thoughts on England vs Spain

If Peter Crouch didn’t spend the first half hour of a game treating defenders to his best imitation of a mountaineer trying to swarm up the north face of the Eiger, he might be more likely to get decisions going in his favour later.

Shaun Wright-Phillips and Kieron Dyer have both still got the qualities that made them exciting when you first saw them, but I think we’re going to have to give up on the hope that one them will suddenly turn into Christiano Ronaldo.

I’m really sick of hearing Alan Hansen come out with some version of “Well, obviously they’re better than us at actually using a foot to control a ball, but maybe if we run around fast enough and relentlessly enough, we’ll distract them.” it’s not that I think he’s wrong, I just want it to be England who are, in that weirdly double-edged phrase, a ‘good technical side’. Of course technique isn’t enough on its own, and there are other quailities that go into making a successful sportsman, but there must be some degree of correlation between technical excellence and, you know, winning stuff.

4 Comments

  1. 9 February 2007 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    No Paul Scholes, or somebody like him, capable of cracking a first time shot from outside the box.

  2. Harry
    9 February 2007 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Scholes coming back would be nice. Though since just before retiring from international football he was being played on the left wing, I can understand why he might be a bit impatient with the whole thing.

  3. 9 February 2007 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I dont think it is so much a matter of technical excellence, Harry. I am sure that any of the England squad, now and in the past, can and could control a ball, do the various requisite things with it, – and then some, including balancing it on various parts of their anatomies.

    It is parly a matter of the pace at which we expect football to be played (it is in fact one of the reasons there are big crowds here), a pace that demands we quickly “get rid of it!” and stop the pretty stuff;

    partly a matter of distrust of the smooth showboater (Cristiano Ronaldo might have been given a couple of games then dropped after a bad one, for being too “self-indulgent” , a “one-trick pony” etc);

    and partly – importantly – a matter of confidence. It’s a brittle-confidence economy in these parts, chiefly as a result of the distrust of the silky.

    And I haven’t even started on post-colonial guilt.

  4. Harry
    10 February 2007 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Well, I agree with most of what you’re saying, but watching them, it still seemed like England players took two touches to control the ball and the Spanish took one. Mind you, it would be interesting to watch it again and see if my impressions were actually borne out by reality.

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