How the World Cup final becomes a Merseyside(*) event!

A very big "merci" to Alan Jones of Runcorn, Cheshire in the north west of England, for the following observation; a victory for Holland against Uruguay would see two men who play their club football for rival teams in the city of Liverpool on the same side in the World Cup Final.
They would be Dirk Kuyt of Liverpool FC, John Heitinga of Everton FC.
The only other time this happened was in 1966; Ray Wilson of Everton, and Roger Hunt of Liverpool.
In 1966, the Merseyside contingent lifted the trophy for England. Could this be an omen for a Dutch victory in 2010?
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Fabio Capello says at his news conference that he felt 442 worked as a formation for England.
So where's the "news" in this conference?
He wants to stay on as boss - with a salary cited as between 6 to 8 million quid a year, ok, i would say I'll stay.
Capello was I think right not to change the formation though.
Raymond Domenech switched France to 433 in the Mondial warm up - hey look how that worked!

I'm still trying to digest England's'exit

Many things stick in my throat.
Most of all the inept display and the lack of ideas all round.
Yes, we played for 20 mins in the first half. But that's'not enough.
Something eight million a year Fabio has to work on..

Anyway on a personal note, just joined a gym here. I have to negotiate a group of down and outs who live in the doorway. They seem very good natured given they live in a street.
Think my rugby injury will get better before their situation does.

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Will Gary Lineker's comment be true again?

So it's the Germans. Again. Games against them always throw up the iconic images from the past: 1966 and all that; Gazza's tears in 90; Pizza Hut adverts in 96 (Southgate, Waddle and Pearce - hang your heads in shame); Owen's hat-trick; penalties...


What will be the iconic image after tomorrow? David James scoring a penalty kick? It would be lovely to see him do that and then mimic that arrogant strut Andy Moller did at Wembley in Euro 96.


The Germans seem quite confident ahead of tomorrow. . That would not have been too misplaced after England's first two games. But then North Korea might have fancied facing us after the Algeria game. Their papers have been full of headlines saying things like 'Bring On England' and the like.


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And we thought France were bad

Well, what a shambles. From the match in Cape Town to the press conference shenanigans yesterday with John Terry, England are in a mess.


Everyone is to blame; manager, coaches and players. Could it be that Fabio Capello is the right man at the wrong time? Some of his substitutions against Algeria were baffling. Before the World Cup, all the talk was of pace. Everyone seemed to believe that this was what was required to break down the world's best defences (and Algeria's). However, pace is only useful when there is space to run into, and Algeria weren't daft enough to allow that so they defended on the edge of their penalty area. The game was screaming out for Joe Cole, one of the few English players with a bit of cunning, but Capello left him on the bench. He seems inflexible, like a man still defiantly watching his old black-and-white telly, while the rest of us relax in front of our colour HDs.


England start poorly yet again

England have competed in 13 championships in my lifetime. Our opening fixture record reads as follows: Wins - 3, Draws - 6, Defeats - 4. A win percentage of 23% -  a poor figure for a supposedly top football nation. What is it about England that makes them fail this test time and again?


In a word - fear. How else can you explain players like Lampard and Lennon playing like shadows of the performers we see for their clubs? It's like they've been replaced with an Invasion of the Bodysnatchers style replica. One of my Talksport colleagues who went to the Royal Bafokeng Stadium said he thought they looked nervous before the game, as if they could already see the headlines should they fail to beat the US (although quite why Robert Green decided to make it easier, Lord only knows). For this Capello and staff must take some of the blame.


48 million people with one common goal

So I am in South Africa! The blog has had to wait as they sent me out to work straight off the flight. I only managed to sleep for two hours on the way over but thought it would not matter as I had the day to sleep some more. Not a chance. When we reached our accommodation, I was told to hurry up as I was going straight out to record some audio and then I would be producing a show in the afternoon. We ended up in a safari park, recording the presenters’ reactions to the wildlife and getting some vox pops. I then produced Drive with Adrian Durham, where he tried to be positive about England’s chances. The listeners on the whole were quite downbeat though. It is amazing the way people are playing down our prospects. I have even heard people criticising Fabio Capello for not knowing his best team or formation. Don’t they appreciate he has to try different things in the build-up? Is he supposed to do it in our opening game instead? As Michael Winner might suggest, calm down dear!!!


99 problems but a pitch ain't one

So due to a few gremlins, it's been a while since the last blog. This was very frustrating, not least because I called Walcott not making the squad but no-one was able to see it! The only person who was selected for the squad that didn't tally with my prediction was Stephen Warnock. Leighton Baines's decision to tell the media how he hates going abroad because it means he has to miss Corrie or whatever meant Warnock goes despite not playing a game under Capello.