Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ball Harambee Nov. 15

England: The Duppy Conqueror By Bagga Wilks

England has not performed well in the international stage for decades. England last won the World Cup in 1966 when they played at home and the referees did everything to emasculate Pele.

England performed relatively well in the 2002 World Cup when there was great expectation that they would knock-out Brazil and go on to win the World Cup.

The England vs Brazil game of 2002 was a memorable event. Ronaldinho at the top of his game picked up a dribble and with a step-over annihilated Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand. Ronaldinho squared the ball to Ronaldo and that’s all she wrote. England lost 2-0 as Ronaldinho scored from a free kick.

In the 2010 World Cup, England performed abysmally. The team on paper seemed formidable but in praxis, lacked chemistry. England returned from South Africa with not much to show for the journey.

In the last European Cup, England failed to qualify. They are in for the 2011 European Cup but must play three games without the mischievous Wayne Rooney.

There are some fascinating new developments taking place in English football. The victory over Spain, even though a friendly, point to England’s bright future. The world champions, Spain, outplayed England. England was on their defensive heel for most of the ninety minutes. Spain passed and passed but England’s defense refrained from being breached. Cole, Lescott, Jagielka and Johnson fought off foray after foray.

England got a goal from a Milner cross into a Bent header and Lampard opportunity goal. Spain got chances in the closing stages of the game but Fabregas could not convert Spain’s playmakers, Silva and Mata are no Messi.

The England team has begun to age and there is a new crop of footballers coming to the fire. Rodwell, Wilshere, Jones, Welbeck, Smalling and Young represent the future of English football. These are not role players but young bucks with speed and intelligence. If managed adroitly, English football should rise from the doldrums that has been its fate from 1966. A victory over Sweden in the opening.

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