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All Things Footie | Saturday, October 8 | Jordan

International observations

Lets talk about International football.

It annoys the hell out of me—particularly in the middle of the season—and the quality of football compared to the Premiership is very poor (although it is a slightly more open game in general, there’s definite adventure and passion from most sides, England excluded). Despite all that though, it does alleviate every other summer’s football withdrawl symptons, so I shall try and sound interested.

Observation number 1: Both Northern Ireland and Wales have a better forward than Peter Crouch. Are England really that short of strikers when Rooney’s missing? I’ve just seen the big lump try and control a relatively simple ball twice and nearly fall over both times. His only discernable form of challenge seems to be ‘barge into the keeper’, he falls over every two minutes, and … well … he’s just utterly useless. That’s unfair, he’s OK for a big lad, and is mid-to-bottom table Premiership quality, but he’d struggle to get in Azerbijan’s first team.

Why we’re obsessed with ‘big-lads up top’ in this country I don’t know. Bigger is not better, and when you’ve got on-fire players like Darren Bent and proven goalscorers like Jermain Defoe on the bench it’s a travesty that someone as poor as Crouch gets a staring place. He’s proven nothing, his scoring record and assist record are both poor, I can’t see what anyone thinks is promising about him, nothing. His only achievement seems to be convincing Liverpool to buy him—I think Rafa had been on the laughing gas that night. We all know how much Sven loves his big-names though, so I’m not surprised the clueless Swede let Crouch’s Liverpool shirt blind him into giving him a starting place.

Observation number 2: I can see why Madrid bought Michael Owen now. He’s a fabulous diver. Really quite spectacualar. He knows how to shift his bodyweight and throw his arms out so it looks like he’s just been viciously assaulted rather than getting the tiniest of clips. In the 40th (ish) minute a stone wall penalty was not given because of the way he went down.

Worse, why is it that when English players dive are they ‘very, very clever’, and when foreign players dive, they get talked up as some kind of monster ‘What he’s done there, he’s, he’s, got Beckham sent off, simple as that’. Hypocrisy at it’s most shining.

Germany 2006: If you’re a clever gambler, you’ll look at Switzerland and the Ivory Coast each-way. If you only like betting on favourites, you’ll get better odds on Argentina than Brazil, and I fancy they’ve got a trick or two up their sleeves as well.

(23) Comment(s) | Permanent link to this article

# Posted by Anonymous andrew at 6:13 PM
Eriksson must really be as awful as people say. I'm an ignorant American who understands little about football tactics (it's only my third favorite sport). But even I can see that Crouch has no business being in an important international match.
# Posted by Anonymous Pete_AFC at 10:02 AM
Crouch had a decent game. Once Beckham was sent off (harsh decision..) Crouch understandably got less of the ball, but he was full of good touches and some nice through passes too.

I was rather happy when Owen was replaced as I had a feeling it would be Crouch.

Carragher was our worst player. No pace and looked out of place. No attacking threat which meant the Austrian team didn't even need to worry about attacks down the left flank, more so when Joe Cole was substituted.
# Posted by Anonymous Pete_AFC at 10:03 AM
another thing...

Stevie G was made captain after Owen went off (how the hell does Owen deserve the captaincy?!).

Will Stevie be the new england captain after Beckham retires? I thought it would've been John Terry...
# Posted by Anonymous ADC at 1:24 PM
From a Scottish point of view, the only heartening thing about this world cup campaign (other than our reborne ability to paint failure as success) is watching the unbelievable hype growing around England's world cup chances. Haven't you chaps learned yet? Four straight one goal wins against mediocre opposition does not make a world cup contender.

Okay, Poland are a decent team, but a 2-1 win at home isn't the kind of result that should have you extending your June hols. But keep it up. We Scots need something to cheer about.
# Posted by Anonymous Pete_AFC at 5:15 PM
The boos directed at Crouch last night were disgusting and uncalled for.

Give the guy a chance ffs.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7:30 PM
Agreed, England embraces mediocrity! Their only hope is in Rooney who is clearly not mature enough. Becks is useless!
# Posted by Anonymous ADC at 12:17 AM
C'mon Pete - give Becks a wee break. I still think he's one of the best crossers of the ball in world football. Look at reduction in number of goals scored by Man U since they sold him. With that ability, why would any coach stick him in the middle? I don't understand it.

Curled, diagonal passes over the defensive line but moving away from the keeper are impossible to defend against and the reason why united used to score bag fulls of goals. Put him in the middle and you've not only lost that weapon, but you've created a defensive liability.
# Posted by Anonymous Pat in Brooklyn at 1:02 AM
I am going to have to agree with ADC, even though Becks drives me nuts. On the right side, Becks can be worldclass, as long as he doesn't forget himself. Just pass the damn ball, don't wonder into the middle, and try not to 'tackle' anyone and you will be fine, you pretty twat.

I think this game answers the midfild question once and for all: FL and SG can NOT play together. Leaves the middle way to open or they both panic and can't move forward. Pick one and stick with it.
# Posted by Blogger Jordan at 8:48 AM
Beckham is a fantastic player, world class.

I don't know whether the boos were directed at Crouch or at Eriksson for bringing such an utterly mediocre player on when you've got a couple of genuinely exciting forwards sitting next to him.

I can't actually believe Crouch is even near the England squad. He'd be laughed out of the squads of any other team that's qualified for the World Cup, and plenty others who haven't.

I thought seeing Heskey in an England shirt was as low as it could go, but Crouch makes Heskey look like Marco van Basten.

As for England's chances at the World Cup -- they haven't got any. As soon as England play a half decent team they'll get slaughtered.
# Posted by Anonymous Pete_AFC at 1:59 PM
Hey ADC!

"C'mon Pete - give Becks a wee break." - that was actually the anonymous poster who wrote that, i'm actually a big fan of Beckham, despite all the stupid shite he seems to get himself into ;)

On another comment a few weeks back I supported the statement that Beckham is in fact the best dead ball and long ball hitter in the world. He's got a phenominal accuracy on long ball crosses - it just needs someone to nod it and it's usually a goal.

Crouch has started just two games for England and already got a few assists. It's unfair to compare him to Heskey as they're completely different types of player. Crouch is far, far better on the ball, but lacks the dynamic strength and pace of Heskey. I'd like the guy to get a chance, although I wouldn't put him above say, Defoe, in the pecking order.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 2:43 PM
OK I don't think Becks is total shiite but lets be real here, saying he can kick a ball well that isn't moving isn't saying much to me. There's a million 16 year olds in Brazil that can do that.
# Posted by Anonymous ADC at 12:48 AM
Holy shit I think Rune Hauge just a left a comment. Keep your eyes on the daily sport as I think we'll be reading about Chelsea signing 16 million Brazilians soon.

Oy Jordan - how about another post??? I'm as bored as a goalie facing liverpool.
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