Tag: England

Hopes, Dreams & Reality: On England At Euro 2012

The St George flags will be hanging limply this afternoon. It was after midnight in Kiev last night when the final kick hit the back of the net and confirmed what we all probably already knew – that this England side wasn’t good enough to reach the semi-finals of the 2012 European Championships – but there is little sense of recrimination in the air this morning, rather an acceptance that the “lottery” of the penalty shoot-out – and whether this is true or not is a matter for conjecture in itself – merely served to see that justice was done. We had seen the evidence of this with our own eyes over the preceding agonising one hundred and twenty minutes. Yet there they were, in the shoot-out itself in the first place, and thus in itself says something about the spirit of a team that has won a few friends back over the last couple of weeks, which had already played beyond what many of us assumed would be their capability in getting that far, and which had contrived to undo some of the badwill generated by the entitled, incompetent performance – or lack thereof – of two years ago in South Africa. England provided a little drama, occasional flashes of unexpected skill and a more positive headlines than negative this summer, and this is all the more surprising when we consider what...

Read More

Euro 2012: The Quarter-Finals – England 0-0 Italy (Italy Win 4-2 On Penalty Kicks)

So, then, to Kiev and to the quarter-finals of the European Championships. It’s the final match of the round this evening, featuring an Italian side that is something of a curates egg, excellent against Spain in matching them every inch of the way before being slightly underwhelming against Croatia and The Republic of Ireland, whilst England remain somewhat enigmatic, decent enough in fits and starts but also a little lucky in places and, for fifteen minutes against Sweden nine days ago, almost apocalyptically disorganised. The history books say Italy, who have a considerably better record against England than many realise due to the infrequency with which the two sides have played each other over the years, but England have showed considerable character over the last few weeks and this match felt, prior to kick-off, difficult to call. After three largely uninspiring quarter-final matches, though, this one gets off to a flying start when, with less than three minutes played, Daniele De Rossi allows a cross-field pass across his body and delivers a magnificent, swerving twenty-five yard volley which thids off the inside of the post and out. Italy fail, initially at least, to take advantage of this strong start and within a couple of minutes England create a chance of their own at the other end of the pitch when James Milner crosses from the right and Glen Johnson,...

Read More

Euro 2012: Group D – The Final Day

The phrase “you make your own luck” is an overused one and it is perfectly possible to argue that luck, by its very nature, is random. There can be little doubt, however, that England rode theirs in Donetsk last night, scrambling their way to a single goal win which confirmed a slightly unlikely looking top place in their group with a little room to spare. Yet to glance at the final group table only partially tells the story of last nights match against Ukraine. This was a match from which England were highly fortunate to emerge with all three points. Overrun in midfield, the heart leapt to the mouth every time the co-hosts broke away, and this they frequently did with pace and no little verve. Yet all too often they ran dry on ideas when they came within sight of the England goal but despite this still created chances, including one which saw the ball cross the goal-line by several inches. Counter-attacking was the key to coach Oleg Blokhins plans to pick a way through an English defence that was set up with the minimum requirement of protecting the point that they needed to scrape through to the quarter-finals of the competition in mind. Every time they did so, they showed Englands lack of pace and control of the game in the middle third of the pitch up...

Read More

The Realignment Of Great Expectations: On England In Ukraine

When England take to the field in Kiev this evening to play Ukraine in their final group match at this years European Championships, the task ahead of them will be simple enough, mathematically, at least. A draw will be enough to take the team through to the quarter-finals of the competition, while a win may, depending on any margin of victory and what happens in this evenings other match between France and Sweden, be enough for them to win their group. Win the group and they would play Italy in the next round, finish second and they would play Spain. Lose and they will almost certainly be on the next flight home. Yet on another level, things are far from being this simple, because England have so far largely failed to fulfil expectations at this summers European Championships. The team has already been involved in one of the more dramatic matches of the tournament so far when it was widely expected to bore everybody to tears, whilst the egos that those who despise this team love to hate so much have been broadly absent. Indeed, when Wayne Rooney was asked by a journalist whether he thought England could win the tournament the other day and answered in the affirmative, his response was taken by some as proof that the rampant egos so beloved and beloathed by so many had...

Read More

Valour! Honour! Scott Parker! The Wing Commander Writes On England vs Sweden

Regular – or indeed occasional – readers of the When Saturday Comes magazine forum will probably already be aware of the writings of the Wing Commander, the last living remnant of the British Empire and a man who holds a very particular type of Englishman very close to his bosom. Having already had one book of his reports published (and details of how  to purchase this are below), we are delighted to welcome him back to Twohundredpercent for his views on Englands match on Friday night against Sweden. ABLE ENGLAND CONFRONT DISMAL SWEDES WITH FUTILITY AS A FOOTBALLING FORCE,...

Read More