Liverpool’s English and Spanish World Cup players are enjoying the results so far in the tournament.
England have won both their games, and as a result are through to the knockout stages. Their next match is on Tuesday night, where a draw would be enough to see them as group winners. According to what he’s said in interviews, Sven Goran Eriksson will rest two of the Liverpool players who are currently England’s only goalscorers of the tournament. Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch both picked up yellow cards in the first game, and resting them would ensure they aren’t suspended for the next stage. The cards would also be cancelled if not added to by that stage in the competition.
One of the other Liverpool players in the squad is Jamie Carragher, who got to start in England’s last game in place of the injured Neville. He says he’s hoping to see former Everton player Wayne Rooney back in action on Tuesday. Rooney is the scouser who plays for the same team as scouse-hater Gary Neville of scouse-hating Manchester United, and he has been struggling with a broken metatarsal. Carra says it’s good to have him ready for England: “It’s great to have Wayne back with us. He’s a top player. He hadn’t trained for a while but you wouldn’t think that from training. He hit the bar from outside the box with a volley from a corner and it was something I’ll never be able to do.”
The England squad contains four strikers – Crouch who may be rested, Owen who’s struggling to get match fitness, Rooney who’s coming back from that broken foot and Theo Walcott who’s practically untried at the top level. With that in mind it seems unlikely that Rooney will be kept on the sidelines, as Carra says: “Whatever the manager decides to do, I’m sure he’ll get a run out at some stage on Tuesday.”
Carra’s hoping to be on the field alongside him too, with Neville not looking likely to return to fitness, and hopes to help them to victory, even though a draw is all that’s needed: “We would like to put an end to our poor record against Sweden. Sweden have traditionally done well against us and maybe it is because a lot of Scandinavian players have come to The Premiership. They know us and maybe they know our game well.”
Meanwhile Liverpool’s Luis Garcia believes the number of Premiership players in the Spanish squad has helped his country get off to a good start in the tournament. Liverpool’s midfielder Xabi Alonso scored in Spain’s opening game victory. It’s normally Spaniards and naturalised South Americans representing the national side, but the English based players seem to have made a difference: “It is unusual, and it’s important for us to have so many players working in the Premiership. It has helped us a lot in that our individual experiences can bring something different to our game in general. In England the type of football is different to how teams play in Spain. It gives us a range and a combination of styles.”
Harry Kewell came on as a substitute for Australia in their game against Brazil. The Socceroos were unlucky 2-0 winners.