WC Blog Day 8, England Expects

The day we were all waiting for, when England would reprise their well received play of the Italy game, but with a three point haul that would see us well on the way to qualification. All this expectation would have to take a back seat for a few hours, however, as the first match of the day got underway.

Columbia were already three points to the good after their opening match against the hapless Greece. Ivory Coast had also taken maximum points from Japan, so the stage was set for at least one team to book their place in the next round. That team was Columbia, with a 2-1 win. Still not a good tournament for the African teams.

And so on to the main event. England’s glorious victory against a Uruguay side that had looked woeful against Costa Rica. Suarez was back, but surely not fit? After a knee operation only a month ago and no competitive action since the end of the PL season, the buck toothed maestro was surely not a serious threat? Come on this is England we’re talking about…

Let’s not beat about the bush, we lost to two Louis Suarez goals. Jagielka at fault for the first, he either plays Suarez offside by holding the line or he stays tight to him and stops the ball reaching Suarez. He does neither, 1-0.

England equalised in the second half through Wayne Rooney, his 40th England goal and 1st in a World Cup Finals. Rooney, in fairness, could have had 4 on a good day, with the rub of the green and a piece of lucky heather in his jockstrap. His free kick early doors went marginally wide with the keeper beaten, his header that hit the angle and the shot that their keeper made a ‘magnificent’ save from. Well, according to the commentator anyway, in reality Rooney fired it straight at him.

At that point we looked set for a useful draw, if not nick a winner. That plan was blown out of the water with a hapless, unintended back pass from Gerrard. If he had been beaten in the air and the Uruguayan vying for the same ball had knocked it on, then Suarez would have been offside. He wasn’t, 2-0. Suarez looked completely unfit throughout the match, but still managed to bag a brace.

That defeat leaves England needing snookers. We need Italy to give Costa Rica a spanking and then beat Uruguay. We need to beat Costa Rica by a useful, but not yet determined, margin. Not beyond the realms of possibility, but is it beyond the realms of probability? This is England!

So to the inquest, who did what?
Joe Hart – not much to do most of the time, alert to some opportunist attempts to drive in at his near post that were missed by the defenders. Still the best option between the sticks.
Glen Johnson – or ‘where’s Johnson?’, as I have christened him after the number of times I have uttered those words. In fairness, he has played a part in England’s goals, but – to my mind – more by luck that judgement.
Leighton Baines – an ok player who has looked pretty good for his club, but in the last couple of England matches has looked very ordinary. I would have taken Cole personally.
Gary Cahill – looked good, should hold on to his place. I would have begged JT to rethink his retirement if it were me, though, to partner him. Whatever you think of Terry as a person, you can’t fault his commitment for his country.
Jagielka – a useful player at Championship/lower PL level, but not an England player for me.
Steve Gerrard – one of England’s few class players, but failed to turn it on this time. Poor.
Jordan Henderson – looked ok in the main, maybe we’ll keep him
Wayne Rooney – unfairly maligned, has looked good to my eyes
Raheem Sterling – looked excellent against Italy, but failed to make the same impact against Uruguay.
Danny Welbeck – never been a huge fan, especially of his pontefract cake hairstyle, but made some good contributions at times. Not world class, though.
Daniel Sturridge – looked good for both Liverpool and England. He can stay.

Going back to Brazil and Spain, remember the advice of how to beat them (they don’t like it up ’em)? That’s what Uruguay did to us, they didn’t give us time and space. Considering that we are pedestrian on the ball compared to either of the two teams mentioned, it was never going to end well. Remember what I said about the Premier League? Highlighted big style against Uruguay, yet their population is only comparable in size with a small village in the Welsh hills. How’s that works then?

Oh yeah, Greece and Japan drew 0-0.

Today’s trivia question comes from happier times, who are the five members of England’s 1966 World Cup winning side whose Christian name ends in the letter ‘n’? There are five, I promise you. Answers in the next blog. In the meantime, Forza Italia!

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2 Responses to “WC Blog Day 8, England Expects”

  1. Htafctaunton says:

    I promise I haven’t read the answers yet, so……..GordoN (Banksie), RaymoN (htafc’s ‘own’ Wilson) – not sure I’m correct on this one, but just ‘ave an ilk it’s correct – HTAFC fan n’all……..cohen…..mooro…..charlton j…stiles……AlaN (Ballsie)……MartiN (Peters)……hurstie (should have been greavsie! -even though the subsequent hat-trick is a slight flaw in that argument)….. charlton r……..and, finally, hunt (what is his first name? geoff??…not too sure on this……fuck me,..is this senility rearing it’s ugly head?? —-I can ALWAYS name the ’66 team (was only fourteen at the time, but remember it well)……..obviously not THAT well, otherwise I’d have got hunt’s first name…….ROGER! (at last!!!!) (phew!)………..but that doesn’t end with ‘N’ !!

    So that’s only 4 with the letter ‘N’……..where have I gone wrong…………..will have to check your answer now………

    By the way, interesting question. Thanks.

    • admin says:

      Good effort htafctaunton, you have the 3 easier ones and one of the difficult ones. It is indeed GordoN Banks, MartiN Peters, AlaN Ball, RamoN Wilson. Just one more to go…