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World Cup group tie: Scotland v Slovenia, Sun 26 March
#31
The 'Ox' should have been booked for that Amelia but that Italian ref seemed to forget the 'rules' unlike most Scottish and English refs who would enforce it.
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#32
For all the talk of errors in the run up to the equaliser,we were pretty lucky to be in front anyway.

griffiths was our best player and worked hard. Robertson and tierney were both wasted in that formation. Snodgrass,brown and anya all awful.

And once again the tartan armies behaviour was pretty cringe inducing. The jimmy saville song being a prime example.

dicks.
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#33
I must say it was a stifling plan that actually worked Jim although not pretty to watch. IMO the tactics used by Strachan were very 'Irish' in the fact that previous Irish managers have employed a similar type of strategy and eventually gave England a defeat! The players bought in to the game plan and it should have 'paid off' but for 5-10 secs of poor decision making and a goalie who really should have done better but looked extremely nervous 'from the off'.
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#34
Oh Amelia, you aren't the only person who views your national team with derision. England had vastly more talent on the field and off it than the current Scots, but it didn't show ......

Kane gets seven out of ten every game from the papers, but every aspect of his game was dire despite coming up against centre backs below Premiership standard, Livermore isn't an international, Dier unusually was very poor again, Rashford didn't shine and England actually missed Sterling. I like Joe Hart but he ranks below ALL the preceding players.

Leigh Griffiths played well (very) but his two free kicks got a bit of bend without being vicious and Joe didn't get within 18 inches of either. Compare those kicks to the forty-yarder Lucena hit for Venezuela U-20 ...... not in the same league IMO!

As an ex-keeper I've always been of the opinion that if the defence didn't put a wall there the opposition would do it as an attacking move. But then Scotland obligingly agreed to play rush-goalies. I cannot believe there isn't a better keeper in even Scottish Divisions One and Two than Craig Gordon. He barely caught a ball. He's 6'4" and was 2'7" for Oxlade-Chamberlain's goal and the cross he allowed Kane to score from ????? - well I'm 65 next week and I could guarantee to catch it! It was piss-easy, slow and to the back post and the keeper's starting position should have made it simple.

It was a dreadful game enlivened only by goalkeeping that would have cheered up the poor guy who once let in nine for Scotland. As the only department in which Scotland currently seem strong is goalscorers I can't see why they don't play two of them instead of running one to exhaustion. And the English game is measured by the fact we're celebrating beating Venezuela with players who'll almost all, together with the Toulon winning team, be either benched, or loaned out next season and are scheduled in five years time to become part of an enquiry into why yet another golden generation barely left the test-tube.
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#35
venezuelans have **** all to eat either might i add !!! they are in dire straits !!!! although this was never mentioned !!!
STAND YOUR GROUND BOYS
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#36
Imre, I hope from the Toulon squad Wednesday play George Hurst next season some of the time. Otherwise if I win Euromillions I'd pay him a bundle to have a season at Chesterfield getting 20+ goals to prepare for the Premiership with you.
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#37
First chance I've had to post since I got back.

First and foremost...well done Scotland fans. Fantastic atmosphere in the ground, plenty of friendly banter flying backwards and forwards between the two sets of fans and hardly a spot of bother. Great to see the mutual applause for each others support as the Scotland fans left the ground to our right, never seen that anywhere before.

The game- dreadful and quite possibly the worst 2-2 draw I've ever witnessed and I've witnessed a few shocking Town games in the past 30years or so.
Scotland came flying out of the traps,got stuck in and tried to disrupt us, which they probably did for the first 15mins. After that England grew into the game, Harry Kane blasting one into orbit and then not getting any sort of decent connection on another gobber.
Referee- stamped his authority all over the game when he booked Brown early doors for smashing Ali, he knew what he was doing and yellow was right. The ref then went on to miss several handballs and fouls from both teams and seemed to lose the plot.
Half time- karaoke at Hampden Park, it's a first for me and it certainly roused the Scotland fans...much better than singing about Jimmy Saville. By the time the players came back out the crowd had whipped themselves into a frenzy...superb support!
Second half,Southgate takes off the ineffective Rashford to be replaced by the Ox, and bingo...we go one nil up. We calm the Scotish down to a wimped and probably an air of resignation about the result.
But the real drama was yet to come, Griffiths with 2 decent free kicks. The goalkeeper wasn't great for either and I didn't even think the second was a free kick given what the ref had let go in the previous hour but that's not Scotland's problem. 2nd goal and bang...the place goes wild, I've never seen so many V's and W@nker hand signals aimed in our direction as I did at that moment in time. It was like you'd waited all your lives to beat us.
Game still not over though and with four minutes of time added on Harry Kane pops up at the far post to wipe the smile off the home support and send the Scotland players to there knees with a last minute equaliser....priceless for the 4K support in the away end.
Next stop for me, Malta in September
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#38
I thought it was quite amusing listening post match to so many England players who'd never heard of Leigh Griffiths - that 'little lad' changed the match dynamic with those very good free kicks just outside our pen box lol!! Well they know who he is now! In many pubs in Edinburgh, where most fans know all about Sparky's free kick prowess, the lead up to both kicks was a case of the 'ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh'.......... chant but not quite expecting a goal particularly against England's defence! To score twice was just unbelievable and there are some great You Tube videos of the celebratory mayhem after that second goal from a player who'd never scored an international goal for Scotland until this match. Priceless and it's a pity those goals were not rubber stamped with a rare victory against England although Sparky's role in this match will still be legendary in Scottish footie history. As Scotland fans, down the years we've not had a single 'break' at crucial times of Euro or World Cup group campaigns and this is another classic example of not 'being streetwise' and 'putting a game to bed' after taking the lead in such dramatic circumstances. It's not even an England issue' TBF! The same failing keeps recurring where, when in a position of strength, you take full advantage with a set team discipline and savvy to 'see a game out' esp in a fairly short remaining period!! Then there's a very good chance that a positive momentum/motivation takes hold to push on in these kinda quali groups!!
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#39
I was curious to see how a slightly revamped England team would fare tonight in their friendly match v a similarly changed France and again, as described previously v Scotland - single dimensional uninspiring stuff but against a far better team that was generous enough to lose a player with almost half the game time to play but you'd never guess who had the ten players based on open play with The Pog imperious in midfield together with Kante who showed flashes of brilliance that tied with his Premiership POTS award. FT and a 3-2 win for France but no England fan could complain if it was 4-2 or 5-2 TBF!!
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#40
If England players and fans haven't heard of Leigh Griffiths their opinion isn't worth much. He did play in England, when he could get a game, and he plays in Scotland, when he can get a game. And I think that says a lot more about the football in both countries than Leigh Griffiths.

I think there is something wrong with me ....... Harry Kane is a good goalscorer, he's a decent bloke and he's a worker. BUT IMO that against both Scotland and France he lost the ball more than he retained it and regularly misplaced passes. He was inferior on the night to Leigh Griffiths and although superior to Giroud, he created nowhere near the danger and totally lacked the imagination of young Mbappe. He's very english.

Though commentators go overboard about the French side's ability they ARE struggling to qualify for the World Cup. At full back they are extremely vulnerable. A whole list of English full backs are superior as is one Scottish one! Centrally they have Varane who is way better than anything in our home nations, but aside from Aymeric Laporte the rest of their fairly temperamental central defenders can be very dodgy. Behind them Lloris is a keeper heading slowly backwards.

If and when their giant ragbag of options at the back weld into an operational defence France is potentially massively superior in midfield to England and just about everyone else. BUT The French seem to be the only nation other than England that struggles to combine midfield talent. They've caught Lampard-can't-play-with-Gerrard Disease and turned it into the new Ebola. They reach a major final and select three Vieira looky-and-playey-likies and think it'll work because they're sticking Payet in there too .......... Was it luck or judgement that finally led them last night to achieve a balance based on the security of Kante with Lemar, Ousmane Dembele and the powerful Pogba all playing their own game and using the confusion Mbappe injected into England? Remember France has loads of options up front and in midfield and for every chance to get it right there's its equal and opposite. They could pick a totally different eleven that would look as good on paper if not on grass.

Some truths England have to face are:-

Kane is Captain, he scores goals but he's often less than Fantastic.
The Ox can't successfully fill every role from defensive midfielder or even wing back to flying winger.
Dier has to learn that a defensive midfielder plays behind the rest of the midfield and concentrate upon that truth.
Alli plays with Dier every week, he has to be the one working back to him.
Tom Heaton is a decent keeper for Burnley, forget ANYTHING ELSE FOREVER!
Hart and Butland are the best of a very poor bunch of English keepers.
Sterling can be our most dangerous player, but doing only difficult stuff eventually makes everything impossible.
Every England practice session should involve Lallana and Sterling getting efforts in on goal.
If you're playing ten men or the opposition is tired, get men out wide and stretch play!
Learn from rugby that judicious use of substitutes with specific abilities genuinely works, most England changes operate on buggins-turn.

Rant over! I won't presume to tell the Scots what they need to do, but there's a lot of it as I think most Scots would agree.
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