England just beat Paraguay 1-0 on a 3rd minute own goal flick of a swerving
Beckham cross, how drab. There was swagger aplenty from the fabled midfield of
the Three Lions - Lampard, Cole, et al with heads on a swivel throughout the
match - though it felt like their intent was more often to catch a glimpse of
the surname on the back of the jersey than to hold off a Paraguayan opponent.
And this will be the downfall of the England Glamour Boys. For all their claims
to toughness and stick, and in spite of true hard men John Terry and Gary
Neville (yeah, I said it), England are a bunch of overrated, average skilled
prima donnas. Peter Crouch didn't get to do his robot celebration because he
didn't have a single look at the net. But he is a robot, that much is certain.
Michael Owen is far from match fit. The offensive threat of the ranging midfield
produced three, maybe four looks at goal from outside the penalty box, the best
chances left to a pair of Lampard strikes that didn't so much worry the goalie
as require him to participate in the motions of the game. There was no England
possession of note. Steven Gerrard forgot to participate. Beckham played with
fight but his often visionary final balls kept going to the Paraguayan center
backs. The thought bubbles over Beckham's head when he went into 50-50
challenges read like apologies to his countrymen for being, as the Univision
announcer called him, Mr. Spiceman. There is an inexplicable arrogance built
around a shell of insecurity pervading the English sideline. As a fan of futbol,
impartial as a function of being American, I found more to cheer for in a
Paraguayan side playing against bad luck for 87 minutes. Paraguay isn't winning
anything this year, but neither is England. That said, with the return of a fit
Wayne Rooney I am fully prepared to eat my words. Rooney plays without a concept of failure. But Rooney's Achilles may be close to his achilles, as the victim of
two broken foot injuries in the three years since he's taken on otherworldly
footballer status. His fragile feet are
responsible for hitting the shit out of the ball, an irony that doesn't betray the
whole of the English side. Otherwise, this is a team of effete and effeminate
playboys playing at being working class. It's not working, and there's no class.
All of these feelings will be forgotten in fifteen minutes, when T&T kicks
off against Sweeden and the planet Earth spins hurling through infinate space
and I begin to critique the enviable brilliance of 22 other people. Go on Dwight
Homey will be back with the quickness when he's got that itch, so we hope you enjoyed.
No sign of Neckface yet...