A positive night in Cape Town
By Guest Writer John Brandon.
As the sun set behind the glorious table mountain last night, expectations and excitement rose inside the Nelson Mandela stadium, as the three lions of England went face to face with the desert foxes of Algeria. 90 minutes later England had failed to deliver again. This time it was much, much worse than the previous draw with USA. Algeria like all sides that are going to meet England throughout the tournament, had a game plan.
Algeria outwitted, with ease, supposedly superior individuals. Their bizarrely dressed manager had out foxed the mighty Italian Fabio Capello cut perfectly in his Armani suit. An African nation had undone a Western superpower. However with all this negativity surrounding the team, there are plenty of positives to take from this match.
It cannot possibly get any worse
In twenty years of watching England that had to be the worst competitive England performance. Even the mighty Graham Taylor’s side of 1993 which boasted such amazing natural talent as Carlton Palmer and Geoff Thomas would have put up a better fight.
The list was endless. Highly paid, household brands were second best to a third rate country. Aaron Lennon, Frank Lampard, Emile Heskey, Glen Johnson and Wayne Rooney. All grossly underperformed.
It is refreshing to see that Wayne Rooney has grown up and learnt from the incident involving the Portuguese winker 4 years earlier. He stropped around the pitch like a moody teenage delinquent who then attacked the very people who matter most, the fans. How dare he blame somebody for his performance. This simply supports the argument that Rooney showed he is not dis similar to a teenager, always looking to pass the buck and not face the consequences of his actions, or in this case his lack of.
He then decided to attack thousands of fans who had paid thousands of pounds and flown thousands of miles to support him and his lacklustre team mates. In sport especially at that level performers do strange things in the heat of the moment and that is understandable, but you must choose your battles. He comes across as a Spartan warrior but even this battle will be a battle that he cannot win.
The third and final positive from the contest is the deep satisfaction that security employed to protect our role models and millionaire idols is up to standard. This match was highlighted as Risk 1 by the national security.
Helicopters buzzed around overhead all game, security spoke in code all game to ensure that any potential act of terrorism was thwarted, so it was refreshing to see that an irate fan was able to breach security and get within 3 feet of England players and the heirs to our throne. That’s right Prince William and Prince Harry were in the changing rooms to offer support to the dejected England camp and an angry, drunk fan was able to get in to the same room as all of them.
On the Brink of History
That in itself is a bigger worry than the fact that England stand on the brink, on the brink of history. If England underperform again and lose against Slovenia, which is very likely from performances so far, they stand to be the first England side in 52 years to be eliminated at the first group stage of a world cup.
Friday nights match was a nightmare for all those with a vetted interest in England. All this must be put right with immediate effect by the players and the players alone if they want to write themselves in the history books for the right reasons. Can it be done?
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