This matchup has been covered again and again, in traditional English media, in the blogs, on tiny twitter-rants. People with more knowledge and greater skills than I have dissected today's match, and over and over they come to one conclusion: England should beat Bulgaria.
Then why all the fuss? Why spill hundreds of words on England's first qualifier, when they've got seven to go, and a few against what appears to be much more threatening opposition?
Because England are a'shambles. Should The Three Lions not manage to pull off a convincing win today, people might start throwing things. Or maybe just writing yet more articles about the state of the English team. And while I can't really start a riot off in the Pacific Northwest (unless people believe I'm protesting against Nike) (Which would only prove that they're not very observant, what with England kits being made by Umbro) (Which might be owned by Nike, so they win) I certainly will join in with my poisoned pen.
It's tough for me to write an article disparaging England when many point to my favorite player, Frank Lampard, as being one of the sources of the trouble. While I disagree that Frank should assume the majority of the blame (how can you blame that face?) he is a good symbol of what England continue to do wrong: play the veterans regardless of how they perform on international duty.
Lamps won't be on the field today,so I feel like less of a traitor when I say: Take a chance, England. Stop playing the old guard. Mix it up a bit. This team, this stodgy old team playing its stodgy old formation, isn't going to win anything. So why not try something new? Give us a couple youngsters. Find a new face. Besides the fourth-choice keeper, Gary Cahill is the only uncapped player on the squad. See what happens if you bring in new men and then actually put them on the field. Maybe they can work together to be more than just a squad of individual stars.
I've not been an avid England supporter for long, and I'm already sick of the squads this team fields, the adherence to the old ways of doing things. If it ain't broke, don't fix it--but England, you're broke, so give things a shake. I'd rather watch something new than sit and wait for the moment the squad will crash out of the competition.