Why Saturday’s match is more than just a qualifier

by admin

Friday, March 25th, 2011

The Millennium Stadium has played host to some classic English domestic cup finals over the years while the old Wembley was being rebuilt, and England will have to tame the dragons when they clash in a crucial Euro 2012 Qualifier tomorrow.

Some fans will probably be bemoaning the break from the Premier League this weekend, but there is so much at stake.

Besides the group game being a Home Nations match, the two countries share a rich political and cultural history.

As such, there is extra spice added, and although the mercurial Gareth Bale has been ruled out through a hamstring injury, there are plenty of intriguing battles to be had all over the park.

Jack Wilshere can enhance his growing reputation when he comes up against his Arsenal team-mate and new Wales captain Aaron Ramsey. While both have come of age on the domestic scene and added a special ingredient to their respective side, the international arena is another step up. In front of a full-capacity stadium, Wilshere and Ramsey both have the ability to dictate proceedings.

Craig Bellamy will keep John Terry on his toes, whether he starts or comes on as a substitute as he acts as a catalyst in terms of creating chances. Bellamy had success against the England captain, scoring twice as Manchester City dismantled Chelsea 4-2 away last season.

Andy Carroll, who may lose out on a starting place to Darren Bent, will prove a handful for James Collins if he comes on. Carroll is an old-fashioned centre forward who is a beast in the air, got two good feet and holds the ball up well. He showed glimpses of what he can do when he featured for England against France, but the service up to him was lacklustre.

Yet Wales’ record against England is a bit of a sore point. They have not beaten England since 1984, and England were the victors on their last trip to the Millennium Stadium in 2005.

England fans will expect Wales to be a pushover, and though they will go into the game as red-hot favourites, it seems easy to consign Wales to the scrap heap of history.

Besides achieving their highest FIFA ranking of 29 in 1993, they haven’t appeared at a major tournament since 1958 when they reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup, only to come up against a Brazil side boasting the likes of Pele and Garrincha.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Fabio Capello approaches the game from a tactical point of view, but they can’t afford to sit back and soak up the pressure, albeit Wales are bereft of Bales’ pace.

The road to rehabilitation after a mediocre World Cup, is quite long, but England can prove some more of their critics wrong with a solid performance.


Follow me on twitter @charlesperrin7




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  • dexylongshot

    It was a fan dabby dozy atmosphere and we all love a party with an a atmosphere as russ abbot once sang. The singing before was among the best i’ve ever heard, talk about how to wind us england boys up with all that booing. The bird singing it was tidy an all, Miss Wales I believe, there’s loverly!! We had the taffs zipped up by the end though, it was a no contest after 15mins with Frank and Bent doing the business. We dropped down a gear after that and just went through the motions, I must admit though, Wales made it so easy for us, especially in the first half. Ghana will be a much sterner test tomorrow.

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