I blame Beckham
We'll beat Germany this time, even if we have to
firebomb their cities again.
World Cup Defeats Paint Image of Toothless British Lion
By SARAH LYALL
Published: May 30, 2006
LONDON, May 29 — Will Wayne Rooney's broken foot heal in time for the second round? Can Sven-Goran Eriksson, the laconic Swedish coach, pull his nervous, egotistical players together? Will Melanie Slade, the 17-year-old girlfriend of the 17-year-old forward Theo Walcott, crumble under the pressure of having her figure and her fashion sense dissected daily by the tabloids?
Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and midfielder David Beckham can expect either the credit or the blame for England's World Cup performance.
Such are the questions consuming England's soccer team before the World Cup, which begins June 9 in Germany and the outcome of which will lift, or destroy, a nation's fragile sense of self-worth. But amid the soap opera that is soccer here — the large personalities, the even larger paychecks, the outfits, the injuries, the tantrums, the expectations — lies a hard, sobering truth: England, for all its bluster, has won the tournament only once, in 1966.
That was 40 years ago, when Harold Wilson was prime minister and shillings were a legitimate form of currency. Since that great, shining day, English fans have been forced to hedge their expectations, approaching every World Cup with the brittle hopefulness of the chronically disappointed.
"They always invent new arguments to persuade themselves that this time they can do it, when form and logic show that it's highly unlikely," said John Carlin, a British soccer writer and the author of "White Angels: Beckham, Real Madrid and the New Football." Describing the importance of soccer, Carlin quoted Bill Shankly, the former Liverpool coach: "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."
One: This will be the year their team finally realizes its massive potential and wins.
Two: Their team never wins.
This year, England's chronic angst is compounded by two facts. The first is that the tournament is being played in Germany, home of its bitterest rival and agent of some of its biggest defeats. In 1990, England lost a heartbreaking match to Germany in a penalty-kick shootout in the World Cup semifinals. In fact, after England's greatest victory over Germany — its 4-2 extra-time victory in the 1966 final — 24 years passed before the English beat the Germans again in a major competition.
The second problem is Rooney's foot. Rooney, a prodigy who rose from the rough streets of Liverpool to become a star at Manchester United, is England's most talented scorer and its greatest hope. But last month he broke a metatarsal bone in his right foot, and on Friday he was ruled out for the first round of matches.
Every day there have been conflicting reports, anguished speculation, hope on the heels of despair. Rooney's coach in Manchester, Sir Alex Ferguson, described it as "folly" and a "wild dream" to expect Rooney to be available, while Eriksson, the England manager, said he was "very positive" that Rooney would play at some point. But Rooney's teammate Gary Neville, who took 21 weeks to recover from a similar injury, said this month that "as it stands, we have to plan for Wayne not being available."
On Monday, The Associated Press reported that Eriksson requested a scan of Rooney's injured foot be moved up one week, to June 7, presumably to give him the opportunity to replace Rooney on England's roster if he will be unable to play. Teams are allowed to replace injured players up to 24 hours before their first game, which in England's case is against Paraguay on June 10.
Meanwhile, Eriksson is to leave his post after the World Cup, throwing the team into further instability. A seemingly inoffensive, even dull, Swede, Eriksson is known as much for his vigorous love life — his curious relationship with Nancy Dell'Olio, his indeterminately aged, perma-tanned, tight-outfit-wearing girlfriend, as well as his affairs with various other women, all of whom have been happy to discuss them publicly — as he is for the serene blandness of his public remarks and for his managing skills, or lack thereof.
Look, I will state openly that I root against England. I hate the fans, the attitude, jesus christ, WWII ended in 1945,and the circus.
But most of all, the England side may be the best collection of players on earth, but not only do they not play as a team, David Beckham loses his shit in crucial games.Henry keeps his cool,so does Totti. But no, Beckham will lose his shit at a crucial moment then England loses.
And the tabloids drag up WWII at every turn. Uh, the Germans have been your allies for 50 years.
England will win when they forget all the footballer wives nonsense and concentrate and play.
posted by Steve @ 1:36:00 AM