Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Live Thoughts: England vs Wales (Euro Qualifier)

Hey everyone, here are my live thoughts from England's second game in four days as we take on our British companions, Wales.

For the record on a personal note, if you didn't know already, I lived in Wales for 13 years and used to speak Welsh fluently, but for football I've always supported England. In Rugby, not that I'm really into it, I follow Wales. Am I a hypocrite? Maybe. But it's because the Welsh are passionate for their rugby and not so much for footie. So that's where the allegiance lies. Anyway, I like all the British teams and Ireland, and unless England face one, I want us all to win.

Here are the teams:
England - Hart, Smalling, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Barry, Lampard, Milner, Downing, Rooney, Young. Subs: Stockdale, Jagielka, Lescott, Parker, Carroll, Johnson, Defoe.

So after Lampard's shock drop to the bench and the media's reaction to it, Lampard starts and Parker drops to the bench. That being said it can be seen from a tactical perspective as Lampard is better equipped to attack than Parker, and we are at home. Plus, Parker has a few yellow cards now. Walcott is out with a potential injury and Milner takes his place. Another decent tactical decision as Milner is a powerhouse and should hopefully keep Bale at bay. 

Wales - Hennessey, Gunter, Blake, Williams, Taylor, Crofts, Collison, Ledley, Ramsey, Bale, Morison. Subs: Myhill, D Collins, J Collins, Ring, Allen, Robson-Kanu, Earnshaw.

It's a decent Wales side with Bale being the main threat as expected. I think we can take them though, we need to keep possession and play well going forward.

2' - Quiet start, we've taken possession nicely.

4' - Gareth Bale should have had a foul against Ashley Cole but nothing given.

7' - John Terry had almost a free header from a corner but was tugged by a Welsh shirt. It was going wide anyway. 

9' - They just mentioned Wales' really low FIFA ranking, it's a shame really, they're better than that. 

10' - Free kick for Wales, a free header that gets nowhere. 

11' - Decent little bit of pressure by Wales and we didn't defend that well really. We need to do better than that. Jack Collison was at the heart of that.

18' - Rooney has a shot at goal but kicks it over.

19' - Goal saved by the Welsh keeper, Hennessey.

20' - Yellow card shown to James Milner after a dodgy tackle on Bale. 

23' - Hennessey bats away a shot on goal.

24' - Pushing and shoving in the box while the Welsh prepare for a corner kick from Gareth Bale  

27' - Downing! Over the bar.  He tried to bicycle kick a volley from a corner. Decent effort.

29' - Wales were 2-0 down in Cardiff last year at this stage when we faced them. They're passing the ball nicely around the Wembley turf, they've really improved their game.

32' - Chris Gunter tackles Ashley Cole and bursts forward and takes a shot from around 15 years. Well wide but it was a good run forward.

34' - GOAL! Ashley Young! A decent bit of pressure from England ends in Stewart Downing going down the right flank and cuts the ball back into the penalty box where Young clinically hits the ball in! 1-0!

36' - Stewart Downing looks like such a different player recently, or even the past year. He's enjoying the form of his life for both England and Liverpool.

37' - A good bit of pressure all of a sudden for England. It's great what a goal can do.

38' - A lovely curling pass by Downing goes just a little too far for Rooney.

39' - Ashley Young whips in a cross from the left that just misses Rooney's head. Unlucky!

42' - The class difference between England and Wales is finally showing now after half an hour of a hard working Wales side matching an England side failing to show the class against Bulgaria. It's a different game now and Wales don't look in it.

45' - Half time. A half time assessment is quite well done above at 42 minutes. A game of 30 minutes of hard work from Wales against a below par England. After the goal England were just dominant and Wales looked jaded. I can't see them getting back into this unless they change their tactics to go against England's dominant play.


45' - Immense pressure from England already! It ended with Barry shooting over the goal.

48' - We're in full control now. You wouldn't have thought there was 15 minutes between the end of the first and the start of the second half. We've continued to be aggressive and make chances.

49' - Aaron Ramsey curled the ball over the England defence and it gets to Gareth Bale with a mass of space but he was offside. That was some great vision from the Welsh pair.

51' - Rooney crosses the ball into the Wales box where Ashley Young is waiting but it just bounces in front of him and over. What a shame.

53' - The commentators are going on about the vibrant young Welsh side. It's frustrating. Wales always develop potentially decent young players but then they get on the pitch and lose often. The potential is never focused into results for them and it's a damn shame. I hope I'm wrong and Gary Speed can get more out of this group than John Toshack got out of the previous younger groups.

56' - Ramsey! Blocked. Bale gives Ramsey some room into the England box and it's just blocked off. They have another go and it's clumsily put to a corner by Joe Hart. That wasn't very good by England on that second effort.

59' - Gareth Bale just takes a wild shot at goal from distance that went nowhere. Before that he tried and failed to take on around 5 England players working around them without penetration. His shot definitely was the result of his frustrations for failing to break us down. Bless him.

60' - Lampard! Just over. There was some great movement from Gareth Barry who gets into the Wales box and passes it square to Lampard who had enough space to do better.

62' - Milner... wide. There was some good football by England then, with Rooney and Young at the heart of it, Young passes it to Milner who was free on the outside of the box and he hits it with little accuracy unfortunately. We just can't quite get that second goal.

64' - A deep cross from Downing from the free kick catches Hennessey out who fails to catch it and Gary Cahill shoots just over the bar.

65' - Corner to Wales. Chris Gunter bombs forward and tries to cross the ball and it hits Ashley Cole. Very little happens from the corner.

66' - Wales Sub: Steve Morison off and Robert Earnshaw comes on. Earnshaw is a decent Championship striker, but he's not on the level of England. I don't think he'll cause much of a problem.

69' - Wales try to break England but fail to ever get into our box. Free kick to England.

72' - England Sub: Frank Lampard off and Scott Parker on. Lampard didn't really produce the goods today, he was quiet for most of the game. Put it this way Parker did better against Bulgaria than Lampard has done today against Wales.

74' - Free kick for Wales in the central position. Bale curls it over the England wall and just over the bar. Decent effort.

75' - Earnshaw for Wales! Awful really as he had a great chance. The ball is square to him from about 3 yards and he hits it over. He looks devastated.

77' - My thoughts on Lampard for England if anyone cares? I don't think he should start anymore. I think there are younger and better options than a 32 year old Lampard who starting to look past it. Do I want him at Euro 2012 when/if we qualify. Most certainly. He has the experience and ability for a full tournament squad. It's silly to think not really.

78' - England Sub: Stewart Downing for Adam Johnson. Excellent performance from Downing today and he's pretty much England's first choice left winger now and rightfully so. Adam Johnson needs to get back into form to be able to challenge him for his shirt, but he more than has the ability long term to do so.

80' - Gunter! The whistle blew before he took his shot for a shoulder barge against Ashley Cole. But Joe Cole got to that shot excellently and saved, regardless of the foul. Brilliant reactions from the young English keeper!

81' - It's been over eighty minutes now and it's still 1-0 to England. Wales have done well to be fair and handled us for decent spells whilst creating some good chances when they can. I hope they don't give us the sucker punch at the end now.

82' - Earnshaw... wide. Counter attacking football from Wales and Earnshaw tries to curl it into the bottom right corner but it was wide by a decent margin.

84' - Wales Sub: Jack Collison off for Andy King.. He was influential today Collison and should be happy with his contribution.

86' - Wales are starting to find confidence. It's not good at the moment if we keep letting them play.

88' - Ashley Young for a brace! Just wide.

88' - England Sub: Wayne Rooney off for Andy Carroll. They're talking about the criticism for Carroll on commentary. My opinion? He does seem to lack fitness despite having a full pre-season behind him. If it's drinking or a diet thing, I don't know, but if so, he needs to seriously look at it as it's now the time to be professional and be as fit as possible. If not, we have more than enough talent in both England and Liverpool for other players who are willing to put in the effort on the pitch and off.

90' - Man of the Match is given to Aaron Ramsey. Understandable, he's been very good for Wales today and while he's not as flashy as Bale, he's a force in the middle of that pitch. Definitely a good player for the future for both Arsenal and Wales.

92' - Full time. We did enough for the win today and played some good football from around the 30 minute mark to the 60 minute mark. Between those times Wales did well and created chances. They should be happy with the way they handled England for long spells and made life difficult for us at times. For England, it's almost a certain qualification for us which is good, and we won and looked impressive at times. A win win situation for both sides today, bar naturally, a loss for Wales. Fingers crossed my Welsh compatriots can start climbing up the FIFA rankings and with a display like that, I reckon they might just do that. I'll root for them whenever England aren't playing that's for sure. That's all from me, have a good night.

1 comment:

  1. i'd just like to say that between minutes 18 & 23 that i took over the commentary as JM had to take a phone call - you can just tell by the superior writing skills for those 6 minutes :P