Sitting In The Waiting Room
But whether luck or no luck, crap manager or good manager, overrated players or world-beaters; all that counts for nothing now - they simply cannot lose.
Wednesday, is all about whether the English are a bunch useless twats when they step onto a football field, or not, and whether our philosophical and sporting leaders, can run the proverbial piss-up in a brewery, or not.
Can the English get off their effete sorry arses, and for once, be as brave as the Scots, and as passionate as the Irish and the Welsh?
Or, asking a bit too much here, as professional as the Germans.
Handed a group, everyone assured us they would cruise, England have it all to do and pressure-cooker ain't in it. What if they go one-nil down early on and get a penalty which would take them through? Will there be a player on the pitch with the bottle to put it away?
Its going to be a big test for the manager and every player who puts on that shirt, come Wednesday night. It will be a definite case of: no guts, no glory.
I am not sure what sort of lash-up McClaren has in mind for the defence but the likely front two of Defoe and Crouch remains a mystery and that is the long and the short of it. But surely Gareth Barry has to play. Not because he is a Villa player but because England must keep the ball, if they are going to dominate the game. Give the ball away as they so often do and the Croats will quickly put the game beyond them.
Keep the f***ing ball!
Barry simply must play and if he doesn't McClaren will be exposed, as a man who is totally unable to learn his lessons. If Barry doesn't start and Lampard is paired with Gerrard, it will confirm every bad thing anyone has ever said against the England manager. If I have one dread, it is that McClaren will revert to that sort of madness, as what mental capacity he does possess, evaporates in the heat of the build-up.
For Villa romantics.
It is not so long ago that I was fantasizing out loud, about the moment when Crouch would make his starring England debut. All that came true but it never occurred to me that one day it would be Crouch leading the line and it would be he, we depended upon, to score the goal(s) that would take England through to a major International tournament. For him to do so, would be one of the greatest football fairy-tales in living memory and that would be a fantastic moment for any fan who saw his potential at Villa and would once again, totally vindicate Graham Taylor's faith in him.
Besides, I like Peter because he looks as rubbish in a woolly hat as I do: Click Here
But I tell you what, I will be absolutely crapping myself from now until that final whistle is sounded on Wednesday, as I always do when I'm sitting in the waiting room.
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