The first SaturdayÂ of August in England and it’s raining; football weather. Normally this would be time to look forward to the new season but when the news broke yesterday that Sir Bobby Robson had passed away it was time to stop and reflect on what an outstanding career he had as a player, coach and manager not only in and for England but also abroad with some of the heavyweights of European club football; he always came across as being a good bloke and one ofÂ the last ‘old school’ football personalitiesÂ too, something that came across yesterday in the many tributes that were paid to him. Perhaps fittingly, his last appearance at a football match was a few days before his death when he attended a friendly between the England 1990 and Germany 1990 sides for the Sir Bobby Robson Trophy (England 1990 won 3-2);Â Â the image of Sir Bobby consoling Paul GascoigneÂ willÂ always remain in the memories ofÂ England fansÂ that are old enough to remember the events of the dramatic evening 4th July 1990.
As the title says, ‘as it happened’ rather than live so this post is more of a re-cap of last night. We’re going to try to live blog some of the games leading up to the World Cup Finals, but as an exercise in live blogging it really was worthwhile.
Due to a Sky Box issue with my nearest and dearest, I watched the game on delay via ITV.com but Iâ€™d advise anyone trying that to make sure that you leave plenty of time at the start of the game because I missed about 30 seconds while watching an IBM ad.
So hereâ€™s the almost live version of last nightâ€™s events. Iâ€™ve been through the comments and spellchecked them: my football shorthand is as follows:
D: Theâ€¦errrrâ€¦D on the edge of the penalty box.
FK: Free kick
GLK or GK: Goalkeeper
HHH: aka Paul Michael Levesque, professional wrestler from WWE (see below)
HT: half time
IT: injury time
LHS: left hand side
M2M: Marked man to man
MIA: Missing in action
MOM: Man of the match
SWP: Shaun Wright-Phillips
WP: Well played
WWE: World Wrestling Entertainment
5m: not much in it right now. Both sides still checking each other out.
6:58 Rooney just wide with an overhead kick, nice effort.
9:54 Barry gets a yellow, literally seconds after I thought he should be careful.
10:17 Valiyaiev shoots wide left. England beginning to slowly get on top.
12:00 Nice cross from Aaron Lennon. England definitely on top right now.
13:28 Rooney brought dwn by Mykhalyk, who gets a card. FK to the left of the D. Gerrard misses just to the left. Good effort.
15:25 Rooney near splits the UKR defence, Gerrard only GLK to beat, but pass INT.
19:43 England corner, Lampard (R), UKR have it under control until poor play by Tymoschuk gives it away: ball played into area but Rooney is offside.
Tight game, interesting as both teams are being patient. This looks like a typical England first round finals game.
22:25 Nice break by UKR but cross is overhit and James takes it.
24:05 Lampard CRN R, UKR break from it. UKR maybe a little over elaborate when attacking.
25:07 Goalmouth scramble, decent chance for England but nothing comes of it
25:37 UKR attack and Voronin – who looks like HHH from WWE â€“ is injured, but not really Terry’s fault. James a little bit MIA there.
28:15 Nice header from Rooney, corner ENG (L), Crouch GOAL ENGLAND. Oh no it’s the Robot. Knock down from John Terry.
31:08 Aliev FK, James gathers. Slow mo shows that Barry was holding Milevskiy…poss pen. Barry needs to be vigilant. Who’s on the bench?
(Should Clive Tyldesley be talking over the national anthem when the England supporters are singing it?)
35:05 Gorgeous diagonal ball (l to r) from Rooney to Lennon,
Lennon centres and Rooney blazes over. Crouch got the goal, but Rooney is 1st half MOM.
36:30 James muffs a long range shot from Tymoshuck, luckily no UKR in the immediate area.
37:45 James clears the ball out for a UKR throw in.
39:32 UKR FK, blocked, Tymoschuk blasts over the bar.
41:00 Gerrard gives the ball away, but danger is averted. Obviously still some nerves, but England look relatviely comfortable.
43:17 Snapshot from Gerrard after some nice approach work, Rooney in the middle of it again.
44;00 David Pleat notices Rooney is M2M by Slysur
44:57 England corner (R), 1m IT, Crouch header cleared off line by Yarmash.
HT England 1-0 Ukraine. About right.
45:00 and we’re off.
46:30 Rooney starts getting a bit physical. Shevchenko warming up, but so what. Far too early for a sub.
47:45 Cole gives the ball away. Too much of this. Rooney snapshot, nice try. At the moment it’s wormkanlike ten plus Rooney.
49:28 Voronin offside from Timoshuk ball.
50:10 England nice approach work but nothing comes of it. Ooh look, it’s David Beckham.
(New shirt is growing on me despite initial verdict that it looks like a netball shirt from the 70s.)
(UKR not a bad team, we’re better, if they had a Rooney it might be different.)
(Pizza’s here but I’ll keep going)
54:29 Voronin off, Shevchenko on. Perhaps Mikhailichenko read my comment about Ukraine needing a Rooney.
57:09 Lennon for Sir David Beckham OBE, UKR goalie Pyatov injured by Mykhalyk rather than Lurch…sorry, Crouch.
(Beckham’s knighthood will be in King Charles’ accession honours list)
60:30 Nazarenko on for Valiyaev
61:40 FK ENG, RH D, Here’s Beckham…close, but no cigar.
63:45 Slysur s/be booked for foul on Barry
64:25 Rooney needs to calm down after going through Olexander Aliev.
(Why are the no updates from the other games featuring British teams?)
(Poland have beaten San Marino 10-0)
72:00 Glen Johnson booked. Not much going on.
73:35 GOAL UKR SCHEVCHENKO, FK from right bounces
around in the area, not properly dealt with, Shevchenko wellied it, James no chance. 1-1.
76:00 ENG crn L (Beckham), nothing comes of it.
Just had a text from another ENGL fan:
‘We looked lazy 15 mins before that goal’
78:15 SWP about to come on for Crouch.
79m Thanks for the updates Clive, bit late aren’t they.
Go to xscores.com for all your latest scores.
80:45 Here’s the curse: THIS IS GOING TO BE A DRAW.
82:30 FK ENG, Beckham L, nothing…
(Why was Beckham bought on? Where’s Gerrard been in terms of attacking?)
84:35 FK ENG GOAL ENGLAND, Beckham FK into LHS box,
Gerrard knock down to Terry who scooped it in. Well there’s my answer! And the curse has been broken again.
86:40 Beckham earns silly yellow card
87m Jagielka for Ferdinand, UKR also make a sub but ITV don’t tell us who it is (Kalinichenko for Slysur)
(N Ireland have won, R Ireland drew with a late Robbie Keane goal and Wales have done what Wales normally do. Scotland are about to win.)
89:33 John Terry announced MOM. Probably right, although if Rooney had stayed in the game he would have won it.
(Where’s the Injury Time clock ITV?)
(Scotland have beaten Iceland.)
91:00 Snapshot from Lampard. Argentina are losing 4-1 to Bolivia, WP Diego.
And that’s it for tonight, England probably shaded it but Capello needs to tell them that they’ve got to be a bit better than that.
So what did we learn yesterday? A draw would have been a disappointing result as England were the better team but at times the team seemed to revolve around Wayne Rooney and when he was marked out of the game the lack of creativity was noticeable. In order to introduce some flair and imagination, Capello replaced Lennon with Beckham but that didn’t work as well as it could have and there were a few occasions where the first touch was lacking or the ball was given away.
Having said that, a win is a win, we’re five points ahead of Croatia and Fabio Capello is a better manager than Diego Maradona and Sven Goran Eriksson…who was sacked by Mexico today.