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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Now this looks like football

TDH didn't get a chance to see the Israel match at the weekend, but the Russia match was front and center today after a leisurely lunch in drizzly Buenos Aires, where there seemed to be a whiff of London in the air. Perhaps, indeed, there was something of an intercontinental climate swap going on, as the weather at Wembley looked delightful.

The rain, of course, came in the form of shots by our and England's No. 10. The BBC's Phil McNulty supplied plenty of effusiveness, letting TDH off the hook, but TDH will say a few words. Five goals in four games. (Five words did the trick.)

TDH spent much of the second half praying that Owen wouldn't get injured, and TDH surely wasn't alone among Toon supporters. So far, so good. But the real story was how well this England squad played. No silly shots from Fat Frank, no over-reliance on Becks. Stevie G was off-target, and it didn't matter. Barry swept with skill and presence, and the overlaps of Richards and SWP on one side and the Cole brothers on the other were enough to keep the Russians occupied.

Meanwhile, Heskey showed he could be every bit as scary as Crouch, and his flicks were pretty good. TDH has never been a big Heskey fan, but as long as he keeps supplying good flicks to people who can actually hit the side of a barn, TDH will not complain. He just has to hope all referees have the same laissez-faire attitude as today's Swede did.

TDH could still swap Lamps for Gerrard - it probably doesn't make too much difference, as long as Junior keeps his shooting under control. But Becks showed up for his last match completely wasted from jetlag, and his style of play doesn't tire out the opposition as much as SWP's. There's not much sense having him on the bench, though. What to do? As for Sol, Rio's goal won't help him to get back into the team. But Sol's a good egg and a reliable England performer, so TDH won't lobby either way.


In other news, the Serbs and the Portuguese ended up throwing punches. Let's write that again: the Serbs and Felipao ended up throwing punches. TDH was neither surprised nor, as if it needed saying, amused.

Speaking of fisticuffs, that drunk who attacked Sir is lucky to be alive. Playing with fire, you're playing with fire...


And finally, back in Argentina, TDH was glad to see El Rojo pee all over Huracan, even if TDH is somewhat saddened by the trials now being endured by El Globo. Now we just have to wait and see how long it takes for Independiente to sell German Denis to some backwater Spanish outfit for another $5 million. Grrr.

TDH has little comment on US v Brazil, not having seen the match - TDH still can't believe people here would rather watch Namibia play rugby than the two continental champions slugging it out with all of their stars. At least Clint Dempsey keeps scoring. What is it about inside strikers named Clint? (Dirty Harry jokes may now commence.)


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