Perspective the Loser in England Win
In a classic match of two halves, England had a dazzling first half and a tepid second, against a poor Greek team. Reining European champions they may be, but this Greek side were a pale imitation of the resolute phalanx of defenders that kept out some of the best strikers in the world for a whole tournament in 2004.
The match was undeniably encouraging after the limp performances in the World Cup, but the overall performance was predictable, even if the scoreline wasn’t.
Since it was the McClaren’s first game in charge, England were always likely to start quickly, eager to impress the new boss. This enthusiasm, coupled with fact this was many players first ball kicked in anger for a number of weeks, meant they were always going to have a greater hunger and desire than Greece, for whom this was just another friendly. After achieving everything they could have hoped for and more in the first half, the standard of play understandably slipped in the second half. Lack of fitness also played its part in allowing the game to drift, before the fresh substitutes upped the ante in the last 10 minutes.
England scoring 4 was about as expected as Crouch developing into a prolific striker, but just as pleasing for the supporters. The problem with ripping apart the champions of Europe in such a clinical fashion, is that despite the fact that dust hasn’t properly settled on the World Cup in Italian HQ, before tomorrow is out, some pundit from the Ian Wright school of rational thinking, will have declared England world beaters (again).
A win is still a win – something mighty Italy couldn’t manage even against Croatia – so it was a small step in the right direction. Morale is now that much higher and the memory of Sven and Beckham has become a little fainter. England have taken the first tentative steps towards building for Euro 2008 and the press can begin to dream all over again.
News, Opinion, Sport, Football, England, Greece.
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