Given that we are in the midst of an international break, there is a surprising amount to get through.
First, we have yesterday’s comments from John Terry that English players don’t dive:
“That’s something the England lads don’t do. Sometimes we’re too honest. Even in the Premier League, we see the English lads get a bit of contact and try to stay on their feet and score the chance. The foreign mentality coming in is that any little clip you can go tumbling over, because of the speed of the game nowadays.”
Say what? Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Joe Cole and Ashley Cole. Is he seriously suggesting that none of these players ever dive?
I’m taking a random stab in the dark here, but I’m guessing Terry’s a Daily Mail reader. If he can even read. Quite frankly, what he says isn’t borderline politically incorrect, it is flat out xenophobic. And also a barefaced lie.
English players dive. I don’t care if it is a problem that seems to have been imported, English players still dive. Trying to claim that they’re all innocent, and that it is only Johnny Foreigner that tumbles theatrically to the turf isn’t fooling anyone.
Quite frankly, as the captain of the England team, a prominent and responsible role, he should be brought to task. If an office worker suggested that his foreign colleagues shared a negative trait not seen in the English, he’d be facing a pretty stiff lawsuit. Followed swiftly by his P45.
I’m sure there will be plenty of reports linking this to the Rooney incident in tonight’s England friendly, probably even on some Arsenal blogs (as we are feeling a bit defensive on this topic at the moment). But we should try to retain some perspective – Rooney and his marker were tugging at each other, tangled, when down, and Rooney lashed out. Bizarrely enough a penalty was given, but it wasn’t a dive. If it had been an Arsenal player we would be defending him, saying the referee just screwed up. Just because it is Rooney doesn’t mean we should have double standards.
It wasn’t a dive, so don’t use this as an example to counter Terry’s comments. There are already stacks of ready made incidents for that purpose.
Elsewhere, it is looking increasingly like Portugal will have next summer off, although they could have been dead and buried were it not for a late equaliser against Denmark, Bendtner having put the Danes ahead in the first half. As it is, Portugal are still only fourth in a tough group, and anything less than a win away to an impressive Hungarian side and it’s curtains.
Which would leave the World Player of the Year at home, for the first time since the days when George Weah used to win it but have no decent Liberian teammates. Of course, it isn’t an identical situation – Weah was popular, whereas Portugal failing to make it to the World Cup would just result in a lot of pointing and laughing.
Another country almost certain to miss out are the Czech Rep, a woeful fifth in their group. Sadly, that probably means Rosicky has played on the biggest stage for the last time, and will not get a chance to captain his country in South Africa.
Another Gooner, Vermaelen, is also set to stay at home – Belgium are six points from a play off spot with three games left. It looks bleak for them too.
In other news, there are reports that Djourou has had a knee op which will keep him out for six months. Suddenly Senderos is our first reserve centre back, and since Djourou was my my preferred option to replace Song in defensive midfield when the Cameroonian goes to the African Nations Cup, we look light there. It’s a shame – Djourou’s Arsenal career promises so much, but still hasn’t got going. Hopefully this will cure his continual injury problems.
And that’s it for today. We’re only halfway through the international break, folks. Roll on next weekend.