Yesterday was do or die for England. All they needed was a draw against Croatia in this last game of qualification and they would be on their way to the Euro 2008 tournament next summer. Due to the important nature of this game, I went to watch it with a bunch of English fans at The Olde Ship in Santa Ana. A couple pints of Boddingtons and a plate of curry and chips later...
Goalkeeper Scott Carson, who will forever be known as "Horror Show", allowed two easy goals to put England down 0-2 by halftime. Fat Frank Lampard converted a penalty in the 50th minute and Peter Crouch scored a killer goal in the 65th minute. It looked as if they might hold on for 25 minutes to earn their much needed draw. But it wasn't to be. Croatia scored another and the match ended 2-3. When I left the packed pub, their clientele of British ex-pats was not too pleased.
The England defense was probably the worst I've ever seen. The Croatians were running circles around the them. The nation that invented the game has failed to qualify for their own continental tournament. The Irish and the Scots, who both failed to qualify, must be rolling in schadenfreude at England's failure.
The morning after: The England coach was sacked and the fans are voicing their disgust. The English players can spend next summer on holiday instead of playing the likes of Italy, France, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden, Romania and the Netherlands.
Mi esposa and I will be in Spain and France during the tournament (which takes place in Austria and Switzerland) so I plan on watching a few games with local fans at pubs in Madrid, Barcelona and Paris.