Euro ’08 Qualifying Wednesday is going to be amazing. I only wish there were more matches being played live across the states. I’ll be watching all of the matches after work via the internet but I wish I didn’t have too…please Fox Soccer Channel quit playing “Footballers’ Wives” I can’t stand that show even if it wasn’t replacing matches.
That’s my rant for the day.
I am looking forward to the Enlgand Croatia match. Will Croatia play with passion or will they mail in their qualification papers? I know it means something to be on top of the group coming through qualification. That’s just how tight this table is at present, if England win they’ll go atop of the table. Granted Michael Owen is out, but England have to be extremely energized to know that in ten days they can go from assuredly out of the Euro ‘o8 to being a top seed.
Looking at the match England need to shut-down the Croatian fireworks and only need to find one of their own. I would look for a bit of a bogged down midfield in this match. England is going to have to move the ball around and work for their chances. If they revert to long-balls in to Crouch this is going to go bad fast. Defoe/Crouch is going to be an interesting pairing, one that I wouldn’t mind watching down the line. (Seeing as both of these guys need to get out of their current squads maybe someone like Juve would be willing to pick them up?) Lampard, Beckham, Gerrard, and Hargreaves would be an awesome group to watch work, but there would be no true left-midfielder. I’ll be interested to see who McClaren sends out. Beckham only makes sense to pair with Crouch. I can already imagine a nice slow build-up in the midfield followed by a nice long outlet to the head of Crouch. Promptly finished at the back-end. Only time will tell on that combination.
Robinson, Carson or James? James is having one heck of a season. Carson is playing better then Robinson at present. Robinson is having issues with practice? I know this isn’t an Allen Iverson sort of situation but Robinson needs some time to clear his head. I’d probably go with Carson or James on an equal basis. Since I don’t get to see practice sessions I’d go with James for the veteran presence.
To pair with James I’d turn to Sol Campbell because this match means a lot more then England just not qualifying. If they don’t qualify not only is McClaren surely gone, but so are all the old dogs. Why carry them in the squad if you aren’t going to use them in the first place?
I’d look for a veteran team to take the pitch. I also look for England to be powered by Wembley into a bare minimum of a tie. I’d love to see a 3-2 match in a punch counter punch heavy weight battle.
I’ll post the rest of my thoughts on this weeks matches after work seeing as lunch is over…