Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stevie G To The Rescue

Scousers Shine In England Win

Euro 2008 Qualifiers

Andorra 0 - 3 England

ENG - Gerrard (54min, 76min), Nugent (90min);

Under intense media pressure and fan's booing, Steve McClaren's side managed to brush Andorra aside as vice captain, Steven Gerrard, provided the goals and ammunition. After a embarrassing and lackluster first half performance, England manage to find inspiration from the player who so often, take the game by the scruff of the neck as he scored two goals and set up another.

Up against a team of part timers, whose total wages might not even be enough to pay the least paid English player's weekly pay, managed to frustrate the hell out of them and even though they have totally no intention to attack England, they were able to limit England to some long range effort in the first half.

With the chorus of boos at half time, it's clear that the English fans were restless, disappointed and unhappy.

Same goes with the players. The longer it took to break down Andorra, they began to show dissent and frustration sets in. A few niggly fouls here and stray arms there made it a difficult match to watch. The Andorran player's antics are particularly sickening as they rolled around the floor whenever contact were made.

The focus was on England's lack of sharpness upfront and yet again, the strikers fail to impress again. Wayne Rooney, who hasn't scored since the summer of 2004, looked particularly disinterested and was substituted off for Jermaine Defoe, who in turn scored a 'controversial' goal.

Andy Johnson, meanwhile, looked out of sorts and out of place. Although he had a couple of chances to turn and shoot, he was largely a peripheral figure throughout and doesn't look like a solution to England's problem.

But the saving grace is that the midfield looks more solid perhaps due to the absence of Frank Lampard and Gerrard being moved into his favoured central midfield position.

('That's two!' says Gerrard)

Aaron Lennon drifted in and out of the game far too much whereas Stuart Downing is just out of his depth. Time and again, he put in crosses that only manages to hit the first man and provided no width at all. Ashley Cole's 'couldn't care less' attitude doesn't help either.

As England huffed and puffed, Steven Gerrard gave hope to the Three Lions with a brilliant finish. Rooney intelligently flicked the ball towards his fellow scouser as he smash home the much anticipated first goal of the game.

But England were not able to find the rhythm and continued to toil on in search of the second goal as they know that winning it 1-0 will not make the fans any happier.

But Gerrard once again played centre stage as he manages to play a nice one-two with Jermaine Defoe before slotting the ball past the Andorran keeper.

With the license to experiment and finally some breathing space made available, McClaren threw on Kieron Dyer and also, debutant, David Nugent from Preston North End.

Dyer in turn, was lively and his pace caused the Andorran some trouble. Nugent, meanwhile, didn't look out of place and he should've scored his debut goal earlier. Lennon's cut back met his boot but it flew just inches wide.

But the Preston forward showed his 'goal poaching' ability by turning a Jermaine Defoe's shot into the net as the ball trickles past the goalkeeper's arms. It should have been counted as Defoe's goal as it already crossed the line before Nugent's touch but perhaps, it just makes the win look better with the new kid on the block scoring.

Otherwise, not at all a convincing win for England but not much should be expected from them. It's important that at current stage, they should go on to win all their group matches without having to think of the performance as Israel and Russia continue to pile pressure on them.

'It's only Andorra', you say. But at least somebody manages to step up and made it happen.


J said...

yeah, finally, some substance from england!
i was up at 4:40 am to watch the match and man was i disappointed afte rthe first half. >_> obviously, the sportsmanship from the Andorra players don't help. it was so shameful where's the respect for the game?!

but england really, id unno, i can understand why their fans were booing them, but at the same time, if ur a should be cheering them on.... and yeah, you could see england players get more and more frustrated (esp rooney...seriously, that kid needs to sort out his anger management before coming back and playing for england. htere's no point in being however talented ur meant to be if you get booked and sent off for stupid things totally unrelated to football)

you may say i'm biased, but i'm so glad that it was gerrard who started england off, with shots on goal as well as goals. might i point out it was his ball into the box that led to hte Nugent (Defoe) goal. nugent shouldn't have tapped it in, goal was rightfully defoe's. and i thikn they say that he got it just before the ball completely crossed the line. ? i dunno exaclty but it seems like nugent is being credited for it.

anyways. 2 goals for stevie g, from CENTRAL MID. mclaren. open ur eyes. by playing stevie there, you get hte ebst from stevie. AND you get better balls up. uyou get someone who can CONTROL midfield.
you can play lennon in his best position and get good right crosses as welll.
what are you bothering wiht lampard for?! =O
if he brings lamps back for the next match...i'm going to cry.

p.s. Rooney is overrated. put defoe and owen on when owen is fit again. at elast those 2 prolly will not hog the ball (like johnson) and can actually finish (unlike rooney)

J said...

p.s. yeah, pplz are syaing it's just andorra... some crappy team who hasn't won anything so far. blah blah. but hey, at least someone stepped up and inspired them team. where was the inspiration terry?! *cough*
and some pplz are saying that you can't compare lampard's performance agaisnt israel with gerrard against andorra. but seriously. has lamps done anything in hte past few yrs? and that first goal. i swear lamps would have gone wide.

p.p.s. gerrard's second goal was just so sweet. i loved it ^_^
and i loved his celebration!

Elia said...

Stevie's performance in that game only justifies him as being the real captain of England.I can't see how McClaren overlooked him for JT.Drop JT or Rio and put Carra in for good.Make Stevie captain end of story.The last comments are kinda biased,but Carra should be starting on a regular basis.

And yes Rooney is overrated.Question does anyone remember the last time Rooney scored an international goal?

Elia said...

BTW kinda late but,congrats on the one year anniversary.Keep up the good work...

peace and aloha


j: I stayed up till 3am as well but I'm free anyway and I don't think England will fire blanks against Andorra anyway (if they did then take it as a joke!).

Was glad to see Gerrard kicking it off as well. He was the player I wanted to see on the score sheet.

elia: aloha! Thanks mate. Anyway it's just bad luck that Carragher had to compete with the likes of Rio and Terry for places.

Not necessarily the most technical or fastest of defender but he's competent and does his job well.

But he'll always get overlooked and stigmatised as a just a utility player. Can't do much anyway..

J said...

yeah, i think that giving stevie the arm band could be both good (he deserves it!) and bad (it might put too much pressure on him/interfere with club responsibilities)

but terry himself is not that bad a player. he's a fine central defender. and rio...i dunno. sometimes he's good, sometimes he's not so good. i think carra should start more and play more obviously coz he's so good at what he does, but i think yeah, he'll always be overlooked by those 2 atm. but i don't think terry at least should be dropped.

anywyas, is crouch gonna be back for the next match? coz rooney aint! woot! finally. let's win this one good and if lamps aint there either, they can show the world that you don't need lamps OR rooney on hte england side.