This Tuesday brought me to my first England international in the new Wembley, and brought back more questions than answers.
After the “world beating” performance against on Spain, could England’s new look Lions drive on and overturn a non-winning streak against the swedes that goes back to 1968 ?
The team look adventurous enough, with Rodwell, Baines, Zamora, Walker, Jones and Cahill in the starting lineup. The obvious omission of Rooney, paved the way for Zamora to finally deliver his Fulham form in an England shirt. He was backed up by that famous no.10 Gareth Barry ? Not sure about that, with Bent available and Defoe twiddling his thumbs. Also, why does Fabio persist with JT at the back. Take away all the racism nonsense and the plain fact is, he is not good enough for this level. He needs to go and a new captain found pre Euros (Lampard? Barry ?).
Onto the game. Wembley as usual, is a fantastic venue, but was freezing cold. England started will with Walcott playing well down the right, and getting some good crosses in. Jones and Baines looked comfortable, and Barry look out of position. I had mentioned to my wife that Zamora needs 7 chances to score, and i was proved right, as he spurned a few chances early on. Sweden offered not a lot, and finally capitulated in the 23rd minute, when from where i was sitting (at the scoreboard at the far end), Barry scored a goal after some good English build up. This was the 2000th senior England goal, but i’ve since heard it may of been an OG. Edit. Confirmed.
England kept applying pressure, and outside of a few flick and tricks, Zamora didn’t really help his cause. Half time comes and everyone disappears to warm up !
The second half started much the same as the first finished, and then drifted into the usual International friendly second half malaise. Countless subs and then games starts to look like a training excercise (which it is, but a lot of people, paid a lot of money, etc). This was not just my opinion, as it was the first time i hace seen a mexican wave last more then 10 laps of the stadium.
Bent replaced Bobby Z, and looked a real threat in the air, and must go to the Euros now. The rest tried to play the game out, but the swedes smelled blood and pushed on, and were unlucky, hitting the post, and also had a couple of sitters they could of done better with.
Game ends 1-0. So what did i learn?
First off, if I am to move to the Olympic Stadium with West Ham, then i need to be very picky regarding my seat, as my preferred spot behind the goal, is bloody miles away, and was more akin to watching a game of FIFA on a plasma TV. If you cannot see the name on someone’s shirt (in your penalty box), they are too far away.This was quite depressing and has swung me from sort of in favour of the move, to some real deep thinking regarding the advantages.
The other thing was did anyone play themselves in to the Euro squad? Probably Baines and Jones. Zamora played himself out in favour of Bent, but lets not forget, Gazza was not in the squad for Italia 90 until the March international against the Czech’s. so its still up for grabs Bobby! Less tricks more direct is the way to go in internationals.
Once again HS1 payed dividends. Kent to Wembley, 55 mins. Nice