Date: 7th September 2008 at 8:37am
Written by:

England kicked off the world cup qualifying campaign in Spain last night with a 2-0 win over Andorra – Pompey trio David James, Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe all started.

James had literally nothing to do apart from claim a few crosses, but he kept his concentration well to do this with ease, whereas Johnson had a decent game getting up and down the pitch in his right back spot. He had a shot deflected away for a corner in the 1st half and even found the back of the net in the 2nd – sadly this was ruled out with Joe Cole in an offside position – that classic ‘what is the modern day interpretation of the offside law’ costing him his 1st goal for his country…

England started brightly and you thought, well I did, we could get a hatful here but this faded away and Defoe did not really get a sniff. It did not surprise me at all when Fabio Capello made changes at half time, and although I feel he was unlucky to be the man sacrificed, again it did not surprise me that it was the Pompey striker taken off at half time and not ‘the inspirational’ Wayne Rooney – element of sarcasm here – that was allowed to stay on for Emile Heskey to come on, along with Joe Cole.

To be fair Heskey and Cole were able to cause problems, Heskey with his movement and power – or maybe the cynical would say it was just the tiring of the Andorran’s 10 man defence – and Cole with his two goals in the opening 10 minutes of the half!

Of course it was another frustrating England performance, but when you have basically 10 men defending against you it is down to you to unlock the defence and we could not do this for long spells – for whatever reason. I heard a fella on sky today saying ‘the days when you go to countries and win 8-0 are gone’, I am not sure if he meant were gone for England or gone full stop?

Maybe they are gone for England, and to use the old cliché ‘you do not get easy games’, they are not gone for all – just ask the likes of Germany, Spain and so on as they can manage this at times against the weaker sides, and lets not beat about the bush here Andorra are one of the weaker sides in world football, most of the players play in the 3rd Division in Spain with one of the defenders a 38-year-old who has long since retired at club level yet he still plays international football!

But hey, winning was the main thing and seeing all 3 of our Pompey stars start a competitive game – including James for his 1st competitive start in 4-years was a bonus…

Now, this is one lot of international games down we just need all our international boys – England and the rest – to get through the next so they are fit and well for Boro next weekend.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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