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England Learns Little By Playing U.S.

  • Guardian, Thursday, May 29, 2008 2:16 PM
The only interesting question raised by the "meandering, leaden-footed friendly" between England and the U.S. at Wembley on Wednesday was, "How close can a game of international football come to being completely pointless?" The question is posed by Barney Ronay, who had a sense of déjà vu watching Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in the same England midfield that failed to qualify for Euro 2008, with David Beckham putting in crosses from the right.
 
That Beckham was on the pitch at all was one of the oddest parts of the game, he writes. True, it was "quite nice to see him back out there trotting around like a faithful buccaneer." But surely Capello "is beyond being pressurized into selecting a player so he can be presented with a golden cap at Wembley, thereby giving the casual customer a cheap thrill - and in the process gingering up an otherwise indifferent U.S. TV audience?"
 
The whole exercise was undermined for England because the USA turned out to be such a poor opponent. "The Americans came here seeking respect. And they can certainly run and chivvy and defend with vigor. Even if when they came forward, they played like a man fumbling for the light switch in the dark."

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