26 June, 2006

Fair play to Sven

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!

4 comments:

Rish said...

The tactics worked very well. England played possession football, which is what you have to do if you want to win such tournaments.

Terry was poor, Lampard largely anonymous. Rooney, Carrick and Hargreaves were excellent. Gerrard is showing that he can play well for England, and should have been given the armband when Becks went off (and should be the next England skipper).

Apparently Terry was given the FIFA MOTM award - was it for creating the best goalscoring opportunity in open play for Carlos Tenorio?

Nik said...

I still thought it was pretty woeful - OK, we stopped Ecuador creating anything and step one is to not concede, but Portugal will probably have more ideas and will therefore not be so easily stifled by such tactics.

4-5-1 is fine as long as some of the 5 occasionally run forward to support the 1, but until the last 20 mins when Ecuador where obviously very tired, support for Rooney was a long time in arriving.

Still haven't seen England go behind which means they haven't actually had to play yet

Baz said...

Us versus Germany in the final. They dick on us for 93 minutes without actually scoring.

Then Ballack plays in a perfect ball, totally fooling Campbell and Ferdinand (JT being suspended). Schweinsteiger slides in, misses by an inch (a la Gazza in '96), Becks hopefully punts it forwards.

Lennon beats one, plays in a fantastic cross, Crouchio slips, wrong-footing Lehmann, the ball hits the lanky one's arse and goes in.

Crouchio does his robo-dance. Sepp Blatter kicks his desk in a rage. The rest of the world hates us for destroying the beautiful game. We don't care.

Baz said...

Incidentally, it's also 10 years to the day that Gazza slid in on that goal and was an inch to fat to meet the ball.

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