Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wales (under 21) 2-3 England (Under 21)

I was far too emotionally involved in this game.It was an under 21 game game after all. A practise match in effect. Not much more than youth football.

But I had been working on some interview clips during the week for Sgorio's website . There are videos of a few of the players on the site and one in particular stood out. The Welsh keeper Owain Fon Williams gave the best interview I've seen for a long time. It's in Welsh and he basically said that he dreamed of beating the English. He spoke like we feel. Look at the image of Owain belting out the anthem on the images below. We have a new Dai Davies in the making.

I realy wanted them to win but I feared the worst. The odds were against us from the start. Despite UEFA's soundbites, everything is against the small nation. Firstly, despite creating a shock by winning our group,we were forced into a playoff, designed to give teams like France another chance. We pipped Romania to the group win, and we are then assigned a referee from...Romania. And finally,despite the fact that we need about nine of our Under 21 players for our senior team, the fixtures are arranged to clash with important senior fixtures. Wrexham can cancel a game because they lose 3 players to international fixtures, but the Under 21 team is forced to face England with a second string.

But bloody hell they did us proud. In front of a raucous sellout crowd, they attacked from the start. Shaun McDonald stood out for me, and Aaron Ramsey is simply imperious. He must feature in Toshack's team soon. He will be the best Welsh player since Ian Rush.

England seemed to think it would be easy. Arrogant, spoilt, but talented Premiership players were a little disrespectful I thought. I liked Stephen Taylor though. He has to be a future English captain.

Ablongahor was frighteningly quick. But he did something in the first half which I'm not sure is right. as he chased a through-ball going through to Owain Fon in the Welsh goal, he put two fingers his mouth and whistled like a shepherd. It's intended to put the keeper off, but I think it probably warrants a yellow card for ungentlemanly conduct.

The ref was lenient throughout. From my position pitchside I couldn't see too much, but the crowd seemed indignant a lot of the time. I watched it on television when got back, and I could see no foul in the build up to England's third goal, despite Rob Phillips assertions on Radio Wales.

So yes, England were the better team, and I expect them to win the return game at Villa Park. But I've written off Brian Flynn's boys before now and been wrong every time. There is class and spirit throughout the team. Simon Church was particularly impressive, along with Jack Collison. Whatever the result on Tuesday, it's been a great ride with this group of players and the future looks dazzlingly bright.


1 comment:

The Jet Set said...

Great Photos!!

When you say that the England team was a little bit arrogant it reminds me of a little detail form the friendly in Wrexham; a ballboy threw the ball to Hart but Hart didn't even bother to say thank you, manners maketh man.