Early Doors watched the Ukraine
game online and cannot report any sort of revelation.
What was it like? Well, it was like a web feed of anything
else, really. Only with more David Pleat.
That is to say: the picture was a bit iffy and the stream a
bit jerky, but other than that it was fine.
However, you definitely wouldn't
want to be one of the 250,000 who paid up to £11.99 for the privilege.
ED watched for free thanks to its internet betting account -
the first time its borderline gambling addiction has ever saved it money.
But it suspects plenty more found 'unofficial' streams or went to one of the many naughty pubs who
had got hold of Al Jazeera Sport.
Fans who did catch the game saw little to write home about. In
fact, ED wonders just how good any international dead rubber would have to be to
justify correspondence with loved ones.
While Robert Green confirmed the sickening realisation that
David James really is England's best keeper, Rio Ferdinand will be especially
relieved only a select few saw the game.
The Manchester United man's
failure to deal with a simple high ball over the top allowed Artem Milevsky to race unchallenged into the
box, where he was greeted by a crude Green challenge.
card, and widespread non-ironic calls for Ferdinand's
place to go to Gary Cahill.
the game lacked in flair it more than made up in flares, as missiles rained
down in the general direction of both England keepers.
The English have turned into right goody-two-shoes when it
comes to misbehaviour in football.
After years of being pilloried for our dismal conduct, we
have finally got our house in order (more or less).
There is no evangelist like the recently converted, and whenever
we go abroad and find things not quite to our liking, we are quick to go
running to the powers-that-be.
think that England
might be quite pleased with their evening in Dnipro. They got 77 minutes of 10
versus 11 practice, and a tough workout against good opponents. Plus they got
to knock Croatia out - Ukraine just need a win in Andorra to beat Slaven Bilic's side to a play-off place.
But instead there
is bitterness, recrimination and rather petty attempts to get the Ukrainians
There is no
need for the FA to make a formal complaint. Unlike people in this country, FIFA
and UEFA were perfectly able to see what went on without some whiny suited
lickspittle dobbing the Ukrainians in.
place is going to (probably) co-host the 2012 European Championship, ED
imagines UEFA in particular have got their eye on the situation.
Clearly right wing chanting, overzealous policing and indeed
the throwing of flares are not good things, and the appropriate authorities
must take steps to eliminate them.
But there should also be some appreciation that not every
country's football culture is as
comfortable and cosseted as England's in the 21st century.
Each country has a different way of showing its disdain for
the opposition: Ukrainians chuck flares on to the pitch, while the English get
drunk and sing: "You're s***
but your birds are fit."
were the media, they immediately tried to pin the blame for the loss on the
The Sun and Mirror agreed it was a "flaming
disgrace" while the Daily Mail went with "flare madness" and the
Daily Star mused: "Viciously-hurled flares marred a World Cup night of
football played on scorched Ukrainian earth."
Luckily, England's players were having none of it.
Milner, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney were among those forced to play down
flare-gate, while David James had the best response: "They were big flares, granted, but you could
argue that someone throwing a paper aeroplane on the pitch might take someone's eye out."
If thrown with
sufficient force, perhaps.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE
DAY: Emile Heskey: "You would have to
ask the Villa manager why I'm in the
team and not his. I don't
know." How about because John Carew is Norwegian?
THE WEEKEND: Diego Maradona's brilliant
belly slide when Martin Palermo scored Argentina's 93rd-minute winner against Peru in Buenos
El Diego might have celebrated like his side had won the World Cup, but they
still might not be there at all if they lose to Uruguay on Wednesday.
FOREIGN VIEW: Former Australia
coach Frank Farina has been suspended indefinitely by Brisbane Roar after being
charged with drink driving.
Farina was stood down for Sunday's match against Gold Coast United and assistant coach
Rado Vidosic put in charge. The club would investigate the matter further,
Chairman Chris Bombolas said.
like to talk personally with Frank in front of the whole board to discuss the
matter and discuss the direction of the club," he said. Australian media
reported that Farina was charged after he was stopped early on Saturday while
on his way to training.
"Unfortunately it is Frank's second offence," Bombolas said. "He is