• England a V ec France

    Tues 17 Nov 2015:

    The game was unimportant. The symbolism of the occasion was all...

    Mon 23 Nov update:

    I must have been watching a different game to most of the people who have commentated on the game in the last week. During the first half I thought that despite England doing quite well in the opening exchanges, France were soon proving to be the better side, despite their lack of appetite for the game. I'm sure I heard Glenn Hoddle complaining about Rooney not doing enough more than once, even though after the game many commentators were saying Rooney should be the first name on the team sheet based on that performance (eh?).

    I think the new Tottenham England saviour - Deli Alli - would have been booked for his challenge which preceded his goal in tournament conditions. It seemed to me that when Deli shot he was not addressing the ball correctly and was off balance. The ITV commentator said that despite the [slight] deflection it didn't affect the flight of the ball. On the contrary, any rudimentary physics investigation would demonstrate that Loris would have reached the ball without the deflection so the goal was lucky (snap Rooney's in the Maracana, if you remember..?). Alli missed the biggest moment of the half when he failed to take down the cross from Kane that a good first touch would have presented. Is Deli Alli the new Andros Townsend (i.e. the new media humpty dumpty)? I say, 'Whoaaaa - let's see where we are in May 2016'.

    All things being equal and if everyone was fit for France 2016 I would go with the following:

    Hart

    Clyne/ Stones/ Smalling/ ?

    Barkley/ Henderson/ Wilshire

    Walcott/ Sturridge/ Sterling

    That said, Sterling was rubbish and currently looks like he's got a 49KG wallet in his pocket and he's wondering what to spend it on. Maybe players like Alli, Dyer and Vardy will still be flying next May and if they are let's play them in France. I get the sense that Gary Neville would have no problem trying to 'win something with kids'. Does Roy Hodgson have the same fearless approach, I wonder?

    The game's symobolism was the only game in town last week and to think otherwise is delusional. Loris as good as said that the French players did not want to play the match. That they did in the fashion they did is testament to their superior technique and tactical ability. The French pattern of play conveyed the national shock and grief of the preceding days: when they ventured forward they didn't quite know where they were going and why. Paul Pogba's 2nd half performance illuminated the difference between the sides and was a signal of how things might go next summer.

    So the match didn't matter because we were all reminded that football doesn't matter in the face of the Atrocity Exhibition. And yet it does. To my mind, inequality in the football pyramid reminds me that inequality in society is being fuelled by the neoliberal project, which continues to search out new markets and territories whether those being subjected to it want it or not.

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