England 6-1 Argentina. Ah, wonderful. Now there is a scoreline to warm the cockles of your heart. And it could have been more. After their 11-0 thumping by Germany in their opening match, Argentina tightened their defence against Japan, losing by the only goal, and that in stoppage time. But England are a very strong side and showed it by thrashing Argentina to book their place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007 quarter finals where they are likely to be playing the USA should scores remain as they are right now.
Although they were helped by some diabolical goalkeeping and a stunning bullet header own goal, England have laid a marker for the rest of the tournament. Kelly Smith is an accomplished and seriously deadly striker and our midfield packed with hard tackling and good passing. We look dangerous down the flanks and through the middle and our defence appears sound against anything barring free kicks. What will have encouraged England so far is a hard fought clean sheet against a very strong German side, a good battle against a decent Japanese team (unlucky to concede the draw with the last kick of the match) and a confident demolition of a poor Argentinian team.
I’ve enjoyed the tournament so far. I’ve only watched bits and pieces of England matches but, having been a cynic of women’s football, I have to hold my hand up and admit that on this evidence, the chortling behind my hand at the mere mention was wrong. Skill, passion, energy, pace and a high level of excitement. Everything you want from any game of football, frankly. And what you don’t get are volleys of abuse, arguing every decision, surrounding the ref, play acting (well, not much) and utter cheating. You should watch a match if you can. You might be in for a very pleasant surprise.