Tallinn, Estonia hasn't seen anything like it since the Soviet tanks rolled in 70 years ago, -an invasion. This time it was a little more peaceful as David Beckam and his ENGLAND Army touched down in this delightful Baltic capital. The first time I first visited was a short while after the Soviets left and it became free again, and I have always enjoyed its people and charm, and formerly cheap prices.
The new A. Le Coq Arena was full to its 11,000 capacity as Becks gave two of his trademark passes to Peter Crouch and Michael Owen for the 2nd and 3rd goals after Joe Cole had opened the scoring with an immaculate volley. A.Le Coq is named after a brewery, not the company that makes the soccer boots that fall apart quicker than an Andorran defence. Estonia is now winless and scoreless in 7 matches so far for EURO 2008.
Becks is off to California for the LA Galaxy who are at present bottom of the Western Division of MLS and faces an 11 hour plus jet lag trip each way if he is probably going to keep his place in the England team, and only 3 short of a century of caps. With a friendly against Germany at Wembley in September followed by two quick qualifying matches at home against Israel and Russia, the fans in USA can't be too happy about missing out watching their 'saviour' in league play.
The most amazing result on the night was in Yerevan, where Armenia beat leaders Poland 1-0 and go from strength to strength under their English coach Ian Porterfield, a world traveler with an international reputation. They now have 7 points from 7 matches -2 wins and a tie. In Kaunas, Lithuania only 700 paid to watch the home team lose to Italy 0-2. Basketball is bigger there.
Tessa Jowell the British Culture,Media and Sport Secretary has welcomed the idea of a revival of the England vs Scotland Home Championship series. Last played in 1983-4 when the Welsh and Northern Irish teams were not competitive and the Scots fans, due to bad parenting, used to come to Wembley and create mayham. In 1977 they tore down the goals and ran off with the turf(to smoke it or put it on the roofs of their houses I don't know).
ANYWAY, I am for the idea but for other reasons. I think the F.A. should give its invited guests free tickets for this match instead of the F.A. Cup Final and therefore 'free up' tickets to allow more true fans to go and support their clubs at the Final in London. 'Free Up' might not be appropriate given the £80.00 price tag for some tickets and the £8.00 burgers and fish and chips. More importantly the Scotland match should be played at St. James' Park, Newcastle an hour south of the border. Since Newcastle Geordie folk wreck the center of their city on Friday and Saturday nights anyway, it will save NEW Wembley from destruction. ALSO, all road and rail traffic should be banned from the border for 24 hours so that Scottish fans have to walk and carry their six packs and pieces of concrete, and many might fall by the wayside.
The new Scottish F.A. president was heard to give out his room number yesterday at the hotel in the Faroes where both Scotland and the Faroe Islands parties stayed, so the fans charged their rounds of drinks to his room. He had earlier in the week suggested that 'Flower of Scotland' the national song played before matches was like a dirge, and should be replaced by something more stirring, such as Scotland the Brave. Meanwhile the BBC Radio 5 had a competition to help out the Spaniards, whose National Anthem doen't have any words, causing players and fans alike to hum la la,la la la,la.... You may or may not know that the F.A, has signed a 30 year deal with Wembley Stadium to play ALL England's full internationals at the stadium, so I guess England 'B' team should be sufficient to tame the Scots in Newcastle.
Controversy has followed referee Graham Poll around in his career, and the referee who infamously gave 3 yellow cards to a Ukranian player vs Australia in last years FIFA World Cup had his final senior game last night in the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki. A huge crowd of 35,000, by Finnish standards, saw the Finns beat Belgium 2-0 to rest in 2nd place along with Serbia and Portugal and behind Poland in Group A. Poll held up proceedings for 6 minutes when an owl landed on one crossbar, and when it was finally dislodged landed on the other one, to hoots of laughter from the fans