Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Three a day

The dream is alive, are three sporting defeats in 24 hours (well more likely 25 and a half hours) possible?

Andy Murray's (adopted as "'inglish yeh") defeat, England cricketers continuing their hot form in the one day game and the grown men playing in junior school PE kits failing to overcome their demons against the Croats. We've got the first casualty so far, the huge media pressure (and a combative, powerful and instinctively more offensive opponent) scuppering Mr Murray's chances of claiming what could (but surely won't) turn out to be an illusive grand slam. If he can change his game from running after the ball for longer than his opponent can/is willing to before getting bored, then maybe he can become the success that he himself demands. The best players today are certainly nowhere near as passive. The more often you chance your arm, the better you get.

Of the three, the safest bet goes on the cricketers, while England's bowling has been impressive, the balance of their team has not. Picking a side which has six (and a half if Ravi Bopara is included) serviceable bowlers it is of very little surprise that the most brittle batting order in world cricket looks that little bit worse. A tail starting at six, a top order terrorized by the fresh and sparkling Brett Lee and a series which is two or four games too long has become the blueprint for white ball disaster. Real car crash tv.

The only real spanner in the works here is the round ball chaps, with a squad boasting such illustrious names as Lescott, Lennon and Barry. The combined talent of these three foul cretin alone surely leaves the Argentinians, Italians and even Brazilians quaking in their boots. England sit in a comfortable position in what is, on paper close to the weakest group for qualification. What this is brining though are some delusions of grandeur, dreams of world cup drumming and football coming home.

Take for instance Gareth Barry, a £12,000,000 signing. Does he look it? Of course, he's become England's sideways passing, clumsy tackling and brain-dead holding midfield supremo over the past year. Caught in possession time and again, lacking the pace of even the sluggish John Terry, our friend Barry has become the pin up boy for the new top tier standard of international football. Great in the Premier League where week after week he comes up against such greats as Sean Davis and Teemu Tainio, who really can't come close to providing the competition for space and time of the players of Spain, Holland and to a lesser extent Croatia. But thats fine.

This is what Capello and crew are stuck with, yes, they have some good players, maybe even world class players but they are slotted into a ragtag squad of the almost's and never will be's . There is little left for the likes of Lennon to prove, we've seen time again his pace causes havoc up against the likes of George McCartney and similar equine beasts of burden but the lack of end product is both demoralizing and is becoming truly symbolic of English football.

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