Roy Hodgson’s little jigs of delight when England scored

San Marino 0 - 8 England - World Cup 2014 Qualifier - March 22nd 2013

were somewhat embarrassing.

It was San Marino, Roy. You’ve have had more competition from Dan Marino. Celebrating like that was just pathetic, so pathetic even the players didn’t go that wild.

This opposition would have struggled on Hackney marshes against a side hungover after a Saturday night piss up.

Said before the game that England need to do certain things:

  • Get wide. Width is a killer when you know the opposition will pack the middle of the pitch in front of the 18 yard box. And when you get wide get to the byeline and get crosses in. Top teams struggle with it so this lot.
  • Run at them. Pace and dribbling they can’t deal with it. Player’s will either get past their opponents or be taken down, giving plenty of free kicks and maybe some sendings off to create a bit more space.
  • Shoot. Bang ’em in from all places. Does require people to get in the box and pick up the saves, rebounds and scraps but that shouldn’t have been a problem. It’s not like the strikers should have had to track back.

When they did those three things it led to scoring eight goals, near misses and England looking dangerous.

When they didn’t it led to England looking like the guileless, clueless, useless lumps that are perennial no-hopers on the international stage.

Prime example was Ashley Young. When he did twice what he should have done far more often it led first to a goal when he had a shot and secondly to a goal when he got to the byeline, crossed the ball with his left foot, stood up at the back post for Sturridge to head in. The rest of the time he repeatedly came inside on his right as the defenders, even ones this hopeless, expected joining the massed throng in the centre and inevitably hit a defender with his attempted right foot ball.

The predictability of England players is just so predictable. And it was so predictable that when not doing the right things they would struggle, even against such limited opposition.

Opposition that again brought questions about their place on the international stage. Not happy about what ITV said about them. Well I’d have more sympathy if they did something more than the flat back 10 routine because as this showing shows they can’t even do that with any effectiveness. I mean England put 8 past ’em, hell the likes of Andorra only have 2 or 3 scored against them by England – Steven Gerrard’s greatest contribution in an England shirt in the last decade. So when they manage 8 it puts you right in your place.

Now the joy of Gerrard, Johnson and Cole back for the Montenegro game.

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