Tag: Kazakhstan

Match Of The Week: Kazakhstan 0-4 England

There are, broadly speaking, three types of tiredness which affect footballers. The first is the sheer exhaustion of having played over ninety minutes of football at a high tempo. The second is a feeling of being run down at the end of a long season – sitting in the dressing room ten minutes before kick-off thinking, “I could really do without this today”. The third is a gradual unwinding after coming out of the traps like a greyhound at the start of a match. The latter two of these are almost opposites, and both were on view this afternoon as England eventually overcame Kazakhstan in Almaty. It’s difficult, in this day and age, to have too much sympathy for Premier League footballers, for whom the arduous lifestyle of flying all over Europe to play football is softened somewhat by the pillows full of money upon which they rest their heads at night. This match, however, was slightly different. Come the end of May the average footballer might expect a little rest, but the schedules have thrown the England squad a curveball – a seven thousand mile round trip to a country that borders China and (almost) Mongolia. This, coupled with the perennial England goalkeeping crisis and the fact that, well, England are plenty capable of losing to just about just about anyone made this a potentially tricky trip. Twenty...

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Match Of The Week: England 5-1 Kazakhstan

Diddums. Bless them. Apparently, the England team are starting to get a bit of a chip on their shoulders over playing at Wembley. They don’t much like the fact that they get booed there when they play there. It’s not fair. Why don’t we all love them unconditionally? After all, they go to all the trouble of turning up to play. The least we should do is cheer everything good that they do and pretend that the appalling quality of their passing isn’t their fault. Even the one-eyed ITV commentary team couldn’t successfully paper over the cracks. It took a little over forty minutes for the goodwill won back by their performance in by their excellent performance in Zagreb last month. After a brief respite, it was a return to type, as England turned their depressingly regular twin tricks of making the pitch seem smaller and more cramped than it actually was, and making deeply average opposition look considerably better than they actually were. It wasn’t, this evening, merely about Ashley Cole, although he bore the brunt of the Wembley crowd’s ire for the ridiculously misplaced pass that gifted Kazakhstan a thoroughly deserved route back into the game. It was about Steven Gerrard, who passed the ball straight to the opposition at least four times within the first fifteen minutes of the game. It was about Emile Heskey, who...

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