Anorak News | Ditching Diamond Works Wonders

Ditching Diamond Works Wonders

by | 18th, June 2004

‘MAKE no mistake – it may have been Wayne Rooney who scored the vital goals, but it was the papers wot won last night’s Euro 2004 clash against Switzerland.

What happened next is part of football history

Had they not tipped off the nation that Sven Goran Eriksson was planning to play his diamond formation yesterday, the Swede might have got away with it.

But there was still time for David Beckham to lead what the Express describes as “a remarkable revolt” and get the team’s tactics changed.

As it was, the English were well and truly flattered by the 3-0 scoreline, having been outplayed for much of the match by the Swiss.

And the Sun is quick to apportion blame – it was Eriksson’s fault.

For some reason, the papers have all decided that these days the Swede can do no right – if we win, it is despite him; if we lose, it is because of him.

And the Sun’s Steven Howard is sure that England’s lacklustre performance was because they had been training to play a diamond formation.

“The results were obvious,” he says. “Four fine midfielders hardly looked as if they were on nodding terms, but how are they expected to feel comfortable when the manager, even at this late stage, seems incapable of deciding on his tactics.”

Well, the fact that they’re all highly-paid professional footballers who play as part of a flat midfield four week in, week out should be a help.

In the end, the only thing that really mattered, however, was the result and the win (combined with France’s 2-2 draw against Croatia) means England need only one point to progress.

And the England players are in no doubt who they have to thank for the result, with Wayne Rooney getting a standing ovation from his teammates in the dressing room after the game.

The Mirror notes that at only 18 years and 237 days Rooney is now the youngest ever goalscorer in the European Championships.

The Sun, Mirror, Star and Express all award him a 9/10 for his performance, with only the stingy Mail playing the part of the Russian judge and giving him an 8/10.

But concerns surround the form and fitness of Paul Scholes and Michael Owen, both of whom were replaced in the second half.

Both get only 4/10 from the Mail and Eriksson must be wondering whether he will have either in his starting XI on Monday.

One thing is for sure – England will have to play a lot better against a Croatia side who threatened to cause a massive upset when they led the French 2-1.

The statistics show that, although the Swiss managed only one shot on target during the whole game, they enjoyed 55% of the possession, had five corners to our none and had the same amount of shots in total.

Whatever happens on Monday, however, one thing is guaranteed – Eriksson won’t be winning any plaudits in the one-eyed media.’

Posted: 18th, June 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink