Fabio Capello’s England ended 46 years of hurt by beating Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-0 in the European Championship Final. Arguably more remarkable than England winning the tournament was the fact that they won their Quarter Final against Russia by triumphing on penalties. I was able to attend, though sadly didn’t seem to be name-checked. England started well and in the 8th minute, man of the match Steven Gerrard picked up a through-ball and coolly slotted past Begovic. England seemed to be enjoying more of the game, but few great chances came their way, the most common shot being a strike by Frank Lampard from distance that flew over the bar. It might only be a game (according to some!), but every time it happened, I had the image of a close-up on a wistful-looking Lampard trying to work out how it didn’t fly in. The 65th minute saw Gabby Agbonlahor put through with just Begovic to beat, but his shot hit the crossbar. It was the kind of miss that makes you wonder if it will be a turning point, but a corner 5 minutes later saw Rio Ferdinand fouled and Lampard made no mistake from the penalty spot. Incredibly, despite leading by 2 goals with 20 minutes, Capello started looking for more options in the final third, which lead to Bosnia having a few more efforts (most of their previous efforts had been from distance), but Joe Hart was equal to everything thrown at him.
Following England’s triumph, Capello took the most sensible course of action that would be available to an England manager in his position by retiring, safe in the knowledge that he would never have to buy a drink in his life and leaving his successor the unenviable job of having to win the World Cup as a minimum, but preferably by playing exciting football and putting the world’s best to the sword.
On the TNS front, the squad continues to take shape. Defender David Nixon is the latest face in the door, having been released by Morton; I’m sure their loss will be our gain.
The fans are pleased and I am enjoying their adulation, although I can’t help but think that describing a centre back as, ‘an exciting signing’ is putting a bit of a burden on the lad – he’s there to stop the goals, not beat three and rifle in 30 yarders (although if he does, I certainly won’t complain too much!) I’m assuming that they’re just pleased that we’ve made such a good signing.