Wednesday, November 21, 2007

All on the line

I'm kind of an intermittent football fan - and by football I mean soccer. I absolutely love the international tournaments - the World Cup and the European tournament and I support England all the way. But I have to admit, I don't usually watch the qualifying matches and friendlies.

I'll be watching tonight, though. Tonight it's all on the line. If England don't at least tie with Croatia, they won't be going to Euro 2008. And this is a serious second chance. If Israel hadn't beaten Russia recently, this game would be a mere formality.

Tonight they play at home in Wembley Stadium - the sight of great England football victories of the past. But tonight it could be a den of shame, particularly for Steve McClaren the England football manager. He took over from Sven-Goran Eriksson after the last World Cup. Folks criticised Eriksson because they saw him as conservative and lacking flair and because England never went all the way. Others thought he was too in train to personalities (e.g. Beckham, particularly during his lackluster days during Euro 2004) and too obsessed with celebrity life .

But if the Football Association wanted a different style and a different approach why go with McClaren? He was Sven's assistant and a bit of Sven-lite.

I hope England pull it out tonight. I'll be watching. But win or lose, I think McClaren's days are numbered. That it should even be a strong possibility that England fails to qualify for an international tournament should be putting him on seriously shaky ground.


England Betting Blogger said...

It's going to be a hard summer in 2008 with no England at the finals. It will feel like being a Scotland or Wales fan! Even worse, they are talking about reviving the Home Nations Championship, giving the Celts a chance to knock us Anglos down a peg or two! They have already called an emergency committee meetimg and all the press are saying he's gone.

Vol Abroad said...

I am furious.

KathyF said...

My only regret is that during those days of the Euro 08 I won't be able to enjoy crowd free shopping on the weekends like I did during the World Cup.

Chris in Oxford said...

My Irish partner thoroughly enjoyed watching England's fall last night. She's a bit wicked.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from a fellow expat!

Sam said...

We didn't get to see the game on free cable until Saturday and I'm sorry to say it was pretty much as dire as the news reports indicated. Poor Scott Carson is gonna need years of therapy to recover from that first one, but England as a unit played with enormous heart in the second half. There was one moment that embodied all the problems McClaren brought to the coaching of the team: Immediately after Crouch scored the second, McClaren is furiously screaming and waving at his players to get "Back! Back!" I just don't understand it. He's got Croatia on the ropes, 90 thousands screaming fans cheering on the attack in that bog of a pitch, and the only thing he can think to do is drop back against a team that has already scythed his defense open twice. It was an agony to watch.

Vol Abroad said...

Hey, at least he's gone. It was dire. I didn't manage to watch the whole thing. I saw all of the dismal first half and then the Lampard's penalty. Then my husband came home and said things like

a) I thought we agreed we'd wind down the baby at bedtime but you're screaming at the football.
b) do you love the baby or England football more?

He's not a sports fan.