World Cup Special [Normal blog later on]
A couple of damning verdicts from the Spanish press about the English team:-
Like Brazil, England is a team de-natured by its trainer. Eriksson is one of those trainers who earn a great deal of money and lots of prestige by constructing a team which is weaker than its constituent parts.*
Eriksson had one of the best teams England has ever had but hasn’t been able to get from it even a hint of recognisable football. We’re not talking about beauty here, merely a reliable style.
And here’s a comment from a writer in Prospect magazine which echoes my own, long-standing view:-
We have the BBC’s HDTV, red-button interactivity and live streaming of the matches on the net, and ITV’s computer graphics showing the number of shots on or off target. In general, the hardware has improved greatly. The software, however, has not. What we still have is the weary old format of a commentator or two, a studio presenter and ‘expert analysis’ by a dour mix of ex-pros and/or managers. Not, we note, Mourinho or Wenger, who don’t have the same sacred cows. Football TV coverage, with its tiresome cast of has-beens and also-rans, remains stuck in the past. Everyone cheers on ‘our’ boys, dodges tricky issues and goes for the lowbrow opinion. Why will no one break the mould for an audience who want something a bit different?
Finally, in the process of reviewing my 2004 Thoughts from Galicia this morning, I came across this prophetic comment of mine from November of that year:- Here’s something I never thought I’d say – Thank God my team, Everton, got shut of Wayne Rooney before he self-destructs. When they say that he has his brains in his feet, they really mean it. Though ‘toes’ might be even more accurate.
* This is just a guess at the meaning of a verb – jibarizar – which I can’t find in any dictionary. Correct translation welcome from any Spanish reader.