Denmark 4 – 1 England
Preamble: The England football team has, for once, been kept off the back pages this week by Freddie Flintoff and chums, so our national newspapers’ chief sports writers have been distracted away from the usual angst over a friendly Bicester Village Prada Refund international fixture being played after just one game in the Premiership.
However, this game is very important for the team as a warm-up, not to the World Cup as most people seem to think, but to their crucial World Cup qualifier in Cardiff next month. Poland are still breathing down England’s neck in the group, and any slip-ups in that game could prove very costly in their bid just to make it to Germany next summer.
For this reason, England play Best Prada Outlet In Florence their first XI with the exception of Michael Owen, who is suspended from the game with Wales and is for that reason replaced by Jermain Defoe. Sven is only allowed to make half a dozen substitutions during the game, and among those waiting for a chance to shine are Charlton’s Darren Bent, but the forward with a good touch for a big lad misses out.
Denmark: Sorensen, Agger, Nielsen, Niclas Jensen, Priske, Poulsen, Gravesen, Gronkjaer, Claus Jensen, Tomasson, Jorgensen. Subs: Christiansen, Gaardsoe, Gravgaard, Daniel Jensen, Kahlenberg, Perez, Larsen, Rommedahl, Bogelund, Jepsen, Skoubo.
England: Robinson; G Neville, Ferdinand, Terry, A Cole; Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard, J Cole; Rooney, Defoe. Subs: Green, James, Johnson, Phil Neville, Upson, Carragher, Jenas, Hargreaves, Carrick, Owen, Bent.
The national anthems: The England contingent in the crowd and 10 of the England players bellow out our ludicrously short anthem, the odd man out being Gary Neville, who always looks like he is in prayer at a funeral whenever he hears that particular tune.
1 min A sloppy backpass from Ferdinand goes behind for a corner, but he atones for his mistake by clearing the corner himself.
3 mins It’s been a very slow beginning to the game, so much so that Martin Tyler is telling anyone who will listen about how the groundsman cuts the grass.
5 mins A quiet appeal for a penalty from John Terry, who appeared to be pulled back as he tried to latch onto a Gary Neville cross. The Danes had given Neville an Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Messenger Bag awful lot of space on the edge of the box, so they are clearly tactically astute.
7 mins Ferdinand chests the ball back to the keeper, the kind of comfortable move which receives hearty applause at football grounds from people who know next to nothing about the game. “I have a mate who is Australian, and he is flying in from Sydney on Sunday,” says Tim Buckingham, who is doing his best to turn this from a minute-by-minute to an over-by-over report. “I thought it would have been nice of Vaughan and the boys to have us 2-1 up so I could have really enjoyed his visit. The only other time I could have enjoyed sporting superiority, after years of England losing to his national teams, was in the rugby and his wife left him two days before the final so I had to temper my telephone celebrations. I can’t help but feel he engineered the timing of it all to be honest. Anyway, my tenuous link is that after the patriotic fervour of Monday, this is going to be soporific fare isn’t it?” Most probably yes. The Danes seem up for it though.
10 mins The posession is being equally shared between the two teams’ defences at the moment, with move after move breaking down when the ball is passed into the crowded midfield area.
12 mins At long last Frank Lampard has the first shot of the game. Unsurprisingly the opportunity came from a misplaced pass, by Defoe, but Lampard’s side-footed strike was comfortable for Thomas Sorensen.
14 mins England are coming into this now. This time it’s David Beckham with a fierce hit from 25 yards, the ball fizzing past Sorensen’s right hand but also his right post.
15 mins And now a chance for Denmark, wasted by Claus Jensen who ballooned the ball over the bar after good work by Gronkjaer (honestly) and Tomasson. Dare I say it’s warming up a little?
17 mins England push forward again, Defoe finding Beckham on the right. Beckham’s cross was too low and cleared to the edge of the box, where Lampard fired in another shot which was blocked.
19 mins Gronkjaer displays the kind of skill English fans are more used to seeing as Sorensen directs a long ball towards him, but rather than head the ball he turns his back towards it and lets it go harmlessly out of play.
21 mins Poor mistake by Sorensen, whose backpass is inaccurate and only finds Beckham clear on the wing. Beckham’s cross travels dangerously across the six-yard box, eventually falling to Rooney whose cross-shot is gathered by the Danish keeper. Down the other end, Gravesen lets Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Messenger Bag fly to force Robinson into his first save of the night.
24 mins A Beckham ball down the line drifts out of play, allowing the new grown-up Rooney to thrash the ball into the stand. Yes, that really was the highlight of the last three minutes. “Why are the England crowd always good at belting out God Save the Queen and yet the team’s efforts are always so pathetic,” asks Steve Pine. “I have never been able to understand this. Ideas anyone?” Anyone?
27 mins Sorensen, who had a nightmare against England in the 2002 World Cup second round, is having a similarly torrid time tonight, again picking out Beckham with a pass. As you will gather from the fact that the scoreline hasn’t changed, the England captain did little with the gift.
30 mins Sorensen proves that he’s not an Englishman at heart with an athletic dive to his left to tip away Defoe’s bouncing header. From the resultant corner, Terry challenges for the ball in a bid to score his first goal for his country, but his header goes over.
32 mins A dangerous Denmark counter-attack comes to an abrupt halt when the ball is spread wide to their right-winger. Jesper Gronkjaer, of course.
34 mins A flowing move from England sees them keep possession for a minute or so, but when Neville eventually floated the ball into the penalty area, Defoe was never going to be able to leap above the big Danish centre-halves.
36 mins Rooney finds the back of the net for England, coolly volleying past Sorensen, but the ref brings play back for a slight push by the United forward which allowed him the space to finish. The decision looked a little harsh on England.
38 mins Rooney again causes the Denmark defence problems, running in behind the right-back and pulling a clever pass back to Lampard. Sadly Lampard’s first-time effort strikes the side of a rather fortuitous Dane.
39 mins Jensen (Niclas) passes to Jensen (Claus) who himself tries to pass the ball into the top corner, but his curling shot doesn’t have the necessary power to trouble Robinson.
41 mins Beckham knocks a short pass to the on-running Neville, who centres toward Rooney on the six-yard box. Rooney would surely have scored but for a tug on his shirt, but the referee failed to spot the infringement. It would be fair to say the England No9 is not best pleased with Mr Ovrebo.
44 mins Jorgensen wins a corner for Denmark in the last minute of the first half by playing the ball off Ferdinand. “With regards to Steve Pine’s question about the national anthem,” writes Ian Holt, “I think it’s something to do with the crowd actually wanting to be at the game replica prada saffiano handbags, and caring about how the national team does. Not that I’ve got anything against the fine squad of men Eriksson’s picked. Apart from Phil Neville.”
45 mins Poor marking from England allows Poulsen to rise free at the near post, but his header is badly mistimed and flies wide.
Half-time musings: Thus far it has been a fairly competent performance from the men in white (that’s England by the way), who have certainly looked the better team. Rooney has been the most dangerous player on the pitch (and most competitive, epitomised by his rant at the Norwegian ref as the rest of the players ambled off for their cup of tea and segment of orange) bringing England to life after a fairly lifeless first 20 minutes. The game has certainly improved as it has gone on, so hopefully the second half will be a cracker. Well, we can but hope.
“Rushed home to watch this on Pay Per View here in Canada, but I got home at 2:12pm which was two minutes after the deadline to buy the Pay Per View event,” says Loz (?!) Jones. “Maybe this is a blessing in disguise because now I don’t have to watch another appalling England performance, and saved myself $20.”
“Is Sorensen getting confused between the ‘gorgeous’ right midfielder Becks and that equally ‘handsome’ Villa left-midfielder Gareth Barry when he punts straight to the England capitano or is it just a case of his being not very good?” asks Alisdair. It could be a mixture of the two I think.
Half-time substitutions: Four of them for England: Glen Johnson on for Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher for John Terry, and David James for Paul Robinson. Lastly, Michael Owen has replaced Jermain Defoe, despite the importance of this game for the Spurs striker given he will be starting against Wales next month. A strange one to say the least.
Meanwhile, Dennis Rommedahl, who plays for the team at the top of the Premiership, has come on for Denmark, though I don’t have the foggiest who has gone off.
47 mins Update on the Denmark subs front: Kahlenberg has also come on for Denmark, and he and Rommedahl have replaced the two wingers, Gronkjaer and Jorgensen. Thankfully there is no action on the pitch while I try to get my head round all this chopping and changing. Except a curling cross from Niclas Jensen which sails over Tomasson.
50 mins It’s been all Demark thus far in the second half as England, like me, struggle to come to terms Authentic Prada Bag For Sale Philippines with all these newcomers to the pitch. “I think English fans just like anthems in general, they always seem to make noise no matter what anthem is playing,” says Ian Taylor in response to Steve Pine. “Despite not knowing the words of Johnny foreigners’ national tune, they do try to boo in tune.”
53 mins Niclas Jensen is being given a lot of time down the left flank, and here he wins a corner for his team. It’s completely wasted by Claus Jensen though, whose cross was aimed 30 yards from goal to nobody in particular. “I’m following your commentary with one eye at work and have noticed you have not mentioned Gerrard once,” Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Shoes Uk says Steve Taylor. “Has he been that absent? Why can he never put together the kind of performance for England that he manages to put in week in and week out with Liverpool?” He has been fairly anonymous to date, playing more of a sitting role to give Lampard licence to push forward.
55 mins Gravesen hurls the ball into the box from a throw-in but, under considerable pressure, Ferdinand heads clear. Then Owen’s first touch wins England a free-kick 35 yards from goal, which Beckham contrives to waste by taking it before his team-mates were ready.
57 mins Denmark burst forward again, but Kahlenberg strays offside and the ref blows his whistle before the Dane unleashes his shot. It was a comfortable save for James anyway.
GOAL! Denmark 1 – 0 England (Rommedahl 59) A Beckham free-kick is claimed by Sorensen, who immediately throws the ball to Rommedahl to initiate a counter-attack. The winger sends the ball over the top for Tomasson to run onto, but he is beaten to the ball by the on-rushing James. Sadly James lives up to his nickname “Calamity”, sliding past the ball, and though Ashley Cole recovered well to challenge Tomasson, the forward is able to pick out Rommedahl for a tap-in. A disastrous goal for James.
62 mins England look to hit back through their front two, but Rooney’s pass is too strong for Owen, who would have been clear on goal.
GOAL! Denmark 2 – 0 England (Tomasson 63) Jensen, as he has done already a couple of times this half, skips past Johnson, then slides the ball across for the waiting Tomasson. Cole again intercepts, but his clearance rebounds comically (it would be tragic if it wasn’t a friendly) to provide Tomasson with a one-yard tap-in.
65 mins Substitution: Owen Hargreaves on for Frank Lampard, which, let’s be honest, is only going to add to England’s woes.
GOAL! Denmark 3 – 0 England (Gravgaard 66) Sloppy miscontrol from Beckham gives Denmark a corner, to which Gravgaard beats Carragher. The ball cannons off Gerrard and bounces over Joe Cole on the near post. This is getting embarrassing.
69 mins An inswinging corner from Beckham is Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada met by the head of Ferdinand, but the man on the far post nods it away. Let me just remind you that Denmark are only fourth in their World Cup qualifying group. Oh dear.
72 mins Beckham, who presumably can see past the hair which flops in front of his eyes, is looking far from pleased as he challenges his Real Are Prada Handbags Cheaper In Italy Madrid midfield partner Gravesen. The Dane fires a shot past James’s goal into the crowd, where England fans seem to be giving the keeper a fearful amount of stick. Meanwhile, Kenny Aitchison knows how to kick a man when he’s down: “The Radio Scotland half-time punditry chatter is going mad with Are All Prada Handbags Leather delight, as they pass on the goal news from the England game. As they say, ‘things just can’t get any better’.”
75 mins “A bit harsh on Hargreaves there Mike,” says GJ. “He gets a regular first team place for Bayern Munich – one of the better teams in the world, I’d say; scored a scorcher to record the first ever goal scored at their new stadium only last week; and is very rarely given more than a sub’s role in the England set-up. He is also very rarely played in the same position more than once by our esteemed (I think that’s the right word, but maybe not) Swedish manager.” Maybe, but he’s no Frank Lampard and making another change just disjoints the team even further. As was shown by the concession of a third goal a minute later.
77 mins James aims a long ball to Beckham, whose flick-on is reached by Owen before Sorensen but the ball goes just past the post. Then Rooney is picked out on the left-hand side of the box by Beckham, but his cross is cut out.
79 mins The contrast in the two approaches this half has been striking. England have been sluggish in their build-up, as they were in the first half Are Prada Handbags Cheaper In Italy until Rooney imposed himself on the game, while Denmark have been breaking with great speed and precision. While I write, Johnson picks up a booking for a tackle from behind on Kahlenberg.
81 mins Denmark are, not surprisingly, fairly content with the scoreline and are playing a bit of keep-ball to the rhythm of the crowd’s “oles”. “I’ve just taken some solace from other scores,” says Reg Gorczynski. “Both Germany and Poland are losing – one the ‘old enemy’, the other the team we must defeat to qualify outright.”
83 mins Kahlenberg, who has made a big impact since coming on at half-time, turns Johnson inside out again, but this time the Chelsea full-back recovers to concede a corner. Then Steven Gerrard, who I didn’t realise was actually still on the pitch, is replaced by Jermaine Jenas.
85 mins Ashley Cole dives in with a two-footed challenge, which in the Premiership could have resulted in a red card, but is met here by the referee, who looks suspiciously like Thomas Gravesen’s big brother, with just a ticking off.
GOAL! Denmark 3 – 1 England (Rooney 87) Rooney gets the goal his performance has fully deserved. In truth, he has been the only England player who has looked likely to score all evening. Latching onto a perfectly-weighted Beckham pass behind the defence, Rooney guided the ball first-time past Sorensen into the corner. It’s only a consolation though.
90 mins Denmark look to make England’s night even worse by adding a fourth, but Rommedahl’s cross is harmless enough and Ferdinand clears the danger.
GOAL! Denmark 4 – 1 England (Larsen 90 2) And then there is the fourth. Larsen beats Ferdinand to a throughball and flicks it on the slide past James, who for some reason had already gone to ground. Another odd piece of goalkeeping. The humiliation is complete.
Full-time: Three shrill blows on the referee’s whistle signal the end of England’s nightmare. The second-half showing was truly abysmal, David James beginning the rout with another error for the first goal. Any Welshmen watching this will be licking their lips. In fact, even Northern Ireland Nil will fancy their chances if England play anything like that again. But then again, under Sven, friendlies have never really been England’s thing. Thanks for all your emails, Mike.