...they go and throw it all away against an already qualified Croatia. Football is a strange game that never surprises me in the least. Just when you think something surely cannot happen, it happens and then some.
To be honest with you, I wanted England not to qualify for Euro 2008. I have never been able to feel real pride or joy from English victories. Obviously this comes from not being actually English! I was hoping Croatia would do it. England players play football in the comfort zone too much for my liking. It never seems to mean too much to them. They talk a great game beforehand and always fail to back it up with passionate performances on the pitch. Yes they have good performances here and there but the next England disaster is normally just round the corner. This qualifying campaign for Euro 2008 has been littered with bad performances.
England didn't really deserve to qualify but I must admit I was totally surprised with how Croatia approached what was a meaningless game for them. They played with a great deal of skill and style, showing England how to play one touch football at a fast pace that caused no end of problems for the English defence. I can see why they played so good though. When you have already qualified, the pressure is lifted from your shoulders and mistakes matter less. You can express yourself more freely without the sense that your errors will cost the team dear. This is exactly how the Croats played.
And so it proved, with the Croats turning in one of the best performances from an away International side in recent times. Of course the manager got the sack the next morning. That was inevitable and he knew it himself though he did have the temerity not to resign, insisting that he would never walk away from a job. You can read that as being, I want my severance payment before I'm going!
Anyway, so next summer's European championships will be played without England. It just doesn't seem right. I know I said I wasn't fussed about whether England qualified or not, but when you really think about it, it just seems strange that the nation that invented the sport cannot play it too good at the moment. Oh Well, International football has never meant all that much to me anyway..roll on the Premiership.