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England 2-3 Croatia

A desperately disappointing result but no more than we deserved. The first goal seemed to be entirely the fault of Scott Carson and, although our defence should have kept marking their men instead of stopping to appeal for a non-existent offside, the keeper should have had the second goal covered too. So not 15 minutes in and already we were two goals behind and showed no signs of changing that as Crouch got left alone at the front. Come half-time, I was convinced that we would be routed. Bringing Beckham on seemed to make a significant difference to the team's focus but we needed the needless penalty to give us heart. And then Beckham set up Crouch's beautiful volley. Two-all and we were back in with a shout of qualifying. This was a very anxious time and our anxiety was rewarded by a third Croatian goal with just thirteen minutes to go. Our hopes were restored briefly by the substitution of Bent for Cole. Bent is a product of Ipswich's academy and holds a special place in our hearts. He would have enraptured the nation had his early shot on goal been just three inches lower. After the game we agreed that an uninformed observer might have thought that it had been Croatia fighting desperately for qualification and England the pre-qualified team that was just seeing out the group matches. Croatia played exciting, passionate, creative football. England were a tactical mess. So, no European Cup entertainment for us for another three years. Perhaps McClaren's replacement can create a team from our individually brilliant players in time for the World Cup campaign. Le sigh...
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So I guess this means everyone can go back to hating Israel again? :-P
My conversations today suggest that quite a lot of Brits are too busy hating their own national teams to look elsewhere just now. At least the Scots are delighted by England's demise.
- bring on "the special one"...!
grin

September 2015

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