Something For The Weekend (289)
In fact I wish them a resounding and hearty prost and a couple of freut michs, for good measure, for doing their best to make England's exit from the World Cup as painless as could possibly be.
It was close though and one thing's for certain, if they hadn't banged in those extra couple of goals, I would now be still spitting feathers about being robbed by the collective blindness of any number of officials. It would have meant a long drawn out process of paranoia and outrage, just like when Maradona sprouted angel's wings, Platt had his goal disallowed against Germany in the legendary 1990 semi-final, or when Sol Campbell had his goal against Portugal struck off, for no good reason anyone could see except the Swiss referee.
But when your team is just bad, a bit of magnanimity is your only consolation.
Okay it was a little distressing seeing Gareth Barry vainly trying to haul his big fat arse after the fleet-footed Özil, and it seemed like even Miss Marple could not have solved the mystery of England's disappearing defenders, but the defeat was so comprehensive and the beating so thorough, that it was impossible to feel too much disappointment. And, the England players had even been good enough to forewarn us.
Germany were just better - a lot better.
The Germans even robbed me of my usual bitter jibes about the ethnic purity of their team, as they had a veritable United Nations making up most of the squad, with more Poles than you can usually find picking asparagus, in a field in East Anglia.
It then all got slightly hilarious as the same guys (Shearer et al) who had been telling us how good England are, and how they would cruise the group, suddenly flipped faster than an MP with a house to sell and they started telling us with feeling, why and how England were bad. No one had the balls to tell them that we knew already, even when they were telling us the exact opposite, only two hours previously.
Predictably, as always happens, we were then invited to discuss the intricacies of the formation, as we were coaxed into exonerating the players and blaming the manager. We were asked to believe that if Gerrard had played in a different position, Terry and Upson would have been transformed into defenders.
They did exactly the same with Sven, after the then little-known player called Ronaldinho had taken them apart in 2002. The pundits kept saying - he should have done something.
Now we are faced with exactly the same process - scapegoating the manager, so they can start the process of making the punters believe that this same group of players are world-beaters, once again. So the FA are sitting on their hands for a couple of weeks so they can decide whether public opinion allows them to discover the courage to stand by their man, or not.
The FA only know one dance and that is the shilly-shally shuffle.
The rest of us can't help but notice that the same bunch of players have failed under every type of manager, from the taciturn Swede, their best mate McClaren and now the highly-experienced disciplinarian Italian. Sooner or later, we might have to accept that these players are just not good enough and lower our expectations, rather than blaming the foibles of a list of managers, which is as long as the faces of the returning England fans.
These are the same bunch of players who failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and Capello is the same manager who transformed that sorry bunch into a team which qualified for the World Cup, at a canter. We should not be surprised that those players proved inadequate when they trod the world stage.
Their only sin is that they are not very good when they are forced to play for a team which is worse than the team they play for every week.
The least talented England players would not get in the first eleven of the top clubs in the Premiership.
The FA need to think long and hard about the problems which face England, and realise that no quick fix of hiring a manager the tabloids approve of, is going to make them go away. The fact is, that there is a dearth of young English players who are good enough to replace the present England incumbents. The Beckham generation are now five years past their sell-by date and there are no obvious replacements. There is no Michael Owen coming through and there is no Paul Scholes, or a replacement for Steven Gerrard, or Ferdinand.
Surprise, surprise, we have a world-class national stadium but we are missing a whole generation of players. Man United have Scholes and co, all in their mid-thirties, and then Danny Welbeck who is nineteen. But nothing in between.
In four years time, England are going to have a team which will make the present Italian side, look positively youthful.
Whatever decision the FA come to as regards, who should manage the national team, they surely must address this problem, or risk following the Scottish into the wilderness, as regards International tournament football.
Appointing some manager whose stock just happens to be high at the moment, might get the tabloids off their back but it no way addresses the problem.
What the defeat to Germany really proved was that the German philosophy which produced their crop of highly-talented and confident youngsters, is probably better than the money-focused philosophy which inspires the FA, and which has put English players at the risk of becoming a minority in the Premiership.
Given the choice between keeping the money or handing back power to the fans and opportunity to English players, the FA will choose the money every time.
Its probable that a lot of fans might make the same choice too: constant failure at the World Cup, might be considered a small price to pay, for the possibility of seeing the likes of Torres, Fabrigas and Drogba every week.
The debate will continue to rage and as the World Cup reaches the sharp end we can sit back and enjoy top quality football from teams and players, who don't hurt us when they lose.
What could be better?
The problem I am not looking forward to, is facing up to life after the World Cup. By the middle of this week I was already getting withdrawal symptoms, when I found that there were going to be days when there was going to be no football on the telly.
Football is the only thing which deafens me to insistent tyranny of having to listen to the demands of other people and their problems. The end of the World Cup means returning to the nagging necessity to listen, use a coaster and not leave the seat up. Its even possible that people will want to have conversations about subjects other that football. How bad is that?
And, they do get upset if you don't pay attention.
Check this chick out - she seems to be mad about something but I am not sure what.
Maybe it was something I said?
Its going to be a long twelve weeks until the start of the season.
Keep the faith!