Welcome to the World of Beckham blog, we aim to keep you up to date with developments in the career of David Beckham a footballer from the UK who has played for some of the top teams in the world.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

England 2 Japan 1

On the road to South Africa, England take on Japan in their high altitude camp in Austria.
England started the first half with a look of a team that could put pressure on the Japanese, only to be stunned by a goal scored by Tulio from a corner after just 6 minutes. Japan had a second chance on goal just three minutes later as England resumed their habitual nervy look in defence. The one exciting moment of the half for England fans was Rooney putting the ball on a plate for Lennon (playing on the left), who failed to beat the keeper with his left foot.
Whatever England tried, Japan were there waiting for them hassling them off the ball and foiling every plan - in fairness there was very little invention from a ponderous England side. On 30 minutes, Bent got on the end of a lofted ball from Ferdinand, but headed wide, a little later Rooney improvised a back-heel from a Huddlestone shot that narrowly missed the target - these were brief glimpses of hope in a very disappointing half that finished with a one-goal advantage to Japan.
There were five changes and a new shape from England for the second half and just two minutes in saw the first attempt on goal from Gerrard. Ten minutes later Wright-Phillips scampered down the left hand side riding three tackles passing to Lampard who was brought down for a free kick. The kick gave England a penalty as not one but two players in the defensive wall handled the ball. Lampard took the spot-kick which was saved by the Japanese reserve keeper.
The frustration was visible as Rooney began to lose his self-control a little. Gerrard put a ball through the middle for Rooney leaving him one-on-one with the keeper, but the flag was up (mistakenly) for offside. Good shot from distance from Rooney on 63 mins, but not far enough away from the keeper. A few minutes later, Hart made a vital instinctive save which kept England in the game. More good work from Rooney as his next shot is parried away on 68 mins, but it was Joe Cole's cross from the right on 71 minutes that ended up in the net courtesy of Tulio's head. Just 10 minutes later, an Ashley Cole cross was again turned into the net by another Japanese player. Heskey also spurned a chance to get on the score sheet in the final minutes from a nicely whipped cross from Gerrard.
2-1 without an England player adding to his goal tally is fairly extraordinary, but this is a game where Frank Lampard missed a penalty, and Rooney had a bad off-side against him which would surely have otherwise resulted in an England goal.
This was one of those bad dress rehearsals that will hopefully lead to a decent performance at the World Cup - one more warm-up to go before meeting the USA - the 23 player final squad gets announced on Tuesday.

Monday, 24 May 2010

England 3 Mexico 1

Beckham watches from the stands as a new look England side takes the field to see if they can make an impact on a Mexico side who should be able to hold their own against most of the rest of the world. A shaky start saw neither team dominating, but Ledley King scored after 16 minutes from a set-piece which should have settled England down, but they failed to really get a grip on the game. King's second goal in an England shirt came from a corner knocked down by Crouch and headed in leaving the 'keeper no chance.
Rob Green showed real class in goal for England with a couple of excellent saves to keep them ahead in the game. Crouch bundled in a goal from a Rooney header that struck the bar on 34 minutes which should have settled England down a little, but they still remained edgy giving silly chances away at the back. It was on the very final stroke of the half that Mexico themselves managed to bundle the ball through the legs of Leighton Baines to pull one back. 2-1 going into the break.
Glen Johnson settled nerves 90 seconds after the re-start by scoring a cracker coming inside on his left foot and placing the ball right in the far corner. This had the desired affect and England looked more comfortable in the second half. As Gerrard was forced off the ball on 65 mins, the crowd began to warm up and the whole atmosphere became much more like a proper World Cup match. Milner rolled the resulting free-kick to Gerrard who narrowly missed the target.
England continued to push and to soak up the pressure from Mexico, looking more assured at the back in the second half.
The performance was reminiscent of England's qualifying campaign - guaranteed to score plenty of goals, but also guaranteed to let the opposition get behind their defence - only a truly World Class goalie need apply for this job...
Nevertheless, this type of performance should get us through the group stages, against the big boys, a plan B may be required... Japan next, then a game against local opposition in South Africa will prepare the team just 5 days before they meet the USA for the first game of the 2010 World Cup.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Beckham hope for 2018

In the light of the Lord Triesman fiasco, the nation looks to David Beckham to bring some integrity to the UK bid to host the World Cup in 2018. Either Lord Triesman was a very silly man, or he was cleverly set-up by a malicious third party, either way he has vacated his position leaving the UK World Cup bid requiring someone to take it forward.
I would offer advice to anyone in the public eye in the light of this latest scandal - trust no-one! One ends up mulling over whether the 'lady' in question actually acquired herself an 'agent' before the conversation was recorded, or prior to the event? How did a photograph of the hapless Lord (looking a bit silly in jeans) leaving a restaurant with this person end up in the public domain??
I don't want to get bogged down in this type of thing because this blog is about football, and despite all the baggage, we are still looking forward to the start of the 2010 World Cup never mind the 2018 event for now...
The stage is set, Beckham looks increasingly like taking a role in the England camp, one of Germany's penalty takers (Ballack) was injured at the weeknd which has to give a boost to the England team! I wouldn't wish missing the World Cup through injury on any footballer, but if it will help England NOT to be knocked out on penalties (again), then there is a silver lining... I have looked at the schedule (you can download a free world cup schedule here) and unless we meet after the first round, England will not meet Germany unless they both make it to the final!! England and Germany avoid each other after the first round if they both manage to come top of their respective groups, or if they both manage to come second - I would expect both teams to top their group, but you never know....
Capello has announced his provisional squad which contained a number of surprise inclusions - we wait eagerly to find out which of those players will have the disappointment of getting dropped before the finals start... The announcement will be made on June 1st after England finish their preparations against Mexico (24/05/2010) and Japan (30/05/2010).