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International Incident

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Pretty quiet these days with the international break. What goes on this weekend?

England v. Wales: There used to be a time when I cared about England internationals, but the farther I get from having lived there and the more uninteresting and quite frankly annoying the England team gets, my apathy grows. The press's coverage of a foreign manager dealing with a squad that isn't as nearly loaded on talent as a lot would like to believe gets more and more gross, and I can't remember the last time England played an important qualifier. That one against Poland at Old Trafford? The 4-1 victory in Croatia, which was Theo Walcott's like one moment of International competence? Seems about it. All their World Cup games defined insipid, though I would like to have seen what happened had Frank Lampard's goal counted and they went into the interval against Germany 2-2 with all the momentum. Alas, wasn't to be, and probably Steven Gerrard would have still attempted 43 shots from a combined eight miles away that didn't even come that close to the target.

Sadly, tomorrow's game against a fellow member of the Isles lost some of its luster when Gareth Bale went down in training, though they hype around him exceeds the reality by some margin. Wales are now down to new captain Aaron Ramsey and Craig Bellamy. I've always loved Bellamy, even the mouthy git that he might be. He's pretty much produced everywhere he's been before he talks himself out of there. And though I've been pretty clear about Dirk Kuyt's shortcomings and pluses, if he was going to be shunted out to a wing wouldn't Bellamy have made for a better winger? Questions that I ponder when the insomnia kick in. Still, Bells has been on the wing for promotion chasing Cardiff (and won't that be something if they get to the top flight), and you wonder how much threat he'll pose as a striker as he gets up there in age. Still, we know he'll love lining up against John Terry again and winding him up, and he still carries pace which Terry doesn't have in the holster. But unless he gets England's new captain sent off, this should be a pretty straight forward affair. That doesn't mean it'll easy on the eyes. As promising as Jack Wilshere may be I don't think he's ready to dictate a game at this level on his own, and may be shunted by having to lug around Frank Lampard all game, unless Fabio opts for Scott Parker to partner which would make way more sense. As for the rest of the lineup, Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson will be your fullbacks, with Lennon and probably Stewart Downing out wide in the midfield. Buzz has it that Darren Bent will be partnering the starting to click into gear Wayne Rooney, which is fine by me if it means Andy Carroll sees limited minutes. Guessing Rooney scores somewhere in the second half of a pretty drab 1-0 win.

-The US is playing Argentina in New York, and if I thought that the Argentinians were actually going to care then it might be interesting. Making it even worse is it would have been great to see Stuart Holden line up in the middle of the midfield, but obviously that won't happen, and might not have as we can't count on Bob Bradley to try anything he hasn't before. Maybe Bedoya gets a run out, but that's not going to keep my interest very long.