Internationals took centre stage this weekend so David Sweeney concentrates his monday maulings on England and the white Pele amongst others plus the weekly claw-scratch at Blackburn’s bulbous blunderer Steve Kean.

England and Wayne Rooney

Friday night saw England qualify for a major national tournament in
Euro 2012, a tournament which we have not played in incidentally since
2004 due to Steve McClaren’s inadequacies. The mood should be upbeat,
one of optimism, pride and never say die attitude encompassing the
spirit of Euro 96 with everybody believing that the national side can
win the prestigious tournament. However that is certainly not the case.

Capello’s men got off to a great start in Montenegro by flying into a
two goal lead before the night started to go rapidly downhill.

Firstly ‘skipper’ ‘JT’s’ hesitation allowed Zverotic to fire past Joe
Hart to make the score 2-1 however the worst was yet to come.

As I struggled to contain my indifference towards the English national
side the evening took an interesting turn as Wayne Rooney returned to
his bad old days as he once again became a catalyst for England’s
shortcomings as he unnecessary kicked out at Montenegro’s full-back
Miodrag Dzudovic. The kick was closer to GBH than a football
challenge and the stocky Scouse forward, whose father was arrested
earlier in the week, was promptly given his marching orders.

England were made to pay for Rooney’s act of petulance as they
surrendered their 2-1 advantage in injury time to draw the game 2-2
against the relative minnows of Montenegro. A lucky result in a game
they easily should have won.

Yet to my horror whilst watching ‘Your on Sky Sports’ the presenter
was fielding questions asking whether Capello should stay in a job if
England WIN the Euros. How on earth are England going to win the Euros
as they half-heartedly solider on into it without their star man for a
minimum of one game, a wooden manager who cares more about picking up
his pay packet than he does about picking a successful side and a team
full of mercenaries who put their clubs before their country.

Does anybody seriously think England can topple the likes of Spain,
Germany and Holland? The nations listed play the fluid type of
football England can only dream of playing and more importantly they
play it as a team, something England definitely don’t do.

So put away the face paints, throw away the flags, tell the Sheffield
Wednesday marching band to shut it and for God’s sake put Baddiel and
Skinner away because football is NOT coming home any time soon.

Northern Ireland – Nigel Worthington

But it wasn’t only England that served up their regular sub-standard
performance; Nigel Worthington and Northern Irish football
unsurprisingly plunged further down the Fifa rankings to 70th place –
below the footballing giants of Sierra Leone – as they fell to another
home defeat, this time to Estonia.

The week started and ended in embarrassment for Worthington as during
the preparations for the match Newcastle reserve team left-back
Shane Ferguson snubbed a call-up for the second time as he completely
ignored any contact Worthington tried to make with him. That was
before his side’s soulless second half display ensured they blew a one
goal advantage to humiliatingly go down 2-1.

With Italy to face on Tuesday and the Northern Irish faithful calling
for Worthington to be sacked surely its time for him to accept he is
not the man for the job and walk away before Northern Ireland plummet
further down the Fifa rankings below the powerful footballing nations
of Malawi and Uzbekistan who are primed to take their place.

Thomas Hubschman – Czech Republic

Czech Republic midfielder Thomas Hubschman was sent off for a wild
challenge on Xavi Alonso with 21 minutes remaining in Spain’s easy 2-0
win over the Czechs. The tackle was high and reckless demolishing both
Alonso’s shin and the unfortunate piece of plastic guarding it. So
late was Hubschman’s tackle that he knew his punishment before the ref
had even reached for the red card as he apologetically trudged away
but he will correctly serve a suspension for this hideous challenge on
Alonso who luckily escaped with severe bruising. These sort of
challenges are correctly being clamped down upon by increasingly
stricter referees and need to be eradicated from the game as soon as

Pitso followed the ingenious managerial technique invented by the
master tactician that was Alan Ball in his Manchester City days.

South Africa

South Africa’s manager Pitso Mosimane this weekend suffered double
misfortune; firstly his nation failed to qualify for next year’s
African Nations cup, secondly and perhaps more alarmingly, blundering
Pitso followed the ingenious managerial technique invented by the
master tactician that was Alan Ball in his Manchester City days when
he ordered his side to keep the ball in the corner to run down the
clock despite needing another goal for his team to successfully fight
off relegation.

Bafana Bafana thought their goalless draw with Sierra Leone on
Saturday was sufficient to secure a place in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea
next year however the qualification rules for the tournament next year
are set out on CAF’s website and clearly state that ‘in case of
equality of points between two or more teams, after all the group
matches, the ranking of the teams shall be determined by the greater
number of points obtained in the matches between the concerned teams’.
Niger top that three-team mini league with 6 points and so by right
qualify ahead of the South Africans.

Despite agreeing in principle that goal difference should be the
format used in deciding group places in these circumstances it is
really shoddy work from everybody involved with the South African
football team for failing to do the appropriate research into the
rules and for that they were made to pay.

Steve Keen

You’re a manager out of your depth. You have an inadequate playing squad
at your disposal and your supporters want you fired. The last thing
you could possibly want is a 22 hour round trip to India to play a
meaningless friendly and exchange pleasantries with your clueless
bosses. Yet incredibly that is what Steve Keen did last week when he
went over for a questionably timed ‘meeting’ with the Venkys to ‘bring
the squad closer together.’

Despite winning the game against Pune 3-0 confidence within the squad
will hardly have been boosted considering the weakness of Rovers
opponents. Incredibly Blackburn managed to amass 47 shots in just the
one match.

It has been rumoured that Keen was only kept in his job because of the
embarrassment the Venky’s would suffer should their new plaything turn
up in disarray without a manager. Whether that is true or not for the
time being Keen remains but he will need a positive result against QPR
if he has any intentions of keeping his job past next weekend and his
preparations will not have been helped by the pointless venture.