Tag: Paraguay

A Mixed Bag

England 2-2 Sweden / Trinidad & Tobago 0-2 Paraguay A mixed bag indeed, but at least the Sven-bashers haven’t got quite as much of a leg to stand on as they had previously. His hand was forced by the horrible first minute injury to Michael Owen. Well, I hope that the Owen-bashers are happy too. There’s a good chance that he’ll be out for the rest of the tournament. And! (I can only hope that this feels them with glee and delight) He suffered a tremendous amount of physical pain, as well! DOUBLE BONUS! The injury to Owen not only forced England to more or less throw their attacking plans out of the window, but also meant that theyessectively lost a substitution. Don’t tell me for a second that this didn’t make a difference in the closing minutes. As it turned out, the first-half performance was, considering everything, outstanding. Rooney looked sharp, latching onto Beckham’s superb long pass and almost scoring. If a Brazilian had scored the goal that Cole did, we wouldn’t hear the end of it for the remainder of the tournament. I’ve already seen his goal described on another blog as a “fluke”. Make of that what you wish. It was an excellent team display, with Lampard and Rooney peppering the Swedish goal with long-range shots, but the pick of the crop was… hold your breath…...

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The Late, Late Show

Paraguay 0-1 Sweden With five minutes to go in this match, you had to feel some sympathy for the Swedes. For 175 minutes, they’d battered their oppositions, doing everything except for putting the ball in the back of the net. Then, in one moment, the Paraguayan defence was opened up, Freddie Ljungberg scored, and justice was done. For a team that needed a win to be all but certain of going out, Paraguay played appallingly defensively. How many teams are going to try the same thing this summer? Turn up, do the bare minimum to stay in the tournament, and then depend on getting a result in their final match to go through? To be fair, Bobadilla, the Paraguayan goalkeeper, deserved better, even if very few of his team-mates did. He made brilliant saves from Kallstrom and Larsson, and when he was beaten in the second half by Allback, Caniza raced ack to hack the ball back from the goal-line. He received a smack in the moouth from the frame of the goal for his troubles. They seemed fated not to score until Larsson intelligently headed across the goal for Ljungberg to keep Sweden’s hopes of winning the group alive. The question is, of course, this: where does it leave England? Well, Sweden are unlikely to get as many chances as the seventy-odd that they have missed in their...

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The Heat Of The Moment

England 1-0 Paraguay Keep repeating the mantra: “it’s the result that counts, it’s the result that counts”. Time, I think, for a little perspective. Reading a few various blogs, messageboards and sites this morning, one would think that Paraguay had won 3-0, and that England should be packing their bags and withdrawing from their last two matches on the basis of “not being good enough to be there”. We should remind ourselves of several things before we join in with the criticism. Firstly, for all that it might sound like a cliche, the result is what counts at this stage in the tournament. England can now go into their match against Trinidad & Tobago knowing that a win is enough to send them through with a game to spare. I don’t think they were helped by scoring so early on. Extra reserves of energy can usually be summoned forth if there are twenty minutes to play and there’s no score. But would we rather have them 1-0 and not paying particularly well with twenty minutes to go, or level at 0-0 and playing well? I’ll take the former, thank you very much – sometimes, we’re almost masochistic on our self-loathing. Otherwise, for all that England failed to inspire yesterday, at no point in the second half did Paraguay so much as look like scoring. You could argue perfectly validly...

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