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World Cup diary: Italy were poor but England were worse

15 June 2014

10:22 AM

15 June 2014

10:22 AM

Another fairly unpleasant evening spent watching England playing football. Ah well.

It used to be that England were renowned for two things: we could score from set pieces, and we knew how to defend set pieces. In fact we rarely scored from open play – but give us a corner, or a free kick, and suddenly we became dangerous. Similarly, we rarely conceded from set pieces. This was a consequence of the English game, I suppose.

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Against Italy we conceded from a set piece in fairly lamentable fashion. Worse, though, was the endless parade of wasted corners and free kicks. I don’t know how many corners we had in the second half – maybe eight? Only one found the head of an England player. The free kicks were worse: someone needs to take the likeable Steven Gerard aside and tell him it ain’t 2001 any more , you can’t do it, mate. Rooney was, if anything, worse – although he provided a fine pass for Sturridge’s well-taken goal.

Raheem Sterling was excellent, so too Barkley late on. We didn’t see enough of Adam Lallana. In general, though, we were ponderous and predictable, too slow to switch the ball around, lacking a player who could provide an incisive pass in the last third, almost never doing the unexpected – which, if you disdain scoring opportunities from set pieces, is the way you get goals from open play. The unpredictable. Sterling has it, but nobody else.

Worst thing is, I didn’t think Italy were up to much, either; largely anodyne going forward. Sweaty, pasta-munching, hobgoblins.


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Show comments
  • sima

    I wonder what first attracted her to the millionaire Wayne Rooney.

    درب اتوماتیک

    کرکره برقی

  • nahal

    It’s okay when they do it, since it’s for the greater good.
    درب اتوماتیکدوربین مدار بسته دستگاه حضور و غیاب

  • Sau Paulo

    Hi,

    Thanks for the post about World Cup. Just a tip about those
    who don’t live in countries that stream world cup online. You can use UnoTelly
    to remove the geoblock and stream World Cup 2014 in your country free
    worldcup.unotelly.com

  • Marco

    The writer of this comes across as a self-obsessed Charlie Brooker wannabe. Ironically, Charlie Brooker knows absolutely nothing about football as well

  • Carlo De Chiro

    “I didn’t think Italy were up to much”

    What are you talking about I presume you didn’t stop watching when Italy went ahead and sulked off.
    Statistics show orherwise Italy dominated possession and passing, their tactics better. The England goal was good sterling amazing but Italy still were the better team.
    Stop looking with what seems to be bad loser eyes and see the facts.
    I agree the match could have easily been a draw, Italy defence especially in the goal could have done better but Italy always have another gear and this team under Prandelli another formation.
    I think it is the most exciting England team for a long time, I still expect them to qualify but be fair and be less bias and jingoistic when you write a match report please.

  • Pier66

    Is funny eh really strange Spectator an old conservative , right traditional mag,
    with all those lefty lib lab audience and observers! And what a high profile comments!
    Just to remember how is working Lib lab in EDUCATION, SCHOOLS,
    specially in TH, Islington , east end lovely place where born, make friends, school, growing a family… a big thank you Tony you made a GREAT JOB

  • Marquess of Salisbury

    If there was a parallel World Cup for cramp and over-exuberant celebrations by physios we would have a great chance! Any decent side would have prevented the first goal they were literally sold a dummy!

  • stag

    Stop moaning, Rod, for once. England played ok.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    And Spain were even worse…

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW5pPXGrdTY Puss in High Wedgies

    Well, it’s sports again: just so dang fascinating if you like that sort of thing. Personally, I shriek, scream, and grunt while playing tennis, which would be incredibly annoying except that I only do it when my partner and I have the courts to ourselves — and he’s just as bad as I am (worse: the jungle behind the last fence will have to find some way to deal with the balls he’s hit there).

    To speed the blood a bit, especially if there is room to move — I can’t listen to this without dancing — can you beat this? Surely one of the best pieces of popular music in the history of the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziQSNGFzlp4

    • girondas

      Too fast for me these days – I must learn to foxtrot without treading on my partners wedges.
      Watched the match at home in the company of an old french friend. At a high point in the game she looked up from her book and asked when France were playing. I said “Tomorrow”. She said “Ah, ok” and went back to her book. I like cool disdain in french girls – it suits them. I’m being nice about France at the moment as she has invited me to visit her place in August -.on the banks of the Loire.

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW5pPXGrdTY Puss in High Wedgies

        Oh, I only dance in bare feet myself. Lots of nice wine from the Loire….Sounds like a great opportunity!

        • girondas

          Oddly enough I don’t drink much when I’m in France – maybe I’m just contrary or maybe it’s just the change of routine. I go walking, with a dog if there’s one to hand. (Dogs bring you home again)
          Dancing barefoot eh – you must trust your partner.

          • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW5pPXGrdTY Puss in High Wedgies

            What a contrast: I can’t imagine being in the Loire and not sampling, extensively, their local goods. Heh heh. I have a dog hanging off my hand most hours. Would be nice not to tend the little darling. And dancing: that’s the benefit of dancing on my own.

            • girondas

              A couple of days leave – wonderful. Early summer in the garden is the best of times. Drinking white wine, constructing stuffed peppers for supper, Mozart on the hi-fi, searching for the cats (asleep under a rosemary bush). Hope you’re enjoying the smoky mountains.
              Maybe I’ll try dancing single handed.
              The other week I saw a couple in their seventies, maybe older, jiving as a girl sang the Boogie-woogie bugle boy from company B – impressed

  • Pier66

    Rod you drink too much during the match stop it next time please

    • rodliddle

      you must be joking.

      • Kitty MLB

        Roddie, you must drink beer and eat crisps whilst
        watching football. Rather like strawberries and cream
        with wine at Wimbledon. Its traditional.

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW5pPXGrdTY Puss in High Wedgies

        What I like is the run-on sentence, without punctuation, rather like a poison pen note from cut-out newsprint in an Agatha Christie. Next time if you’re lucky it might be: Rod I know what you and that girl were doing Don’t let England destract you next time you never know whose watching A well-wisher

        • Kitty MLB

          Oh excellent.. Whilst Roddie watches England playing in
          his slight inebriated state.
          A poison pen letter is dropped through his letter box, playing
          havoc with those watching football. Where Roddie lives once
          a place of trust, now all inhabitants are potential culprits. Who
          is sending there suspicious notes from the old Guardian
          cut outs and why?
          Roddie send for Miss Marple.

          • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW5pPXGrdTY Puss in High Wedgies

            Heh heh! Who is sending them? Team Italy, probably.

    • girondas

      Do you think that Rod’s drinking may have affected the team’s performance?

      • Pier66

        England performance was very good for me, Rod has another point view that must be respect, end of the story
        YNWA & TORY ALL THE WAY

        • girondas

          But they lost – c’mon let’s blame Rod.

          • Pier66

            No at all you should respect every single points view

        • Kitty MLB

          And the country of my grandfathers birth
          even better.English are good at Cricket.
          You are a Tory, we must preserve you.

          • Pier66

            Yes preserve me with other more then 11 million in Britain thanks

  • Fraser Bailey

    I have money on England not making it out of the group.

    I think my mone is safe.

  • arnoldo87

    For years now, England have been technically inferior to the top teams, unable to receive the ball under challenge, control it, and pass it on. The top teams know this and therefore put us under pressure when we have the ball, forcing us to eventually lump it forwards, thus yielding possession.

    This situation applied throughout the “Golden Generation” period, but most of the country were in denial, thinking that our top players were world class, when the truth was that they didn’t work hard enough at their ball skills and technique.

    At long last, though, we are starting to get younger players in to the team that DO have the necessary skills. So last night was a better performance, although not quite good enough to hold a fairly (for them) average Italian team.

    We could still qualify for the knockout round though. Some grounds for hope, yet.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Tell us something new. The Netherlands are going to win the cup.

  • disqus_JXTaH3N9kU

    Italy were good and that was the best England performance i have seen for a very long time. Good for Hodgson in picking Sterling too. No other England manager inrecent memory would have done so.

  • alb et

    Don’t you like or pasta?

  • alb et

    Don’t you like our pasta?

    • alexander

      you can delete or edit the first comment rather than posting another.

  • alexander

    On the face of it it seemed like we showed them too much respect and didn’t close them down enough as we had done to the opposition in the preceding friendlies. Although I suspect the heat had a large part to play and roy had instructed england to conserve energy. Unfortunately this tactic suited the slow Italian game and they therefore edged it.

    If the temperature had been 5 degrees cooler we could have dictated the game and closed them down more and might have edged it.

  • Aberrant_Apostrophe

    Most of the time England were like a puppy chasing a car: purposeful, noisy and excited – but not knowing what to do once they managed to catch it.

  • FrankS2

    Why has the bloke in the blue shirt got one blue boot and one red one? Maybe non-matching footwear is the secret of success.

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      So his team mates can shout “Hit it with the blue one! No, the other blue one!”

    • FrankS2

      P.chi ki wan wrote:
      “The blue boots are for home games,red boots for away games.As its the
      world cup,the matches are neither home or away hence the different
      boots.On the other he could just be an attention seeking tw*t”
      but for some reason it’s been called in by the moderators. Anyway, I shall now be forced to look at player’s feet (and I meant to ignore the event) to see how many do this. Maybe iit’s just an Italy thing

      • P.chi ki wan

        Thanks Frank,strange decision by moderstors.I have already noticed lots of players from various teams with odd coloured boots,its become rather distracting.It was rather amusing to see one player get quite upset when the referee sprayed the new disappearing paint on his boots.

  • JEK68

    What a complete misreading of the game, England outplayed Italy and played more excitingly than they have for the last ten years at least. If we play like that against Uruguay we should batter them.

  • you_kid

    My Italian friends weren’t hoping for an end of a era, they just could not wait for the end of one simple game.
    But not to worry, it’s all good – of the four teams in our group, only two teams remain that could find themselves sent home without banking a single point.

  • Max07

    I suppose Rooney did set up a goal but other than that he was useless. He seldom plays well for England. Perhaps he should have been left at home to tend his hair transplants.

    • Fraser Bailey

      Oddly, it is since his hair transplant that Rooney’s play has deteriorated.

      It’s a kind of reverse Samson effect.

      • Max07

        I have this theory that he’s afraid to exert himself too much in case it has a detrimental effect on his barnet.

  • MikeF

    We were overloaded with forwards at the expense of midfield creativity – one or other of Welbeck or Rooney should not have started to allow room for Lallana – and both fullbacks were poor. Sterling also needs to play at least ten yards in from the touchline to give himself room to manouevre. It all makes Thursday’s match utterly crucial for both teams.

  • Pier66

    Italy were poor but England were worse…Rod which match did you watch?
    You must be joking…first half England dominate the game missed some good chances, a penalty on welback dont given, italy comes out only at the 44′ with ballotelli chance and candreva hit the post…
    then 2 half another BIG penalty on SG do not given….so please what do you talking about…is the same old story same old music…only I can agree that we missed too chances.. but ref was DISGUSTING
    YNWA AND TORY ALL THE WAY

    • FrankieThompson

      What time is the spaceship arriving tonight ? Usual place ?

      • Baron

        Baron’s still chuckling, Frankie, and he read your posting an hour ago.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Agreed – I quite liked the game. We exceeded low expectations and showed grounds for optimism for the next Euros.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Agreed – I quite liked the game. We exceeded low expectations and showed grounds for optimism for the next Euros.

      • Pier66

        Hex and something, you’re a little bit SARCASTIC…..
        you just give up soon , think about next Euros?
        I think you should show more positive approch in your LIFE!
        YNWA AND TORY ALL THE WAY

        • Hexhamgeezer

          I enjoyed the game – pleasant suprise. I thought we were OK.

          No sarcasm involved.

          • Pier66

            You are not a real good english fan, I mean this is my opinion

  • global city

    I enjoyed the game. Italy are better than England, but the attacking emphasis will deliver much for England in the future.

  • Baron

    Good summary, Rod, except for this. In the first half, and most of the start of the second, we didn’t close them up, just danced around them at a respectable distance (Welbeck and Sterling may have tried, but not enough), they had all the time in the world to look around, pass the ball undisturbed, it was mostly their mistakes that stopped them.

    And you’re absolutely right on Rooney, how could anyone pick this brainless, slow moving, overpaid baboon, regard him as the anchor of the team beggars belief. Except for the one occasion you refer to, he never hit the goal, and the corner kick?

    If we keep on playing like this, we will be lucky to finish fourth in the group.

    • P.chi ki wan

      Woy not only picked Rooney he then decided to play him out of position.Reminds me of Brazil 1998 when a clearly unfit Ronaldo was played,could there be other forces choosing certain players.

    • Kitty MLB

      Oh I cannot tell Baron how much I loath that witless,
      moron and neanderthal Wayne Rooney and when Baron
      mentioned his name I was instantly turned off the brunch
      I was about to make.He doesn’t look as if he has the energy
      to make a jelly wobble let alone kick a ball.
      And how did he find such a pretty and savvy wife.

      • Adam Carter

        It’s a mystery, isn’t it,
        how women are attracted to rich and successful men.

        • Kitty MLB

          I am sure even the most shallow money obsessed woman would have standards.His
          wife even had children with him. Some of
          us prefer those who are unconventional,
          humourous, wise , kind and attractive…
          unfortunately money cannot buy those qualities.

          • rtj1211

            I’m sure you grew up in circumstances as challenging as Mr and Mrs Rooney did.

            He made the most of what he had.

            Can you say the same for yourself?

        • global city

          They have been boyfriend and girlfriend since their school days.

          • First L

            Yet he cheated on her with prostitutes.

            • global city

              Yes. That wasn’t the question posed however.

              A more salient question would have been ‘why does she stay with him?’ Could it be his good looks, or charm or loyalty?

      • Max07

        I wonder what first attracted her to the millionaire Wayne Rooney.

  • girondas

    Wait till we run into Costa Rica – oh my!

    • Kitty MLB

      Assuming they beat the other Latin Americans tomorrow.
      Oh the stress this is causing my hubby and all poor men,
      living on the edge of their seats, pale figures and shadows
      of their former self…I wander around saying BOO
      and they jump out of their skin….its hilerious.
      Shall see what tomorrow brings as they say in the old
      song…hope tissues, tea and sympathy will not be required.

      • girondas

        I don’t think you’re taking our distress very seriously Kitty

        • Kitty MLB

          Not true. I speak for all women when I say the
          Words of that serpent Blair : We feel your pain.
          Even have many boxes of Kleenex man sized
          tissues.We know chaps cry alot happy or sad,
          none of that stiff upper lip stuff anymore..l

          • girondas

            I assure you that my lip is fully and permanently stiffed

            • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW5pPXGrdTY Puss in High Wedgies

              Sorry to barge in on your conversation with Kitty — but I never did understand that stiff UPPER lip talk. Surely it’s the bottom lip that quivers? Have you ever tried to keep your upper lip stiff? It’s a meaningless idea, as no one can do it and nothing would be gained if he could!

              Update: Experimenting for a moment (yes, one feels a right fool!), all I can think is that it refers to a rigidness of the face while speaking. The upper lip need not move that much during speech, though the lower jaw must, so maybe what’s being referred to is not actually the lip but a larger area of the face. So the ‘stiff upper lip’ is not so much an attitude of mind but a social put-on, a facade for the benefit of others while speaking to them — or (perhaps ominously) while giving orders.

              • girondas

                Ah! Puss we just lost – again.My entire face is rigid, a facade indeed. I hope Kitty is consoling Mr Kitty.
                Me? I’m going to bed: I spent the whole daily working down the allotment and this is my reward.

        • Kitty MLB

          I am now..but all is not lost.Italiano will save the
          day, by winning twice.But I see you wish to
          be alone during this difficult moment hence
          being known as ‘ Guest’ All will be well, my
          sage has told me.

  • Kitty MLB

    Athough I didn’t actually watch this myself, the husband did though and not too impressed by all the noise.
    As English with a wee bit of Italian blood I would been torn.

    • girondas

      I doubt it would have set your blood racing: I fell asleep during the match and I’m 100% anglo jewish cross.

      • Kitty MLB

        No it wouldn’t have set my blood racing, even the
        Latin drop of blood. Just read a spot of Ovid in the
        bath and tended the hedgehog.
        Oh, 100% anglo jewish cross sounds like a unusual
        combination. And the word ‘cross’ made me laugh
        I thought of a canine with mixed parentage.
        I am glad the tennis starts next week and we’ll see
        the lovely Roger Federer.

        • girondas

          “Oh, 100% anglo jewish cross sounds like a unusual
          combination. And the word ‘cross’ made me laugh
          I thought of a canine with mixed parentage”.

          It’s my cockney humour Kitty – thirty years in polite Cambridge society and it still pops out (often to my embarrassment).
          Ovid in the bath eh? – That’s a strangely attractive thought.

          • Kitty MLB

            Never be embarrassed by the cockney humour
            its warm and genuine. ‘Polite Cambridge Society’ I suppose the humour in Cambridge is
            as flat as the Fens. Mine is somewhat ludicrous, drives people up the wall.

            ‘Ovid in the bath eh?- that’s a strangely attractive thought’ Now how long have you
            had these thoughts about Ovid? I know
            I have to handle this very gently.If you
            want to go somewhere quiet on the Spectator
            to unburden these feelings that will be fine.

            • girondas

              “I know I have to handle this very gently.If you
              want to go somewhere quiet on the Spectator
              to unburden these feelings that will be fine.”

              What are you suggesting Kitty?

              • Kitty MLB

                I know that I am somewhat talkative but I’m
                also a very good listener. I am suggesting that
                if you want to reveal hidden thoughts of Ovid
                or indeed shakespeare, it should be done
                somwhere more quiet. Such as the Lucy Vickery
                poetry threads ( such as a few weeks ago)
                Only about 5 people turned up on that thread,
                and you can have my undivided attention.
                Unless its too soon, I fully understand.

                • girondas

                  Kitty I’m all a fluster

                • Kitty MLB

                  My Sibylline intuition could sense your perturbation. Women
                  and children are like sponges. As my old chum Shakespeare
                  once said: So quick bright things come to confusion.
                  So sorry you are tying yourself into knots, do not distress
                  yourself, you will be disentangled. Some of us are very good
                  with confused puzzles. Have that in common with dear
                  Albert, besides never being able to think of nothing, odd
                  socks and wild hair, although unlike his, mine happens
                  to be chestnut corkscrews.
                  PS I hope you will not be flustered for too long and I shall
                  find Cameron to give you one of his hug a husky hugs.

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