World Cup 2: England 2 – 0 Trinidad & Tobago

Thursday 15 June (2006)

Hmmm. This match struck me as the England of old – well, at least a decade old, anyway. We played well and dominated the match, but we couldn't fucking score to save our life.

At the moment we have a fantastic defensive midfield, and when they're in the mood they're also a fantastic attacking midfield. Today was a 'not in the mood' day, as both Gerrard (my personal favourite England player) and Lampard seemed to forget the first thing they learned about outside-of-the-box shots and leaned back whenever they had a strike. Result? They skied it every time. Joe Cole was playing slightly better, but he always held the ball for a fraction of a second too long before hitting it. Result? The ball was charged down every time. And as for Beckham… well, Beckham is too greedy. I remember when he played for Preston North End; he was a team player and wouldn't do something stupid like jeopardising a potential good cross with an ill advised shot on goal.

Regardless of our midfield's antics, our defence is pretty much the best in the world. Whilst they didn't look like it today, John Terry redeemed every mistake with one of the most awesome goalmouth clearances I've ever seen. The man deserves a medal.

Crouch was playing crap all match (he missed at least one great chance) but he eventually redeemed himself when he realised he was a foot taller than all of the Caribbean defenders around him, and headed in a great goal. Superman Gerrard then followed up with a fantastic shot from range, and England were suddenly through to the second round to potentially face a very-much on-form Ecuadorian side.

What does this all mean? Well, England aren't playing like the second seed at the moment, and they've not come up against a decent team yet either. Luckily we're spared a match against any of the top seven in round two thanks to our performance in 2002, but that won't spare us for long. That said, England do seem to play better against good teams, so maybe all hope is not lost. We just need to remember how we can play.

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