Henry – the last word
I have to admit to being shocked by the number of comments on this site that describe Thierry Henry’s handball against the Republic of Ireland as accidental and that the entire affair is ‘part of the game’ and was the ref’s fault anyway. May be it is and may be it was but neither makes it right or acceptable. But rather than bang on about the actual incident, let’s instead turn our attention to the views of Roy Keane.
Boy, can this man hold a grudge. Commenting on the game, Keane used the same argument as he did after his premeditated assault on Alf Inge Haaland, that of ‘what goes round, comes round’. Ireland’s exit you see, was the fault of the FAI, a body that Keane has never seen eye to eye with as was demonstrated by his decision to walk out on his country at the World Cup in 2002. But even that was bettered when Keane stated that Ireland were responsible for the goal themselves after failing to clear the French free kick. I’m sure this is exactly the kind of advice that Trapattoni and his men wanted to hear, particularly from a man who has taken a once competitive side and led them to second from bottom in the Championship with a goal difference of -11.
Sir Alex Ferguson will always stick up for his players. When they’ve played well, he tells them so. When they’ve played badly, he deflects attention by blaming the officials, the ball, his team’s kit or even the low pressure system over Manchester which played havoc with Gary Neville’s ability to cross the ball (OK, possibly not the last one).
So with 5 of his team certain of a place in England’s World Cup squad and few more on the cusp, it’s strange to hear him say that England hasn’t got a chance of winning in South Africa, even if it may be true. That said, Ferguson bases his analysis on the fact that so few of England’s players have Champions League experience and on that he’s bang on. As Fergie points out , last season there were 103 Brazilians playing in the Champions League and only 15 Englishmen. Perhaps that is why he’s making Brazil his World Cup favourites.
Not in the zone
Just as the England rugby union manager Martin Johnson has stuck with a captain that many feel isn’t up to the job, so Rafael Benitez has stuck with the system of zonal marking. Just one question, why?
Liverpool have been particularly frail at set pieces this season and they were at it again on Saturday against Manchester City. When Emmanuel Adebayor rose unchallenged to nod in a 70th minute equaliser, I was closer to the City player than any Liverpool defender….and I was watching the game in Spain!
Burley’s up’s and down’s
There was a report in a UK newspaper recently showing the highs and lows of George Burley’s reign as Scotland manager.
Rather than a chronological review of his time in charge, I would have thought it could have been written thus:
Highs: Got the job.
Lows: Started the job.