about beating the Germans.
All of a sudden we’re not only going to the World Cup after the 2-1 victory in Berlin last night but we’re real world beaters again.
Hmmm, no. There was to use the standard sporting vernacular of a defeat – a lot of positives to take from this – but people are using them to gloss over fundamental errors in the team play and over hyping the performance of individuals.
This was a really poor German side but then the German sides that have got to World Cup and European Championship finals over the last few years haven’t been that good, so that isn’t the reason this victory wasn’t as good as has been made out.
The way England started the game was a positive, all the out field players not giving the Germans any time on the ball is the way we have to play. It’s no coincidence our best performances and results come about when we’re in their faces, letting them have all the possession and pass the ball about without a challenge kills us every time. The Germans only looked dangerous when England dropped back off them and let them play, this was not helped by Capello’s substitution of Agbonlahor for Young, it prompted a more defensive drop back mentality.
The central pairing was another positive, two composed ball possessors and passers that weren’t getting in each others road and feeling the need to compete with each to see who can hit the most glittering of Hollywood balls. Nothing flash, just simple passing to people’s feet at a pace that they can handle, no need to constantly batter the ball for glory shot goal attempts, no getting so out of position that leaves others completely exposed, just keep things moving and control the game in an unfussy manner.
As I’ve said so many times on here it’s not a case of picking one from Lampard and Gerrard it’s picking neither and building a team round team players not so called star names. Now it was easy for Capello to do so with those two pulling out injured, though no doubt fit enough at the weekend, will he have the guts to do the same once the important matches come round again. We’ve seen Gerrard’s commitment to his country is the same as his mate Carragher’s, or he would more likely to play as he does for his club when he bothers to turn up. Has Fabio taken note?
Now the overboard stuff, well Downing, he looked the part when he came through the excellent ‘Boro youth setup under Dave Parnaby, McClown put pay to that when he got into the first team. He wasn’t an international player under McClown and he still isn’t, no matter what so called pundits say about last nights performance. He saw a lot of the ball but did very little with it, take away the hype from your mind and try and remember all those corners and set pieces, they were useless. The only time he found an England player was for Terry’s goal, first goal was a decent corner but wasn’t any danger until Adler flapped at it. Other than that his delivery was crap especially considering they now knew the ‘keeper is a flapper, yeah a lot of running around nothing to get as excited about as some have, no there wasn’t “speed, trickery and delivery” down the left – he’s still slow of thought and deed – and just because Capello picks him doesn’t mean he’s a great player as I’ve heard some say, he picks Wes Brown to play after all.
Then there was an awful lot of aimless balls humped up the park, now they got away with it this time round by winning the ball back so many times, but when will they learn not to give the ball away when they can so easily keep possession. Worst culprits were the ‘keepers, the Calamity Twins, every goal kick, after every catch or back pass there’s the ball humped up to no one in particular. Once or twice it was thrown out to a wide player and it led to good breaks up field.
Now it is a tactic that can work if the opposition are playing a high line with speed merchants likes of Agbonlahor, Defoe, Bent hanging on the last defender, a quick chip over the defence for them to chase onto, it can create chances. But waiting for the ‘keeper to roll the ball out, while the defence drops back and the strikers are all marked when the ball drops in front of them is a waste of everyone’s time, as it is every time Rio Ferdinand does it.
It was great not having Ferdinand strut around out there, making sure he was the first to do that stupid leap on the back of the goal scorer but Upson really isn’t the answer. The two fullbacks had decent games, Johnson defended well, unfortunately Fabio doesn’t like them bombing on as there was a few times where it was screaming out for an overlapping fullback.
Agbonlahor led the line well, without being spectacular, though he could and should have been when he was clean through with only one defender in front of him but decided to slow up and try and pass to Wright-Phillips. He should have bombed on, straight for goal, he would have done for Villa, I do wish the England speed merchants would do that more often, were told so many times how defences hate pace and yet they don’t use it to it’s full potential. Bent, well what to say, wearing blades was he, now if he scores that what a difference you’d probably see in the player, still he made some decent runs.
The ‘keepers, well they didn’t have much to do all night with the toothless German attack but they tried and then succeeded to screw up what little they had to do, with James flapping early on and then Carson failing to come out for a simple ball that led to the German equaliser. Terry’s taking the blame and he did play a major part in the shambles but you can see he’s expecting Carson to come for the ball and the shock on his face when he realises Carson is dithering says it all.
The result was fantastic, it’s rare these days we beat Germany even in “friendlies” – strange to think that World Cup quarter final in Mexico in ’70 was only the second time they had been victorious over us – and well deserved the performance had many plus points and if the negatives are eradicated, and we don’t bring certain individuals back into the first team it points to a bright future but a lot of people seem far too easily pleased because we really could have stuffed the Germans on their own patch last night.