England vs Poland: Brazil Beckons…

Andros Townsend

So after nine fretful games it all comes down to tonight: England vs Poland at Wembley stadium and the chance for the lads to crack out their best samba routines next summer at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The last time we needed a win to qualify I was at the game – England vs Croatia in 2007 with Euro 2008 beckoning. The rain tipped down in great galloping buckets, Scott Carson had a night to forget, Steve McClaren introduced us to his big brolly and his England team fell at the final hurdle into a damp, depressing heap. Lightning can’t strike twice though, right? Well, at least it’s not forecast for rain…

But tonight I’ll still be watching through my fingers, still expecting the worst because that’s what happens when you’re an England fan: like eating at chain pubs, expect the worst and occasionally you’re pleasantly surprised. As a Spurs fan, I’ll also be expecting another rocket from the unfortunately named Andros Townsend who’s been dashing up and down the wings for Tottenham regularly this season. Whatever, he’s ejected the terminally dull and industrious James Milner from the team which can only be positive. Let’s face it, you’d rather go for a beer with the zippy Andros over pie-faced James wouldn’t you?

Still there however are Gerrard and Lampard, the pair always a worry with their increasingly wrinkled foreheads and creaky limbs, aged 4,788 combined. Sure I know they can score goals and create passes, I just constantly fear they might keel over with exhaustion at any given moment. Bringing down the midfield’s combined age is national patriot Jack Wilshere who may yet deliver a killer pass providing he doesn’t stop mid-run for a fag.

At the back I used to having less fears but the only thing I’m certain Joe Hart can keep at bay right now is dandruff. In front of him is the ever-willing but hapless Kyle Walker who resembles a clueless yappy dog with every performance. Chase the ball Kyle, chase the ball! Good Kyle! Now watchyagonnado with the ball? No idea? Bad Kyle! Still, there’s always the reliable Everton crew to mop things up.

Up front though, I’m energised. Rooney has been a revelation since he acquired a headband – who knew accessorising would be all it would take to make him a goal-scoring machine once again? Plus, with the emergence of the two Dans – Daniel and Danny respectively – he’s the porky filling in a meaty Dan sandwich and all three of them can stab a goal when asked.

So no, I wouldn’t say I’m looking forward to the game, that would be taking it too far. But being a football fan it’s one I have to watch – even though I might be doing the majority of it from behind the sofa and despite the fact that it clashes with the semi-final of the Great British Bake Off. Honestly, do they not think that Bake Off fans are footy fans too? Oh, right…

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