What a bloody shambles! Yes, we won and that's all that matters, especially with Sweden only managing a 0-0 draw with Trinidad and Tobago but England can only get better.
No wonder the old football cliche, "it's a game of two halves" gets so much use; England bossed the first 45 minutes with a relaxed display of practice match football and should have added to their early opening goal. But instead they appear for the second half with a slender 1-0 lead and proceeded to be given the run around by Paraguay, who were clearly playing their hearts out trying to get a result.
Faced with a passionate but distinctly average team, England relied heavily on their excellent defense to get them out of trouble, so much so that the last few minutes had me screaming at the TV for England to "FUCKIN' GET RID!" (for those not in the know, that means clearing the ball from the goal mouth area).
As mentioned the defense was excellent, virtually flawless and very competitive, boads well for the future. Gerrard and Lampard played well in the first half but as the game progressed got trapped in a flatter midfield formation so that Paraguay simply passed through them. Joe Cole offered plenty on the left flank but was then used as a deep forward to little effect but he battled well. Beckham continued his good run of form and was always a threat with passing that is truly sublime. Downing, who came on as a sub, was great, lots of driving runs and looked good getting at the defense but kept holding back too deep in his own half at times.
Crouch was my man of the match, he was a constant handful up front and worked himself into the ground for England whilst his strike partner Owen was utterly and worryingly anonymous. He is clearly short of match fitness and has 5 days to get himself into attacking shape for Trinidad and Tobago.
Final thought, the referee was a total wanker...