England’s 2nd successive underwhelming performance in the World Cup ended happily with late goals from former QPR skyscraper Peter Crouch (above) and his current Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard, but the Times’ Matt Dickinson isn’t so easily swayed.
England have brought more fans to Germany than any other team which is just as well because they are not making any new converts with their obvious football. Their travelling hordes sung joyously at the end but, dismayed by the ordinariness of what that had gone before, they were only seven minutes from a chorus of deafening jeers.Those boos were caught in the throat as David Beckham, who will surely top this tournament for assists if England progress, crossed to the far post for Crouch to climb above Brent Sancho. There was no robotic dance – and just as well because it was not the time or the place – but Eriksson will cite it as vindication for his startling decision to replace Michael Owen rather than Crouch with Rooney.
Having lasted only two minutes longer than against Paraguay (and still less than an hour), the Newcastle United forward will again feel that he has been made a scapegoat for England™s failings. While he was guilty of missing a wonderful chance shortly before he was replaced and his body language speaks of someone carrying a bag of troubles, it is hard to believe that England can thrive this summer without seeing something like the best of him.
Gerrard added England™s second goal in the final moments, a sublime left-foot curling shot reward for his indefatigability, while Frank Lampard had so many efforts that Fifa™s statisticians may have struggled to keep count but no one left this sweaty bowl wondering how it took England so long to score.
ESPN’s much reveiled Dave O’Brien proclaimed that Crouchy’s “robo dance” has become “all the rage in London.” Having just visited the capital last week, I can report no sightings whatsoever of anyone doing the robo dance (or as the kids call it, The Robot), though perhaps I might’ve seen the odd display had I visited Liverpool, where the Rodney Trotter lookalike is probably a little more popular.
Sweden’s flurry of wasted chances can be forgotten for the time being, an 88th minute header towards the far post by Arsenal’s Freddie Ljungberg saving his side’s hide in a 1-0 win over Paraguay. Sweden will need a victory over England on June 20th to ensure their progress in the tournament.
The Fiver’s quote of the day :
“We will take fishing rods to hunt these frogs” – After blaming rabble-rousing amphibians outside the team’s hotel for the 4-0 defeat at the hands of Spain, Ukrainian Vladislav Vaschyuk reveals a knowledge of angling that’s even worse than his hapless defending.