The tragic death of MP, Jo Cox, overshadows everything this morning and my thoughts go out to her family. This piece from The Guardian is well worth a read.
Over at Euro2016, Wales inevitably fell flat on their faces. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey didn’t heed the lessons from a million other big matches, unnecessarily stoking the fires in English hearts before kick-off. Combined with Chris Coleman’s negative tactics, England were always likely to win despite Joe Hart’s fumbling of Gareth Bale’s well-struck free kick.
Ramsey played well, I thought; scavenging possession and working hard for the team but lacked support, principally from Bale, whose reputation far exceeds the level of his performances in the two group matches so far. He’s not the only one; Harry Kane is suffering from an acute case of ‘Ronaldoitis’, believing he needs to take every set-piece himself without the requisite technique to do so. Wayne Rooney promptly gave him an object lesson in delivering corners.
The BBC attributed Jamie Vardy’s equaliser to “Arsenal’s Jamie Vardy”; cats and bags, People. Cats and bags. And Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser still left time for one last chance of glory for Bale, which he failed miserably to take and launched a nation’s derisory taunts onto his shoulders as his header drifted hopelessly wide.
It was surprising to see Walker get Man of the Match given he failed to deliver a telling cross all afternoon, despite the volume of possession he enjoyed. He didn’t play badly, don’t get me wrong; just not that well. For all the crowing about how wonderful it is to have five Tottenham players in the team, it’s noticeable that the figurehead of that quintet is arguably England’s worst player in the tournament. #
You’d get a pretty strong argument from Raheem Sterling, who frankly gives anonymous a bad name. Meanwhile, Deli Alli made as good a case for Jack Wilshere’s inclusion as I’ve seen for some time. Both were truly appalling yesterday with the Tottenham man missing Sturridge’s winner because he was too busy appealing for a penalty after his dive in the Welsh area.
It set the day up nicely and Northern Ireland continued the week’s theme of plucky underdogs with a thoroughly deserved 2 – 0 win over Ukraine. Whether it’s enough to qualify is debatable; with four fourth place teams going through, they may yet need an unlikely point against Germany.
That can’t be ruled out though. Adept at getting a draw with the minimum of effort, they and the Poles played out the tournaments first goalless draw. Not through a lack of effort on Poland’s part. OK, perhaps on Milik’s part because frankly the two gilt-edged chances he missed merit a police investigation.
It was a clear statement on the player’s part though: I don’t want a move to Arsenal so please don’t even link me with them.
Fair play to him for that one.
It’s hard to argue with Jerome Boateng being awarded Man of the Match for his performance; it was possibly the best I’ve seen him play, with an assured display.
Today seems Cech and Rosicky in action against Croatia so expect some more table-hopping from Slaven Bilic, who is giving punditry a good name. ITV deserve credit for offering him the job and the BBC must be kicking themselves at the missed opportunity to inject some life into their analysis.
The footage of the reaction to Sturridge’s winner was telling: Lineker was out of his chair, cheering like a loon, whilst Rio Ferdinand applauded. Shearer meanwhile, stood almost apologetically, clenching his fists: consistent with his punditry, we have to give him that.
I am, however, looking forward to this afternoon’s match between Italy and Sweden, mainly to see if the Italians handle being favourites as well as they did the underdog tag.
On the Arsenal front, apparently we’re going to bid £27m for Mario Götze. I don’t see why we need a false nine when we’ve got Giroud already.
That’s it for today. Enjoy football and embrace life.