After surprising everyone by coming top of their group, England found themselves with a potentially winnable game against a par Italian team. This could get them to their first semi final in a major tournament since 1996, and only their 3rd since winning the World Cup in 1966.
This should be reason enough, shouldn’t it ?
Roy set out exactly the same team as the previous game, which means, that both James Milner and Ashley Young played, which raised a few eyebrows, especially in my front room !
The game started quite open with Joe Hart pulling of a great save and Glen Johnson with a good chance on goal in the first 10 minutes. Then it all got a bit predictable, with England playing well for 25 mins, and Italy getting stronger and stronger as the half came to close.
The second half was all one way traffic which may sound harsh, but England looked knackered, and Pirlo was pulling all the strings. England staggered to a nil nil draw and extra time beckoned. For all England fans the rest becomes the usual. Tight for 30 mins, and lose on penalties. And that’s what happened. As bloody usual.
So what happened? The inquest will state that players who dazzle every week in the prem, stuck to their positions with no invention. Ashley Cole, although one of the better players, stayed put. Glen Johnson forgot how to defend and lost all comprehension of the offside rule. Rooney was not fit, and it showed. Next time you have a load of time off, trying hitting the gym rather than Las Vegas. Ashley Young should thank Roy for keeping his England career going, as I would of dropped him after the first game. Also Ash, rule one on taking penalties is the goal is in front of you not on the floor. Why was he staring at the floor for so long before hitting it against the bar.
Gerrard and Parker aquitted themselves well, but i fear Scott Parker needs more than grit and determination to perform at this level.
Terry played some of his best games in an England shirt, but just because you don’t have the armband doesn’t mean you stop bollocking and organising. This, I feel was linked with Joe Hart looking nervous at times, and coming out for balls at the wrong time, and staying on his line at other (wrong) times.
Andy Carroll will get better at this level, and Danny Wellbeck needs to get more involved and not rely on Rooney to always run around for him. Lescott seem comfortable, and Milner was industrious.
For Roy to be successful, he needs to bring on Walcott, and the Ox. Milner becomes a squad player tops, and Jack Wilsher will have the hopes of the nation landed on his shoulders. If he does ever play, maybe Ravel Morrison will fullfil his promise. Adam Johnson has the skills, but needs the application to get a regular game at Man City. The individuals are there, and Roy needs to make a team. But if he continues with the negative style, tickets at Wembley will be available on the day, every game.
All in all, not a bad shout for the chaps at the Euros, but not good enough. Germany expect to win, Italy expect to be in the semis, Even Portugal expect a final four berth. As we have allegedly the best league in the world, shouldn’t we expect to be challenging at every competition, at every level ?
Best tweet of the week:
“England lose on penalties. For all other English culture and tradition info, http://www.visitengland.com”