Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Wednesday June 20 2012
England march on once again in Euro 2012 as the unfancied no-hopers reach the quarter final stage as Group D winners. This brings up big match against Italy, sentencing France to a face-off with Spain.
And what style England brought to the table last night. Once again the West London tactics were on offer, with shots on goal at a premium in the first half when the only real chance fell to the returning Rooney who contrived to place a free header wide of the mark, no doubt as a result of not wearing Andy Carroll's hair gel in the first half.
Once the paint had dried and Rooney was able to get into the dressing room to correct his new locks, his second free header of the night hit the back of the net, or the back of his heel to be precise. That started and ended the recorded scoring but last night the almost laughable situation arouse when a Ukraine shot was blocked by Hart but still span off goalwards. Terry hooked it away from behind the line and everybody waved play on.
What exactly was the fifth or sixth official doing? He was stood squarely on the line, staring hard ahead. There was no blockage of his view, so he did not need a golden labrador to tell him it was in!
Platini and Blatter insist that football remains in the dark ages as far as technology is concerned so once again at a major international tournament a clear goal is disallowed. Some say it is justice for Blomfontein, I think it is downright ridiculous.
As it happens it would not have changed the outcome of the group on its own but it may well have driven the co-hosts on to create an uncomfortable finish for the three lions.
The heralded return of the Roo could have backfired. As the pundit and commentary world sang the praises, he contrived to give the ball away, miss a sitter and generally look anything other than match fit. But much as it grieves me you have to hand to him the fact that in adversity, he stuck at it and made something happen, also his goal could have been equally put away by Sandra Redknapp.
The opposite end was not without its nervous moments and the entire back line did a superb job in repelling the efforts of the lively Iarmolwenko and the equally dangerous Konoplyanka and Milevskiy who missed a tit-for-tat sitter for Ukraine for whom Gusev was also impressive.
For England I was delighted once again with Lescott, who was commanding and Terry as usual put his body on the line time and again. Johnson probably had his best game for some time, although he does handicap any positivity from Milner.
Young finally woke up and delivered a couple of useful crosses and Stretford's other famous son, Welbeck, once again had a torrid time chasing shadows, trying hard to get on to something. His best work was probably a couple of defensive blocks.
I am astonished however that Nick Powell wasn't selected, after all it was mooted well before the end of the season that he would be playing just outside Manchester next season and that is usually the signal that some clown in Soho will select him whether he's any good or not.
Steve Gerrard led his team from the front and Nosey Parker tried to do the opposite. What they see in him is beyond me. Still some one in the parer shop this morning, obviously not of a blue persuasion suggested Hodgson should Jones in ahead of Parker for the quarter final. Good move that!!
As much as this match was about Rooney will the quarter final be about Mario Balotelli? His goal against Ireland was outstanding and is another attachment to the enigma and paradox that confounds City supporters. If he could just settle into that sort of groove what a footballer he would be.
Ibrahimovic got himself a smart goal against the French which will no doubt increase the brightness of his light on Mancini's radar, or JB's radar, if he hasn't nodded off.
So the show moves to Kyiv on Sunday and as the world starts to believe and shades of Greece 2004 come back to the fore, people are once again trying talk up England's chances. We'll see.
Last night's best commentary gaffe comes from the well known red-nose Clive Tyldesley. As we know even if he was commenting on the Dog and Duck v the Red Lion he would find a way of mentioning and talking up United. His quality piece last night, when intent on making Rooney out to be better than he is, was 'terrific control by Rooney, but he let it get away....again'.
Is he the new Colemanballs?
Date:Wednesday June 20 2012
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