Anorak News | Singing The Blues

Singing The Blues

by | 14th, June 2004

‘DAVID Beckham invites us to blame him for last night’s cruel 2-1 defeat to the French after he missed a penalty that would have surely have given England victory.

Not Michael Owen

So, happy to oblige as we always are at Anorak Towers, here goes.

You silly, shaven-headed, helium-voiced, tattoo-despoiled, Rebecca Loos-shagging, stick insect-loving prat – why didn’t you let someone else take it?

That off our chest, we turn to the coverage of the game itself in which England were denied victory by two injury-time French goals, both scored by Zinedine Zidane.

The Sun dubs it “the cruellest finish of all”, reminiscent of Manchester United’s European Cup win against Bayern Munich in 1999.

And both it and its main rival, the Mirror, use the same “Kicked In The Gauls” headline to describe the sickening feeling of defeat.

Indeed, the Mirror also summons memories of the Nou Camp to describe the “slack-jawed, gobsmacking surreality” as defeat was plucked out of the very jaws of victory.

“Only this time the joke was on us,” it says, “not some Germans snivelling on the turf. This time, the tears were ours.”

That the French had enjoyed the majority of possession and had more shots both on and off target (even if they never had a clear-cut chance in open play) is forgotten.

We were 1-0 up after 90 minutes. We should have been 2-0 up after 90 minutes. We lost 2-1.

We may have had fewer shots, fewer corners and committed more fouls – but the Mirror’s player rankings have England comfortably ahead.

Only Steven Gerrard, whose ill-judged back pass gifted France victory, gets less than 7/10, while all the back four plus Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney are awarded 8/10s.

The story is similar in the Sun, with Rooney, Lampard, Ledley King and Sol Campbell all getting 8/10s, while Zidane whose brilliant last-minute free-kick got France back into the game gets a measly 7/10.

The Star even awards a 9/10 for 18-year-old Rooney, whose brilliant run from the halfway line was only brought to an end by Mikael Silvestre’s foul in the penalty area.

“Like a good French wine, we were maturing nicely,” writes Brian Woolnough. “Then we dropped the damn bottle.”

Or in the case of some knucklehead England fans up and down the country, threw the bottle at giant TV screens.

But while England football fans drown their sorrows, England cricket fans were celebrating a second successive 3-0 series win, this time against the Kiwis.

Graham Thorpe was the hero of the hour, his unbeaten 104 guiding England to the 284 victory target in extra time on the fourth day at Trent Bridge.

Where once England would have folded like a pack of cards, the middle-order battled back from 46-3 to record their highest fourth innings score in Nottingham.

If only their footballing counterparts could have shown such discipline at the death…’

Posted: 14th, June 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink