March 30, 2005

England 2:0 Azerbaijan

Is it just me?
Am I the only one who watches England's matches and thinks that Wayne Rooney is vastly, ridiculously overrated?
Ok, the guy's good. For his age, he's bloody brilliant. But if I just listened to matches on the radio, I'd be sure he was the saviour of the team, his every touch inspiring them to greater feats of glory. I'd put at least 5 players in the first team before Rooney's name went on the sheet, and probably more like 7. He was our best player in Portugal, true (closely followed by Lampard), but they were all pretty crap in Portugal. He's probably the best second striker. Although seeing as Sven won't give anyone else more than 15 minutes up front, we'll never know.
Also, in a kind of related way, what have Michael Owen and David Beckham done to annoy the BBC's commentary team? From watching tonight's game on BBC1, I'm sure Owen must have slept with Mark Lawrenson's sister, or killed his son, or something. He can't do anything right. Owen misses a header from the middle of the box and it's "a glaring opportunity, missed to the disbelief of those behind the goal and probably himself", "not the Michael Owen we're used to". Rooney does exactly the same and "he'll be disappointed. But he did have to lean back for it". "It was a hard chance to take."
Rooney setting up Steven Gerrard's goal was "superb". Were these people watching the same goal? He controlled a pinpoint pass from 40 yards by Beckham, somehow outsprinted one of Azerbaijan's finest, then managed to cross behind the two guys who were actually in the box. the ball managed to come to Gerrard after a deflection from another defender. It's not what he intended. It's a fluke guys.
Then Beckham. Alen Hansen after the match "His performance in the last 4 or 5 matches haven't lived up to his high standards."
Our first chance, Beckham runs 40 yards-this is the England player with no pace-onto Lampards through ball, somehow keeps it in and gets it back to Rooney. Who does sod all with it. He starts the first goal with a long ball to Rooney, then scores the second himself. If that's not living up to his standards then what's he supposed to do, play blindfold?

Ok….the opposition was only Azerbaijan, this was supposed to be a walkover. They did do well to stop us scoring, basically by having at least 8 men in the box at all times. And yes, they might have been a bit of a threat if it weren't for a tendency to shoot from 35 yards out along the ground. But even so, Beckham was by far the most awake England player on the pitch. Owen should have scored but didn't exactly miss any open goals. And that's ignoring the disallowed goal in the first half.

Oh, and as for Kramarenko, Azerbaijan's "hopeless" goalkeeper (Mark Lawrenson again) he didn't exactly do badly. At the time he was described as hopeless, he'd conceded just as many goals as Robinson, exactly 0, with far more to do due to a decidedly ropy defence. And watching the replays, what exactly could he have done about either goal? He didn't exactly do badly with the saves he was called upon to make either. I have a sneaking suspicion that you could put Petr Cech or Iker Cassilas behind the Azerbaijan defence and they'd concede a couple if they had that many attempts to score. Skysports coverage says "Kramarenko appeared a compulsive puncher with an inability to catch the ball coupled with an impulsive habit of charging from his line. But, after his problems with the Poles, he made a succession of (largely unconvincing) saves." It doesn't matter how convincing they are, so long as the ball doesn't go in.

Then there's the referee's slightly dubious booking policy as well. Is running around with one boot really such a heinous crime? It's your feet that are going to be stood upon. And if Owen really intended to handball when diving 2 yards out, wouldn't he at least have directed it into the net?

Ok, sorry. end of rant.

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Rooney is a top top player; it's just that the media make him out to be the best player that's ever lived which he's not. He is regularly England's best player though.

    I think you're being very harsh on him for the first goal. His first touch was exquisite, and if you see the replay he actually looks up and hits a pinpoint cross to Gerrard. It's not a fluke.

    I think Alan Hansen meant Beckham's performances in the 4–5 games previous to this one, not tonight's included!

    But I'd agree that Lawro was too harsh on the keeper e.g. he made an excellent save from Owen in the first half and he called him hopeless, I think he didn't realsise the ball had come off Owen and that he hadn't just flapped at it.

    As for Beckham's card, apparently it was because the linesman (sorry, assistant ref.) had told him not to return to the pitch with only one boot, which he ignored. Still a bit harsh though.

    30 Mar 2005, 22:47

  2. I'm not saying he's bad, but that he is made out to be the next Pele by the media. Sorry, the post could have looked a little too much like I was just slagging him off..
    His cross to Gerrard does get a deflection. It may be that's who he was after, and that the deflection could be why Gerrard said he mis-hit it, I don't know.

    Beckham is quite often the only England player who appears to be committed, especially in the qualifiers for Euro 2004. This isn't helped in friendlies by Ericssons attitude of playing two teams, generally making the same substitutions. Was actually surprised tonight, it wasn't the usual Beckham-Hargreaves change.

    30 Mar 2005, 23:00

  3. becks was our star man 2day i think.he was all over the place.everyone's been on his back lately (me inclusive!) cos being at madrid's meant he's in the centre more…so we've been missin the old right-wing crossing but he came up wiv the goods was a proper captain's performance

    as for owen tho….deary me…."one of the best strikers in the world"....a galactico…..u gotta b thinkin movin 2 madrid and makin a handful of appearances was a bad decision.he's not made an impact there yet and he's not his usual self. think back 2 wen he 1st popped up.ok everyone remembers "that" goal gainst the argies but he's scored so many more!! i dont know if the game's got faster or anythin but he doesnt seem his usual lightning self anymore either.

    i was pleased wiv rooners today tho.he kept quiet and played the game.i think he mite've finally learnt 2 control his aggression.tbh i think he was a bit sedate…but he's stil fuckin amazin tho.

    sorry 2 disagree wiv u a bit there but i sees it how i sees it

    31 Mar 2005, 01:06

  4. I'm not saying Owen was great, and agree that since he moved he's not been as sharp, probably due to lack of match practice. However, I don't think that he was appalling while Rooney was brillinat tonight, as the commentary and most of the analysis seemed to be suggesting. Most of the media is still overcome by Rooney and are still sucking up to him, much as they were with Beckham before "that" kick in the World Cup. I also think that when Rooney does do something like that he's going to be dropped for whoever todays rising star is

    31 Mar 2005, 01:11

  5. The number of goals Owen has scored in Spain shows that he's still an extremely talented striker, but he was laughably abysmal in tonight's match.

    Rooney's ability to keep hold of or win back the ball and create/finish chances as a result was key in the Northern Ireland game, and on many other occasions. He's a class act, the podgy thug.

    And the header missed by Rooney was a far harder chance than the ridiculously simple one missed by Owen in the first half.

    31 Mar 2005, 05:00

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