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Posts Tagged ‘Ukraine’

England VS Ukraine WC Qualifier 11/09/2012

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

After the easy win last week, this game was always going to prove a little more tricky for Roy’s boys. The close 1 nil win against the hosts of the Euros showed that the Ukraines were no push over and England would need to be on their best.

Without their Talisman, Mr Shevchenko, Ukraine started a little cagey. With our untried midfield (Gerrard and Lampard, lol) we did too. Seriously, these guys have had nearly 10 years to get it right, and just fail  every time. It has to be egos, but that has no place at this level, either they were both too far forward or too far back, normally back. How we think we can punish teams at home when both our central midfielders are in our half, i really dont know.

One other surprise was Mr Cleverly at no 10. Number 10 says to me, Maradona and Cryuff (Rooney ?), not someone who hasn’t yet scored for his club. This is not his fault, but when Sturridge was on the bench does suggest some odd thinking from the manager.

Defoe had a stunner disallowed after an alleged misdemeanor, and that was about it for England’s first half, outside of Cleverly missing two sitters. The Ukrainians, although equally as drab scored a sreamer just before half time to go in 1 up, thanks to Konoplyanka.

For the second half no subs were made and England carried on as usual with no one utilising Defoe and trying to play around the back. The Ukrainians just held up and moved it on (albeit to nothing).  Cleverly was finally put out of his misery on the hour mark, and some small gains were made as Wellback started to run about a bit and cause trouble. Then Sturridge replaced the Ox (who was very inefficient) , and once again England stepped up. Wellbeck had already tried to claim one penalty when he got the second, and Lamps put away his 27th goal  in 93 appearances for the national side.

Then with hardly any time left England press on for victory, until Mr Gerrard capped off a poor performance with a very mistimed tackle in no mans land to get a red and seal the game at 1-1.

So the honeymoon is over for Hodgson and the real work starts. He has had a favour with Gerrard being out for at least one game as he can make a new captain, and feel easier about dropping Gerrard if he feels the need. Who’s it to be?, probably Lampard, as the best of a bad bunch. Hart seems obvious but i’m never too sure about keepers being captains, but he has done it before at U-21 level.

Rooney is needed, if fit, and Wellbeck should step up as a starter. There is still a place for Defoe, but only as part of a two up top. This leaves Tom Cleverly. Just too old for the U-21, but definitely out of his depth in this company and especially near the front of the team. Also the Ox needs to to improve after blasting onto the scene.

In short Roy needs to hand out some hairdryers and get the team focused again. I feel he has spent the summer blowing smoke up them, to encourage a team rather than building one. Thats OK for one tournament, but we now have a campaign to manage.

San Marino next. No surely not. Stranger things have happened………………………………….

Obligatory Wembley Photo. Ukraine in Blue !

England – The Group Stages – Euro 2012

June 19, 2012 1 comment

Over the last week and a half, the strangest thing has been happening. England are in a competitive football competition, and our press are behaving for a change. But today, they broke ranks, and we have loads of nonsense about “Rooney the Saviour”. Lets not forget the only reason he has been out for two games is the fact that he let is petulant behaviour take over on the pitch, a bit like his fellow scouser, one Mr Barton (incidentally, one of the greatest and worst twitter users in history).

I have started this article prior to the Ukraine game, and will publish afterwards.

So first up was the big game, and the old rivalry was renewed with our mates from just past dover, the French. This game was a good test of new manager Roy’s skills, and to be fair he came out well. Nice and compact, not to adventurous, and a defender comes up to nod one in. Then old England raised it head, and the panic set in. Within a few minutes it was one all, and we then shut up shop. I’ll take a point in our first game (Spain did !).

Lescott opens the scoring in the England France game

Onto the next game, and a battle with a team who we had never beaten in a competitive game, Sweden. I watched the Swedes earlier in the year at Wembley, and they weren’t all that. Once again England went ahead, after a towering header from Andy Carroll, and this time they held firm. The second half was just crazy, with neither team really having a record for attacking football, turning into a mid 90’s Man United (evening Col !). They both got two, and the game ended 3-2 for Roy.  I say Roy as he made the sub to change it all, the forgotten boy of the last world cup squad, one Theo Walcott. He was on for about 4 mins when he equalised from 25 yards, he then proceded to cut Sweden apart, and provided the run through and cross for Danny Wellbeck’s winner.

Carroll opens his account against Sweden

Now what happens? We need a draw to go through, and apparently Rooney has to start? I sugget Young gets dropped as he was useless in the last game. I would keep Milner on for this game ,as Ukraine like to attack the flanks. Walcott needs to come on in the second half as a sub, and we will win 2-0 (Wellbeck, Rooney).

What really happened was the following: Ashley Young was given a stay of execution and the only change was Carroll out for Rooney. England started quietly and remained that way for most of the first half. Ukraine had the best chances, but Rooney missed a sitter to go one up. England started the second half organised as well, and Gerrard was magnificent with a range of passing not seen since his heyday. Then after a deflected cross from Gerrard, who springs up? Mr Rooney, back post, one nil.

Then the retribution for Germany in the World Cup. Ukraine had a ball clearly over the line that the linesman, who was about 5 yards away, missed !! Laughable. Thanks for the extra officials, Sepp and Michel !

Drama over, England hold on to one nil ,and set up a meeting with Italy in the Quarters.

One thing i did notice was that Roy seems to have drilled the centre backs to drop in behind Hart if there is a remote issue, and this definitely saved us once, and maybe more with some half chances in the first half for the Ukrainians. Ashley Young really needs to be dropped, if we are to improve. JT needs to drop a yard, as his lack of pace is being exploited.

We will need to be more expansive against Italy, but they won’t exactly be charging us down either. Another one nil will do me !

ROOOOOOOONEY !!!