Monday, July 03, 2006


It's all gone quiet...

Well, the silence from Dave is almost deafening. For once, England played OK, but now they're out. Commiserations to all, of course. I hate to see talent go to waste.

They were, and are, a fantastic team and I personally lay the blame at the feet of Sven Goran Eriksson. Despite five-odd years of having the power and (you'd think) the brains to craft some of the world's best players into a world beating squad, he has turned them into a very, very ordinary side.With a decent manager, and the same players, England could have won the World Cup, but time and again Eriksson has cost them by pissing about with the squad, tactics, and maybe the biggest talent killer of all, motivation. Until it was too late, they had no spirit or drive. It looked like they had no trust in each other or Eriksson.

One of the most regretful things the Swede has done is fail to curb Rooney's temper. The youngster's petulant display on the sidelines would prompt most coaches to take him into a soundproofed room and beat the living snot out of him with a length of rubber hose. Not Eriksson, who continued to sing his praises as the saviour of English football and conveniently ignore his outbursts. Sure enough, as everyone predicted, Rooney's temperament got the better of him and it cost his team a big, big match. Unfortunately, his team this time was England, and it was the biggest match they've had in years.

Right now the English media (and many fans) harbour deep resentment towards Cristiano Ronaldo, who of course protested Rooney's actions to the referee. It's a shame that few are worrying about the fact that once again Rooney has let the red mist cloud his vision and viciously stamped on an opponent. Ronaldo was understandably defending his teammate. His Portugal teammate. If the roles were reversed and Ronaldo had stamped on, say, Gerrard, Rooney would have decked him there and then. (By the way, ignore the biased reports, such as the shameful Reuters one on, that Ronaldo had run 40 yards to protest to the referee. At the time he was less than 10 yards away. I'm no fan of Ronaldo's but you can hardly blame him for defending his mate.)

Rooney stamped on a player's balls, and he got sent off. Fans would be right to crucify him as they did Beckham in 1998. It would be a miscarriage of justice if Ronaldo were persecuted out of the EPL just because of it (the league needs all the flair it can get at the moment anyway).

Rooney's talent is remarkable - this is the wakeup call he needed. Let's hope it's the one that he heeded.

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