06 September 2006

England 1, Macedonia 0

I refuse to pay $20 for the privilege of watching England flounder past Macedonia as the television rights for soccer in the states are flagrantly idiotic, so I have to go by BBC Radio Five Live’s version of the game and match write-ups, but it certainly sounded like I didn’t miss much. England as usual, you know the drill. Plodding first half, nick a goal, then sit back and invite pressure for a nail-biting finish. Still sounded like an improvement over Sven, but that’s no surprise. Credit where due though, this was a tricky away fixture, and well done to the boys for getting the win and keeping a clean sheet. Sounded like, and score line shows, that Terry and Ferdinand had excellent games. Ferdinand especially, he has looked more confident and been more consistent so far this season. Hope it doesn’t last. Most importantly, Crouchy now has 11 goals in his last 10 matches for England and Gerrard is playing his best football for England in ages, having been freed from Sven’s shackles and the defensive ineptitude of Fat Frank. So good on you, Steve McClaren.

Today’s Germany v San Marino game perfectly demonstrated why teams like Andorra, San Marino, Faroe Islands, etc. have little business going directly into Euro qualifying group stages. 13-0. That’s embarrassing; I’ve never seen such an imbalanced score. That’s a football (American) score line. Chris Waddle is right, if the population of your country is less than the capacity of the stadiums you will be going to, you should probably have to go through a pre-qualifying tournament similar to the Champions League. Also, it amuses me this game took place on the same day it came out that Gibraltar’s applying for membership to UEFA, and the right to play delightful fixtures such as this. There are more than enough games on the calendar as it is. 13-0 games, even 6-0 or 5-0, are frankly a waste of time and energy. Plus, I’m still quite resentful that Liverpool plays 7 games in the next 3 weeks (including the derby, Chelsea, and two Champions League games), and Gerrard, Crouch, Alonso, Garcia, Reina, Kuyt, Bellamy, Hyypia, Agger, Finnan, and Dudek were all away from the team and away from training for this inane international break.

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