England 2 Trinidad & Tobago 0
OK, after England's ugly win over Paraguay and the subsequent bashing they took in most circles, I defended them, saying Paraguay isn't all that bad and a win is a win. Doing so made me feel a tad dirty, but I guess I was in a forgiving mood.
After the Brits beat T&T today, I'm feeling much less the England apologist.
Sure, they got the win, but not until Peter Crouch scored their first in the 83rd minute and Steven Gerrard sealed it with a goal in injury time. Oh, and T&T was unlucky not to be ahead. If not for John Terry's acrobatic, head-over-heels clearance of a ball heading over the goalline and past a horribly beaten Matt Robinson just before the half, the islanders may have taken the lead. And if you thought T&T had been playing in a defensive shell before then...wow. Had they scored there they may have never ventured past midfield again.
But, hey, England got the win and, again, that's all that counts. It wasn't pretty, but much as Paraguay had done in the opener, T&T did everything in its power to make the game as ugly and slow as possible. More importantly for England, Wayne Rooney saw some action, coming on as second half sub and managing not to reinjure himself. You know all of England was cringing everytime he took a hit. And his return couldn't come at a better time as Michael Owen has been largely invisible. He may not be be fully fit yet, or maybe its his partnership with Crouch that isn't working, but Owen doesn't look nearly the player he was at France '98 as an 18 year old.
So England gets the win and now their media and fans can get down to the business of ridiculing the performance mercilessly. And not without at least some justification. The vocal crowd of fans and experts who think England are overrated will grow louder after today.
As for T&T, they were close - oh, so close - to taking their Cinderella story to insane levels. Would have been fun. Oh, well. Damn shame they couldn't.