Frankly, with a game of this kind, all you need to know is the final score. It was every bit as one-sided as it sounds. Andorra looked in truly shocking shape – morning hair, pub football legs, a kit hurriedly supplied by JJB Sports after they’d left their own in Portugal. After the first goal, they surrendered – in one sense: when it’s football, you can wave the white flag all you like, but you’re still going to have to play ninety minutes.
My principal memory from the game will be of Andrew Johnson, through on goal, about to open his England account – but then displaying his awareness by spotting Crouch in a better position, his professional unselfishness by passing to him, and above all, his ability to play well under the pressure of the moment. He was calm, composed and aware – for all the skinhead cut, this is no vein-popping “passionate” “bulldog” Churchillian Englishman, but a proper player. An intelligent, professional athlete. His England goals will surely come.
Goals have certainly come for Peter Crouch, and you’ll be aware before you read this that he’s now scored ten in nine. Jimmy Greaves scored eleven in five in 1960-61, but that takes nothing away from Crouch’s achievement. Not all of the goals have been against the strongest opposition, but it’s more than Owen or Rooney have ever put together – or Shearer. Crouch and Hargreaves were my men of the match. Given how unpopular they both were with England fans a year ago, their success is a tribute to the proper footballing brain of the coach who continued to pick them in the face of such overwhelming opposition.