Saturday, 11 October 2008

International round up

England vs Kazakhstan:

It wasn't the performance many fans expected, but the result was a welcome one. Playing a Kazakhstan team that they were widely expected to spank silly, the England boys did themselves no favours for a large part of the game. They dominated posession, but come half time, nothing to show for it. It wasn't until Rio Ferdinand nodded in the first on 52 minutes that England seemed to come alive. From that point on, it was a different England team. They seemed to believe, the fans got behind them and all was well. By the time the second went in - an own goal - Kazakhstan were showing signs of tiredness, and now was the time for England to seal the game. They conceded a goal merely 4 minutes after scoring their second, a terrible defensive error from Ashley Cole gifting the ball to Kukeyev who slotted the ball past a stationary David James. England soon restored their 2 goal lead though. With the game already beyond Kazakhstan, it was only a question of how many more England could score. The final score, 5-1. The fans happy, the team lifted. The lions roar.

It was always going to be a strange sort of game with three central midfielders starting. Lampard and Gerrard have never and will never be able to play together. As an England fan, I plead for them never to be on the pitch together at the same time again. No, I don't particularly care if one of them has to be benched. Their egos need to take a blow for the sake of their country. Matthew Upson had a quiet game. Ashley Cole was useless at best. Theo Walcott showed no sign of the match winning performance he put in against Croatia (sorry Venice). Emile Heskey - there's a reason he hasn't played for England for a while. He's just not good enough any more. But enough complaining, England are winning games, and that's all the fans really want to see. The pain of not qualifying for Euro 2008 seemingly fresh on their minds, the England boys are working hard to ensure that history does not repeat itself. They simply must qualify for the WC 2010, and today was a big step towards that.

Bulgaria vs Italy:

The Bulgaria-Italy game only made it onto my 'to watch' list because my dad wanted to watch them, what with it being our original NT and all. Even though I gave up on it halfway through. I'm clearly not all that patriotic. However, thanks to Steph, I can report that the final score was 0-0. Many Bulgaria fans had put 1000 levs on Dimitar Berbatov being first to score tonight. They were left disappointed as their captain failed to produce the goods when it mattered.

Because I'm such a rubbish and unpatriotic fan, I got Steph to write a short summary of the game for me, so here it is (thank you for doing my work for me Steph): This was a game that the Italian fans were assuming Italy would win. Everything was in their favour and it seemed a certainty. 0-0 was not the result either team hoped for, but it isn’t the worst either. Overall, both teams were decent. Italy were not at their best, but they played well enough and same for Bulgaria. Italy weren’t really as attacking as they should have been but retained most of the possession. The first half went by without any real threats. The closest was when Chiellini got booked and Bulgaria were given a free kick that went well over the goal. The start of the second half seemed like a continuation of the first. No real changes. Italy were holding and most of the game was played in the midfield and possession went back and forth. Italy became more attacking with the introduction of Guiseppe Rossi with his debut game for the Azzurri. About 5 minutes later Luca Toni was introduced on and the game picked up more. De Rossi had a pretty good chance, but missed. A few yellow cards were handed out, all to Italian players. Overall Italy dominated but couldn’t capitalize on their chances. Bulgaria played a good defensive game and only challenged Amelia once in the 88th minute. Italy should have won, but with their lack of offense and attacking a draw was fair.

Estonia vs Spain:

Spain were 3 -0 winners in Estonia. A Juanito header and Veeyah penalty put them 2-0 up at the break. Puyol scored in the second half to wrap the game up. Dahveed got subbed mid way through the second half. He's not been too fab in recent games, I dunno what's up with him. Maybe I'm just expecting too much. I'm still not entirely happy with him. The hair is just...ugh. I can't even bring myself to talk about it. He was wearing long sleeves and those bloody base layers he seems to worship. I despair sometimes. However, Xabi was looking uber sexyful with his stubble. It's a good look for him. And Nando's hair looks so much better right now. I mean, these things aren't the most important things in the world, but they're still important to me.

Anyway, back to the football. Spain were not planning on letting this game go, stretching their unbeaten run to 26 games. They were expected to win from the outset, and did not disappoint. Their status as the #1 team in the FIFA rankings seems secure enough for now, the wins coming easily enough. Iker was sporting his lovely polo neck, and had a couple of shaky moments in goal. I don't know quite what's going on with him lately, but as long as Spain keep winning games, I won't hold it against him. I suppose a clean sheet is a clean sheet, so yeah, I'm not going to dwell on it. It probably wasn't the strongest of performances, Veeyah in particular had a very quiet game today. I've gotten so used to seeing him run defences ragged, that when he doesn't, I feel like he's had a terrible game. They're all entitled to their off days though. Today was clearly his...must be all that free beer he's drinking right now. Here's to more results going Spain's way.

In other news, the Spain U21's lost 2-1 to Switzerland U21's. Sad days :(
I didn't watch the game though, so I can't give any more info on it.


Stephanie said...

Spain boys hair is some of the most important stuff Gina, I'm glad you had the courage to report on it where many other blogs have failed! Good job! I didn't like Xabi's ginger beard though, if it was brown i would have loved it. and Italy drew :( but Spain won :)!

Lucy said...

Lol! Italy had a lack of offence and attacking play? Never! :P

Great reporting Gina (and Steph!) and obviously am glad England and Spain won! Woo!

V. Adeline said...

*sobs* Yeah - I'm still upset about the SNT U21 result. And the lack of coverage of their game, actually.

On the other hand, congrats to Spain and England!