England’s game against Andorra will be their first qualifying game for their Euro 2008 campaign. England is 5th in the FIFA rankings, Andorra 131st. Though the FIFA rankings are as much of an unfunny joke as the Oscars, I still pay attention to both, and the stats here are positive.
The likely starting line-up:
G. Neville Ferdinand Terry (c) A. Cole
Gerrard Hargreaves Lampard Downing
Substitutions likely to be made:
- Lennon for Downing.
- Bent/Johnson for Defoe
- Carragher for G. Neville.
Anyway, my prediction is 7-0 to England. Yes, really. Not just because 7’s my lucky number, but:
- Andorra really are that bad. That isn’t just me being rude; consider the evidence: they have never won a point in European Championship qualifying.
- We played pretty damn well against Greece, didn’t we? Four goals against the so-called European Champions isn’t bad.
- The new look midfield is working rather nicely, with Gerrard and Lampard not running into each other so much through the human wedge that is Hargreaves. Downing, still learning the ropes, is getting better with every game, and now just needs to work on his linking with Ashley Cole.
- Owen Hargreaves. When many were ridiculing him in the early stages of the World Cup, I defended his skill, and, as usual, I was right. The best player for England throughout the World Cup, he has solidly cemented his place as a midfielder on the England team.
- The defence. Ferdinand and Ashley Cole were two of the best players for England in the World Cup, Terry’s confidence (and output), should increase with his captaincy, and Gary Neville (though I despise him) is the most experienced on the team.
- Crouchie!!! (er… yeah)
- England have the psychological edge. Overrated by the tacky tabloids and undervalued by the pseudo-intellectual broadsheets, but everyone agrees: England will win this one. With a new coach, who has a 100% record (OK, he played just one game, but still), who stays with the system and so far has his eye on the game, unlike Sven, it should all be plain sleighing.
There are some other reasons, but I have to go watch Prison Break.
Alright, GOOD LUCK ENGLAND!