The Golden Generation: Part 4 – The Nation Goes Potty

It’s the final part of Andrew Chapman’s Golden Generation series. The England youth have reached the knockout stages of the World Cup so it’s time to find out if Alan Hansen was right. Catch up with part 3 here, which includes the database for download.

Hello and welcome back to “The Golden Generation”. We’ve escaped what should have been an easy group with extreme difficulty but somehow still managed to finish top of the group. We were rewarded with a last 16 tie against the masters of total football, the Dutch. This could be a really short episode…

Seaman is back from a fractured cheek, so he goes straight back in for Nigel who can get back to his barrow on the market. Sol ‘Solid’ Campbell returns to the CB slot replacing Gary Neville.

Next Stop: Parc Lescure, Boredeaux
Opponent: Holland, Last 16

1

The lads are going Dutch, and by that I mean wacky. After a difficult group journey, the bairns might yet return to sixth form as heroes…but it’s a long way yet.

Here’s the line-ups;

2

Bergkamp is the key threat to our safe passage and it isn’t long before his impact on the game is felt. He slides a through ball to Witschge (pronounce that one Super-Kev) who dispatches a clinical finish past old man Seaman. It feels like we’ll be in for a tough day.

Inside 5 minutes we are level. Out of nothing Gerrard delivers an angled ball to Scholes who slips in Owen and Owen makes no mistake blasting past Van Der Sar; 1-1. A trademark Scholes rocket later and its 2-1. On the stroke of half-time our stand-in David Beckham, aka Steven Gerrard steps up. Someone in the crowd shouts the iconic phrase “its on me head son, not off me head son”. Despite the advice he slaps a free-kick right in the top bins and we roll in 3-1 to the good…I like Bordeaux.

The second half see’s the introduction of Joe Cole, and, despite the flicks, tricks, and automobiles, its all show and no boat as he fails to beat Van Der Sar with subtle chip after subtle chip. On 84 minutes Overmars provides for Bosz (who?) and its 3-2 and a nervy finish. Holland have 4 corners all in the 87th minute, but Seaman is their equal. The whistle blows and we’re into the quarter-finals!!!

3

I’m not sure where we pulled that performance from but I’ll take it! Here’s the draw for the quarters;

4

We are off to Marseille to face off against the hosts and their squad full of star-studded professionals. Brazil and Spain are practically given byes to the semi-finals. At least we didn’t draw the penalty experts.

We will be without;
Beckham – injured
Carrick – injured (broken cheekbone)
Hargreaves – suspended
Lampard – suspended

That leaves us very short in midfield and will likely see Carragher and/or Butt start their first games at such an important stage.

Next Stop: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Opposition: France, Quarter-Finals

5

So, a much changed side heads to Marseille. Joe Cole will get a start given the injuries to allow Scholes to drop back into an attacking midfield position. Ashley Cole is back so returns. Here’s how we line up;

6

Despite admitting to colour blindness, Darius is in for his international bow over Butt. Solid Campbell drops to the bench after the last games weak defence vs. the Dutch. Thankfully Henry and Barthez are benched.

We start well with Joe Cole forcing a double save from Revault, but probably should have done better. Gerrard blazes a free-kick over the bar from 30-yards…what was he thinking.

Failing to capitalise on our pressure, Pires burst through the back two and slides it past Seaman, 0-1. We are drab and flat whilst France are not offering much. The half closes out at 0-1.

France come alive in the second half and we are pinned back most of the game. Vassell manages to round Revault but somehow stumbles and stabs the ball wide of an open goal. One last chance see’s Vassell blast over the bar, the ref draws a breath…and blows the whistle. 0-1, it’s all over here in France.

7

The Golden Generation crash out in completely predictable fashion. A bitter, but almost inevitable pill to swallow, but the kids just weren’t good enough. Quarter finals though, I might just get SPOTY coach of the year…

Spain draw France, Brazil draw ze Germans. An absolutely classic draw. Surreal…

8

Those pesky Brazilians spoiling all the fun…

9

And so that is it. Thank you for following us and the Golden Generation on this journey from somehow beating the Italians in Rome, to finding out what we already knew, that if these players are consistent, it is that they are consistently inconsistent!

I hope you have enjoyed it.

Au revoir.

My thanks to Andrew for another great series. He’ll be back soon with another but in the mean time you can follow him on Twitter @KingoftheRooks

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