What We Learned From Japan vs Engerland


If You Can’t Be Good, Be Lucky

And let’s be frank, Engerland were by no means good. So not good that the vacuous tedium that was Engerland vs Mexico was rendered as a piece de resistance of footballing genius akin to Arsenal vs Barcelona or Inter vs Barcelona, which is such an insult to intelligence that frontal lobotomy begins to look like a realistic option. Fabio’s latest experimental line up seems more of a bizarre indictment of the internal wrangling within the Football Association than a legitimate, purposeful match-winning arrangement. And, being that this was the last friendly before the Wold Cup squad cut down, it was also an opportunity to view some of the less talented members of the Engerland team. So we had starts for the booking-their-places-back-home duo of Bent and Huddlestone and consolation prizes of tickets (but no appearances) for Warnock, Dawson and Parker. As a result the performance was abysmal. Admittedly there was less losing of the ball when passing, but only because it appeared that there was less attempted passing, unless you include the interminable shuffling of the ball between the back four, which was accurate only insofar as the Japanese couldn’t be bothered to chase it down. Any semblance of intelligence, tactics or understanding was entirely absent from Engerland’s play. And, once the Japanese had scored a super-soft set piece goal, Engerland’s only hope was to be staggeringly lucky. How staggeringly lucky is illustrated by achieving both our goals via deflections off Japanese defenders. Still, if we can’t be good (and it seems obvious that we have no idea how to be good) at least we’re lucky.

The Can’t Quite Be Good Enough Seven Have Nominated Themselves

It’s pretty clear (at a point just before Capello names his Can’t Quite Be Good Enough Seven) who is being dropped from the Engerland squad. Sadly they’re not being announced in a Strictly Ballroom way – with appropriately scathing criticism lashing their ears – but will be mollycoddled out as if they were the untalented children taking part in some politically correct school sports day. “Don’t worry you haven’t got a prize Darren, in our school no one gets prizes because we’re worried it might hurt your feelings”. In fact they wil go home with the bonus of a quiet chat from former Drug Cheat and now Captain of Engerland Rio ringing in their ears. He, it seems, knows what it is like to be dropped and wants to ‘help’ the Seven by reinforcing their non-selection. On second thoughts that does sound like cruel and unusual punishment.  Still it won’t come as a surprise to the Seven who will be the unplayed Parker, Dawson, Warnock, and Upson (because if you weren’t good enough to take part in the last two matches you really can’t be any good), along with the played-themselves-out-of-contention Three of Wright-Phillips, Huddlestone and Bent. The latter deserves special mention because it takes a certain degree of skill to be out-played by Emile Heskey, who only appeared as a sub for 15 minutes. At least Heskey looked like he was creating chances in the box, whereas Bent never looked threatening in the slightest.  Capello will have chosen to keep those players who look to be a genuine threat (Adam Johnson and Joe Cole), because, let’s face it, we need all the threat we can get.

Saddest Things About Engerland

OK, so it was only a set of warm-up games and unlike previous build-ups they were against well-chosen opposition, both of whom are going to the World Cup, but we’re still left with a catastrophic sense of impending doom. Not least because so many things that could have gone right didn’t.

  • Our wingers can’t beat defences – really disappointing given that Johnson, Lennon and Walcott are all fast, it seemed that none of them was able to get through a defense that wasn’t actively engaged in chasing the game. We had more joy with our full backs.
  • Rooney isn’t getting any service – our midfield and defence seem incapable of quickly recycling possession, getting the ball up to players in potentially dangerous areas of the pitch. Instead we prefer to pass the ball around the back (trading opportunity for possession) before losing it in midfield to a now-well organised and ready opponent. Rooney spent the last two games looking thoroughly isolated up front and having to chase back to even see the ball.
  • We don’t seem to have a midfield – I’m not sure where it went or how it happened, but it’s like one of those things that you don’t value until it’s no longer there. I’m not even sure we ever had a coherent midfield, but we certainly don’t now and if the return of the never-working Gerard/Lampard axis is any indication, no one has a clue how to sort this situation out.

On the plus side, we do have at least two goalies who look half decent. God knows they’re going to be busy if Engerland take this kind of form into the World Cup.

One Response to “What We Learned From Japan vs Engerland”

  1.  Palace Blog » Blog Archive » What We Learned From Japan vs Cameroon (1-0) Says:

    […] were fantastically unlucky in their friendly against Engerland where they not only bossed the game, but managed to score all the goals. This was Japan’s […]