Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Saturday August 11 2007
'England is history for me today. I don't think I had a player like Elano with England.'
So says Sven with a statement that all the critics should take on board and digest before repeating their pre-match vitoral.
That the England team couldn't win the World Cup during Sven's time in charge was not down to the manager but more to do with the fact he was restricted to picking inadequate English players. The sooner the press realise that fact the better.
City fielded six debutants at Upton Park but also, and perhaps more significantly, fielded four academy players.
West Ham's team had a familiar look from last season with the most notable exception being the overpriced Craig Bellamy having replaced Carlos Tevez up front.
City's bunch of unknown European video stars rarely looked troubled from the first minute. In fact it came as something as a surprise that it took 18 minutes for City to open the scoring.
Surprise or not it was well worth the 18 minute wait. Brazilian midfielder Elano took control of the ball in the centre of midfield and showed his class as he accelerated easily beyond England squad player Matthew Upson.
Whether the ball that followed was a shot or cross was deemed irrelevant as Rolando Biannchi lost Ferdinand and attacked the ball at the far post, finishing for a poachers debut goal.
Once in the lead City were able to conserve energy and lower the pace a little on a hot London afternoon. As a result West Ham got into the game without ever seeming to threaten.
Bowyer, Bellamy and Zamora talked a good game but that was the sum of their efforts. Ljungberg was left wondering why exactly he had left Arsenal.
The second half saw the Hammers change things and for a while they looked a little more threatening. However it wasn't until Ashton appeared that they offered any real threat, the ex Crewe man hammering over from 8 yards when a goal looked certain.
As the Hammers pushed so a second City goal seemed more likely. Strangely enough though was that when it did come it was courtesy of two City substitutes.
Strange that really because according to the press Sven doesn't do substitutes that affect games.
Anyway it was another City academy product in Onouha that broke free on the right. The patience he showed in holding up the ball was exemplary and the ball to Geovanni perfection. Geovanni's finish was first rate and perhaps showed the watching media that given the option of Brazilians over Englishmen, Sven may well have achieved a little more than three successive quarter finals.
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Date:Saturday August 11 2007
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