Saturday, July 01, 2006

Woulda, Coulda, Shouda

Seriously, England, that was the worst set of peekers I've ever seen. I can take a penalty better than that. Elon University's women's soccer team takes penalties better than that. The Spofford School for the Blind takes penalties better than that.

The England football XI is becoming the Cubs of international sports. They think they have to compete with history, that they have to match up with the Wingless Wonders of 1966, and God knows the media won't let them sleep until they do. Which, as it turns out, may never happen. (Just like the Cubs, see? Right.)

But good lord of golf, that was some seriously bad penalty action. Beckham goes out, Rooney goes out, Owen's gone, Cole is subbed, that's a recipe for disaster. After Rooney's bullshit red card, England looked better, believe it or not, but never really looked like they'd score. That's where history (and the hype) took over.

Historically bad on penalty kicks, England looked like the Tentative Squad form Hesitantville, what with the stopping and the hitching and the WIDE WIDE WIDE CENTER WIDE CENTER. Ridiculous. Perhaps we can trace this back to Eriksson, since guys like Cole were subbed out early, which means the work rate, hence the training, was bad. Or not. I mean, there's nothing one can do about Beckham or Owen, but the end of the game featured one striking option, and that was Peter Crouch. Maybe in four years he'll look less like a mantis and more like a scorer, but now he's just trying to make sure his knees stay out of his eyeballs.

This is the Big Stage, the Hot Moment, the Top Now. A world-class side needs more than one or two closers to get the job done. The England side is going to be crucified for that penalty set, and from where I sit, they deserve it.


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