Maybe it’s the English way, but as i’m beginning the writing of this blog i’m finding it hard to think of what to talk about!
Wednesday’s result against Slovenia goes down as a genuine high point in England’s history in international football. Of course, it shouldn’t have been, but to me it’s sitting up there with Michael Owen’s solo against Argentina, the Beckham free-kick against the Greeks, and the valiant 0-0 in Rome in 1997. Personal favourites of mine at least.
When things are bad, and they have been bad, it’s easy to pick the side apart. But Wednesday’s performance was just what was required. There was commitment, there was passion, there was spirit. Everything that had been missing from the previous two outings.
Not one player on the pitch let the team down. Defensively we were solid with Terry and Upson, Gerrard and Lampard worked effectively together, and there were even signs of the Wayne Rooney we see week in, week out with Manchester United. Still room for improvement, but it’s a great start!
Tomorrow, it’s our old friends Germany, in a fixture i’m seemingly being led to believe we should be afraid of? Absolutely not.
A decade or so ago we’d be right to fear the Germans, they were a ruthless efficent unit and our record wasn’t the best. But in recent times, we’ve won our last game against them in a major tournament, our last game in qualifying, and more recently under Fabio Capello, our last friendly, in Munich no less.
Then you hear how us finishing second was a bad move and that we’ve made it hard for ourselves? Forgive me if i’m wrong but this is the World Cup. Were people expecting San Marino, Faroe Islands and Andorra en-route to the final? Our players have travelled to South Africa in the mindset that they’ll need to beat teams like the Germanies of the World, so let’s shake off the easy route mentality.
England can do this, and England i believe will do this.
And with regards to England’s recent performances, don’t those two friendly results against Japan and Mexico look a bit more impressive now having seen both sides qualify smartly for the last 16? And Algeria didn’t go down against the US too easily either.
Perhaps things haven’t been as bad as we first thought?