Friday, June 18, 2010

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Algeria 0 England 0

is anything to go by. This year I will have been watching England for 40 years. The first ever live game I saw them in was against Czechoslovakia in Mexico in 1970. This 2010 World Cup match I have just witnessed, was one of the most abject I have ever seen. Here's my ratings:

David James: arguably our best player on the pitch and he barely did anything. Puts your heart in your mouth whenever he gets near a high ball. 5
Ashley Cole: looked like one of the few players who wanted to win and his frustration at his team mates was more than obvious as the 2nd half dragged on. 6
John Terry: largely anonymous; made one possible howler, had Carragher to thank for saving his bacon. 5
Jamie Carragher: the fact that he was considerably better than Terry is a huge worry. Got booked, misses the next game. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. 6
Glen Johnson: didn't have the game he had against the USA, didn't link up well with either Lennon or SWP. 5
Gareth Barry: when someone peripheral to the England set up before Capello becomes talismanic for a team bereft of ideas or penetration is a concern. However, Barry was our best player for at least an hour. 7
Steven Gerrard: laboured, toiled, looked lost and offered little. 5
Frank Lampard: duplicated his stray passing ability yet again. Did nothing but play backwards, looks past his best. 4
Aaron Lennon: should go outside his opponents the way he did in qualifying or for Spurs. Still the player who seemed to worry the Algerians the most and when he was substituted we lost that edge. 6
Emile Heskey: not as effective as he was against the USA. Is not an international class footballer, but then again neither are 7 of the other team members. 4
Wayne Rooney: possibly the worst performance ever in a football shirt. Had no first touch, couldn't string anything together, fell too deep too often and squandered a number of chances. A very poor game. 2
SWP: why? 3
Jermaine Defoe: looked bright and full of ideas, failed to inspire his team mates. 6
Peter Crouch: played the last 10 minutes as a right winger, but at least managed to retain possession more often than not. 5
The coach
Fabio Capello: the knives are bound to come out now. Rigid tactics that aren't working; no movement or shape; a team devoid of passion and who look frightened and pressurised. The coach had a bad night; he followed questionable tactics on Saturday, but preferring SWP to Joe Cole; the only English footballer with the flair and ball skills to get into a good side. Capello must bite the bullet and play a team to win on Wednesday. I would like to see: James, Cole, Terry, Dawson, Johnson, Barry, Cole, Lennon, Gerrard, Rooney & Crouch (and if Rooney doesn't perform in the first 45 minutes, get him off and put Defoe on). Slovenia have been beaten by us this year, but there was no pressure and we now have to win and they need just a point to qualify - a point would see us go out.

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