Top 10 conclusions Holland 2-2 England (with video highlights)
1. This was possibly the first England friendly in history in which the team’s performance was improved by a host of second half substitutions.
2. That was the stereotypical game of two halves. A draw was probably about fair in the end.
3. Holland’s big screen was a good way of lowering England morale. Both Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Barry to sneaky peeks at the screen after their mistakes led to goals.
4. Hopefully the ridiculous casualness of Ferdinand and Barry (and various other players’ mistakes) is not a side effect of the confidence Fabio Capello has been instilling. A quote from John Terry immediately sprang to mind as Ferdinand cocked up: “Everyone’s playing freely and with confidence under the new manager and, if we can get to South Africa, every big team there will have a good chance and we’ll be no different. If we play the way we have been, we can’t rule out England winning the World Cup.”
5. Robin Van Persie is selfish. You can see him still moaning that Dirk Kuyt didn’t pass to him after the Liverpool man had scored in this video (46 secs).
6. Cue lots of talk about Carlton Cole’s lovely feet for a big man. OTP never thought he would cut it at international level, but we would be pleasantly surprised if he wants to prove us wrong.
7. Jermain Defoe did his future prospects no harm at all with his brace. He brings pace that is lacking in many of England’s striking options, and the effect that can have on defenders was evident last night.
8. He was overshadowed by the second-half subs, but David Beckham was just about England’s best player in the first 45 minutes. Shades of the days when he dragged the team on single-handedly.
9. England still look vulnerable against sides that can move the ball around midfield slickly (and not yet capable of controlling games that way themselves).
10. That is a pretty decent Holland team, which leaves OTP wondering how the hell Andre Ooijer continues to get into it!