All entries for June 2006
June 26, 2006
So – England won 1–0. Overall, I felt it was the team's best performance so far; there was a liveliness and sharpness that had so far been missing. I was impressed by Carrick; he did exactly as he needed to; played solidly in front of the back four, providing precise passes (aka maintaining possession) to his teammates.
Carrick's presence indeed allowed Gerrard and Lampard to go forward and attack. Gerrard had a good game; constantly making himself available to receive passes and making some good runs. Lampard, on the other hand, still hasn't performed as he does for Chelsea. According to Fifa, he's had the most shots in the tournament so far, but, from what I can recall, most of them have been like the shots he had today; forced, dragged wide, or easy for the keeper. Having said that; you cannot contemplate dropping Lampard; he is a key player who WILL score, especially in the big games.
Rooney played very well upfront; for the most part managing to resist is desire to get more involved by dropping deep. His customary probing passes, pieces of skill, hold–up play, well–timed runs and strength (I could go on) were all on display again today; and show why he is so important to England.
Ashley Cole – blinding performance. His pace and stamina constantly amaze; and THAT interception at the start of the first half – immense.
John Terry and Paul Robinson – a bit iffy at times. I have no doubt Sven, McClaren and co will be putting the centre backs and keeper through some solid defensive drills this week. Thay have to; as England really do need to shore it up at the back.
David Beckham – delivered one of his special free kicks for the first time in 3 years. Without a doubt, this was his best moment of the match; as beforehand, England had had 3 or 4 free kicks in promising areas, only for Beckham to put in a poor delivery. I've started feeling a bit sorry for Terry and Ferdinand, constantly trekking into the opposition box on set–pieces, only for the delivery to fail to clear the first man. The best is yet to come from David Beckham.
Which can also be said for England. Slowly, but steadily, England are going up the gears; something that will have to continue in the Portugal game on Saturday. England, I believe, should beat Portugal; in spite of Scolari being something of a 'bogey' manager for Sven, and especially seeing as Deco is now out of the game.
All in all – if England can continue to improve; they should be in the semis.
But then again, it's never that easy with England..
June 25, 2006
Today is the 2nd round match between England and Ecuador. So far failing to perform anywhere near their true potential (aside from perhaps the first half against Sweden), the nation certainly expects a strong and convincing performance.
Talk seems to be of Carrick playing a holding role – allowing Gerrard and Lampard (two of the best attacking midfielders in the world) to go forward and well, attack, and provide support for Rooney (playing as lone striker).
Personally, I'm in favour of this '4–1–4–1' formation; let the holding/defensive midfielder (in this case Carrick) do the dirty work and tidying up in front of the back four, play it to the midfielders, who can then go forward and play attacking football – the kind all England supporters want to see.
If Owen were around, I think Sven would have opted for 4–4–2 (plan A – with Owen and Rooney together upfront); but with Owen tragically sidelined; I think 4–1–4–1 could turn out as a good thing.
Now, considering the likes of Brazil and Argentina have put in performances that warrant their status as potential winners, is the time for England to perform. Conditions are apparently going to be even more humid than the Paraguay game (in the range of 100 degrees apparently); but England can't continue to blame the conditions. Sven has said they've factored this into their preparations; so let's hope England play well, defend set pieces much better than the Sweden game, keep possession (!) and truly announce their arrival at the World Cup.