Thank goodness for the European Championships, eh? Just when the media’s collective foreheads were about to explode Scanners-style over the vacant Tottenham post (getting alkaline flesh and acid blood all over the coffee table), there’s nothing like an international tournament to return us to the sanity of actual football. Or not, as the case may be, but at least the erroneous speculation over the future of Roberto Martinez and his coaching staff has died down. Whatever your opinion, these Euros have been very well received here at JWAW Towers, and we’ve spent the past three weeks revelling in the glory of irrelevance, Baddiel and Skinner-style. Here’s a few things we noticed.
All you need to beat the Germans is three strips of blue gaffer tape like those used by Balotelli. Maybe Chris Kirkland can take a leaf out of Super Mario’s book, go one further and mummify the whole of his lower back? At the very least, I think he would benefit from a duct tape corset to hold his spine in place.
At one point, I’m sure Spain played with seven midfielders against Italy. When asked by Adrian Chiles if he would adopt a similar tactic at Wigan Athletic, Roberto promised he wouldn’t. Going on the evidence of the early half of last season, I suggest he’s secretly concocting plans for an unprecedented 11-man midfield.
Kevin Kilbane’s impression of Vanilla Ice outside a Polish bar far exceeded his team’s performance at the tournament. They did receive a tough draw, but unfortunately Ireland did not produce their best football when it mattered. Poor Shay Given had a tough time of it and probably could have done with Killer providing that extra bit of protection… by scaring the opposition with his rapping. One thing’s for certain: they definitely would have made it out of the group stages with the help of James McCarthy.
This time two years ago, I was bemoaning the decline of world football following a lacklustre tournament in South Africa:
In summary, the players are a bunch of sissies that fall over under the slightest pressure before performing seven rolls in an attempt to get the other bloke sent off. — JWAW, 4 July 2010
Thankfully, we haven’t seen very much of this at Euro 2012. Discounting the typical Italian play acting and that slightly dodgy refereeing performance in the opening game, we’ve been able to sit back and enjoy the football for a change. Mostly…
Thank goodness John Terry decided to wear white boots. Combined with the white posts, white goal netting and white ball, it was nigh on impossible for that touchline official to spot Devic’s half-saved strike crossing the goal line in a blur of white. Goal line technology, anyone?
Why do the goal-line officials stand there with gas cooker igniters? And why did the one in last night’s final have to squat over the touchline like a tennis player even when the ball was out of play? Did the wind change and he got stuck in place in the third minute?
The Germans bottled it. How on earth did a team that started second favourites to win the tournament concede two goals against an Italian side that couldn’t even score against supposedly inferior England in 120 minutes of football? And they managed to miss a penalty in the shoot out. This surely means that England are better than Germany by proxy, perhaps our greatest victory at this tournament.
Now, if I can just speak seriously for a moment… In all, I have very much enjoyed this tournament. If there is one criticism I could offer, it’s regarding the balls, which were prone to sudden last-minute direction changes. This led to a high proportion of pot-shots from outside the area in an attempt to catch the keeper off guard, but each was either blocked or went flying high over the bar.
England produced a tournament record number of blocks and their defensive tactics enjoyed a modicum of success. There wasn’t that balance with attack, however, and as the Italy game entered extra time, Hodgson’s side was already run into the ground. My solution: appoint Roberto Martinez for World Cup 2014. No really, I’m serious – Bob came across as something of an expert on every team from his seat in the ITV studio, and I really want to see England play with three defenders…