This is just a short posting about last night’s England game v France. I didn’t see the match over here in Italy, unsurprisingly they were focused on the international against Spain. So I can’t comment as an eye-witness. But I have read a lot of online reports and been listening to UK radio all day so I can get a picture of how it went.
But the most telling comment was provided by Italian tv news reports this morning. They’ve been covering French President Sarkozy’s visit to the UK with his glamorous new wife quite extensively (they’re intrigued by the thought of the two shagging away at Windsor Castle with the prim Queen and Prince Philip listening to them groaning away, down the corridor) and the match against France provided an obvious reference angle. Well this morning we were treated to the match highlights from England’s perspective – it consisted of one weak header from Rooney and a sort of goal mouth scramble involving Beckham who seemed 14 light years away from actually scoring. That was it. Meantime Anelka and Ribery stole the highlights show.
Wholesale changes from Capello at half time, followed by Beckham’s substitution after 62 ineffective minutes meant the honeymoon’s over for the new manager pretty quickly. Let’s face it France are a very good team but their side consists of many players our top players would have come across in the Premiership/Champions League/EUFA Cup but it sounded like England played as if they’d come across a team from a superior sporting planet. The adventurous 4-2-3-1 formation was abandoned for the familiar 4-4-2 in the second half but to no real effect.
So David’s got his century of caps and maybe he deserves to be in the same company as Moore, Wright, Charlton and Shilton. I certainly think he’s been a good and committed captain who appreciated the honour of the role but he’s given too many below-par performances for me largely because he was selected when patently unfit by managers in awe of his presence. He can still cross a ball beautifully but I dare say Hoddle can still hit a pass 40 yds and land it on a sixpence. It’s the total game package which matters and it seems that Beckham hasn’t got the legs and engine to play at this level any longer. That’s no disgrace but maybe now we can all move on. The look seems to say it all…..
ps if it’s any consolation the Italy v Spain match wasn’t much cop either but did you see the David Villa goal? What an absolute belter. Have you seen a better one this year? Lovejoy!