For my first ever week of doing Player Rankings, I couldn't think of a more appropriate choice from our pre-approved list of themes than Embarrassing English National Team moments. Just like the tournament history of the English national team over the whole of the past decade, Spurs' performance against West Ham saw initial hubris melt away to early boredom, then delirious panic, then ultimate humiliation followed by hysterical recrimination and heavy drinking. Accordingly, this piece isn't so much of a good-to-bad list as a bad-to-very-bad list. Let's get it over with, shall we?
5 Stars- David Beckham's red card against Argentina, 1998
In a moment of madness that nearly jeopardized his whole career on the international stage, David Beckham derailed England's 1998 World Cup campaign by getting sent off for needlessly kicking out at Diego Simeone during a tight second-round tie. Though the act itself didn't cover Beckham in glory, the fact that he at least demonstrated some heart and character lifts his personal disgrace above those of many of his peers. Or something.
Andros Townsend- In a tie where no-one acquitted themselves well, Townsend was the one figure in the side who played with urgency and spirit, marrying his usual directness to attempts at clever little through balls and crosses. He wins the dubious honour of least worst player on the day.
4 stars- Seaman gets lobbed off of his line at World Cup 2002
Pity David Seaman- pretty much past his peak by the time this tournament rolled around, the geriatric porntash enthusiast tried his best to throw his body in the way of shots as England battled to a handful decent results, before enduring the most painful fate any keeper could suffer in the quarter-final against Brazil- lobbed by a then-effervescent Ronaldinho from a dead ball situation. His beaten look as the final whistle blew at least evoked sympathy, as did the futile travails of the following player.
Mousa Dembele- Tackled, dribbled, hustled as well as he ever does. Didn't release the ball early to teammates enough across the 90, which is still a problem.
3 stars- A decade of Lampard/Gerrard midfield selections
An embarrassing moment that has been and will continue to be repeated countless times, Lampard partnering Steven Gerrard in central midfield is a concept that is completely and persistently flawed- much like the below-par performances of these players.
Kyle Naughton- Didn't do anything majorly wrong, but still can't play left-back well.
Paulinho- Really needs to start proving why he deserves to be a weekly starter for me.
Christian Eriksen- Marked out of the game and couldn't wriggle into any space before being subbed off for Roberto Soldado.
Jan Vertonghen- Less bad than Michael Dawson, but was still at fault for one of the goals.
2 stars- England not qualifying for Euro 2008
Steve McClaren, 'nuff said.
Jermain Defoe- Non-existent, like Steve McClaren's managemental abilities
Michael Dawson- Bad in a heartbreaking way, like Paul Robinson whiffing Gary Neville's backpass during a vital qualifier for that Euro tournament
Hugo Lloris- Beaten and downtrodden, like England's XI felt after the final whistle went on the Croatia tie
Kyle Walker- Was probably sick, like I felt after the final whistle went on the Croatia tie
Gylfi Sigurdsson- I'm not convinced Gylfi Sigurdsson played on Sunday
1 star- Emile Heskey's attempted stepover, World Cup 2010
Not a moment that had any wider repercussions, but still pretty much the most hideous individual thing that has occured during a match England have competed in.
No player was as bad as Emile Heskey's attempted stepover against Algeria.
'Honourable' mentions: Germany 4-1 England, World Cup 2010
All of our subs- Much like the entirety of that tie at Bloemfontein, I can't remember anything about the performances of our subs for some reason.
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