Northern Ireland put a dent in England’s World Cup hopes as David Healy’s goal gave them a stunning win.
Leeds striker Healy fired home Steve Davis’ pass after 73 minutes to give Lawrie Sanchez’s side their first victory against England since 1972.
It capped a nightmare England display, in which a petulant Wayne Rooney picked up a yellow card that rules him out of the next qualifier against Austria
Pants. That’s all that can be said about Englands display tonight.
God knows what happened, and fair play to the Northern Irish. They played their part in reducing England to such a drab performance. No wonder the cricket is so popular right now if that is the best that our National Football team can muster.
I don’t think you can pin it on any one player either, it was such a bad team performance. Again, I think you have to congratulate Northern Ireland for the way they played and that is where Englands frustration came from.
By making the pitch as narrow as the rules would allow that frustrated any attacks from the wings and only Sean Wright-Phillips showed any promise of getting round the defence to create any chances. Just when I thought he was starting to get into the game, he was taken off and replaced by Joe Cole. Not sure that was the best decision in the game, but then I suspect that Sven is going to take a lot of stick from this match and not only for that decision. Beckham although playing in a different role did hit some great passes, but nothing was made of them. Perhaps the position he was playing in did take something from Gerrard and Lampard and maybe restricted their play. So much so that they were both substituted (why?) later in the second half by Defoe and the closset Kraut who nearly gifted the game to the Northern Irish twice (Hargreaves – who I can’t remember who he plays for now).
It never looked like a team out there tonight, and there were no signs of individual brilliance either. Which reminds me about Rooney losing his rag once again and even had a go at the captain Beckham when he tried to calm him down.
For the 16 years I’ve been married (this Friday 09/09 btw), my wife from Newry, Northern Ireland has always supported the Republic. If she so much as gives me a ‘smirk’ when she comes home from her nightshift in the morning, we’ll be hard pushed to make it 17 next year… And boy do I know that she will (from her parting words to the kids as she left tonight, “Take those England tops off, and support the other team because mummy is going to work”…