Tuesday, 22 June 2010

That final team talk in full..

Mr Capello opened the briefing,

"I've got a job for you, Team England. You have to play Slovenia, at football, and beat them."

Mr Capello then concluded,

"F__k this up and you're dead meat."

[translation by Berlitz]

John Motson might have said:

"Well, here we are again. The longest day may have passed, but the England team are still stuck on the beaches, under fire from all sides, taking casualties, searching for that decisive and necessary breakthrough.

After the trials and tribulations of the past few days, the travelling England fans will be wondering if this is to be their last stand in South Africa. We've already seen the French go home in disgrace and disarray, and some would no doubt say that this is nothing less than they deserve.

Slovenia, England 's opponents today, currently lead the group and will be looking to consolidate that position with a win or a draw. England need to win emphatically in order to progress with credibility, to probably face the Germans once more in the next round.

The other game in Group C, the USA versus Algeria could still provide an upset for England if the USA prevail and England cannot manage more than a draw. What an ignominious exit that would be for Capello's team.

And if this happens, after a faltering campaign so far, many will say that England never had the quality to progress in this tournament and are simply not good enough to fulfil the nation's expectations. Harsh words perhaps, but you have to look to the likes of Rooney, Terry and Lampard for an explanation as to why they simply cannot perform at this level.

Our sporting venue today, the coastal town of Port Elizabeth, provides the perfect setting for the match, with a kick off at 3pm, a time of course not unfamiliar to the host of Premiership stars who have so far struggled to perform.

Obviously a sea level location, altitude is not an factor, and the weather forecast is for a temperate 19 degrees celsius; that's the mid 60's for those of you who still prefer the Fahrenheit scale.

Coincidentally, the mid 60's were of course the last time that England covered themselves in glory, in that famous victory in the 1966 World Cup, also against continental opposition, in that case the Germans. A date fast passing out of living memory, and nothing but a fairy tale to so many of the youngsters watching at home today.

So here we go. Can Captain Gerrard and his troops produce the victory England needs this afternoon, in a corner of a foreign field, of the town named Elizabeth ?

For Queen and Country, Gentlemen?"

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