Saturday, July 01, 2006

Watching England play is like watching a run over cat struggle to rise to its feet while its back legs are glued to the ground by its blood. It's brave, that cat, but it can't.

And it's going to suck to be Frank Lampard. Already banished to almost irrelevance by The Special One's mad determination to bring every superstar midfielder to Stamford Bridge, Lampard tommyhawks a ball in the box off himself instead of into a gaping goalmouth in the second half and then gifts the Portugese keeper the crucial stop in PKs. Little Stevie Me did same, but he's a Big Cup and the Liverpool captaincy to sustain him.

Much will be made of Rooney's crotchstomp on Carvalho, so I'll simply say that I'm glad I wasn't Carvalho beneath Rooney's boot and pass on what the running commentary on Guardian said about the incident:
He stamped on Carvalho's swingers. There was a right tussle with Carvalho for possession. He left his foot in. There has been a coiled, Gazza-91 feeling about Rooney all tournament - remember the tantrum v Sweden? - and you have to say that's been coming. I actually don't think the ref was going to send him until Portugal players came flying in - Ronaldo led the protests, and Rooney added to suspicions about them hating each other by shoving him - but ultimately he made a stamping motion, and he had to walk.
The bigger issue is system. Maybe it's Eriksson, maybe it's culture, but England never pushed the pace until after they were down to ten men. Perhaps even that's a coincidence: the pace picked up once horrid plodder Beckham was replaced by Lennon, who created two, three good chances down the right (and no, that was not a PK denied when Lennon was cleanly tackled in box in late going). But Portugal was without its best player and arguably its second, was gassed from the Netherlands game, and England never pushed the tempo, choosing to puttputt upfield. I understood Portugal's patience - they really had no option but take punches and counter, but England never punched. They played like they were pasted to the ground by their hind legs.

And Cristiano Ronaldo: while I can't imagine Fergie selling him, I can't imagine him playing in England this coming Premiership though I can't wait to watch. Man U fans will rally around him since he's wearing the uniform, but the reception he'll receive everywhere but Old Trafford will be, how should I put this, impolite.

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I do want to make one comment on Argentina: mwahahahahahaha! I laugh at you, you chickenshit whiners. The game is 90 minutes, not 70, diving cowards.


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