Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Shirt badge/Association crestImage via Wikipedia I haven't watched too many England games recently but I felt that the games against Croatia will ultimately be the group deciders. If we had beaten them in both games during the Euro 2008 qualifiers we would have gone to the finals. Instead we lost both matches and missed out on the tournament which was a huge disappointment.

It was great watching as a neutral and there was some good football played but it wasn't the same! In the build up to this match a lot has been about the quality of the England team. Bilic has been ruthless in his assessment in the current setup and that we have made no progress in the last couple of years. Definitely fighting talk from a manager confident in his teams ability. Don Fabio hasn't entered into the prematch mind games opting to let the players do the talking on the pitch.

Didn't England send out a message; a hat-trick from Arsenal's Theo Walcott and a strike from Wayne Rooney ended Croatia's impressive home record. Mario Mandzukic scored a late goal for the Croatian's but they were well out of the game and were in no way going to start a late comeback. The key moment in the match I felt was early in the second half Robert Kovac jumped for a header leading with a stray elbow that caught Joe Cole in the top of the head knocking the Chelsea man to the floor with blood pouring from his head. Nothing to serious as he was able to return to the bench after being assessed to view the final stages of the game.

A great night for Theo Walcott and a great start from England as this will send out a statement and hopefully set us up well for the next internationals. Theo's first goal came on 26 minutes as some poor defending allowed Walcott to latch onto a loose ball and strike the ball home. The second goal on 59 was identical to the first with Rooney providing the assist. Rooney was next on the score sheet before Frank Lampard fired in after some great footwork only to have his goal disallowed. Then came the Croatian effort although the referee should have pulled up play as John Terry was almost kicked in the head but
Mandzukic's goal was allowed to stand before Walcott wrapped up the night. Great result and lets see this more often!!
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