2010 FIFA World Cup: England Beat Plantium Stars, but No Gold Stars for England
Watching this game on a live stream on the BBC Sport was a weird sensation. No commentary, no replays, frequent screen freezing and the constant humming of the horns being blown by 12,000 fans in the Moruleng Stadium.
With just two minutes played, Steven Gerrard sauntered down the right and sent in the perfect cross to Jermain Defoe, who sloted the ball past the stranded goalkeeper from the six-yard line.
Disastrous defending from Glen Johnson meant he bundled over Platinum Stars striker with no apparent danger around him.
Bradley Grobler lofts the penalty high over Joe Hart's goal.
The Platinum boys weren't too shabby. They kept running into the box and were only stopped by pin point tackles by the back four.
Glen Johnson was eager to atone for his earlier mistake which led to Platinum's missed penalty.
HALF-TIME England 1-0 Platinum Stars
England's entire bench went through a thorough warm-up. In the second half Joe Cole is the only player still on the pitch who began the first half for England.
So on for England came Rob Green, Jamie Carragher, Michael Dawson, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock, Aaron Lennon, Michael Carrick, James Milner, Emile Heskey and Wayne Rooney.
Quick passes by England led to them being 10 yards out with Joe Cole one-on-one with the keeper. Cole does what he does best and slotted into the bottom corner.
Wayne Rooney tried to be generous, but it turned out to be a mistake. He was not marked 8 yards out, but decided to pass it to Heskey. Heskey then did what he does best and cocked it up.
He got the ball caught between his feet, and got tackle by his opponent.
Minutes later a cross was fizzed across the goal mouth. The only players there were Heskey, the keeper and a defender, yet Heskey completely missed it.
One thing that bothered me, not as much as the horns, were the officials. They looked like they were from a lower league, not international standard.
I kept thinking to myself, "OK, what just happened?" The ball went out for a corner, yet the ref gave a goal kick. Rooney got the ball, and he gave a free kick.
Yet another problem. They keep coming. Some of the England team must be thinking they are playing rugby. Someone needs to tell them that they can pass forward.
A succession of back passes for the star's half, ended up in a bouncing ball heading toward the keeper. He missed kicked it, and it ended up hitting the corner flag and going out for a stupid corner.
After a nice run and a nice pull back from Carragher, floated onto the boot of Rooney, who blasted the ball into the back of the net for England's third goal.
The end of the game was also weird. One second they were playing, the next they were walking off the pitch. The horns blocked out the whistle and without any timer in the corner of the screen they could have been playing for 10 minutes or 40 without me knowing.
A 3-nil win for England is a good score, but that scoreline against a team like the Platinum Stars is not good at all.
It was meant to be a walk over, yet it turned out to be a game that showed where the weak links are (i.e. Heskey).
England need to pull something out if they are going to get past the group stages. If they perform like they did today I could see them being in trouble against the USA.
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