Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ole, ole, ole, ole . . .

England drew with Sweden 2-2 to progress to the knock-out stage; they play Ecuador on Sunday -- much better than Germany on Saturday! (and if it's Thursday, it must be Belgium. . .). The fact that they only drew with Sweden, though, does not bode well. They looked much more sharp in the first half -- more aggressive, more crisp, finding each other much better on the pitch. Joe Cole, in particular, was especially quick on his feet, depositing the first goal to put England on top.

The defense was abysmal, though, especially in the second half, when Sweden scored twice. Calling Captain Beckham? Stop yer bending and start defending. You were not marking your man when that Sweden goal went in, and would be to blame for at least two of those close calls. If soccer were played like American football, Beckham would be on England's "special teams," dispatched only to make corner kicks. Show some leadership, Becks, by requesting to come off (we know Sven wouldn't sub you), and have Lennon come in, if you're not up to playing all sides of the game. Overall, the team's response to Sweden's set pieces (i.e., from free kicks, corner kicks) was verstinken. Look to be on that Ecuadorian team like terriers.

Meanwhile, the folks at ESPN must have clued O'Brien in to his cluelessness -- resulting in an ear-bending stream of logorrhea read straight off of crib sheets and teleprompters. (Balboa, meanwhile, continued to issue his contempt for the England side. He's going to be dining out for days on England's defensive lapses. Just who are you rooting for, Marcelo?)

But it wouldn't be England if they didn't make us sweat. And they are through to the next round. Go England!

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