The Benchman reflects on England’s exit from the Euros, Welsh success and team-work making the dream work.
A TEAM GAME
Leicester City, Iceland and Wales. Their success has been incredible and they share a common attribute- teamwork. If you had gone into a bookies and placed bets on Claudio Ranieri’s side to win the league you would have been laughed at.
Iceland and Wales? No chance- yet they defied all the odds to win games and progress.
They may not have an army of so-called superstars, but they work for each other. Press, attack at pace and tackle as if your life depended on it.
The look of total shock on the faces of their opponents says it all.
This isn’t supposed to be happening
We are the big names here.
You guys shouldn’t even be here.
The bond between team and supporters is crucial. Look at that clapping routine from the Iceland fans. Listen to the Welsh singing. It really has been a watershed season and tournament. It’s not all about multi-millionaires, Ferraris, bling and advertising contracts- or “small mentality”.
What about that Wales-Belgium game? Hercule Poirot, Herge, Rubens,Eddy Merckx, Plastic Bertrand(who?) - your boys took a hell of a beating. Look at that costly array of talent- Lukaku, Fellaini,Benteke,De Bruyne, Hazard to name but five.
And Wales with guys who couldn’t get a game in the Championship and didn’t even have a club. Maybe this is a wake up call and we might get sanity back into the game. Oh sorry- I’ve just heard that Manchester United have paid a king’s ransom for a 34 year old who looked like a very average player in Euro 2016, but will trouser £200,000 a week for his troubles.
You just knew it. After that England debacle, the headline writers had a field day using every fishing- related pun possible.
Codswallop, Trawling The Depths, Kippered,Bloaters,Frozen, Haddies, Minnows Triumph- to name but a few. It was hugely unfair on the Iceland side. This was no backs-to- the -wall defence in depth.
This was an exposure of the arrogance and lack of professionalism in the England camp. They were already facing France in the next round and then speculating on their semi-final opponents.
Shock, Horror- Iceland use long throw-ins to create attacks.
Well, who would have expected that? Just about everyone who watched their previous games for a start. Iceland and Wales- Ability, Spirit and Work Ethic.
ADVERTISING THEIR WARES
How ironic that at half-time in the Iceland match, we were treated to adverts with Joe “Head and Shoulders” Hart and Adam “Nivea” Lallana. It said it all. When will they ever learn that while the Premier League MIGHT be the best in the world, the English players in it are nowhere near the best,even if they are dandruff-free and have lovely complexions.
Last week’s picture showed a proud John White in his Spurs suit and Tommy McQueen was brought to Brockville from West Ham by Jim Jefferies in 1990.
Which keepers had played for Scotland before coming to Brockville?