Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Saturday June 16 2012
England surprised the world last night by beating Sweden for the first time with only 9 men.
And it was backs to the wall stuff as Ashley Diver Young elected to have a night off and Danny Welbeck only reminded anyone he was playing when a lucky back-heel intervened. One could argue that it was the winner but did he do anything else?
The red-rag red-tops this morning try desperately to make him out to be a hero but they best they can find is that 'goalscorer Welbeck put a shift in'. What exactly does that mean?
I might have used that from time to time when discussing Milner of even Yaya but surely in the case of Welbeck so far this tournament it means that the writers have nothing else positive that they can say about him?
This was indeed a great game of mediocre football played out by tow unfancied teams. Remove Mancini's love-child Ibrahimovic from that team and it had a distinct non-league feel to it.
England, a team devoid of stars,except for Joe Hart,doesn't look much better but at least nowadays doesn't think it has the right to win the cup after a 1-1 draw with San Marino or some such like. Tillerman Hodgson has planted their feet right where they belong and for some reason has at least sparked a sense of togetherness in there.
At 1-2, after a pair of defensive howlers where a poor free kick continued to ricochet around the box until never-in-form Johnson turned it into his own net and where another free kick could have been converted by any one of three Swedes in the goal area queue, I had the feeling that I used to get watching City. I certainly didn't think that the eleven out there had what it takes to turn the match around.
Clearly neither did Hodgson, so he took off the workman and brought on the hot heels. Milner out, Walcott in. And for once it made the difference.
Walcott's first infusion into the Swedish defence saw them left in tired tatters as he rifled home the equaliser. His second created the space for the hitherto absent Welback to divert home the winner with the inside of his heel.
England probably just about deserved the win, but boy did Sweden once again give them a scare. The back four looked like strangers. Johnson time and again caught out of position leaving the ageing Terry to cover and in turn Lescott to hold court in the centre of the line.
Cole looked better going forward. All of them at some point got in vital blocks, and so did Joe Hart who pulled off a couple of fine saves. There was little he could do with the goals let in.
Once again it's been an interesting week for Evra. Likening England's performance against France to that of Chelsea in the Champions League the poor amnesia-suffering Frenchman forgets that his beloved Stretford United tried to do likewise at the Etihad and came up empty.
In Euro 2012 his lack of enterprise and Terry-esque, over-the-hill full back play cost him his berth to .....? Oh yes a Champion in Gael Clichy!
Over the last two seasons Evra seems to do nothing but pipe up time and again probably trying to prove to someone he has a voice worth listening to. Well, not the Pedmachine, Patrice. you were bobbins on your Stretford debut and you are bobbins now.
So, we get a draw against the hosts and we go through. At the same time we eliminate the hosts. And if we do, out will come the red-tops citing that England will win this, the World Cup and even Wimbledon. Underestimate Ukraine and the engines will be warming up on the Titan Airways Flagship as it prepares to bring them home.
All eyes to Monday night, then.
Date:Saturday June 16 2012
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