England Through, Schwarzer Risk & Cesc Denies Spanish Media
The rag tag rabble of an England squad got their act together yesterday and put in a half decent performance to qualify for a Round of 16 meeting with Germany. Whether it was the players or Capello who resolved the issues which had plagued their earlier performances, well, both will take credit in their own way but the offering played to England’s strengths and for once, the ball was not ceded to their opponents cheaply. Or not as cheaply as before.
The care with which the England players controlled the ball suggested a lack of confidence and a determination not to get this result wrong. Few attempted first time passes, most settled for one touch to control and then to look for their options. The margin of victory should perhaps have been more and could have been wiped out but for some resolute, last ditch defending.
Joe Cole was omitted once more, James Milner preferred and in fairness to the soon to be ex-Aston Villa player, put in a good shift. Cole emerged as a second half substitute for Wayne Rooney and playing in the advanced midfield role was unable to influence the game as the rest of his team-mates retreated to defend the lead. The introduction of Emile Heskey lessened the goal threat but at least offered an outlet in the final minutes.
So Germany await on Sunday, a chance for some nationalistic fervour, with gnashing and wailing about penalties, presumptuous because England will need to raise their game a notch further to win this time around. Ozil added €5m to his price tag with a good performance and topped it off with a cracking goal. Serbia blew it with a miss of UYakubu proportions which mean Ghana go through although they will need to find some shooting boots if they want to get to the quarter-finals.
Neuer in goal looked secure by comparison to his peers in this competition but coming through quietly on the rails in this ‘Goalkeeping Grand National’ is Handanovic who has quietly gone about his work for Slovenia but will it be enough?
Not according to the Daily Mirror. Mark Schwarzer is Emirates-bound for £3.5m with his World Cup now over – confirmed at least officially last night with Serbia marginally failing to get their point – and Fulham seemingly resigned to losing their goalkeeper. However, this is one that is a huge risk for Wenger, the question being does he deem it worth taking.
The primary concern is the Australian’s age. He has probably got two seasons in him which suggests he is but a stopgap. Will Fabianski or Szczesny be ready in two years time? Further, a genuine question is whether Schwarzer is better, more consistent than Almunia? Certainly, at times, he appears to be but then Fulham’s defence was marginally more porous than Arsenal’s last season, 46 conceded to 41.
Can he make the difference? Perhaps although like most of this World Cup’s goalkeepers, he has not covered himself in glory. Even for £3.5m, this would be a risky signing and presumably not on a one-year contract which begs the question why Wenger will not break this policy for others. That alone brings doubt to the deal.
Elsewhere, Cesc has denied the Catalan media the chance to crow some more, fending off questions designed to get him to say that he wants to leave Arsenal by claiming to be focussed only on the World Cup. Pedro stepped up to the plate and offered more open desires that fabregas sign for Barcelona. No mention specifically of DNA but it was that kind of comment. The amount of time they must have spent investigating human DNA at the Camp Nou makes you wonder why there are any genetic diseases since they appear to have all of the answers.
Posted on June 24, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip, World Cup 2010 and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip, World Cup 2010. Bookmark the permalink. 167 Comments.