John Terry Spits As England Outclass Wales

What was touted as a battle of the historical rivals turned into a training exercise as England beat Wales 2-0. You did see John Terry spit on the floor, didn't you?
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What was touted as a battle of the historical rivals turned into a training exercise as England beat Wales 2-0. You did see John Terry spit on the floor, didn't you?

Looking like a man desperate to prove that he’s 'not everyone’s cup of tea,’ John Terry marked his return as England Captain against Wales in the only way he knew how. In the tunnel before kick-off he knelt down to mess with his boots and spat on the floor. It was a blink and you’ll miss it moment, but I saw it, and so did the mascot, who will now spend Sunday standing in his parents hallway spitting at the floor and kicking the dog.

Dog? What dog, you may ask. It was Wales silly, England gave them the runaround. Terrible joke, I know, but I’ve had my sense of humour and any last vestiges of wit robbed by Sky.

The broadcaster was so worked up at the prospect of the proud principality literally breathing fire and brimstone into the faces of their historical oppressors that they went segment mental beforehand. We got some digital guff about Aaron Ramsey’s leg, with an American accent shouting ‘Yes, we can save his career’ followed by a straight theft of Dragons Den – see what the scamps did there – which only proved that, when tinged with sepia, Craig Bellamy looks like Deborah Meaden after two bottles of Pinot and a chicken dhansak.

I turned the volume down for the pre-match punditry. Not, as you may think, because I hate Hoddle and Gary Neville (which I do) but because I didn’t want to have to clean the carpet after the dog had messed himself due to the squeak that comes from Ryan Giggs’ mouth. On turning it up, I found out that Martin Tyler and Chris Coleman were commentating and hit mute instantly. I couldn’t face it today, so this will be a commentary free review.

The question on everyone’s lips in boozers across the country will be were England great or Wales average. Despite the enmity between the two nations, it's worth remembering Wales are below the Gambia in the world rankings. Gambia. GAM – BEE – AH. It showed.

The first three minutes were promising. Wales trying to pass the ball through midfield and England lumping balls to Bent. Then James Collins fell over his own leg, Lampard slotted the penalty and it was game over.

I did, however, accidentally listen to the half-time analysis. Glenn Hoddle said ‘out of the traps and off their perch’ in the same sentence so I went to get a beer and let the dog out for a slash.

The biggest mistake by Gary Speed was pitting Craig Bellamy against Ashley Cole. Still Wales’ best player, Bellamy was effectively neutered in the first 35 minutes and it became 10 v 10. It’s one thing calling yourselves a passing side, but when that passing is in triangles between the left-back, centre-half and goalkeeper you’re asking for it.

Playing in a flexible 4-3-3, England pressed high and stifled Wales. They looked fitter, better prepared and, in all honesty, more talented. But where’s the surprise in that. Wales started with seven Championship players, England a team of players who play in Europe.

There is nothing to be gained by extrapolating the merits of this performance on future fixtures, but there were plenty of positives that should make Capello think before he reverts to 4-4-2 or his ‘favourites’. Scott Parker is the best deep-lying pivotal player in England. Box-to-box for his club, he showed maturity by screening the back four, putting out whatever fires Wales started and setting the tempo for everything good England did.

The performance of Jack Wilshere should also be noted. It’s difficult to think of a young player who has improved as much in such a short space of time in this country. Mature, dynamic, two-footed, never gives the ball away, unfazed by international football, tremendous perception of space and confident enough to boss a game. The question, of course, is if he can do it against a top international team when the little pockets that he floats into are shut down quickly.

As demonstrated by the second goal, Ashley Young should always play on the right for England. In the often cluttered midfields of modern football, jammed with inverted wingers and deep-lying midfielders, width is often ignored. Yet when Darren Bent is your centre-forward, the aim should always be crosses, Bent struggles to hold the ball up effectively but is as good as they come in the 18-yard box. Great ball from Johnson, Young did the full-back for pace and ability and Bent finished it off.

And that, really, was it. Despite Aaron Ramsey throwing off the rust in the second-half and Bellamy causing problems in a deep-lying free-role, Wales have nothing up front. The England defence had little to do, John Terry didn’t need to resort to howling and Wayne Rooney got booked. I imagine Martin Tyler said something along the lines of ‘but that’s Wayne Rooney, makes him the player he is,’ while Chris Coleman talked rubbish. But I wasn’t listening, so it’s just a guess.

I did, however, accidentally listen to the half-time analysis. Glenn Hoddle said ‘out of the traps and off their perch’ in the same sentence so I went to get a beer and let the dog out for a slash.

Lesser men would have spat on the floor in disgust and kicked it in the head.

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