When Beckham was bent on revenge
Sven-Goran Eriksson was appointed with the quivering, heart-in-mouth feeling that he might be the very man to steer England to a major trophy. And though it did not happen in this year’s World Cup, the $3400 authentic celine trapeze royal blue leather medium 1-0 win over Argentina in Sapporo again demonstrated that the foreigner with the forensic manner can settle exceedingly old and important scores on behalf of his adopted country.
The fastidious Eriksson would have an aversion to blood feuds, but he followed last season’s 5-1 trampling of Germany in Munich with a victory in June whose memory will also be hugged with delight by supporters. This was possibly the sweeter $1600 new celine brown distressed leather satchel boston tote bag handbag purse result because England kept their heads, executed a plan perfectly and defeated an Argentina side that, with France, had been joint favourites for the tournament.
“That was our best game,” Tord Grip, Eriksson’s second in command, said yesterday, “and many of the other managers have told us it was the best of the whole tournament.” It is quite an achievement that there was such technical merit for non-partisan bystanders to appreciate, because this was a fixture so drenched in emotion that it might have proved soggy and shapeless.
The suppressed passion beneath the discipline made it a compelling, crackling occasion. David Beckham – provoked into getting himself sent off in the 1998 World Cup defeat to Argentina and converting the decisive penalty this time – put his life back into complete harmony, but others too had unfinished business. The St Etienne contest haunted all that took place inside the Sapporo Dome.
“It was fantastic for Dave, four years on, to take the penalty that beat Argentina related website, but not just for him,” Sol Campbell recalled recently. “He kept his head and stuck it away for the lads. A lot of us had thought about 1998 and how Argentina reacted that night.”
The centre-half, then, would have scored decisively in extra-time had his header not been disallowed because of Alan Shearer’s superfluous shove on the goalkeeper Carlos Roa. “Yes, the golden goal,” said Campbell, with resignation. “It was just one of those days. If it had gone in against us it would have stood. In the heat of the moment I thought it was a goal and then I found that it wasn’t.
“One minute you think you’ve scored the golden goal and the next thing you know you’re all running back to stop Argentina. Within five seconds you’ve experienced such different feelings. I’d never known such highs and lows right after one another. And then we lost on penalties. It wasn’t nice.”
The Arsenal defender is not a student of the Argentina chronicles. He was 11 when Diego Maradona glanced the ball home with his hand in the 1986 World Cup, and watching that on television did not seem to spoil his day, let alone scar his psyche. “I wasn’t in a football frenzy,” he said. “Now you get four- or five-year-old kids who know everything about every player. That was definitely not me.”
Slow to anger as he was, Campbell got there in the end. With David Seaman, Michael Owen, Paul Scholes and Beckham, he was a member of a group who had been beaten in the St Etienne penalty shoot-out and were sent out to confront Argentina once more in Japan. Defeat is such a regular part of the footballer’s life that it has to be assimilated, but other aspects of that evening at the 1998 World Cup kept on rankling.
“The main thing was the behaviour of the Argentinian players on the coach afterwards,” said Campbell. “It was ungentlemanly. It was all gestures, swinging their T-shirts around and banging on the windows. When we win we don’t do anything like that.
“I wouldn’t call it revenge, but you still remember. Come on, be a gentleman. If you’re going to jump around, do it in your own changing room. What sort of players are they when they can do that? It’s ungentlemanly.
“A lot of our players from 1998 were in the team again. We didn’t want it to be our only motivation but, put it this way, we didn’t even have to say much to one another.”
Coaches cannot re-engineer emotions and the England backroom staff were relieved to find that the feelings were sufficiently controlled as not to have a self-destructive effect. “If you think about revenge then $1290 celine black leather gold heel tall boots sz 37 it starts to go wrong for you,” said Grip. “It’s $995 new celine patent leather brown platform heels with box size vital to concentrate on what you are doing.
“We couldn’t have a precise plan for the match because you cannot expect that a team as good as Argentina will play as you think they should. They have individuals who can change a game. Argentina are very skilful in midfield and it was most $230 new bcbg max azria dress celine coral reef rwy6k765 sz xs important for us, as a team, to make sure that we didn’t give them too much space there.”
In the ragged draw with Sweden at the $1350 celine meteora runway ankle boots shoes steel leather sz it 38 start of the group, Eriksson had noticed that his side had sometimes slipped into a 4-2-4 formation. They had to be much more compact in Sapporo, but the shaping of the side was partly haphazard. Owen Hargreaves was soon injured and replaced by Trevor Sinclair, thereby requiring Scholes to come in from the left flank and form a match-winning combination with Nicky Butt. 0 celine a scene 75 cincinnati
England, however, had also been well prepared. During his time in Italy, Eriksson came to know many of the Argentina side and even bought Diego Simeone, Beckham’s arch enemy, for Lazio. The coach has a profound admiration for Juan Sebastian Veron, whom he signed for Sampdoria solely on the basis of the video footage he had seen of the midfielder’s efforts for Boca Juniors. It was an immense satisfaction, therefore, that England should so subdue the Argentina captain in Sapporo that Marcelo Bielsa replaced him at half-time.
By $1490 celine classic riding boot tall flat equestrian bootie 38 black shoes 8 that stage England were ahead. Owen, running as uninhibitedly as he had as a teenager in 1998, alarmed defenders and a jumpy Mauricio Pochettino brought him down for a penalty after 44 minutes. Then the gamesmanship began. Simeone, whom Beckham had kicked so lightly to collect a red card in St Etienne, tried to distract the England captain and offered a handshake. “I didn’t make eye contact,” Beckham said later.
Many wondered if it was reasonable for him even to take the penalty. “That was not a problem,” Grip said. “He is very good at keeping his focus at the most important time. Remember how he scored with the free-kick against Greece.”
Beckham’s work was not of such an exquisite standard in Sapporo, but he still scored. “In the end I just drilled it,” he said. “A lot has gone on in my life but after four years I can finally lay it to rest.”
The protection of the lead was left to others. England might have scored again on the break, but Argentina, bringing on a string of talented $50 cheap celine slippers for women attackers, increased the strain. Although, with his third substitution, Eriksson chose to reinforce the vital midfield area by introducing Wayne Bridge, it was $1450 bnib celine off Campbell and Rio Ferdinand, the centre-backs, who came to ever-greater prominence, along with Seaman.
“[Argentina] were pumping away because they really didn’t want to lose that game. The mentality was they’d rather take the risk of losing 2-0 and just go for it. You don’t want to be defending the whole time but we coped. It wasn’t desperate, but they are world class,” Campbell said.
“Concentrate on one forward and another pops up. You have to watch them all. Hernan Crespo is quite big, Pablo Aimar can spin on a sixpence, Claudio Lopez is very quick and so on. The games take a lot out of you because the concentration levels are ridiculously high. You have to call on all your experiences to get you through.”
Much had happened since 1998 and Campbell felt that his Champions League involvement with Arsenal had made him better equipped. He and everyone else had the discipline and dependable decision-making that so often elude England at this level.
The jubilation in Sapporo will now be a sour recollection for Argentina to endure. “If we meet again in future, they will be up for it,” Campbell added. He is right, but at least, for once, it is not England who will brood during a long, sour wait until hostilities are resumed.