Sunday, July 12, 2020
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Much like our Patron Saint St.George, the English national team heroically vanquished the mighty dragon that is Andorra. Ahem. England laboured to a sluggish victory over the minnows and no-one is going to be getting carried away by the performance. A much stiffer task awaits as England go to Zagreb to face a Croatia team that is undefeated at the Maksimir stadium. Has Joe Coles "Brace and a Bollocking" performance earnt him a place in the team ahead of Dire Downing ? Will Heskey start in place of Defoe ? Brown for Johnson ? Beckham for Walcott ? Do people still care ?


The last columnist, "Mofty", or Hooligan Dave as he's better known, thinks that interest in the national team is possibly on the wane. Perhaps he is right. Therefore, the Croatia game is massive. England have not conjured up a huge performance for some time and another lacklustre defeat could not only lead us onto the slippery slope towards missing out on another major tournament, but also the implications may be that a disillusioned fan base turns their back on this current crop of "superstars" who roar like Lions for their clubs, but mew like mangled kittens for their country.


The perception is that these pampered megabucks players get enough plaudits, admiration, cash and success from their club careers and that performing for the national team is a distant secondary concern, an opinion only exacerbated by the scribblings of a bitter Jamie Carragher. I believe that the game against Croatia has huge significance. There are a vital 3 points up for grabs in the quest for 2010 World Cup qualification. Capello gets his first genuine test and we can finally gauge how much of an impact he has had on the team so far. Most importantly though, it may be the last opportunity for a team once dubbed the "golden generation" to show the country that they do care, that they do have the heart and desire to get results, and that they have the potential to be the true gold standard rather than just a load of old goldenballs.

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