Squad For Egypt Friendly Announced

by on February 28, 2010
in Chile Earthquake, Friendlies

First the squad, then the opinion:

Goalkeepers:
David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Birmingham City, on loan from Manchester City)

Defenders:
Wes Brown (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Matt Upson (West Ham), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Ryan Shawcross (Stoke), Leighton Baines (Everton), Steven Warnock (Aston Villa)

Midfield
James Milner (Aston Villa), David Beckham (AC Milan), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Steven Gerrard (probable captain, Liverpool), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Stewart Downing (Aston Villa)

Strikers
Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Jermain Defoe (Spurs), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Peter Crouch (Spurs), Carlton Cole (West Ham)

We’re almost 100 days until the World Cup kicks off and Wayne Bridge’s decision to rule himself out of further contention for the England team plus injuries to Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand are casuing a major defensive headache. Injuries are one thing – and to be honest, it would have been a miracle if we’d gone into the tournament without any – but for an established international like Bridge to have withdrawn as a consequence of John Terry’s off-field behaviour vindicates the decision by Sr. Capello to look for on-field leadership elsewhere.

To his credit, at the end of last week Sr. Capello made it clear that if Bridge was to reconsider his decision, the Manchester City defender would be welcomed back to the squad. I really hope we haven’t heard the end of this because I think we may need Wayne Bridge this summer, especially as all sorts of rumours are flying around about Ashley Cole’s mental state following Cheryl Cole’s decision to end their marriage. If Cole (A)  is neither mentally nor physically fit this summer then he shouldn’t go to South Africa at all.

To cap it all, one of the defensive replacements has a lot of back page coverage this morning. I didn’t see Ryan Shawcross’ tackle on Aaron Ramsey (I was in the kitchen listening to the game while I cooked dinner) but as soon as I heard the commentary I was instantly reminded on a similar injury that occurred about a decade ago at my local club. Shawcross got an instant red card and left the field in tears. A few hours later he got his England call up.

Apart from the casualties listed above, Glen Johnson and Aaron Lennon are also injury concerns at the moment, thankfully Gary Cahill is on the mend after suffering a health scare with a blood clot, but Joe Cole is missing again, simply because he’s not playing regularly for Chelsea. Intriguingly, Theo Walcott returns to the squad and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make an appearance at some point on Wednesday; his last chance to impress Capello perhaps.

To put all of this into some kind of perspective, if you think England’s preparations have been hampered by scandal and injuries, Chile have cancelled both of their friendlies that were scheduled for Wednesday after the country was hit by a massive earthquake on Saturday morning – the strongest one to affect the country for 50 years, which was the biggest ever recorded. We also haven’t sacked our manager – Vahid Halilhodzic was dumped by the Ivory Coast on Saturday, fuelling speculation that Guus Hiddink would take over for their World Cup campaign, although I don’t think Bora Milutinovic is busy at the moment.

Finally, a couple of follow up stories: there have been charges in the Salvador Cabanas shooting and it looks as if wounded Togo goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale may be on his way back to France at last.

We’ll have a look at the Egypt squad on Tuesday evening – the game will be live on ITV in the UK everywhere other than Scotland (kick off at 8pm GMT) and although we haven’t decided to run one of our infamous live blogs for this game yet, we’ll let you know on Tuesday.

Reports: Four Dead Following Attack On Togo Team Bus

There still appears to be some confusion over the death toll, but it seems likely that as well as the un-named Angolan bus driver, assistant coach Abalo Amalete, press officer Stanislas Ocloo and reserve goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale were either killed during the attack or died of their injuries afterwards.

The Front For The Liberation of the Enclave of Cambinda (FLEC) claimed responsibility for the attack, which happened on Friday afternoon.

Following the withdrawal of the Togolese team, Group B has been reduced to three teams (Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast and Ghana), with Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast scheduled to kick of at the Chimandela Stadium in Cambinda on Monday afternoon. As well as all but one of the Group B matches, the stadium is the venue for the Malawi/Mali game in Group A (18th January) and one of the quarter finals (Winners of Group B v Runners Up Group A) – the latter game may feature hosts Angola.

It goes without saying that we’re shocked and appalled at what’s happened over the last couple of days. We intended to cover the tournament in order to take a look at some of England’s opponents (principally Algeria but also Nigeria and Ghana, both of whom we may face after the group stage) and while we will still do so, at the moment our thoughts are with the friends and families of those killed and injured in this terrorist attack on Les Eperviers (The Sparrowhawks).

UPDATE: Reserve goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale was erroneously reported as having died by several sources on Saturday, it now appears that he was very seriously injured in the attack and was transferred to a South African hospital for emergency surgery – pictures of Obilale arriving strapped to a stretcher were shown on Sky Sports late on Saturday night.