England V Croatia Preview

by Dexy Longshot

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Let’s get Saturday out of the way first with a bit of Q & A:

Was it a boring game? Yes

Was it a Penalty? No.

Was Rooney asking the ref for it? No. I had a good butchers at the replays and to me, Wayne’s hands go up and he mouths something to Gerrard, not the ref (something along the lines of, “what kinda **** ball was that soft-lad!” Meanwhile the ref points to the spot and Rooney and Stevie share a giggle. Boss!

Lets talk about the little lad, Defoe. 7 in 5 so far this season with 5 in his last 3 Lions outings, all from the bench. Super-sub me up, he is our Solskaar, ready to shoot down opponents in the 2nd half. If he carries on, it will be only a matter of time before he gets a start. It won’t happen yet, Fab has his plan for qualification, Rooney and Heskey. Once we qualify, then he can tinker with the Defoe option or even Carlton Cole for Heskey. I like Heskey and he has been a wonderful servant but goals win matches and his record over the past 8 years has been eclipsed by Defoe in just 18 months, mostly from the bench. Carlton is also a man for man replacement with the same attributes but also skill and goals. The way he rolled the right back in the last few minutes and got a shot off was Drogba in a white shirt (without a hissy-fit or dive at the end). If Fabio does eventually change the formation to accommodate Defoe, where will that leave Gerrard. he hasn’t impressed on his last few outings out wide and if forgotten Joe Boy comes back fully fit, will someone have to make way in midfield, decisions decisions for Don Cappello.

Up the other end and it was a shambles in the final 5 minutes. Legohead Lescott doesn’t look a 20-bob player let alone a 22m pound player and I’d put Upson, Ledley & Wes all on the plane in front of him. Has Lescott ever had a good game for England???? Greeno fluffed his lines as well although it isn’t every day you see a keeper a yard out of area, for me, he is still the best option and excellent at penalties (something we need to address).

Apart from them two and a wondering Johnson, it was another stroll and another win under Fabio’s belt, we didn’t really get out of 3rd gear and didn’t need to, especially with an eye on the big one.


This is it, the big one, a win and we’ll be taking the p*ss out of work-time tomorrow looking a flights and digs for next summer, the thing is, I still think it will be a rough ride at Wembley. The media have got us down as dead certs for win but I believe it will be a lot closer than Zagreb. Croatia don’t like pace as Walcott illustrated in the last meeting so I fancy Fab starting with the new Harry-trained controlled, confident & composed Lennon although I’m concerned about his tackling back abilities. Marauding Glenda was exposed on Saturday more than once and I pointed out to my learned comrades at half time how close Johnson and Wright-Phillips were playing far too close together, leaving acres of space behind. Slav is going to target that area big-time although I’m sure Capello is working on that right now. Another option could be Milner, he can track back and put his foot in and also deliver with either boot. If you watched the game closely, you’ll notice the Slovs seemed to double up on every time he went forward.

As for Bilic’s boys, Eduardo will be a threat but the injury to Modric has done us a right favour. Krancjar will be knocking it about (probably past old mucke Glen) but he isn’t the player he was and a stone heavier judging by his latest mug shots. Corluka’s suspended too so let’s get at em at the back. Plenty of Lennon one/twos down the right like Walcott did last year should suffice. I fancy 0-0 half time and a desperate Croatia throwing bodies forward in the latter stages leaving Defoe and Rooney to clean up. 1-0 England and plenty of God Save The Queen.

Incidentally, here are my 23 if we had the finals tomorrow. If Joe Boy, Walcott and Hargreaves were fit, they would be in for Young & Becks & Carrick. I would be checking on Micah as well as back-up.




Milner/Young/Gerrard//Lamps/ Carrick/Barry/Lennon//Becks (Yep that ain’t a mistake)


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  • Darren

    excellent as ever Dexy. Although, you know I’m a negative git when it comes to England, 1982 onwards and all that!

    I still think Capello is doing a Sven McClown, and thats playing Gerrard. I’ve seen him play well once for England recently and that was against Bob the builder, Jimmy the Estate agent & Micky the Postman, even my Wycliffe FC would give them a hammering!

    Milner has been excellent in recent games so why not start with him and let Gerrard sit on the bench, good player to bring on. When Joey boy is fit are you telling me Capello will drop Gerrard for him?

    Tonight will be a good test but Croatia are not the same side they were 2 years ago, even if we win this game which we should there is a very, very long way to go.

    As for Hargreaves, he’s finished!

  • Dan Church

    Dont rule out Owen yet, hes going to progress as the season goes on……i reckon he’ll be in with a good shout.

    Dont forget, if Belarus get a point out of the Ukraine in their 4pm ko then we only need a draw to qualify…

  • Matt Quinn

    Milner is not and never will be international class. If youre going to drop Gerrard, put Ashley Young in his place.

    I like Defoe but i read the teams he has scored his England goals against… Trindad and Tobago (x2), Andorra (x4), Kazakhstan, Poland, Slovenia (deflected) and the two against Holland. Thats in 36 appearances. Not mind blowing. I think he is fine where he is. An impact sub… a better option than Owen for that role… but that doesnt mean he should start.

    Personally, i would play Cole up front with Rooney. He can do Heskey’s job, but also threaten with his pace behind the defence, while also offering a goal threat.

  • Darren

    Cole up front? no chance, we’ve tried that and he just gets lost, hold on, you mean Carlton Cole? Yeah why not, he holds up the ball up well, he’s a bit unpredictable but so is Heskey.

    Ashley Young is not proven at international class, I think Milner is more ready after playing 989 games for the under 21’s.

    I totally agree with Dafoe. Lets have an impact sub and leave it at that. It’s a squad game after all

  • dexylongshot

    Milner for England = Waddle
    Young for England = Twaddle

    Sorry Matt, that’s not fair, Young is a fantastic player but I just like Milner ghosting past players with both feet. Young hasn’t does himself justice in an England shirt yet but there is still time. Can Young play on the right?

  • dexylongshot

    by the by, if anyones going to the and fancies a lager or 3, a few of us are meeting outside the green man oppossite Grt Portland St tube from 6-7. Free Den lovebites all round if your a bird x

  • dexylongshot

    My first 11 was spot on, i’m sure Fabio reads my blogs!!
    Just come through from my secret Squirral resource. Cheers Pearcy.

    I’m of for beer, pies and footy, blindin!, i might even get my nuts in if i’m really lucky,
    that would be mustard!
    GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!! GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!! GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!! GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!!GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!! GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!! GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!!
    GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!!GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!! GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!!
    GO ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!!

  • mickey marbles

    You wish, don’t tell peggy!

  • PeggyLongshot@bangbabes.co.uk

    Don’t worry Mickey, I trust him, i’ll be missing the game while he’s out, got some ahem nightwork to do xxx

  • Dexylongshot

    OH ah AFRICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    say Oh Ah AFRICA!!!!!!!!!

    How good was we, total football, Glenda prob solved with Terry and Barry Covering his runs upfield, Lennon on fire, goals from all over the shop, with a bit of luck it could have 6 or 7 if Emile had his shooting size 12s on. The World is taking notice, I’ve said it since day 1, in Fabio in trust!

  • Dexylongshot

    Go on England girls, let’s make it a double!!!

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