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Posts Tagged ‘world cup’

England vs Uruguay WC 2014 1st Round

June 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Anyone playing England !

Anyone playing England !

I could do a report on the game and who did what, and when things happened. But, as the whole world knows, England lost and their WC dream was hanging by a thread. Since then Italy have been beaten by Costa Rica, rendering that dream smashed on the dressing room floor.

So what went wrong.? This is easy. Against Italy, England attacked and looked fresh and even though they eventually lost, they made a good account of themselves. The England that turned up last Thursday, reverted to type, and were poor going forward with little transition from midfield, relying on long balls from Gerrard. Once or twice, Sterling showed his skills in the first half, but not enough for me. You could argue, that the Uruguay captain should of been dismissed for a chop at Sturridge’s neck, post a previous yellow, but he wasn’t, blah, blah. Read more…

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England – Italy World Cup 2014 1st round

June 15, 2014 Leave a comment

1-2

1-2

And so, the World Cup comes round, but this time with a difference. The usual jingoism and self believe that usually hits the UK media every 4 years has been very subdued this year. For good reason as well, as although England qualified for Brazil 2014 with only a small wobble near the end, they haven’t exactly been tearing up trees with their performances since their exit to Italy in Euro 2012. I have witnessed first hand more than a few of those games and have reported on them here and via Twitter. Underwhelming just about sums it up.

So the nation expect little and we lose our first game out in the WC, 2-1 to Italy. About right i hear you say. STOP. Last night was about the best England performance I have seen since Rooney hit the big tournaments in 2004. The mix of youth and experience was right and England played some good attacking football but just lacked that killer instinct to make the last pass or take an extra touch.

I think England can come out of the group in second place (I have thought that since the draw), and then it’s anyones game.

How can we make this team better ? First off, and this is a simple football tactic that most managers seem to struggle with. Play your best players in their best positions. Rooney on the left? really ? Yes he made a great cross for Sturridge, and he says he will play anywhere for England, but it is a waste. The manager obviously fancies Sturridge and was vindicated, but he now has to be brave. Either 2 up top or drop Rooney for a real winger. With two up top, there would be no room for Wellbeck, but Sterling can sit in a real no 10 position and Wilshere can come into midfield, and needs to push further up and let Gerrard sort out the defensive part. Wellbeck has proved he is an impact player for United so no worries on that score, and it allows us to mix it up , up top. Rooney is already looking uncomfortable and if he is to play, he needs to be doing his business right up top.

We also need to pass a little more.We have the players, we just need to be sure in the technique. And that involves Roy and his team employing a little discipline into these lads. Easily done. Watch the Germans, and repeat.

Lastly on the team front. Ross Barkley? I just don’t get it. I’m sure he will get better, but he just seems to lose the ball all the time. Pointless to me why he is even there. James Milner would be better. There, I’ve said it ! Talking of Everton players, his teammate Mr Baines found out last night how Ashley Cole got 100 caps. He was not consistent, and got lost in allowing the cross in for the Azzurri’s winner. You could argue that Gerrard had a penalty shout, but that was that and the Italians are half way booked into the next round.

That said, I believe this new look England will gel in time, just not this competition. Sterling was sublime, and Sturridge always look lively, and surprise of the night for me was Jordan Henderson starting to look like his price tag.

 

England MOTM: Raheem Sterling. All day long. The boy is scared of no one.

 

 

 

England VS Ukraine WC Qualifier 11/09/2012

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

After the easy win last week, this game was always going to prove a little more tricky for Roy’s boys. The close 1 nil win against the hosts of the Euros showed that the Ukraines were no push over and England would need to be on their best.

Without their Talisman, Mr Shevchenko, Ukraine started a little cagey. With our untried midfield (Gerrard and Lampard, lol) we did too. Seriously, these guys have had nearly 10 years to get it right, and just fail  every time. It has to be egos, but that has no place at this level, either they were both too far forward or too far back, normally back. How we think we can punish teams at home when both our central midfielders are in our half, i really dont know.

One other surprise was Mr Cleverly at no 10. Number 10 says to me, Maradona and Cryuff (Rooney ?), not someone who hasn’t yet scored for his club. This is not his fault, but when Sturridge was on the bench does suggest some odd thinking from the manager.

Defoe had a stunner disallowed after an alleged misdemeanor, and that was about it for England’s first half, outside of Cleverly missing two sitters. The Ukrainians, although equally as drab scored a sreamer just before half time to go in 1 up, thanks to Konoplyanka.

For the second half no subs were made and England carried on as usual with no one utilising Defoe and trying to play around the back. The Ukrainians just held up and moved it on (albeit to nothing).  Cleverly was finally put out of his misery on the hour mark, and some small gains were made as Wellback started to run about a bit and cause trouble. Then Sturridge replaced the Ox (who was very inefficient) , and once again England stepped up. Wellbeck had already tried to claim one penalty when he got the second, and Lamps put away his 27th goal  in 93 appearances for the national side.

Then with hardly any time left England press on for victory, until Mr Gerrard capped off a poor performance with a very mistimed tackle in no mans land to get a red and seal the game at 1-1.

So the honeymoon is over for Hodgson and the real work starts. He has had a favour with Gerrard being out for at least one game as he can make a new captain, and feel easier about dropping Gerrard if he feels the need. Who’s it to be?, probably Lampard, as the best of a bad bunch. Hart seems obvious but i’m never too sure about keepers being captains, but he has done it before at U-21 level.

Rooney is needed, if fit, and Wellbeck should step up as a starter. There is still a place for Defoe, but only as part of a two up top. This leaves Tom Cleverly. Just too old for the U-21, but definitely out of his depth in this company and especially near the front of the team. Also the Ox needs to to improve after blasting onto the scene.

In short Roy needs to hand out some hairdryers and get the team focused again. I feel he has spent the summer blowing smoke up them, to encourage a team rather than building one. Thats OK for one tournament, but we now have a campaign to manage.

San Marino next. No surely not. Stranger things have happened………………………………….

Obligatory Wembley Photo. Ukraine in Blue !