England came into the World Cup with fresh hope—a new, young team that looked hungry for success and confident it could deliver.
England came into the World Cup with fresh hope—a new, young team that looked hungry for success and confident it could deliver. On paper, England came with a squad of individuals whose talent that can rival the very best. But, much like Spain, England find themselves eliminated from the competition in the group stages, and after just two games played.
Spain being eliminated was embarrassing, but after six years of international domination, they have more than earned their title as one of the greatest international teams ever and still currently one of the best, something England haven’t experienced since 1966.
So how is it that a squad full of players who ply their trade on a regular basis in the Barclays Premier League, one of, if not the, best league in the world, cannot emulate their domestic successes on an international stage? How is it that for Manchester United, Wayne Rooney can score outrageous goals, but can’t score the simplest for England, how can Steven Gerrard be so reliable and trusted in the big games for Liverpool, but can’t produce for England, how can Gary Cahill be so solid at the back for Chelsea, but make so many schoolboy errors when in the England strip?
One of the major problems I’ve seen over England’s games in the World Cup is their inability to finish. Against Italy, England started brightly and could have easily been two or three goals up within the first half hour had their finishing been at the standard you see from them in domestic football. Rooney, Sterling and Sturridge all squandering chances, very good chances at that.
Then there was the midfield. Sterling had some sparkling moments, gliding past the opposition like they weren’t there at times, but from the centre of midfield, England offered little. Every good attack seemed to come from the wing, which gives me the impression that the England midfield lacks creativity and imagination.
How to refocus for the next tournament
As for the defence, for once, goalkeeping wasn’t much of an issue in England’s downfall, which is one positive, albeit you have to really be clutching at straws to find it. However, the two centre backs just seemed too unreliable. Both Cahill and Jagielka were caught flat-footed numerous times, and seemed to just let the opposition attackers run away from them.
Maybe it was tactics that was a problem, but for me, it’s too easy and not productive enough to just blame a manager and his tactics. Although in the must win game against Uruguay, England still seemed to be playing like a scared, shy team.
For a team ranked 10th in the world, the passing and movement simply wasn’t good enough. I recall watching Australia against Holland and couldn’t help but think Australia, the lowest ranked team in the tournament at 62nd place, 52 places below England, were passing the ball so much better than England do – that is something that shouldn’t be happening.
But maybe this will be a wakeup call. Nobody expected England to win the World Cup, but despite the tough group, they were expected to go through to the knockout rounds. Maybe it is time to drop the old guard, the Gerrards, the Lampards, the Rooneys and focus solely on the young blood.
It worked fantastic for Spain six years ago, and should my prediction of World Cup winner come true, it’ll have worked for Germany too. Why not follow in those footsteps?
What do you think? Do you agree? Have your say in the comments section below.