The good, the bad and the downright ugly as England and Northern Ireland win

17 Jun

After all the dust has settled, the record books will show a 2-1 victory for England over Wales. The winning goal coming deep into that period us Brentford fans know as Jota time to send Roy Hodgson into a jubilant jig from the dugout and, surely, book England’s place in the next round. Elsewhere, Northern Ireland put on a superb performance in beating Ukraine but Germany and Poland drawing 0-0 means Stuart Dallas, Niall McGinn and the yet to appear Will Grigg are going to have their work cut out.

As ever, off field matters dominated proceedings. Whilst the atmosphere at the game seemed a really positive one, the French Police again elected for the tear gas option later in the evening. There has been grotesque footage circulating of England fans taunting refugee children by throwing coins at them or goading them into downing pints for money.

I know our own Billy and Dave from Beesotted have been doing their thing to try and combat some of the negative imagery and disproportionate police reaction but this a new level of low. Likewise, reading the comments of FourFourTwo magazine managing editor Huw Davies,  where things sound anything but rosy. Do check out his Twitter feed to get the views of those looking in at the English. It is a trail of unpleasantness and abuse from those supposedly supporting England.

Comments include :   “I’m not trying to set or challenge a narrative. Just saying that while we chatted with some nice English fans, majority weren’t” and (when faced with a homeless woman and her child, shouts of )  “What are you doing on the street with a f**king child?” “If you can’t support it, don’t have it.” “You’re a f**king shit mum.” All in a row

As for the game itself, England now top the group after Daniel Sturrridge’s last gasp goal saw manager saw Roy Hodgson channelling his inner Alan Pardew with a celebratory leap from the dugout. Only a point is needed to ensure qualification from the group whilst Wales must now beat Russia to guarantee the same outcome.

It was hard work getting there, though. Gareth Bale’s free kick from distance saw Wales take a half time lead. Joe Hart may be able to keep his shoulders clean but he couldn’t manage a clean sheet, despite getting his hands to the Real Madrid man’s long range effort around the wall. It was a decent strike, make no mistake, but it should have been pushed clear of the post rather than into the goal.

And then Roy went for it. With Jamie Vardy and Sturridge introduced for Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, the difference in bench quality showed. England were able to step it up as Wales attempted to soak it up.

An errant Welsh defender’s flick on saw an otherwise miles offside Vardy grab the equaliser just nine minutes into a one-way second half. And from there the game only had one winner. But would it come? No. Wave after wave of pressure saw resolute defending keep the English team at bay. Despite the best efforts of the inspired subs and marauding Kyle Walker, there was no way through.

And then it happened. With a draw looking odds on, England launched one more attack. The ball fell to Sturridge who, wriggling through the box, was able to slip it through, off and past the Welsh defence for a jubilantly celebrated winner. Even Gary Neville joining Roy in the excitement. Such was the communal outpouring of triumph I half expected John Terry to join in.

Tough luck to Wales. Well done to England. Cue the inevitable post match celebrations and exhortations from Gary Lineker, who this season seems to have forgotten he ever played for anybody but Leicester City. It was all about Vardy and his first team. Tottenham? Barcelona? Nagoya Grampus Eight? At least one of those three has players involved.

Gary in his Grampus Eight days…

As for the ex-Brentford contingent, everybody from Jonathan Douglas to Charlie Lawson (TV’s Jim McDonald) was bigging up the boys from Northern Ireland. They battled the elements and Ukraine to secure a stunning victory, despite the absence of Will Grigg. Germany have done them no favours with that 0-0 but still an incredible moment that culminated in an incredible dance from ‘Big’ Jim to out Pardew even Roy.

On a day that saw Roy’s rolls (of the dice) lead England to victory, how apt to see another Corrie connection celebrating a different one.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 08.18.57

Do check out Charlie’s video – now THAT’s a celebration

Nick Bruzon

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4 Responses to “The good, the bad and the downright ugly as England and Northern Ireland win”

  1. Charles P June 17, 2016 at 7:29 am #

    The more I see and read about the behaviour of some English people in France (I refuse to refer to them as supporters or fans) the more I despair at a society capable of producing such vile individuals, and yesterday’s footage does indeed show behaviour reaching new depths of depravity. I try to keep things in perspective and know that there are many, many thousands of true English fans out there in France, including members of my own family, who are there to enjoy themselves, who know how to behave and who treat their fellow human beings with respect and decency whatever their nationality, colour, or ethnicity. Nevertheless, I have this really unpleasant, gnawing recognition that the game of football and my country of birth irrevocably links me in some way with those perpetrating the obscene acts of yesterday leaving a very dark cloud over what should have been a celebration of a long-awaited English victory. Tearing up my Brentford season ticket and vowing never to watch another ball being kicked is not the answer, and will never happen, but I have to admit there is a tiny bit of me that feels this would be a justifiable, if irrational response.

    • nickbruzon June 17, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

      I’m with you. Those following the English team have been unfairly vilified at times. Then you see the unprovoked flip side and just despair.
      Don’t give up. Please. That’s not the answer. Every decent fan who turns away is a step closer to these morons moving from a minority to a majority.
      They ARE the thin end of the wedge. Unfortunately, such actions are only going to tar everybody with that brush. Here’s hoping common sense and human decency will prevail

    • Rebelbee June 17, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

      It’s less about football & more about society, fix the scummy horrible people who you find everywhere here & football will be better for it. And let’s have it right, Marseille was mainly a product of Russian loons & locals taking advantage of useless French organisation & policing. Not making headline news but whilst all this is going on the French are striking & rioting themselves – in the midst of a state of emergency!!!!

  2. Leonard Wright June 17, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    You should have mentioned Dallas’s assist for NI’s 2nd …

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