Tag: Montenegro

England Totter Towards Euro 2012

For all the panic and soul-searching, then, England have qualified for next year’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, although their performance last night was again patchy and hinted at a team that is likely to struggle against the very best in Europe next summer. Moreover, England’s night – which should, or might, otherwise have been an evening for celebration of some sort – was further soiled by the decision of Wayne Rooney to take a kick at┬áMiodrag Dzudovic with just over fifteen minutes of the match left to play and get himself a red card and a suspension for the start of next summer’s tournament. As ever, England will go into a major tournament having created more questions than they have answered. The build-up to match reflected the indifferent attitude that the English public seems to have held towards its national team for some time, now, with the most common reflection of the couple of days before the match seeming to fall somewhere between, “they’re interrupting the Premier League for a fortnight for this?” and “I didn’t even realise that they were playing on Friday night”. Such indifference might have been considered to giving the team something of a helping hand – when has the hype circus which seems to follow this team around at times actually been beneficial to them? – but when the chips descended, this...

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Match Of The Midweek: England 0-0 Montenegro

In all honesty, the excitement that surrounding England’s two opening wins against Bulgaria and Switzerland passed very quickly indeed. The post-South Africa combination of jitters and lethargy seems to be lingering over the national team like an unwanted smell and even the press build-up to this match – Look! Rio’s Back! – doesn’t seem to lift the feeling of torpor surrounding a European Championship qualifying group that feels more like a chore. The only thing worse than qualifying would be not qualifying. In the tunnel before the match, Steven Gerrard appears to be holding a Wham! bar and, during the national anthems, Wayne Rooney maintains the facial expression of a man that could quite do with a roll-up. It’s that sort of evening. Montenegro, of course, are here for the first time. The English press have been preparing for their arrival at Wembley, primarily by drawing up a cross-newspaper list of cities in England that have a larger popuation than Montenegro (London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield if we include metropolitan areas, in case you were hankering after something approaching a definitive list) and noting that Roma’s Mirko Vucinic will be missing from their team this evening, unavailable thanks to a hamstring injury. They have won their first three games without having conceded a goal against Switzerland, Bulgaria and Wales. Also, their national anthem has something of “The...

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