So England have recorded a win in the first of two international games – and thoroughly bored us in the process. The biggest talking points of Friday night seem to be the ‘harsh’ yellow card which will now rule Danny Welbeck out of the ‘crunch’ game against the Ukraine (if England want to make any sort of mark in Brazil, we suggest stopping thinking that Ukraine constitute a crunch game is a good starting point).
Meanwhile, for Northern Ireland it looks like qualifying will be next to impossible now, with Cristiano Ronaldo firstly being baited with ‘You’re just a cheap Bale’ and finally the obligatory chants of ‘Messi, Messi.’ Ronaldo responded after a poor first half and scored three in the second, carrying Portugal on his back once more.
Elsewhere, Alvaro Negredo scored as Spain (with San Iker in net) won again, and both Wales and Scotland left a fair bit to be desired in their games. Scotland had the harsh pick of the bunch facing Belgium who have a squad England could only dream of. Quite what mark they will make in the summer at the World Cup remains to be seen, but expectation is mounting all the time, and given the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Nacer Chadli and Christian Benteke – to name but a few – are in their starting eleven, who can blame us?
So to summarise, same old same old. There was a time when internationals would be the thing people looked forward to on the fixture calendar – not these days however. Now they are seen as a problem, an inconvenience and something that inflicts the dreaded FIFA Virus – something that Chelsea are about to rue given the knocks to both Oscar and Eden Hazard during their respective training sessions this week. Maybe that voodoo doll Juan Mata bought is working after all!
Are we looking forward to the Ukraine clash? Not really. Will we watch it? Most probably, all the while longing for league football to come back and provide us with some real ‘crunch games.’
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