Monday, 28 March 2011

Up, Down and Round and Round

The last few days have been quite eventful sports-wise. We have seen the quarter-finals of the cricket World Cup, the start of the 2011 Formula 1 season, another round of European Championship qualifiers and the always anachronistic Boat Race!  Add to that another depressingly familiar defeat for Swindon Town and you have a weekend packed full of ups and downs.

Saturday was the busiest day, with the last of the cricket quarter-finals taking place, along with a host of international football matches and the aforementioned Boat Race. It was a day of mixed fortunes for England, as the cricket team were soundly beaten by Sri Lanka to exit from the competition, whilst the football team performed well for 20 minutes in their qualifying match in Wales, which was enough to secure the 2-0 victory. That means that England are now back on top of their qualifying group, and seem to be stumbling their way towards making it into next year’s tournament.

 John Terry, Photo by John Dobson

Talking of the football team, did you see the mess that Fabio Capello made of reinstating John Terry as the national team captain? Whichever way you look at it, it was poor management from Capello. You can argue whether the actual decision was correct, whether John Terry should be captain at all, but whatever you think the handover of the armband was a farce from start to finish. It does seem to be a trait of the Italian’s though. David Beckham was dropped via an ITV interview after many years outstanding service for the England team, and now Rio Ferdinand finds out he has been dumped as the latest England captain also via the media. Mind you, he also apparently found that he had been appointed as captain in the first place via watching TV, so maybe he shouldn’t have expected anything else!

I do have respect for Capello as a coach, but his man-management skills leave a lot to be desired, and let’s face it, the England manager/coach/whatever doesn’t actually need to do a lot of coaching. Good interpersonal skiils and motivation are his priorities and it is exactly here where Capello appears to fall down. Of course, none of us know exactly what goes on behind the scenes, and the media have a vested interest in playing up any story of this kind. But hopefully this will be the last such controversy and both “coach” and players will be able to concentrate on matters on the pitch for the remainder of the qualifying campaign.

Elsewhere, the F1 season finally got under way in Australia after the postponement of the Grand Prix in Bahrain. A convincing victory for current champ Sebastian Vettel will have been very ominous for his rivals in this year’s championship. The F1 roadshow now moves out to the Far East with Grand Prix in Malaysia and China before heading back towards Europe in May. If this year’s battle for the Championship is anywhere near as close as last season then motorheads everywhere will be very happy.

Oh, and Cambridge didn’t win the Boat Race. And Swindon are hurtling fast towards League 2 with no apparent prospect of even winning one match, let alone winning enough games to stay up. Ho hum. Sport – it enthrals and appals in equal measure.

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