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All Things Footie | Thursday, October 17 | Jordan

What A Result!

I'll start with something positive. Well bloody done Wales. I thought it could be a fluke result and then I watched the highlights, either I was a victim of some very biased coverage or Wales gave Italy a damn good beating. On top of magnificent goals from Simon Davies and Craig Bellamy, Danny Gabbidon missed an absolute sitter and Bellamy had a late goal ruled out when the referee brought play back (after about 10 seconds) for a foul on Mark Delaney. Strange, but who in Wales cares?

On to the serious business. David Seaman. The stick he's getting, and got during the game simply isn't on. When the crowd started booing and jeering their own player, he was perfectly within his rights to just give the ungrateful tossers the finger and walk off as far as I'm concerned. He is a fantastic goalkeeper and England's best — he is now and has been for the last ten years. I have nothing but contempt for the attitude of those pretend patriots who'd rather boo their own player than give the team give encouragement. Seaman made a horrible mistake, a misjudgement, but he was not the only one to blame for drawing with Macedonia.

I can't be the only person who saw Paul Scholes ducking the ball as he ‘covered’ the far post on the corner. It's the kind of thing you do down the park on a cold Sunday morning, when you don't fancy a stinging, wet ball in the face — you'd still expect a bollocking though.

I'm not happy with the amount of blame that's been apportioned to England's defence either. I thought Gary Neville played really well and Ashley Cole had an excellent game, neither put a foot wrong. With the exception of one very poor clearance I thought Sol Campbell was superb, and Jonathan Woodgate definitely improved on his performance against Slovakia.

From where I was sitting, England's downfall was the barely conference quality passing. David Beckham was England's inspiration, he was everywhere, tackling, closing down and generally trying to force the team forward. The problem was that whenever we did get forwards, we found white shirts less than 20% of the time. Wayne Bridge was the only player to distribute efficiently and the one that I wouldn't have taken off. Gerrard was the worst offender with Scholes a close second. Though between them they clocked up an assist and a goal, Gerrard was as much at fault for the second goal as Campbell; you can't pass the ball straight to their best player when you've got bags of time and just two players behind you.

In summary, I think we criminally underestimated Macedonia and paid the price. They on the other hand underestimated the values that English footballers try to play by, and forfeited handshakes and shirt swapping by spending the final 45 minutes rolling about the St Mary's turf.

P.S. Don't kid yourself into thinking that David James or Richard Wright will or would have erased their catalogue of blunders if they pull on an England shirt. I really hope Paul Robinson matures into the keeper he looks like he could be.

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