Thursday, June 24, 2004

England Goes Home

And in oh so predictable fashion too. What is it with this team and the tendency to sit on a lead once a goal ahead? Why try to execute a catenaccio strategy that has repeatedly failed a much more talented team? And where was the highly overrated David Beckham throughout the match? Let's face it, England deserved to lose this game.

I warned yesterday that the English reliance on Wayne Rooney was a dangerous thing, and once Rooney's injury forced him off the pitch the English attacking spirit just seemed to collapse for the rest of the game. It was only a matter of time before Portugal's superior possession would tell, and surely enough it did with a goal by Postiga; the scoreline at the end of regular time was extremely flattering to an England team that allowed itself to be run ragged for the better part of 60 minutes.

Now, looking to tomorrow, I don't see that there's much room to doubt the outcome - Les Bleus are going to give the Greeks a thrashing; I expect much the same on Sunday, when the Czechs should dispatch the Danes. More interesting will be the Sweden v. Holland game on Saturday, which the Dutch would win if this were a matter of raw talent; their perennial underachievement means that the likely outcome isn't at all clear, however.