Players | Managers | Clubs | Grounds | National Teams | Leagues & Cups
    The Beautiful Game
    Football Stories
  My Quick Links:
    Newcastle United
    St James Park
    Glenn Roeder


England - both a great result and performance - 03/04/2003

After the criticism of Saturday’s performance against Liechtenstein, last night’s game went along way to ensuring the back pages have switched from the negative to the positive. Although the first half hour was a little tense, the remainder of the game served up a great deal of plus points; David James, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Bridge and of course, Wayne Rooney all played excellently. But more importantly, it was the overall team performance that should be acknowledged first. Led by David Beckham, who seemed to be willing to take on the Turks single handedly, it was night where controlled positive football was played – despite the obvious passion and pressure of the game.

The Turks let us know that they weren’t to be underestimated. Any team that reaches the World Cup semi-finals commands immediate respect, but England, on our day are a match for anyone. The fact that a few of their players publicly stated that they fancied their chances would only bolster England’s determination. Beckham’s passion not doubt fired by a few of these comments! Looking at the players I mentioned above, David James’ ability is without question, the save he brought off from the second half header was pure instinct – David James at his best. His athleticism and reflexes enabled him to get there, if his concentration was to improve slightly, we’d have a genuinely world class keeper who’d be the envy of the rest of the world. Steven Gerrard played on the left of midfield, the poisoned chalice position, and to be fair, he did very well. Whether Sven keeps the same shape for the remaining matches, I don’t know. Wayne Bridge came through very well, strong in the tackle and also positive in going forward, Ashley Cole has a very strong contender for the left back spot! As for Wayne Rooney, all that was lacking was a full debut goal. He creates openings from nothing, and when you consider his age it’s all the more impressive.

Looking at the group, it’s easy to say that the deciding game is without doubt England’s trip to Istanbul. Whilst the Turks had the backing of a few thousand noisy fans, they’ll have a definite advantage in terms of atmosphere when they next meet. I hear that the FA may not accept any tickets for fear of violence. It’s a tricky subject, and a difficult decision to make. A few years ago England had to travel to Italy and get something from the game to qualify for the world cup finals. It may be a similar situation next October – let’s just hope we get the same result.

What is your opinion about this article?
Start a new topic at our forum!

Print article


Corporate hospitality with John Beresford

Bez announces a corporate hospitality facility to entertain up to eight people during every home Newcastle United Premiership fixture. For further details please click on the link... [More]