Ashley Cole

Second Touch
June 27, 2010

My brother’s favorite description of a technically poor soccer player is that “his second touch is a tackle.” I might add, “and he’s probably English.” There was a moment at the very start of the second half of today’s trouncing by Germany where the flaws of the very essence of English soccer were so clearly evidenced as to be borderline hilarious (if you DVR’d it—and why would you?—go to 45.45 and watch for a minute). 

 Here’s what happened: Schweinsteiger attempts a stupid over-the-shoulder pass, square at the half-way line, and Steven Gerrard picks it off, pings it to Rooney, who checks an

What's in Rooney's Future?
June 19, 2010

I fell in love with soccer watching the English Premier League. Up early every Saturday and Sunday to watch the matches on cable, admiring Lampard's steadiness, Gerrard's will to win, Rooney's excellence, Ashley Cole's daring runs. I admire the pinball they play in La Liga, but I'm passionate about the EPL. Give me the blood, sweat, and tears--I will choose craft over artistry every time. And so even as I root for the Americans in this Cup, I have a soft spot for the Three Lions. And today my heart aches a little. In its own way England's performance yesterday was as shocking as the U.S.

A Few Verbals
June 19, 2010

“The Football Association has made a complaint to World Cup organisers Fifa after a fan breached security and entered the England dressing room. ... The intruder was escorted out shortly after a ‘few verbals.’”--bbc.co.uk Can I have everyone’s attention, please? Thank you very much. Mr. Capello, if you could just give me a couple of minutes, I’d appreciate it. OK.  Pleased to meet you all--my name is Alan Bartholomew. I don’t suppose any of you have ever  heard of me. I own a petrol station in Barnstaple, which for this last week I’ve left it in the capable hands of Mrs.

The England Catastrophe
June 13, 2010

Well, I said 1-1 before it started.  (Not publicly or anything, so you'll just have to be believe me.)  And although that prediction was partly a defense mechanism, I never shared the conviction of most of my fellow England fans camped out at Foakeng's Lucky Bar yesterday afternoon -- or of the jingoistic papers from which they seemed to take their cue -- that this would be easy.  Those England fans, by the way, seem to have mellowed a bit.  I may be wrong about this, but I have the feelling that if, hours before the kickoff of England's first World Cup game in say, 1986, you'd worn a Germany