Meh, international football. It’s rubbish, most of the teams are rubbish and we never have enough “stuff” to make fun of. Who am I kidding?? We have loads of “stuff” to make fun of, don’t we Scotland and Wales?
#1 Gareth Southgate
Before I get on to rinsing the other failing Home Nations, let’s start with a bit of England hey? Credit to Gareth Southgate, he has managed to navigate the country out of that ever-so-tricky group unharmed, and whilst selecting players like Jake Livermore and Aaron Cresswell. We must not forget the part Sam Allardyce played in qualification, all 90 minutes of it. Southgate is a man with a plan, and that plan revolves reminding everyone that will listen that we’re not really that good. Well, at least he’s honest. Southgate has succeeded in getting England through a qualifying campaign unbeaten, like many before him, and will take them to Russia next year where he will fail miserably, like many before him.
#2 Gordon Strachan and Scotland
I think the wee man’s time might be up. Not just as Scotland manager, but being allowed to talk in public. Scotland bought themselves a winning ticket to the World Cup on Thursday night, managing to win a game. All they had to do was not screw it up on Sunday and they’d be in a play-off situation. All they had to do, all they had to do, all they had to do. Of course, they failed. And why did they fail? Was it tactics? NO! Was it technique? NO! Was it the fault of the Scottish FA? NO! It was that “the other teams are just bigger than we are and it’s not fair I tell you!” Yes, the 5ft 6 Scot who made a decent career for himself as a player in a team that went to at least two World Cups has blamed genetics for Scotland not generating big enough individuals to compete. The noise you can hear is the Spanish pissing themselves with laughter. Maybe it is time for Scotland to move the national diet on from Haggis and deep-fried Mars Bars if they want to create a generation of healthy people that might just be tall enough to play international football?
#3 Chris Coleman and Wales
Did anyone else find the Wales manager just a little too smug last summer when Wales found themselves in the European Championship Semi-Finals? I don’t know what it is about Coleman. Granted, he did something that many, many Welsh managers have failed to do over the years and get his small nation into an over-expanded international tournament. But he does look like he loves himself more than chocolate. Either way, Wales were Bale-less against wily old hag Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland and did not come across as a one-man-team by the end of the whistle whatsoever. Ireland are in the playoffs which means we might see more of Roy Keane which is never a bad thing.
#4 Leo Messi
Never turns up for Argentina, they say. Can’t call him a great, hasn’t won a World Cup for Argentina, they say. Only cares about Barcelona, they say. Well, what do they say now, after Messi singlehandedly saved Argentina from missing out on a trip to Russia? Sure, Maradona won them a World Cup, but did he ever do that? No, because he didn’t bloody well have to as his team-mates rarely let him down as much as Messi’s. A World Cup without Argentina, and of course Messi, would just be plain wrong so it was great to see them win, incredibly, in Ecuador and book their seat.
#5 Dick Advocaat and Holland
“No way will they beat Luxembourg, what, 8-0!” is kinda what Dick said ahead of Holland’s game at the weekend. Dick had a plan, you see. It was all going to be OK. They would head into last night’s match with Sweden knowing that a routine 2-0 win would be enough to get a play-off place. The problem was that Sweden did beat Luxembourg 8-0, meaning the Netherlands needed a seven-goal swing to get through, and 2-0 just wasn’t enough.
#6 Frank de Boer
But, it was a good night for Frank. He was, conveniently, in the stands for the Sweden match and will almost certainly be the latest Dutch icon to get given the poisoned chalice of the national team.
#7 Bruce Arena
All I can say Bruce is, hahahahahahahahahahahahha.