It's all in your World Cup

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day the twelfth

Germany - Ecuador 3-0

Surely resting 5 players against Germany was the height of impertinence. The Germans achieved what they were challenged with, in fairly emphatic style. Ballack was excellent, shooting and passing with great authority, while Klose and Podolski put in confidence building performances. England will no doubt be happy they avoided them. Ecuador on the other hand retain the position of unknown quantity - they have looked solid at the back, and inventive in the midfield, with fewer misfires in front of goal than their pre-tournament also-ran counterparts. England would be expected to sweep them aside in the next round, but England look ill-equipped to dominate anyone at the moment

Poland - Costa Rica 2-1

I'm sure this game mattered to someone. Not to me though.

Paraguay - Trinidad & Tobago 2-0

I'm sure this game mattered to someone. Not to me though.

England - Sweden 2-2

Is it late enough in the tournament to start criticising England, or are we still waiting for them to get started, safe in the knowledge that they are trying not to peak too early? At times in this game they played like idiots, no more so than during the catalogue of embarrassment that resulted in Sweden's second goal. Joe Cole's strike was excellent, easily a contender for individual goal of the tournament, but it did little to disguise the poverty of chances England created in the first half. For about 15 minutes they seemed to have remembered how to move off the ball, but it was just illusory, and they never settled into a pattern of anything other than static positioning and unimpressive passing. The second half was marked mostly by their typical gifting of the initiative to Sweden, who looked like scoring from every set piece, and who but for wasteful finishing from Mellberg and a Carragher handball, would have been 3-1 up within the first 20 minutes. They managed to pull back in front, taking advantage of Sweden launching forward in chase of the winner and the opportunity to dodge Germany, but they couldn't even hang on to that vindicating goal.

England can get better. Equally, they can get worse. There's no a priori conclusion, but any sober analysis of England's previous form in major competitions points at only one outcome.

2 Comments:

  • nice to read you Phil!

    i remember your attachment to Spain at the Euro2004 blog (i have it too, to be fair).
    that and Baal eraseworld's love for Henrik.

    anyway Togo really let themselves down when they were asked questions by South Korea which is a shame as there were some lovely skills on display.

    Ecuador have bagged some beautiful goals.

    cheers!
    P.S.
    the Spanish language channel i'm watching on was pleased enough with the Paraguay result. i wonder if Poland's win will be enough to keep their coach in the job?

    By Anonymous scottsomedisco, at 3:28 PM  

  • We're just no fun to watch. The only way I can see us entertaining and winning is to go 451/433.

    Gk: Robinson

    Def: A. Cole / Terry / Ferdinand/ Carragher

    Mid: J.Cole / Gerrard /Carrick/ Lampard / Lennon

    Fwd: Rooney


    With Joe Cole and Lennon making a front three on attack and Carrick allowing Gerrard and Lampard to try to do the thing they're in the team for, score goals.

    It'll never happen, he'll never drop Beckham and Hargreaves inexplicably starts ahead of Carrick but at least this system has the merit of allowing substitutions without changing the shape too much (seeing as we have only one forward fit to play at this level).

    If we insist on 442 then either Lampard or Gerrard is going to be wasted, and they're our principal goal threat other than Rooney.

    Holland/Portugal will beat us in the QF unless we find a way to free the midfield to attack. Joe Cole's doing it on his own at the moment.

    By Blogger LazyLazyMe, at 10:43 PM  

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