Beckham Watch: Three Lions Samba

Three Lions Samba? Sounds like a dish you'd get at an Indian restaurant named, inevitably, the Taj Mahal.

Anyway, on to the game. Neither team really wowed me, though Brazil had a few nice sequences of play without ever really looking rampant. Significantly for MLS and the Galaxy, I think Beckham is going to be back in an England shirt for the foreseeable future. It's not only about his energy and the passing - over distance, cross-field, over the top, threading the needle to a striker running through - it's all about the dead ball.

England's goal came from a Beckham set piece and the only other significant scoring chance I remember was from a Beckham free kick. He's a difference maker on restarts, pure and simple, and is in wonderful form right now. MLS front offices, particularly LA's, must be sweating that their golden boy might be missing a few games this fall for England's Euro 2008 qualifiers, particularly after the Galaxy's schedule was packed for the second half of the season to give Becks maximum exposure.

Bearing in mind that I watch a lot of EPL, but not too terribly much of the national side, England in general did not impress. The Gerrard - Lampard pairing in the center of midfield is terrible. Pair one of them, preferably Gerrard, with Hargreaves, and put Beckham, Lennon, Cole, et al, on the flanks and that's one bad-ass midfield. Also, Alan Smith was completely out of his depth. He's a decent little player, but not at this level. And while Nicky Shorey, the third-string debutant left back, looked fairly comfortable, late sub Wes Brown was awful, nearly gifting Brazil a goal and making an awful decision to cross first time when he had acres of space on the right flank with just minutes to go. I know there was an injury crisis on the back line, but for a national team the caliber of England, that's just not good enough.

Despite it taking Brazil until injury time to equalize, England just about deserved their draw, but only on the strength of Beckham's ability with a dead ball. Alexi, and MLS in general, better start fretting, cause lots of folks payed up to park their butts in seats for MLS games, and did it just to see Becks. If he's back across the pond playing for England instead of suiting up for the Galaxy, I can see the headlines now - "Bent over by Beckham". Ouch!

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