Day: September 10, 2009

Match Of The Week III: England 2-6 Germany

“Football is a simple game – you play for 120 minutes and then the Germans win on penalties”, as Gary Lineker once observed. Oh, for things to have been that simple in Helsinki this evening. Germany, whose female team dominate European women’s football in a way that their male team hasn’t done provided formidable opposition to an England team that has surpassed all expectations by getting to the final of this competition in the first place. They had managed this without evening really playing that brilliantly. After losing their opening match against Italy, they came from two down against Russia to win 3-2 and then drew against Sweden to qualify for the quarter-finals as one of the third placed qualifiers from the group stages. In the quarter-final they saw off the hosts, Finland, and last weekend they beat the Netherlands 2-1 after extra time to book their place in the final. Germany, though, are the queens of European women’s football. They scored ten goals in their three group matches (including five against France) seven of the last eight competitions. In eighteen meetings prior to this evening, they have beaten England sixteen times. England have managed a draw against them twice, but have never beaten them. The gulf between the best and the rest seems to be much greater in the women’s game than it is in the men’s game....

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Shit Shot Mungo – S02E07

Time, then, for your weekly dose of Mungo. This week sees Sir Roddy Bulbs slow descent towards insanity gather pace with the purchase of a panda. You can get a bigger version of this week’s Mungo...

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Match Of The Midweek II: England 5-1 Croatia

When you have got the rub of the green, you have got the rub of the green. England’s job became fifty per cent easier before they even kicked off last night as Ukraine and Belarus played out a 0-0 draw, meaning that they only needed a draw rather than a win against Croatia at Wembley. Still, though. Another match that left the viewer wondering, “well, what the hell was that?”. The history of the England national team is punctuated with moments like this (Germany in 2001, Brazil in 1984, Argentina in 1980), but they seldom come when it matters. Whisper it quietly: Fabio Capello is building quite a decent team here. Within a couple of minutes, England could or should have had a penalty. Gerrard tried to lift the ball over Krizanac, who handled just inside the penalty area but the referee, who was possibly still warming up, gave the benefit of the doubt and waved play on. This, though, was just a brief respite for Croatia. Five minutes later, England did have a penalty. There are no players that look or run more like their Pro Evolution Soccer counterparts than Aaron Lennon, and his run into the penalty looked momentarily like someone that didn’t quite understand football had taken over the control pad. Lennon, however, was laying a (not particularly sophisticated) trap for the Croatian defender. Simunic fell...

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