I honestly don't know how I made it through the first half of this match. Owen Hargreaves' determination and I guess Stewart Downing's play were really the only positive points. You know it's a sad display when Stewart Downing's play is singled out. Andy Johnson looked as if he was just going through the motions to do nothing. To be fair though, it was not just the England squad's fault, though their lack of desire to attack and move forward baffles me at times. The Andorra squad was clearly out to accomplish one thing, a nil-nil tie, which was quite evident when they put ten men behind the ball nearly every minute of the match. I also have no love for the refs who were completely inconsistent throughout and had little control over the match.
The second half was not much different, though England did pick up the pace a little and started to show some sort of attack. The first goal was scored by Stevie-G, thanks to a not-so-easy set-up from Rooney at the top of the box. It was a thread-the-needle finish, but other than that, pretty unremarkable. By the way, I would love to know where Rooney was throughout this match. He only showed up a few times, this being the most noteable and the second when he received a yellow card after the ref consulted the linesman (wtf?). If the ref's going to stop the match like he did and consult the linesman for that play, he's pretty much going to have to do it every time. Furthermore, if he's going to give it for shit talking, almost every single Andorra player should have got one.
I forgot to mention Gerrard's pathetic dive attempt where the Andorra goalie got in his face. Gerrard probably should have got a yellow card for that, but like I said, the ref was inconsistent, if not incompetent. Then again, if he did so, then he'd have to give the goalie one as well. Also Gerrard had an easy cross to another player (Defoe?) on the play which he obviously did not take.
You would figure a goal would open the match up a little and Andorra would change their ways to at least to try to equalise, but no go. Ten men behind the ball and begging for a bit of a luck for a goal was their plan and they were sticking to it. Also, after that goal, Gerrard starting playing back more, which annoyed the hell out of me. The next time he finally started coming up again, guess what? A little give-and-go with Defoe and a clinical finish bagged him his second goal and a 2-0 lead. It's funny, they looked like a completely different team once Defoe came on, hopefully he'll get the nod over Andy Johnson from now on. I like AJ, but he was useless throughout the match and made Rooney look decent, which was quite a feat.
Gerrard would later set up Defoe twice, the first time JD received a questionable offside call and the second he would power it past the goalie only to have Nugent tap it in.
I don't have much more to say about this match. It was bad. Should McClaren lose his job over it? Only if he doesn't learn from not having Lampard and Gerrard together and starting Jermaine Defoe over Andy Johnson. The problem with that is, we have to wait until June to see.
Gerrard's first goal:
Gerrard's second goal, which was pretty nice:
Gerrard's dive... embarrassing:
Defoe's... err, I mean Nugent's goal: