Wednesday, 17 November 2010

'Typical England'

Sometimes watching England is like watching Blues... although, maybe that makes it worse. Seeing as these are world class players we are talking about that are playing for England.

Like Blues, England started slowly. Although we got a free kick in the first two minutes, we were slow. France passed the ball through us, and for the opening goal they had the ball for what seemed like ages before they finally found the back of Ben Foster's net - who was making his first appearance in over a year for England due to the absence of Joe Hart - through Karim Benzema and some suspect defending. Where was the blocking? The last ditch tackles? The closing down? Oh, that's right: at home with Roger Johnson.

The game somewhat evened out after that. The play calmed down a bit and England got on the ball more; although created little. Around the half hour mark though England got arguably their best chance so far, with Andy Carroll towering above the French defence to win a header, which fell to Gerrard who shot just over: that's more like it England! (The chances, not the shooting over. Although...) That man Carroll had a shot a few minutes later, but it was a tame one and straight at the goalkeeper.

With World Cup woes behind them and England seemingly in 'average mode' France continued to boss the half, and England's signature tactic seemed to be hoof the ball to the big man up front: France clear it. And repeat. Just like the Emile Heskey days...

Johnson and Young came on at half time in an attempt to inject some pace into the team, with Micah Richards also coming on and slotting into defence. The Manchester City combo of AJ and Richards worked almost instantly, with them linking up and Micah slotting a ball into the box, only for it to be cleared out of harms way by the French defence.

France's next goal was described as "a French masterpiece" - and that it was. Arsenal's Sagna ran down the wing and arrived at the six yard box to clip a perfectly timed ball into the air, which missed Nasri but found Valbuena who expertly slotted the ball home, with Ben Foster just looking on.

Almost surprisingly (I'm being sarcastic because England made me sad) England started to pass the ball about with a new-found confidence around the 60 minute mark. Adam Johnson won a free kick and Gerrard almost, almost headed it home; but was just a whisker away. Warnock and Bothroyd added further pace into the game when they were introduced. England stepped up a little, with a few chances going begging. Steven gerrard upped his game and had a handful of chances and made a good track back to help out the England defence. He unfortunately then had to be subbed off as he got injued, which paved the way for Peter Crouch tio come on and try and make an immediate impact... and didn't he just do that! Within seconds his tall frame was towering above the French defence to slot the ball home for England with just over 5 minutes left on the clock.

Unfortunately, that was all England could muster in the way of a comeback (not at all like Blues then!) I honestly don't think we're asking much: we're asking a team of extremely well-paid professional footballers who all ply their trade in the Premier League to play well.

And I thought watching Birmingham away from home was bad...

Full Time: England 1-2 France

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