Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Raising Morale in Belarus - Just What the Doctor Ordered

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Raising Morale in Belarus - Just What the Doctor Ordered

Article excerpt

Byline: MATTHEW NORMAN

*THE England B game at the Madejski concluded, predictably enough, by providing no conclusions.

The curious case of Theo Walcott's selection remains a three-pipe problem; Aaron Lennon confirmed he can skin mediocre fullbacks alive; Peter Crouch was, well, Peter Crouch; and losing 2-1 to 10 men after being a goal up, conceding a freak goal on the way, thoughtfully reminded us of a World Cup quarterfinal four years ago.

Still, two things provided pleasure. It was good to hear the Dambusters theme before the game without worrying about German riot police unyoking their batons. And the Belarussians were reportedly wild with delight.

In a worldwide quality of life index published last year, Belarus, still plagued by the Chernobyl fallout, came in 100th out of 111 countries. If England B provided that benighted people with a shard of joy, who will dare call the evening a waste of time?

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