Friday, June 30, 2006

England Football

A busy weekend beckons but, for the first time in quite a few weeks, I shall feel unburdened by tasks I need to complete.

I shall certainly be watching England play Portugal. I am thinking of the quarter final in these terms: A victory for England shall mean they start their next competitive match a mere 90 minutes away from the World Cup Final. I think they can defeat the fellows from the Iberian Peninsula but ‘the lads’ and Rooney in particular will require discipline in the tackle. I would hate for a spate of yellow cards to weaken our squad. I mention Rooney because he is the key for World Cup glory now. In general, we could just about cope with the loss of a star name but without the talismanic ‘Roo’ we are nothing.

I predict wins this weekend for Germany (perhaps after extra time and penalties), Italy, England (by two clear goals) and France. An all European semi-final line-up and no new winner of the famed trophy.

Alan Hansen remains the finest and most articulate pundit around. I relish his intelligent opining. Martin O’Neill impresses too and, although he can be a touch snide when commentating, Mark Lawrenson talks a lot of sense. However, the addition of the Brazilian, Leonardo to the BBC panel has proved a masterstroke. He speaks with real erudition and passion about the sport and I find myself hanging on to his every word. Importantly, he has both talked the talk and walked the walk at the highest level too. He’s great. I can sum up the ITV1 team with a single word: dross. From the shocking and out of depth Gabby Yorath to the mundane Ruud Gullit to the ramshackle collection of spivs who barely utter a coherent word, it really is embarrassing.

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