Tuesday, September 9, 2008

England skipper raises white flag to Croatia

Finally, after years of trying to pretend competition with the game's big boys was possible, and England captain has come out and admitted the national side are barely a second-rate team.

John Terry, who has somehow been reappointed as captain by boss Fabio Capello, has claimed a draw against Croatia tomorrow (Wed, Sep 10) would be a good result. Given little (in terms of population, not ability or spirit) Croatia are favourites to win the group, at least the Chelsea defender is being honest.

Terry was quoted by FIFA.com as saying: "The campaign will not be judged on one match but if we win the game we can take control. he memories of last time, home and away, will be enough to get the lads fighting - it's a fresh start for everyone - a new campaign with everybody fighting for a place under the new manager.

"If we can win, then great. But if we draw it is a very good result too. They haven't lost here for a while and that is something we're aware of."

Just to highlight the difference between the resources available to both countries, may I point out the population of Croatia is about 4.5million, compared to England's 50.8million and to compare the domestic leagues would, quite frankly, be ridiculous.

But if John Terry is prepared to raise the white flag before kicking a ball in anger against Croatia, then so be it. Unless he is following a much-used English tactic of making the opposition seem far better than they are so getting anything can be celebrated with gusto in the jingoistic media.

Even as an Englishman, I hope Croatia win - and win well. Their players deserve it, their FA deserves it and their fans arguably deserve it more, so all the best to them.