Archive for June 27th, 2010

What We Learned From Germany vs Engerland (4-1)

Ouch! That Was A Spanking

Well, we have seen some bad Engerland performances and we’ve seen some shocking Engerland performances, but this was simply a disaster (that’s worse than bad and shocking in the lexicon of tragicomical footballing parlance in case you’re worried). Buoyed by the victory over Slovenia (Slovenia for god’s sake), Engerland played the same side. Only on this performance you wouldn’t have thought these guys knew each other let alone had played together only four days earlier and that some actually played together professionally in the same football clubs. Now in their last five matches Engerland have been simply shocking against Mexico, Japan, USA, and Algeria and only rancid against Slovenia, but at least there has been some vague shadow of a collective understanding between the players, if only the collective understanding not to pass accurately to one another or do anything that might constitute a coherent attacking move. Not so here. Here our defence, comprised of Glen Johnson (who is better going forward than defending), Titface (who has lost a yard of pace since Rio left him), Far-Too-Slow-Son (who never had the pace to begin with) and Ashley Cole (who truth be told is actually good), looked like they’d never seen a football, let alone played professionally for a number of years. The positioning of Titface and Slow-Son for the first goal was just shamateur, and for them to then be outmuscled by Klose should shame them both into quitting international and probably club football. Sadly this wasn’t their low point in the game.

Admittedly there was a moment when, through sheer ineptness on the Germans’ part and the law of averages, Engerland looked somewhat dangerous. We even scored, not that that will in any way exonerate the useless Slow-Son, but he will at least have a World Cup memory that isn’t of himself being ripped a new one by the Germans. We even scored a second, a beauty from Lampard and the only memorable thing he has done in an Engerland shirt for at least a year, which was so obvious that no one believed the ref when he disallowed it. It could have changed the game in a sad, wallpapering over the cracks sort of way, but disallowing it could have given Engerland the spur they needed to really punish the Germans. Amazingly, for about 3 or 4 minutes, Engerland were on top and Germany looked really flaky.

But then Engerland imploded. Again tactical insanity was our undoing. Putting 9 men into the Germans’ penalty area might seem like a good idea when you have the ball and it’s a free kick about 28 yards out. Two seconds later when Barry has conceded possession and the Germans are running at your lone man defence it’s starting to look a little less intelligent. It’s even less clever when you do it again after they’ve scored the third.

Admittedly the fourth German goal was a great example of the beautiful rush play that England’s top teams have been doing for years. You think about Man U and Arsenal and Chelsea and what comes to mind is fantastic flowing counterattacking, movement of the ball from box to box in seconds, transforming turnover of the ball into opportunity. That’s what the Germans did and have been doing for the whole of this World Cup and what Engerland have not looked like doing in the best part of a decade. The saddest thing is not that so many of the players in Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea who are doing the moves are foreign, but that some of them are clearly English and never display this form for Engerland.

So What Has Gone Wrong For Engerland? And Where Do We Go From Here?

Where do we start? It’s clear that we’re now going to see a rash of international retirements because many of these boys clearly do not have it in them to go through this all over again. The so-called golden generation have been revealed as Knockout Round Nohopers. I think it’s the end of the road for:

  • Green (no chance after that spooner into his own net)
  • James (he just won’t be around for Euro 2012 and beyond)
  • Carragher (wasn’t he already retired – ed?)
  • Upson (too fucking slow)
  • Rio (too knackered)
  • Ledley KneeKnack
  • Titface (too slow, too irritating and too divisive)
  • Barry (holding midfielder my arse)
  • Gerrard and Lampard (they can’t play together you know and yes, we have tried)
  • Hoofitto Heskey
  • Defoe (offside!)
  • Wrighty-Wright-Phillips

Whoever is the manager, and Fab’s position is far from certain, he has to rebuild with pace and ball control rather than reputation as his criteria for inclusion. We went to this World Cup with an old squad essentially comprised of Sven’s Quarter-Finalists minus David Beckham and Theo. I think Fab missed a big trick by relying too much on stolid experience rather than youthful exuberance, or at least a balance. Maybe Theo Wallchart can’t put a cross in all the time, but he does often scare the shit out of defenders, even international ones. Maybe Adam Johnson wasn’t ready, but he better be now. Maybe Hart didn’t have the experience, but now he’s been to a World Cup and he’ll still be around when the next one comes. I think we need to develop a new defence, a controlling midfield, a potent attack and we have to find a way of bringing Rhino into the games.  Because he might as well announce his international retirement and do a Scholes if this is how he’s going to be played for Engerland. In the 4 World Cup games and the half dozen or so before he has been starved of service and support and has barely had a touch of the ball. He is a shadow of the force he was at Euro 2004 and might as well take his talent and put it in a cupboard and forget about it, because he isn’t going to get a result from it from Engerland if this carries on.

51 Down 13 To Go 13 Teams Remaining

Archive for June 27th, 2010

What We Learned From USA vs Ghana (1-2)

Defiance vs Resilience

The Ghanaians came in carrying the entire hopes of the continent on their shoulders. The Americans have that damn yankee never say die spirit. So it wasn’t going to be a quiet night.

This was one of those games that was impossible to take your eyes off. First Ghana attacked and really took the game to the States. And the States seemed to back off. This is a mistake on so many levels, not least because the States actually play better when they attack. They seem to be the ultimate ‘underdog’ side, constantly coming from behind, working if not so much on the skill of Dempsey and Donovan, then their gritted determination and absolute desire to win. But it seems as if they need to be under pressure in order to begin to show themselves.

And they were certainly put under pressure. Kevin Prince Boateng, who was a bit-part player for Tottingham and one of the useful job lot of players who somehow fought their way through the Portsmouth debacle, has been the standout player for Ghana, the personality that makes the team happen. His push from midfield has frightened teams and made things happen. His cut in and shot seemed to confuse the Americans and that was it. You felt that not only was the stadium behind them but the weight of Africa suddenly fell on Team USA.

If America were going to get back into the game, you felt it would have come from Dempsey or Donovan, and it came from both. Dempsey has a face for penalties, when he goes down he looks so plaintive and wronged that the ref feels almost morally obliged to give it. Donovan, being the super-ego in the team, converted the penalty.

After that it was a tense, but highly engaging back and forth affair. As normal time came to an end the tension was ramped up as both sides went for it. Ghana’s winner, when it came was outstanding, a long ball played into Gyan, who was flanked by two defenders, neither of whom was close or strong enough to throw him off balance. Gyan’s left foot shot was fantastic and you felt every ounce of power he put into it.

It Shoulda Been Us

You can’t help thinking that, but for a moment of goalkeeping insanity (although not quite up to Chilean goalkeeping suicide) and, let’s face it, two thoroughly shabby performances, Engerland should have been contesting this match against Ghana. Given Engerland’s paucity of ambition and skill, it’s hard to imagine them beating Ghana, but still, it shoulda been us.

50 Down 14 To Go, 14 Teams Remaining

Archive for June 27th, 2010

What We Learned From Uruguay vs South Korea (2-1)

Can’t Defend, Won’t Defend

Well we all knew that the South Koreans came with buckets of enthusiasm and gung-ho attitude but hadn’t got a clue how to defend effectively and thus it was today. Like Chile against Spain, they were holding their own for the first 20 minutes or so before they had a defensive brain spasm and simply let Diego Forlorn, who had barely had a touch, cross the ball behind their entire back four all the way across the goal to Sanchez who was waiting on the other side for a tap in. After that it was, effectively, game over. The South Koreans could never beat the hard-nosed Uruguayan defence.

You have to admire the Uruguayans, they have a tight defense, an acceptable midfield and three hot strikers. Well, OK, with Sanchez and Forlorn you’ve got two and they throw in another one for good measure. Terrifyingly they could go all the way.

49 Down 15 To Go, 15 Teams Remaining

Archive for June 27th, 2010

More Tweets From The Palace 2010-06-27

  • Now that's a goal. Route 1 and smash. Way to go Ghana. #worldcup #
  • Good to see ALL UK trending topics are World Cup related. Now we know that Twitter is mainstream #
  • @sophyk drink faster – either that or encourage Mum to contribute should be finished in no time in reply to sophyk #
  • @thehomme 3 hours, that'll be a dial up connection then. Enjoy your evening. in reply to thehomme #
  • I just updated to ios4. It is spesh. #
  • Virginmedia fuck up second appointment, which they arranged. Obviously they don't do Customer service. Bankers. #