June 25, 2006

England–Ecuador: time to perform

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.

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