4 More Years of Hurt for England
So there you have it England are out of the 2010 World Cup, a tournament which before it started we were one of the favourites, if not to win to at least make it to the semi finals. But why, why have a team which the nations hopes were pinned on, which before the World Cup started were seen as a genuine threat suddenly performed and there are no other words for it appallingly. You could say that the team looked burnt out after a long season, you could point to unfortunate injuries, you could even point the finger at a shameless disallowed goal. But you have to say England never once looked a team in form and no matter how hard it is to say we were outclassed by a young German side that deserved the win.
So who’s to blame?
You could look at the English season, it's long and without breaks and it has to be said that the English players started the 2010 World Cup looking tired and burnt out. As such the Premier League could learn a thing or two from other leagues and give the players a January break. But you can't just blame the lack of break or long season because the lead up to the 2010 World Cup the English team weren't exactly shabby and it was only when the tournament started did things look so poor.
What about the Terry debacle, did all the negative press surrounding previous Captain John Terry's affair with a player’s girlfriend leading to him being stripped off his captaincy break the team spirit. Well no because he is just one man in a team and despite the England team didn't play brilliantly they did play as a united team. Even the attempts from Terry to stage a coup at the World Cup can't really be the reason why the England team ended up looking and unconvincing and stretched.
How about the injuries? Well you have to say England were unlucky when the Captain Rio Ferdinand was injured before the tournament even started but again he is just one man and we had capable replacements. Although the choice of picking a player who can't train in Ledley King in the original 23 has to be seen as a risk. But it's not the reason why we suddenly looked poor nor was the injury several months before when Beckham was injured.
Of course when the tournament started you could point a finger at the ball, the Jabulani which seemed to have a mind of it's own. And in a way I think the England team did struggle with this ball as we constantly struggled to control be it on the move or at free kicks. But it's the same ball that all the other teams had to use and they all had the same issues, even the German team who have been playing with it for longer. In the end it levelled the playing field and although it meant that there was a lot of ugly ball play everyone was the same.
What about dodgy decisions and I have to say the disallowed goal from Lampard against the Germans was a shameless decision, especially when you see the position of the ref and the linesman. Did it make much of a difference well on one hand at that point England had the momentum, they were playing like a rampaging Premier League side and if it had been allowed I am sure things would have been a little different. But on the other hand the Germans ripped England apart on the counter attack and although the score line may have been closer the Germans were odds on to score again when they had such a poor defence to attack.
How about the manager Fabio Capello who once the tournament started suddenly came under attack for the way he managed the side. Well when it comes to his management I feel for Capello because he managed them the same way he did all the way through the qualifiers when the team were so successful, so why should he suddenly change a winning system once the tournament started. He ended up changing things slightly, becoming more lenient in the pressure zone of the World Cup but I don't see his management of the squad was the issue.
What was the issue then?
Well whilst I defend Capello's management of the England team I can't but help question his tactics. In the England Germany game when we suddenly need goals, what does he do he brings on Heskey who whilst I rate as a player he's not a goal scorer. Where was Peter Crouch, why didn't he get thrown on the pitch to give some height, he's a guy who scores goal. His style may not be the most beautiful but he is effective and could have changes the course of the game.
You also have to question Capello's decision to play Gerrard on the left rather than behind Rooney, a position where he is at this best. There is no doubt that in every game Gerrard played his heart out for the team but it just didn't work and when things don't work you have to try something different, something which may have unlocked the goal scoring ability of Wayne Rooney.
Talking of Wayne Rooney, I like the player but he looked laboured through out every minute of every game. Not once did we see the rampaging Rooney who terrorises defences week in week out in the premier league. Was he burnt out after a long season, was he still recovering from an injury or worse carrying an injury that inhabited him. I don't know the reason but Rooney unfortunately didn't do the job that we expected and maybe he should have been substituted or left on the bench to try something different.
But you can't single Rooney out as the only problem as through out the whole team we never saw the England team play like we know they can. Was it big stage nerves, was it tiredness was it the pressure of the hopes of a nation which caused the lack lustre performance. It's probably all them combined with what I feel was poor tactics from Capello which culminated in the England team barely making any presence at this World Cup.
So we have another 4 years of hurt before we get a chance to once again show the world that we can play football at a high level on the world stage and we need to learn from the mistakes that have been made. If we don't learn and keep looking for excuses as to why we under performed then we will never be the best team in the World.