So to international week and, not surprising given the proximity of the start of the premiership, there were a few “withdrawals” Steven Gerrard (groin) being one of them.
Still there was plenty of current and ex Liverpool involvement last night and how nice of Rio Ferdinand to commit the cardinal sin of playing across the front of his goal to let in Dirk in for Holland’s first! Ryan Babel also played in the second half and looked pretty lively giving ahem Glen Johnson a few sweaty moments
Elsewhere in Oslo John Arne Riise was having one of those games to the point that he seemed to be playing Scotland on his own such was his involvement. In the first half we saw a couple of reckless, flying tackles which really should have ended his evening. However, he survived to miss a sitter and then blast home a trade mark free kick. It was a typical Riise blockbuster even though it was deflected.
Meanwhile Torres and Riera netted for Spain, which in the Liverpool website’s words, helped ……
“Spain come back from 2-0 down to beat Macedonia 2-0.”
Sounds like some game! It was 3-2 which was the same as Argentina’s score against Russia where Javier Maschernao played the full 90 minutes. Benayoun, Degan also played or Israel and Switzerland against Northern Ireland and Italy
Thankfully there was good news concerning our centre backs – we might have one fit. Martin Skrtel came through an academy game yesterday against Oldham but this still won’t stop Rafa holding his breath until all the players get home and report a clean bill of health? Torres is the man concern he always seems to crock himself when he’s away with Spain? The injury list was long enough before last night. Let’s hope those where on international duty return without injury, another reason for not staging these games so early on, at least we have an extra day to prepare as our game is on Sunday, thank you Sky for once!
To the England game in Amsterdam and it was a reasonable performance save for two schoolboy defensive errors – the aforementioned Ferdinand and Gareth Barry perhaps suggesting that the players wanted to be elsewhere and focused on this weekend, something for the FA to note? ITV, in trying to get a story, inferred that Capello read the riot act at half time but even he put the mistakes down to pre season. I guess there is a point here suggesting that players are keeping something back until it really matters. Let’s hope it was the case with us during our somewhat indifferent pre season form?
Finally it’s an indication of Bobby Robson’s reputation, in this country and in Holland where he managed at PSV, that minutes silence/ applause still continue to take place almost two weeks after his death and will probably do so into this weekend.