Well I’m feeling very confident. England have been downright cobblers in their two friendlies and that all points to a promising tournament ahead if you ask me.
Mexico made us look like we’ve had one two many San Miguels with our chimichangas and Japan left us looking, appropriately enough, fishy and undercooked.
But who wants us to be playing well now, eh?
If I was prone to pre-match nausea and doom-mongering I might be worried that there’s talk of Fabio trying to unravel the Gordian knot of English football. It’s like a riddle of quantum physics: the Gerpard Conundrum.
Is it possible that two identical particles can appear in exactly the same space and co-exist or will they inevitably cancel each other out?
All previous experiments suggest the latter and yet Townsend and Southgate (a more unfeasible pair of pundits it’d be hard to imagine but then again that is the Townsgate Conundrum or the Southend Enigma) are suggesting the Gerpard midfield for the first game of the WC. No!
I might also note that Lamps as penalty-taker is a bit of a lottery at the mo. I think most keepers will have worked out by now that he always scuffs it to the right. I’d prefer Wazza to be lining it up.
Capello called for ‘English spirit’ – which I think is Italian for ‘For fook’s sake get stuck in!’ - but we had the usual stand-off-and-admire stuff by a team that was less anxious to please and more anxious to avoid getting crocked.
There was a petty little clog from Rooney, just to remind you that he still has the capacity to do the predictable. Yep he scares the opposition all right... he’s a genius with the ball and a bloody hooligan without it.
And the defence still has its bovine moments, typified by Rio’s occasional dithering and Johnson’s failure to stay tight at a corner.
I might also add that I’ve never heard the phrase ‘impact substitute’ used quite so often in the pubs of Teesside. Leading candidates for the David Fairclough award are: Peter ‘something different’ Crouch; Jermain ‘can always nick you a goal’ Defoe; Theo ‘pace to burn’ Walcott; Adam ‘Unknown Quantity’ Johnson and increasingly Joe ‘Probably the Best Keeper in the Squad but after Scott Carson Only a Fucking Idiot Would Risk It’ Hart.
Of course it’d be nice to think that the first eleven players Cap puts out would make an impact off the bench unnecessary. It’s like someone coming round to fix your bog, taking his tool-kit out and saying ‘Don’t worry – if none of these work I’ve a right special gadget in the van.’ Well I tell you what, mate, leave that box of crap in the van and bring out your super-gizmo now and we can be all done in 10 minutes can’t we?
What gives you confidence is Capello telling you straight after the game that he knows who his 23 are. Given that the regulars of the Blue Bell have had more changes of mind than a series of Worzel Gummidge, I’m glad he’s in charge.
Plus, two raggedy first halves have been transformed into far better second halves. Clearly the Gaffer has a well accurate rocket launcher for the laziest backsides in the interval dressing-room. What a change from Stevie Mac, who you felt would’ve been covering them self-same arses with tender kisses.
The Artful Dodger hisself - Consider yourself our mate!
Of the possibles on show only one has made himself indispensable. Joe Cole. He’s got bags of nous, quick feet and when confronted with a bit of open space he doesn’t develop instant agoraphobia. Fully fit he’s as good a midfielder as we’ve got.
I think it’s pretty clear-cut otherwise now. Wallowing in abject misery but consoled by a dishy wag and a purpose-built swimming pool or two will be: Parker, Warnock, Wright-Phillips and Bent.
The three outstanding decisions for Fabio are: Dawson or Upson; Walcott or A.Johnson; Carrick or Huddlestone. Me, I’d go for Dawson, Johnson and Huddlestone. I think Cap’ll opt for Theo and Upson and take Hud too.
English sport isn’t looking too shabby at the mo either. Hamilton and Button had a one-two after a Red Bull bust up. Too much bleeding Red Bull if you ask me. Vettel walked off the track indicating that Webber was a nutjob. Ahem. Psycho, heal thyself. Still a bit of in-house needle can’t do a dull sport any harm.
Our cricketers are toiling away at Lord’s – and that Tamim sure puts the bang in Bangladesh. Terrific twatting of a cricket ball that was. But they’ll win.
But the main source of joy and optimism is the Euro triumph of England’s Under 17 side with THREE Boro lads involved. Count ‘em. More than any other club. That Bruno Pilatos is cracking I tell yer. Give that lot eight years and we’ll be getting over-excited again – and hopefully they’ll be looking at playing the tournament on their home turf if the Mail on Sunday can stop stomping over the bid with their twotty right-wing size nines.
There are still TWELVE days to go till the first flaming game!
So it’s holiday time for Robbo. The wife’s brother is tying the knot in Italy – I think it’s either Umbria or Tuscany which probably means I’ll spend me whole time out there trying to avoid middle-class liberal drips banging on about Fay Weldon and hybrid cars and balsamic vinegar.
I’ll be singing this (some mates have put together the vid and I think it’s a right grand tune):
I’ve packed ketchup, teabags and a large dollop of cynicism. I’m on strict orders to keep me foot out of me mouth and bite me tongue when Simeon and Georgina start banging on about coalitions and inheritance tax. I mean there’s only so much mental muesli a man of my mindset can take.
But the blog will be dry for a week while I invest heavily in Peroni. Cheers! And come on England!