Tired, England were. That’s why they could only scrape a 2-2 against some Swiss youngsters who were barely out of their trainee leiderhosen. Tired!
If England’s players always end up knackered in June then we may as well throw in the beach towel now. It reminded us all too clearly of the abject tournament we suffered in South Africa when Capello first labelled his team ‘out of puff’.
The new England kit is apparently going to be stripy and cotton. The subs benches are going to be futons and all the lads will be issued with blankets and inflatable neck pillows should they nod off pitchside.
Jack Wilshere in training for England's match against Switzerland
The problem is to keep the planks on the field awake. It’s important to choose the right planks, mind. I’m not sure what Micah Richards has done wrong this season but clearly he’s a better right-back than Glen Johnson. The Liverpool man is fine going forward but at the back he’s a wandering charity gift bag.
And as for Lampard, is he earning ten pound a minute in sponsorship for Childline or summat? Cos there’s no other reason for him to be on the park. Lamps seems to need four touches for every one from his team-mates. And he’s got to be the luckiest penalty-taker ever. Every one gets scuffed to the keeper’s right but somehow squirms in.
The substitution at half-time was good but why leave Young on the bench in the first place, especially when Rooney’s off getting his pubes repositioned? And while we’re on that subject, why is Shrek having a hair transplant anyway? It’s a bit like putting a smart new roof on a vandalised council house. It’s not going to look right is it?
D’you think that after the Champs League final he looked at Messi, Xavi and Iniests and asked himself ‘What is it that they’ve got that I haven’t?’ and the dopy slaphead answered ‘Hair!’
Rooney was of course missed but not as blatantly as Darren Bent missed. Bent’s advocates point to his goalscoring record at domestic level. I point to his capacity to fuck it up when it really matters (not to mention Crouchy’s fantastic goalscoring record) at international level.
'Arry's seen it all before at Spurs
There’s always a certain something in Bent’s eyes - it’s called fear. You don’t see it in the pupils of Defoe or even, God hang up his boots, Michael Owen.
But 2-2 wasn’t a bad result in the end. Fortunately the might of Montenegro couldn’t topple the Bulgars so we’re still top of the weakest group in qualifying history. So Capello should take us to the finals, quacking and limping all the way. It’s preposterous that the man’s still in charge.
It’s been an exciting week if you’re Swiss. (That’s not a sentence you’d expect to read anywhere). First there was Sepp Blatter’s re-election as President of FIFA, accompanied by some lackeys and sycophants queuing up to bloody the FA’s nose.
The Argentine representative was particularly offended by insinuations of corruption – Sr. Grondola adding that he’d offered his vote for England’s 2018 bid in exchange for the return of the Falkland Islands. (That’s not corruption – that’s the oldest form of financial transaction – bartering.)
Still Sepp won and talked about steering the FIFA family ship away from the rocks or some sort of bollocksy maritime metaphor. Switzerland is land-locked, remember, and if FIFA'S a family then it's time to call in social services. We need a new father-figure, Gawd help us.
Here's Rog serving in the Swiss Alps - the home of tennis
But there are good and noble Swiss men and one such, the divinely-talented but camply-jacketed Roger Federer, managed to light up the French Open once more. Not that he won it, of course.
Rafa Nadal successfully convinced the press that he was vulnerable this year and then gave Murray a bit of a tonking and barely let Fed have a sniff once he turned around the first set. Put Rafa on a surface the colour of an Essex girl’s skin and he can’t be beat.
Murray did ok against him but it was a bit like watching a tall tent peg getting repeatedly battered into the ground with a sledgehammer. Federer played some glorious shots and whether he bores you or not he has that thing that I envy and admire the most in sportspeople, ease. Brilliance without apparent effort: I’m thinking Zidane, Iniesta, Sehwag, Gebreselassie, Bolt, Bosko Jankovic.
Nadal is not an easy watch. Every particle of his being seems coiled and sprung. None of his shots flow particularly and, like Murray, there’s no discernable relaxation in his face so that most of the time he looks a grimacing maltreated pit bull terrier.
The trouble with a pit bull is it hangs on and doesn’t let go. Even the odd feline Federer scratch doesn’t put him off. He’s beaten his Swissness three times out of every four now. So it doesn’t matter how serene and fluid Federer is, the old attack dog’s gonna catch up with him in the end.
It’s a great time for men’s tennis – what with Rog and Raf and Jockey-Itch. There seems to be a lot of mutual respect (take note Lewis Hamilton) and in Paris they were quick to overrule dodgy line decisions even if they weren’t in their opponent’s favour.
Is it possible, while it takes a break, that football – from its fat ancient pocket-liners to its newly-quiffed and gelled tumblers in their gated communities - might have enough self-respect to want to safeguard the reputation of the beautiful game in the same way?
To not appeal for a throw-in when it hit you last. To not throw yourself on the floor and rail at the ref if he spots it. To not interpret the word ‘marking’ to mean leaving your fingerprints all over the centre-forward’s jersey. To want to represent your country even when the gaffer decides you’re not what he wants and not go off in a huff like a jilted Pageant Queen?
But then maybe they don’t mean to do these things, eh? Maybe they’re just tired. Bless.