The England national football side play Croatia in a crucial World Cup qualifying game in Zagreb tonight. Their opponents, like in the recent European Championship campaign, will a big threat to whether Fabio Capello’s men attempts to get to the finals in South Africa in 2010.
Not surprisingly, all the pre-match build-up have been focused on England’s problems on and off the pitch. They were criticised for playing badly despite winning 2-0 against Andorra on Saturday, and many sports writers fear that Croatia will break their hearts once more. Capello had claimed that his players were happy to play away from home because of the intense pressure and unrealistic expectations demanded by the fans. There was also the well-worn perception that many English players perform better for their clubs than they do for the national team, something that has been exploited by their Croatian counterparts.
However. It’s only the second game in their qualifying group, so whatever the result, it’s not the end of the world. It may be a tall order for England to get a result because of the fact that Croatia have yet to lose a competitive international at home since the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
The England players are more than capable of doing well in the Croatians’ back yard…. but do they believe in their own ability? The big test awaits tonight…..
P.S. I suspect that many England fans are angry that such a game will be screened on Santana Sultana Sentinel Setanta Sports. It was bad in the nineties when their bigger rival Sky bought up the rights to screen Premier League matches. Surely it is time for the terrestrial channels to co-bid with their satellite counterparts to share rights so that every fan can get the chance to see the matches in full.
UPDATE: England beat Croatia 4-1. Capello will now sleep well tonight 😀 !