Mixed night for home nations
It was meant to be another chance for Fabio Capello to blend some youth into his squad before the final stages of the qualifying for Euro 2012 but the riots in London put paid to that. The England versus Holland friendly match was postponed and there are rumours that the opening weekend of the English Premier League may be postponed to allow the police more time to focus on more pressing matters as opposed to policing football games. It is sad time in England at the moment with looting and rioting spreading across the country.
We’re on the march with Paddy’s Army
In the rest of the home nations though, things were different. Northern Ireland were involved in a qualifying match against the Faroe Island and it turned into a night of triumph for the team and that was mainly down to one man, Paddy McCourt.
Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has been reluctant to pick McCourt, focusing on an alleged lack of fitness as opposed to looking at the skill level of the player and last night was the Derry man’s first start for his country. McCourt was in great form setting up two brilliant chances for David Healy but the striker inexplicably wasted them both. It is ironic that Healy is enduring such a long run without a goal but perhaps he is doing it deliberately so he can make another ill-informed quip about the famine being over in a future interview. As it was, the icing was put on the victory with two late goals from McCourt, both of them showcasing his immense and dribbling skills.
Is McCourt as Good as Best or Messi?
Windsor Park was singing his name and asking was he “Messi in disguise?”, even though they seemed reluctant to use his Derry Perry nickname, which shows an amazing turnaround from January of this year when McCourt received bullets in the mail from a Northern Irish address. The lack of talent in the Northern Irish squad should see a player like McCourt being involved at every opportunity.
Scotland may have been involved in a friendly but a 2-1 win over Denmark will have given them a great boost in confidence before their Autumn matches. It was a horrendous night at Hampden and you felt sorry or questioned the intelligence of the fans who turned up on a sodden night in Glasgow’s south side. As it was, a Danish defender turned in Charlie Adam’s free-kick before Alan McGregor blundered to make it 1-1. Scotland grabbed the winner before halftime with Robert Snodgrass putting Craig Levein’s team back in front.
Wales were also in friendly action, losing 2-1 at home to Australia with Tim Cahill from Everton grabbing the opening goal. An interesting night but most football fans would have been keeping an eye on these games while hoping that their key players didn’t pick up an injury which could prevent them from turning out for their teams.