After chocolate and ice cream, the next best thing will be a way to save the world from the football hooliganism and English booing fans. The Three Lions are heroes for a month and turn into a farce in 90 minutes, according to fans. Tactics failed to come out right for a moment and England are labelled average. The first 2 wins had people seeing the English side qualifying with ease, a draw with Montenegro changed that opinion.
It is hard not to have registered a home win for Fabio Capello, but England did not need to get into extra gear and they didn’t. Montenegro were ultra defensive and celebrated the point that kept them on top of their group. Generally, England’s sloppy passing and lack of wisdom in the midfield was a cause for concern. In coaching terms, playing Wayne Rooney and Peter Crouch is a little off these days, given that Crouch needs a finisher to pick-up the second ball from his shielding and knock downs. Rooney is currently finished than being a finisher. He is far off from the ambushing predator he was known to be. Kevin Davies could have been far more productive under the circumstances.
The best thing on the night, was Ashley Young and Adam Johnson both made their first competitive start and showing much potential. Crouch then squandered a few obvious chances, but Montenegro were drilled enough to stop England from imposing their tactics and then went on to defend the point they had at kick-off to frustrate their more favoured opponents. The visitors got the points while the hosts had unthankful and booing fans who could not imagine it could have been worse.
Spain had a comfortable lead almost squandered but then resisted a superb recovery by Scotland. It took substitute Fernando Llorente to give the world champions a 3-2 win against a spirited Scottish side in Glasgow. Spain were 2-0 up in 55 minutes after Andres Iniesta score the second goal, adding to David Villa’s 44th minute penalty that equalled Raul Gonzalez’s record highest score for Spain.
There were riots as Italy’s Euro qualifier with Serbia was abandoned. Unruly Serbian fans threw flares on the pitch and at Italian supporters having hurled one into their own team’s bus in a new bout of Serbian football violence. Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic had pulled out of the Group C match in Genoa before kick-off after he was abused by his own fans during the bus incident in what reports said was violence connected to domestic club rivalry.
Belgium and Austria were involved in an interesting 4-4 draw while Iceland were beat 1-3 by a resurgent Portugal. France continued well under new coach, Laurent Blanc, winning 2-0 over Luxembourg in France. Greece beat Israel 2-1 and Slovakia drew 1-1 with the Republic of Ireland
Macedonia lost 0-1 to Russia as did Estonia to Slovenia. San Marino were beat 0-2 by Moldova while the Netherlands and Switzerland posted 4-1 wins over Sweden and Wales respectively. Denmark beat Cyprus 2-0, Liechtenstein lost 0-2 to Czech Republic as Belarus overcame Albania 2-0. Kazakstan were 0-3 losers to Germany and Latvia drew 1-1 with Georgia as did Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland. Azerbaijan won 1-0 over Turkey and Armenia beat Andorra 4-0. Finland lost 1-2 to Hungary.