Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher all missed their penalties in the last World Cup quarter finals against Portugal. Owen Hargreaves was the only man to find the back of the net.
The game had finished 0-0 after extra time, with Wayne Rooney getting sent off for an incident involving Ricardo Carvalho.
But who did this country blame for England’s exist? Cristiano Ronaldo of course!
The obsession this country has with Manchester United and its players reached a whole new level with Ronaldo, who became the focal point for all football related issues in this country. Whether in the press, on Match of the Day or the live commentry on Sky Sports, it didn’t even matter if Ronaldo was playing or not, he was always talked about.
Just like the United players before him, he was singled out for costing England’s chances of progression. The fact they had been shit all tournament and three of the four penalty takers missed was completely forgotten. So what exactly had Ronaldo done? He was one of five Portugal players who complained to the referee and after Rooney’s sending off he winked, so obviously he was more accountable for England’s failure than any of the England players!
“I was happy I didn’t get the stick Becks got and even Phil Neville did at Euro 2000,” Rooney said today. “I didn’t really get any stick. Ronaldo took a lot of it and I’m pleased with that.”
When England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 after losing to Croatia, it was pleasing to see that not a single United player was in the squad. It was the first time in years that England had played without even a United player on the bench and it lead to them not even getting a place at the European Championships. Embarrassing.
Before that, Portugal had knocked England out of the last two tournaments and so Rooney wouldn’t mind seeing them miss the next World Cup. Given Argentina’s problems in qualifying too, we could potential have a World Cup without the world’s two best players!
“It would be nice to see Portugal not there because they have knocked us out of the last two tournaments,” he said. “Obviously when we didn’t qualify for Euro 2008, we got a lot of stick. You have banter with your team-mates. But it’s important not to go too far because it is an important issue and, to be honest, I am not too bothered whether they are there or not.”