the story of the night; it just didn't come to anything, and the first half slowed down to quite a pedestrian pace at the close of the half.

The second half started at most of a fast tempo, with former-captain Gerrard making a great run and just as good a cross, but that came to no avail. Re-instated captain Rio Ferdinand then made a run of his own but lost the ball, however Cole – the now most-capped left back – won the ball back and ended up winning a freekick in a good position... which we wasted. Again.

As yellow cards started to flow more freely than the game, England fans started to get more and more frustrated. Kevin Davies was introduced, who made an imidiate impact, nearly setting up a goal for Rooney, however the Montenegro keeper stood his ground and made two comfortable saves. Shaun Wright-Phillips was also introduced, but the little man just couldn't do it for England on the night.

It could have turned nasty for England, as with ten minutes to go Montenegro rattled Joe Hart's cross bar, and Hart could do nothing but watch it sail over his head and hit the woodwork – much to his, and the rest of the England team's, relief.

England threw, not the kitchen sink, but maybe a few utensils at the determined Montengro defence, but the away team kept their shut out and for the first time at the new Wembley, England failed to score.

As for the title of this match blog, it speaks for itself: we were totally below par tonight. But, we're second in the group with a game in hand of the leaders – and as for the qualifying games, there's still a long way to go yet!

See you in March.

Full Time: England 0-0 Montenegro

No comments:

Post a Comment