Sunday, 6 September 2009

ITV v Sky: How different a match can be

Sports - Football - International Friendly - News Coverage

England's 2-1 win against Slovenia at Wembley yesterday:

The ITV highlights showed chance after chance for the home side, indicating persistance and dominance from England. The host and guest of the highlights show were full of praise and optimism, too.

Sky Sports News framed the summary of the match showing England's weaknesses, pointing out how lucky they were to win the penalty and "scrape through" to a win.

The online reports and summaries of the match turned out more similar, neutral and optimistic:

Sky Sports:
"Three Lions warm up with win"
"Lampard and Defoe secure friendly victory for Capello's men"
"England defeated Slovenia 2-1 in a friendly at Wembley to boost their preparations for crucial World Cup qualifying."

"England 2-1 Slovenia"
"England warmed up for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Croatia on Wednesday with victory over Slovenia at Wembley."

"England achieved a 2-1 victory against Slovenia at Wembley with the opener from a [controversial Lampard penalty]."

It proves, you have to see the match for yourself to be able to make your own picture of it, to get your own impression of the teams, players and their display. Take the reports and comments with a pinch of salt, according to and depending on the source.

I felt, and agree with Sky Sports News, England were lucky to win the penalty as Wayne Rooney was more the offender himself than the victim. But England hit the woodwork on a couple of occasions, had many chances, dominated the possession and opposition and it would have been unfair and undeserved and would not have reflected the match if Slovenia would have gotten anything out of it.

They showed defensive weaknesses, which led to the late goal and panic. No question, there is room for improvement. But that is what friendlies are there for, to prepare and improve the side for competitive matches.

Jermain Defoe's impressive, impossible looking goal, he squeezed and deflected between two defenders from a blind-looking, difficult angle, summed it up: England had the edge - hopefully Fabio Capello saw the same and can keep the edge and players for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Croatia next Wednesday.

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