I chose not to write anything after England's dismal performance against Israel last Saturday in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. This was partly due to being inadequately able to express my contempt at the team and partly in the hope that we'd show some sort of improvement in form in Wednesdays match against the mighty Andorra. We won this game, but in a thoroughly unconvincing style considering the quality of our opposition. Now to many people a win might be enough and they'd settle for the much needed three points, but not for the England fan (or fans from quite a few other countries I expect). What we really wanted to see was the players give it some - I mean playing with some passion and looking like a team that's working well together - but this sort of spirit was clearly lacking (I only saw of the highlights of the Andorra game, but I did sit through the entire Israel game, and that was pretty depressing). We need the team to show these responses as it generally picks them up and makes them play better, it also gives us fans belief that the team want to win, rather than just turn up and jog around a field for 90 minutes. It's going to be a bit of a struggle, but we'll need to inject some spirit into the players (who constantly say that they're trying their hardest, but it definitely fails to show through in their game) if we're to progress to the finals next year. I should have heart though as Beckham still believes we can make it! I'll leave all the McClaren bashing to others!
A great results for Northern Ireland though, beating Sweden and going to top their group. If they can keep it up there might be a lot of England fans who become Northern Irish for a few weeks next summer!