There is nothing new about England losing to Germany in a
major tournament, but there was something a little bit depressing about
yesterday's Women's European Championship final.
did superbly to reach their first major tournament final and deservedly
attracted public and media attention.
But no sooner had they secured the back page coverage and
terrestrial TV slot than they were put in their place to the tune of a 6-2
Despite battling gamely, England were outclassed by a German
side that was bigger, stronger, fitter and ultimately just better than them.
To the uninitiated, this was an embarrassment - England
hit for six in the final of a major championship.
What they may not realise is how remote Hope Powell's side's
chances of victory were against a country so dominant they make the Harlem Globetrotters look merely 'quite
Germany's Euro success was their fifth in a row, and they
have also won the last two World Cups.
Simply put, you don't
The problem is, the sight of England's
rather shambolic second-half defending will only reinforce the belief that
women's football is a bit rubbish,
A case in point: on Monday night, goalkeeper Rachel Brown was
on the radio being quizzed about the women's
Steve Claridge used his 30 seconds to, legitimately but ungallantly,
point out the number of goals scored from long range in which the ball simply
sails over the keeper's head and
Brown (pictured), herself 5'
7", was rather humiliatingly forced to explain that women tend to be
smaller than men.
She also pointed out that they do not want to be constantly
compared with men's football; that
the two versions are totally different.
Claridge took the comments on board, and promptly asked if a
woman would ever be good enough to play in a men's
team "at any level".
Sod's law ensured
that, midway through the first half, Melanie Behringer let fly from 35
yards and the ball dipped over Brown's
flailing hand into the net.
Never mind that David Seaman, one of England's
greatest goalkeepers, used to concede that sort of goal on a weekly basis - it
was an incident that no doubt had Claridge insisting that women should play in
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On the subject of woman-hating, Fabio Capello's decision to allow England players to see their
families just one day a week next summer seems fair enough - they are trying to
win a World Cup after all.
But the reporting of it seems to lay the blame for England's failure in 2006 with the WAGs, as though their boozy
nights out in Baden Baden made their men play worse.
Take the Daily Mirror, which took particularly vindictive
delight in Capello's hardline
"Tough Fabio Capello last night banned England's Wags from the World Cup - to stop them derailing
our bid for glory," it sneered.
"Our heroes will be based in a camp - with Cheryl Cole
& Co seeing them just once a week.
hardline stance will be music to the ears of fans annoyed by the Wags' non-stop partying and shopping as England flopped in Germany."
ED seems to remember being annoyed not by the WAGs,
but by a series of excruciating performances from "our heroes", each more
anodyne than the last.
exploits served as reassurance that England can still dominate the world,
even if it is in the field of table-dancing in Garibaldi's wine bar.
Their drunken excess had precisely zero effect on the team's performance, simply because it took place while
the blokes were holed up in the opulent Schlosshotel Buehlerhoehe.
Unless Capello intends to lure the WAGs into a trap using a
trail of Strawbellinis and Manolo Blahniks, and imprison them for the duration
of the tournament, he is going to find it tough to banish them from South Africa.
The Sun tried gamely to sex the story up by making it about,
"Fabio Capello has banned England's
WAGs from having sex with his stars more than once a week during next summer's World Cup," it drooled.
It is a rather crude and unfair assessment of what the England players
are likely to get up to on their day off.
If Peter Crouch is lucky enough to be in the squad, ED can
perfectly imagine he and Abbey Clancy spending some quality time discovering
England's Rustenburg base; at the Kgaswane
Game Reserve, an Iron Age archaeological site, or one of the area's many Boer War battlefields.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Arsene Wenger defends Arsenal against claims of child slavery:
"If FIFA can come here, I would
immediately open the doors for inspection to show them how we treat the boys. We
sign one or two (a year). We give them top-level education, a top-level
scholarship, and we look after them socially. It's
a very limited number. If you ban
players from moving before the age of 18, the players will be sold to agents at
13 or 14. Where will they go? Not to clubs with top-level education, but with
clubs who have been bought by businessmen of a very low level."
FOREIGN VIEW: Ah, China. It's
the new South America, you know.
Chinese champions Shandong Luneng have sacked
international Aleksandar Zivkovic after he was handed an eight-match ban for
spitting at a referee.
The 32-year-old, who represented his country
as an over-age player at last year's
Beijing Olympics, was also fined 40,000 yuan (£3,500) for spitting at the
official after being shown a yellow card in last weekend's
match against Qingdao.
"This was a serious violation and he had
been punished many times by the club for his irrational behaviour on the
pitch," said a club statement.
"His behaviour constituted a serious
breach of contract and the club have therefore cancelled his contract."
Zivkovic was one of seven players and club
officials handed stiff penalties by the Chinese FA for various offences in
matches last weekend, FIFA's
designated Fairplay Day.
Among the other offenders was Hangzhou Greentown substitute
Wang Hongyou, who will miss the next four matches and have to stump up 20,000
yuan (£1,750) for throwing his boot at the referee from the bench during a
match against Shenzhen.
A tackle by Changchun's
Liu Cheng on Shanghai's Tao Jin sparked
brawls during and after the match with Shanghai's
coach, translator, team doctor and a player punished for surrounding and
verbally abusing the referee on the pitch.
The official in question, He Zhibiao, is
having a bad season, having been chased across the pitch for 100 metres and then
pushed to the ground by a Tianjin
provincial player, who was banned for life in July.
Shanghai head coach Jia Xiuquan was banned from the sidelines
for three matches and fined 20,000 yuan, while translator Xie Hui, doctor Zhang
Peng and player Chen Tao all received fines and bans.
Changchun's Liu also received a three-match ban and 20,000 yuan
fine for his "flagrant foul", the CFA said. FIFA designated September
5 to 9 as this year's Fairplay Days.