WC: England 2 – 0 Trinidad & Tobago: Final

Don’t let the score fool you. Those two goals were scored against a worn out and flagging TNT team. Yes, the English finally scored a goal. Yes, Rooney finally got to play. Yes, the English advance to the second round. However, it all seems like an accident, like they’ve narrowly skittered by.

There are lots of ways to look at this. One is that if you are going to play poorly, the first two game are the best time. That’s when you are more likely to be facing lesser opponents, just as England has. Despite all this talk about their poor play, they’ve won two game, have six points, and are moving on to the second round of the World Cup.

The second way to look at this is that they are playing down to their opponents. This means the opponents are, to some extent, dictating the game that the English bring to the pitch. That can be positive but a really good team can manipulate that weakness and make you play your very worst.

At any rate, I feel bad for Shaka Hislop, the TNT goalkeeper. He had a fantastic game against Sweden, was playing well against England, then an unstoppable Crouch header got past him. It was really a full on defensive breakdown and not totally his fault. The second goal was definitely his and he knew it. He was looking to be a star of the Cup and I think he certainly drew some more attention to himself. Maybe West Ham will give him a raise.

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