Brian GlanvilleBeating what was surely the worst most inert Swedish team ever to come to Wembley – and they have been coming since that glorious Swedish team which under the aegis of little Yorkshireman George Raynor won the 1948 Olympic Gold with the Nordahls, Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Gren – England at least made serious efforts to score. By contrast with the massed defence deployed against a Spanish team which hardly deserved to lose.

It would probably be unfair to judge this England team that beat Sweden any more than the side which somehow or other defeated Spain – who subsequently didn’t look too good in San Jose against Costa Rica. Too many key men were missing: Jack Wilshere, our solitary schemer, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney who could perfectly well have been deployed in these two friendlies had Capello wished to.

Against a Sweden team in which the much renowned but ever erratic Zoltan Ibrahimovic gave himself the evening off, the England defence strolled through the game.

Both wingers played electrically well. Given the service that he got just once late in the first half against Spain, Theo Walcott used his splendid speed to great effect in the first half against Sweden. Can we please place a moratorium on all the silly prattle about his not having a football brain, whatever that is? What he does he does splendidly well and what he can do at his best as he showed to such effect once in Zagreb is to play havoc with the opposing defence. Downing was splendidly effective on either win. But where was the central striker?

Capello’s one man up obsession gave poor Bobby Zamora on his uneasy debut as hard a time as had Darren Bent against Spain. Zamora should surely have taken that good chance in the second half and is arguably short of international calibre but then, what English striker is not?

Much praise again for young Phil Jones, but it is surely plain enough as it certainly has been after a single such experiment to Alex Ferguson that central midfield is not his position. When, thanks to a shocking error by Kim Kjelstrom, he suddenly broke quite free through the centre of the Swedish defence, his final attempt to score with only the keeper to beat was a hasty disaster. Centre back surely remains his ideal role.

Meanwhile, the ineffable Sepp Blatter has put his foot in his mouth again, this time over racism on the pitch. Should we be at all surprised?

Let us not forget that Russia, no doubt after the disbursement of large sums of money in the right or wrong places, has the 2018 World Cup, despite the endemic racism in its football. That FIFA Kick Out Racism Campaign was always a meaningless charade. So to what might be called the latest Blatterism.

  • Patrick Redmond

    Quite frankly, let’s be honest for a change: The uproar over Blatter has more to do with England’s failed attempt getting at the 2018 World Cup than anything he said over racism. After all, per head there were probably just as many racists or more in Britain when Black and South Asian people first came here in the sixties as in Russia’s early years with immigration, just with none of the ‘do-gooders’ who brought in legislation against discrimination etc in the sixties and seventies, doing battle.

    However, speaking of racists, I just can’t square all of Brian’s self back-slapping – his latest column in WS recalls a short story of his as somehow changing football fans’ views of black players while simultaneously deriding ‘that monumental hypocrisy, political correctness’ – and his disdain for FIFA’s top man and his predecessor, with his fondness for and anger over the deposing of Saint Stanley of Rous in 1974. Blatter may be a card sharp in charge of football and a complete fool. But at least he and Havelange did not go around suggesting people who treat humans on account of their colour – denying them the vote, expelling them from large parts of THEIR country, (and two years later) shooting unarmed schoolchildren – far worse than insulting them, should join the football family. Here, I’m talking for Rous’ capacity to ignore some of the less savoury aspects of the Apartheid State of South Africa. Yes, not for the first time, there is a stink of hypocrisy from the fourth estate.

  • Mark Scarratt

    Mr Glanville

    Firstly, I agree entirely with your views on the appalling Mr Blatter.

    Secondly, I have just read your article in the latest World Soccer magazine in which you query the Police involvement in the allegations made against John Terry ref Anton Ferdinand.
    Had this allegation proved to be correct and taken place in the street or any other public place then Terry would likely have been arrested and prosecuted for a racially aggravated public order offence.
    Are you suggesting that what takes place on the football pitch is outside the law of the land.
    Although it took place in Scotland, I recall Duncan Ferguson being sent to jail for an assault, which took place on the football pitch whilst he was playing for Glasgow Rangers.
    If we are to tackle racism properly then we need to be robust and punish those offenders, and conversely we should also punish those who make false allegations of the same nature.

    I am not sure if your article is questioning the rights of the Police or is perhaps more damning of the inept response of the F.A.

    Terry either racially insulted Ferdinand or he didn’t. It shouldn’t be too hard to work out, nor should the case of Suarez and Evra.
    I expect both cases will be strung out at great expense for many months to come.

    Finally I also read your match reports in the Sunday Times, and you should be praised as you seem to be the only journalist who actually reports on the action. Perhaps your colleagues could follow suit and actually tell us what happened in the match.