After my predictions of doom, things weren't too bad on Sunday. Many people are saying it was more of the same, below par stuff from England, but I don't think so.
Carrick, for me, made all the difference. We held on to the ball. Kept possession. Made Ecuador work for it. The key indicator was that Ecuador tired in the last twenty minutes and we did not. Possession football may be boring to watch but it is a pre-requisite of World Cup football.
Rooney did extremely well - much better than I expected. Especially towards the end, when Ecuador were tiring. Much of the game left him isolated and out of it, but rather than getting frustrated (as he has done in the past) he stuck to his job and brought the midfielders in the game well.
Hargreaves did a good job at right back. I still don't understand why he was put there, but he seems to be growing into the tournament.
Tactically Sven, surprisingly, did very well. When his defensive instincts kicked in (obviously learnt in Italy), he moved to having two defensive midfielders (with Carragher at right-back), which makes sense in a midfield five. Plus it's good enough for Brazil. Even more importantly, he put on Lennon (I was screaming for Crouch but young Aaron was just as good) and made us defend high up the pitch. How many times have we seen England try to hold on to a slender lead by sitting deep and tackling in front of their own box? Well, yesterday, England held on to a slender lead by defending high up and tackling in front of Ecuador's box. As a result, Ecuador couldn't build up any momentum and we looked the better for it.
There are negatives - Robinson is falling short of his own high standards, as is Terry. Plus there is the yellow card situation - especially for JT. But overall, a good day at the office for England. And, even better, another performance that will make everyone hate us. Wir sind das neues Deutschland!