09 September 2007
ENGLAND beat Israel 3-0!
Who knew England could produce such a result? Well obviously I did, but I did have my doubts. With Crouch suspended and the injuries of Rooney, Hargreaves, Lampard, Beckham, Neville, and the instability of Gerrard, I think many fans were left on the edge of their seats from the start. But they needn’t wait long before sitting back and drinking a pint or two. From the start England showed complete control of the game, both on attack, midfield conversion, and defense. Emile Heskey looked guaranteed to score with 2 shots on goal in the first seventeen minutes. But on the 20th minute, Joe Cole lofted a beautiful cross into the penalty box from the left that found Shaun Wright-Phillips on a perfect run to put the ball in the net with his far-side right foot. (In post-match coverage Ian Wright, Shaun’s stepfather, told viewers that he had told SWP to make such runs. Quite the fatherly thing to do, taking credit for the goal and all. Arsehole.) John Terry took a knock in the 27th minute after going for a header, but after receiving some brief treatment, he was back up and hollering commands. By the half-hour, England had 65% of the possession, forcing Israel to constantly be on guard. Owen missed a great opportunity before the break when his first shot hit the goalkeeper in the face, to which he only sliced the rebound over the crossbar.
After the interval, it seemed that England were gunning for a second goal to finish the game off early. And their work paid off when Michael Owen volleyed home a short pass from Gareth Barry on the 48th minute. While still holding much of the possession, England were constantly pushing Israel to pick up pace and never brought their energy down, as they’ve been known to do in the past. And in minute 65, Micah Richards finished the game off with an aerial header off a Barry inswinging corner kick. Once the win was sealed, McClaren decided to give some of his players a break. In the 71st minute he brought Phil Neville on for Gerrard, who had over-stretched and needed some treatment, and Andy Johnson came on for Heskey in a tactical substitution. Heskey received a standing ovation from the fans for his performance after being away from the international stage for so long. With 7 minutes left to play, David Bentley came on for Shaun Wright-Phillips. Bentley was welcomed to the pitch with boos and jeers from the England fans, most likely in response to his withdrawal from the U-21 squad over the summer (or possibly his atrocious new haircut? I’m unsure.)
Standout Man: The ENTIRE squad. After bringing so much stress to England fans, including myself, the squad performed with fervor and maturity.
Surprising Squad Emission: Michael Carrick. I don’t really understand that one, but maybe McClaren just wanted Bentley to be on the squad so he could put him on to be booed. Teach him a lesson in messing with England fans. (It’s not to be done, if he didn’t know.)
Video of England Goals