England are out of the World Cup!! Not entirely surprising is it? After drawing with the US in the first match, struggling to a barren draw with Algeria in the second and beating Slovenia only by a solitary goal in their last match, the English, by their expected standards, have not quite been what many had envisioned them to be. It’s been a hapless performance from the team which boasts of household names in modern football spread from defence to midfield, striking and even the substitute’s bench.
But inspite of boasting of an unplayable striker in the name of Wayne Rooney, a midfield of every managers dream ochestrated by Steven Gerard and Frank Lampard and a defence that, on paper, should be a nightmare to opponents, this team always underperforms. And the 2010 FIFA World Cup hasn’t been any different despite the team commanding the intimidating 'Golden' Generation tag. A 4-1 thumping in the hands of Joachim Low’s eleven in the quarter finals was humiliating but not shocking. So just what went wrong for Fabio Capello’s men? Did the gaffer get his tactics wrong? Were the players playing out of position? Or were they not getting enough rest? And what happens next? Does the tactician go? And who should replace him?
Let’s take a look at what went wrong for the men from the Queen’s land and try to grind out a way forward .
1. Mauricio Espinosa – “Another controversial encounter with Germany that ends with a controversial goal line incident at a key moment in the game, will we see technology in football soon?” This is how the England Football Team group on Facebook summed up the game. immediately after the final whistle. Notice these words - a key moment in the game. I agree with this point. The goal could perhaps have given England the psyche that is synonymous with Stephen Gerard and his charges at Liverpool. Had this legitimate goal been allowed to stand, may be, and just may be, the Three Lions could have won it.
Way forward – introduce goal line technology FIFA. And if Lampard is to participate in the next World Cup in Brazil, he has four years to start growing a little shorter so that his shots won’t be that towering.
Can you notice the difference between the picture on the left and the one on the right? The one on the left is that one, yes, that one that the English are understandably complaining about. The one on the right was Drogba's effort against North Korea. The ball in this case didn't cross the line, and the referee got the decision right.
2. Wayne Rooney - OH. The boy whose shoulders were supposed to carry the hopes of a population of over 50 million people. But, an avatar of Rooney was brought to the World Cup. The real one was seen nursing injuries at a women’s hospital in Manchester. The other Rooney was last seen by millions of viewers playing sumptuous football in a Nike advert. That’s actually the closest this
Rooney should have gone to the World Cup.
Way Forward – don’t we all just love the Rooney with the beards? Why on earth did he shave!! The more bearded the Rooney, the more intimidating he is to his opponents, the more he can make Nike-like last minute tackles. By 2014, he’ll only be 30. He thus has four good years to grow that beard. And if the English don’t like it, he can migrate to Somalia where men are given 30 days to grow beards, play for them and when the time for the 2014 World Cup comes, under dual citizenship, he should get back to his mother country who will be fielding Robert Green as their striker because, well, he can score goals.
3. Vuvuzela - The noise coming from the vuvuzela meant that the players couldn’t hear any instructions from their coach, David Beckam, who left Italian Fabio Capello out of the squad. This noisy horn also meant that Ashley Cole couldn’t get enough sleeping time, something that really affected his game on the left side of field.
Way Forward - The English team should abscond any event hosted in Africa in future. The vuvuzela is here to stay. Good news that Jamie Carragher won't be available for the next world cup since he's planning to buy this horn for his little ones.
4. Theo Walcott – Capello’s undoing? He’s a pure amalgam of speed. He has the power of a Didier Drogba. Dribbling skills comparable to that of Andrea Dossena. His telepathic understanding with Emile Heskey is undoubted and he scores more goals from the centre of the field than Michael Silvestre. He's sort of a Castrol EDGE Ultimate Performing Player. Why did Capello and Beckam leave him out? Because Beckam would rather see an injured Beckam in the World Cup?
Way Forward – Take him back to the Sol Campbell Football Academy to learn one thing - football is about pace, skill and more skill and pace, not pace, pace and pace. He should be ready to roll for the next World Cup.
5. Robert Green – What do you expect from a man who wears green, plays in a green surface and is colour blind to that effect. Had the jabulani ball been green and not white, hadn’t Capello introduce ‘Calamitous James’ in the consequent games, green could have still single-handedly kicked England out of the World Cup in the group stages, and saved England from an embarrassing defeat against Adolf Hitler’s sons.
Way Forward – If any future England coach has no confidence in Calamitous James, they should hire the free services of Manuel Almunia, or better yet, play a 5-4-2, with five defenders and no goalkeeper.
6. Italy –the success of England in the World Cup depended on the longevity, or lack of it, of any Italian-related thing in the World Cup. Thus, the English qualified for the round of 16, only because the gods from Rome thought Italy would make it through. When they failed, the gods got so annoyed that it put the pace of Fabio Cannavaro on the feet of all England defenders. The result of this was all too clear for everyone to see. Actually, the Italians went to the world cup to fight, literally. See picture.
Way Forward – Simple. There’s nothing Italian in English. No Italian women, Italian food, and Italian coach. Not many Italians succeed in England. They need more time which the English are never interested in giving. Dossena was a flop, Aquilani is being called a flop, and Capello is a flap.
7. Capello – What was he doing? Why didn’t he play Gerard in his favoured position just behind the striker? Why did he leave Walcott out and forced Carragher out of retirement? Why didn’t he carry some chewing gum to help fork him out of making bad decisions?
Way forward – the English papers know it only too well. Get rid of Flapello and ban David Beckam from the touchline forever! Then, appoint all the football pundits in The Sun as co-coaches of the England national team. Also, higher the services of Nike Football Write the Future. These guys did an amazing job and almost predicted how the World Cup was going to take shape. See end of this article.
8. Terry – Stripped off the captaincy and pelted with all manner of obscenities as a result of his infidelity, this man went to the World Cup without having gotten the much-needed psychiatrist help. If Tiger Woods has not performed in the golf course, how on earth did we expect Terry to pull the first one on the football field?
Way forward – Terry has tried but trial is never enough in a World Cup event. He’s suffered heartbreak one too many in the profession of football. In 2006, they were kicked out in the quarter-finals of the World Cup event. Terry cried. In 2007-08 season, he slipped and failed to convert a penalty that could have won Chelsea their first ever Champions League final. Terry Cried. Should he cry anymore? Quit the national team, quit Champions League football… actually, quit football and start training as a gynecologist. They rarely cry.
9. Something wrong about the Germans – Who did Capello tell his players to mark. Bastian who? Tim who? Meta-what? The sheer ‘class’ of names the Germans have would get any tactician confused. And the few ones who have simpler names like Philip Lahm are so diminutive that they almost go unnoticed when they don’t have the ball and hence they can make runs into the penalty area without being seen by defenders. And did the Germans go to the field prepared for a World War III with the English?
Way Forward - Bring the likes of Gabriel Imuetinyan Agbonlahor to the world cup.
10. Fans – And am included here. Did we expect too much from the English? Is the English Premier League really the best in the world? Does it have the best players in world football? And are the English among these A-list footballers? Do people supporting England always expect too much from the players? Is the English media so complacent about just how good Premier league football is? So many questions that English players need to answer when they don the all red or white and red attires to represent their nation on the field. They always fail to give answers. Always. This is definitely not the umpteenth time.
Way Forward – May be we should not be expecting these players to transform their club forms into the international arena. England is like Nigeria in Africa. When you think they have come good, they work too hard to prove otherwise. They are never willing to play second fiddle to anyone but they put too little effort and end up being worse than second. The players are good from far, but far from good. The future of English football however relies the likes of Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, Jonjo Shelvey, Gabriel Agbonlahor and the likes. They have pace and skill, an item that has been lurking in the England eleven for quite some time now. But we should not be made to believe that they are the best young players in the world. This is what kills English football. Believing that they are the best.
Nike Football Write the Future -