Steven Gerrard learns that he won't have to play alongside Frank Lampard tonight…

March 28, 2007 in International football | Permalink | Comments (0)

Frank Lampard out of Andorra game with broken wrist. Be still our beating heart

Disaster strikes! Frank Lampard is out of the Andorra game after breaking his wrist during a training session - the country owes a debt of gratitude to Wayne Rooney, whose shot struck Lamps.

What we need now is for Gerrard and Hargreaves to play a blinder in central midfield and for Steve McClaren to wake up to the fact that Gerrard and Lampard will never play well together, ever. Oh, that's cheered me up no end.

PS Still getting to grips with our new publishing platform, so apologies for the lack of posts today. Will be back to normal tomorrow, we promise.

March 28, 2007 in International football | Permalink | Comments (0)

Benjani brawls with Peter Ndlovu

Zimbabwe It's a fight to strike fear into the heart of the most accomplished of boxing MCs: Benjani Mwaruwari v Peter Ndlovu. The two Zimbabwe internationals scrapped it out at their team hotel after rowing over an ex-girlfriend. Portsmouth striker Benjani and former Coventry City player Ndlovu smashed windows and tables at Harare's Crest Lodge Hotel. Benjani - already eyeing up his next fight (with the missus) - said: "I don't fight about girlfriends. I have a lot of them, and I am married." [Via Mirror, Rob Parker]

March 27, 2007 in International football | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shit England manager week: Steve McClaren vs Garth Crooks

Crooks tries to break Steve 'Dead Man Walking' McClaren's spirit but the Mac's got his game face on – you know, the one where he looks like a National Express driver emerging from his coach's toilet after a Glasgow-to-London long-haul journey.

March 27, 2007 in International football, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tremendously topical YouTube video: Ruud van Nistelrooy's goal celebration, Holland vs Andorra

A random YouTube search for 'Andorra' threw up some Eurovision Song Contest bollocks and this memorable goal celebration by RVN. Having been taunted by Andorra's players for missing a penalty, Ruud gets his own back in his own special (ie. childish) way.

March 27, 2007 in Funny old game, International football, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (2)

Classic Moment: England 4-2 Croatia, Euro 2004

Remember when Wayne Rooney used to score goals for England? Vaguely? Well, his last two competitive goals for England were this pair he scored against Croatia at Euro 2004. Check out some excitable commentary from John Motson, including the prophetic: "Is there nothing this boy can do!"

[Rob Parker]

March 27, 2007 in Classic Moments, International football, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (4)

Is the England camp falling apart?

Steve_mcclarenEngland can't score. We've got a rubbish manager who can't help to stop negative play and it's all infuriatingly boring. For any Englishman, this isn't exactly news, but what is worrying about the current set-up is the lack of drive, willingness to perform and a dressing room that looks about as harmonious as George Best's relationship with his liver. Is England's rot caused by a broken spirit?

Reports have filtered through the press claiming that Wayne Rooney has reacted angrily at being singled out for criticism following the Euro 2008 qualifying draw in Israel. England gaffer McClaren said: "It's ridiculous. We couldn't believe it inside the camp. It is an absolute load of rubbish. Everyone is together and know what we need to do." Everyone's together? Does that statement alone not leave the alarm bells ringing?

Managers and coaches usually claim harmony during turbulent times in the dressing room. Whilst saying 'nothing to see here...' McClaren has had to dismiss speculation that his relationship with his assistant Terry Venables had become strained. The England boss said "An absolute load of rubbish once again. It's an overreaction and about people having other agendas. The camp is very strong and there is great belief. My staff are all very good and working together. We stick together, we get advice from everybody including Terry - great advice. But, ultimately, I'm in charge and it's my neck on the block."

After a series of dire results and a lack of potency up front, McClaren laughed off any talk of him stepping down from the England job. "My desire is greater than ever. We know what direction we have to go and we know we need to produce and perform. We understand the fans' reaction and everyone else's but we feel it was over the top." I can understand that McClaren has to try and ease the unrest felt by the fans, but surely he can see that England face an incredible task to reach the European Championships? It is looking like we will have to win all of our remaining games, which include two tricky ties against Guus Hiddink's Russian outfit who, at the minute, look like they could paste England at the moment.

With all this unrest, England's future looks a bit bleak. However, adversity has suited England sides in the past, so maybe we can grind out the results and look hopefully towards the finals. The worst aspect of this whole situation is just how every England fan's worst fears have come true with the style of McClaren. We all feared that he'd taken up the dull football of Sven, albeit with even less tactical guile. Looks like we've all been proven right... and now it's time for Macca to prove us all wrong. [Mof Gimmers]

March 26, 2007 in International football | Permalink | Comments (1)

10 reasons why Ian Holloway should be appointed England manager

Holloway_21 He is not Steve McClaren.
2 Even after a dull 0-0 bore draw with Israel, Ollie would still entertain us with his post-match interview. Whereas McClaren...
3 Ian Holloway could motivate a stone (although whether this is a big a feat as motivating a bunch of overpaid egotists is up for debate!)
4 Ollie is happily married and a true family man. He is therefore unlikely to throw up any embarrassing Sven-style scandals.
5 He would have the balls to substitute Frank Lampard.

10 reasons why Ian Holloway should be appointed England manager continued

6 He's not afraid to stick it to FIFA.
7 He wouldn't be scared of picking David Beckham.
8 The last time England had a half-decent manager it was Mike Bassett and he came from a Championship side.
9 Imagine what he would if he won the World Cup...
10 He's an all-round legend and we love him very much!

What do you reckon? Holloway for England?

[Rob Parker]

March 26, 2007 in International football, Lists | Permalink | Comments (4)

Israel v England, the real player ratings

Banana Paul Robinson Robbo (pictured, left) failed miserably to score the goals for which he was brought into the side. And he wore gloves when it wasn't even cold. 1/10
Phil Neville
His lopsided face only served to upset the balance in the team. Surely Gary/Phil's sister Tracey would be a better bet? One point for at least trying to sing the National Anthem (unlike comrade Gary, who never does). 1/10
Rio Ferdinand
Tried gamely to merk Israel's defence with pinpoint passes. Failed gamely too. Solid at the back, in the face of Israel's relentless 'stay in our own half' attack. 2.5/10
John Terry
Our Captain Marvel didn't put a foot wrong, or right for that matter. Time to ditch the Foxton's-estate agent haircut though. 1/10
Jamie Carragher
The Best Centre-Half in the World (Scouse trademark) was unfairly played out of position, so he gets a full 10/10

Owen Hargreaves Looks like one of Jossy's Giants but plays like a young Carlton Palmer. A truly world-class water carrier. 2/10
Steven Gerrard
Wore his heart on his sleeve - messy. No player misplaces passes with such enthusiasm and verve. 9/10
Frank Lampard
Stevie Mac needs to build his team around the World's Second Best Player. That way, we'll get rid of the manager in no time. -2/10
Aaron Lennon
This tiny man confuses the opposition and his team-mates in equal measure. Fast feet, not-so-fast brain. Shows promise though. 6/10
Wayne Rooney Exposed as the Sergei Rebrov to Cristiano Ronaldo's Andrei Shevchenko. 3/10
Andy Johnson 'Worked the channels tirelessly', when he should have been 'scoring goals tirelessly'. 2/10

March 26, 2007 in International football | Permalink | Comments (6)

Landon 'Landycakes' Donovan, scores a hat-trick (USA vs Ecuador friendly)

So whilst England failed abjectly to trouble the scorers against plucky Israel (and respect to the home side's stalwart defenders), the good 'ole US of America stood as one to applaud this hat-trick, scored by Landycakes for the national team against Ecuador. Watch out for his third goal - it's a cracker:

March 26, 2007 in International football, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (11)