Friday, June 1, 2007

Should Have Gone To Becks, Save Us

The domestic football season is now the equivalent of Princess Di; it was a great ride for a while, but it’s time to let go. Luckily, we now have the ‘Camilla’, the ugly nine-pinter that is the European Championship qualifiers.

England’s participation is hanging by a thread and fingers are pointing at the manager. Danny Mills, Massimo Maccarone, Fleet Street journalists and fans of attractive football have all been quick to put the boot in; but for once, the grinning buffoon deserves a little credit.

It takes a big man to admit when he’s made a mistake, I know I’ve made two of the little buggers. McClaren has finally realised that the decision to dump Beckham like a Scottish girlfriend was extremely short-sighted. Goldenballs remains an archetypal, if extremely camp, match-winner in the big game scenario.

I can’t accept the argument that selecting Beckham is a step backwards as he’s taking the place of a youngster with a long- term future. The less experienced players won’t learn much from watching the finals on television.

McClaren’s groundbreaking policy of selecting his best players is possibly the first correct decision of a woeful tenure. One swallow does not make a summer though, but it does practically guarantee an enjoyable evening. England will leave Estonia with the win on Wednesday night at a pleasant 2/9.

Ryan Giggs has shocked Welsh football by deciding to hang up his boots. His team-mates will undoubtedly miss his presence in one out of every five Internationals. The Czech Republic are the pick of the weekend punts at 8/11 against a moribund Welsh side.

The Danes and the Swedes once landed a betting coup so great; Harry Redknapp could only look on in earnest admiration. Another draw wouldn’t be the end of the world for either team; the 9/4 looks a reasonable shout.

There’s a widespread belief that Spain hack up in the qualifiers before collapsing like Lindsay Lohan in the finals. The Spanish are currently four points shy of Northern Ireland this time around, so that theory has fewer legs than Heather Mills. Only a win in Latvia will do for our siesta-sneaking brothers, I’ll be on at 4/11.

The French are lovers, not fighters; I’m not particularly skilled at either. I can spot a value punt when I see one though, France are overpriced at a colossal 8/13 against Ukraine.

Greece are still in a state of shock from the most unlikely result in European football history; they somehow managed to survive the Scouse invasion. The Greeks can practically guarantee qualification by seeing off Hungary at a tragic 8/15.

Last week’s accumulator couldn’t have gone in any quicker without being assisted by Henri Paul. This week’s acc is also in the bag; France, Spain, Czech Republic, Greece and a Denmark draw will all oblige at an explosive 16/1.


Copyright (c) Gerry McDonnell & soccerphile.com

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