October 12, 2005

Surely now the time has come to sack Sven Goran Eriksson? 10 reasons why we don't need the Swede

  • England have disgracefully topped their group

  • In this qualifying campaign England have dropped a shameful five whole points.

  • England have now topped their qualifying group three times in a row under Sven – but dropped points in every single campaign!

  • A whole four teams have beaten England in competetive matches – three of them (Brazil, Portugal and France) were minnows of world football.

  • Sven's record in competetive matches is better than both Kevin Keegan and Glenn Hoddle. As both these managers were proper Englishmen, Sven is BETRAYING our proud heritage by showing up our native managers.

  • There is a natural (and English) successor-in-waiting who has experience of managing at the highest level, is famous for the attacking, short-passing football his team plays, who favours young English talent ahead of overpaid foreign mercenaries and who never runs his mouth off or whinges to the press. His name is Sam Allardyce.

  • Indeed there is a second alternative who is as well qualified for the role as Allardyce is. Given that the present England coaching setup appears to be failing, a fresh face unconnected to the present regime is clearly needed. Step forward Steve McClaren!

  • Sven persists in picking players as inept as Peter Crouch, a man whose three England appearance have resulted in a mere three wins.

  • Sven's cavalier yet conservative attitude towards friendlies means that Australian fans who don't really understand that friendlies are meaningless can make fun of England fans. This simply won't do.

  • Lets just face it, he has a funny-shaped head.

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  1. Tonight's performance was pretty damn refreshing. I know Sven's record is good, but I'm still not hugely optimistic about next summer :(

    12 Oct 2005, 22:54

  2. Tonight was a real relief, because let's face it, the last few performances had been fairly lamentable.

    12 Oct 2005, 23:34

  3. Doesn't it speak rather well for Eriksson and his team's ability that despite a run of poor performances, the side still qualified top of the group, indeed qualified with a game to spare, and only failed to win two matches?

    12 Oct 2005, 23:39

  4. Let's face it, unless we play like we did in THAT game against Germany, we're never going to beat Brazil.

    13 Oct 2005, 00:07

  5. It does speak against him that in a group with no strong competition (when's the last time any of the other teams had attended a World Cup or Euro Cup final round?) he managed to drop 5 points.

    13 Oct 2005, 00:20

  6. The number of points dropped by all the table-topping nations, in full:

    Holland – 4 points
    Ukraine – 9 points
    Portugal – 6 points
    (all three of the above were in groups with seven teams, so the numbers are perhaps innacurate)
    France – 10 points
    Italy – 7 points
    England – 5 points
    Serbia – 8 points
    Croatia – 6 points

    The current Dutch team is in remarkable form, and Portugal had a group even easier than England's (Poland, Austria and Wales being better than Russia, Slovakia and Latvia). Other than that, all teams struggled in at least a couple of matches. Italy, another team with a group similar in difficulty to England's, struggled severely at times with the likes of Norway, Scotland and Moldava, to differing degrees.

    I fail to see the disaster in dropping five points, nor do I share the fear that England have no chance at the world cup. The example of Greece surely shows how unpredictable a major tournament can be – in the space of two years they've gone from being no hopers who scraped qualification into the European Championships, to European Champions, to a side only capable of finishing fourth in their qualifying group. Contrast this with the stability Eriksson has brought in seeing England top three seperate qualification tables.

    13 Oct 2005, 00:35

  7. What worried me most about last nights game was:

    a) That we looked balanced, exciting and capable of scoring a lot, but that Svens preference is for forcing Beckham, Lampard and Gerrard (+1) into a lopsided ill constructed system.

    b) That he still thinks Peter Crouch is a valuable option. I have to say when Owen crossed the ball for Lampard and I saw Crouch steaming up the middle I just thought "get out of the bloody way". No faith.

    Does Sven have the bollocks to drop one of Lamps or Gerrard (my preference would be Gerrard) in favour of what looked like a much more solid midfield anchored by King, who was awesome last night.

    Also, can he stand up to the self-important navel gazer Beckham and play a man who can not only play the long ball, pass intelligently but also run at and past players? Mr Wright-Phillips was a breath of fresh air last night.

    Cole did very well too, which frankly was about bloody time.

    I just have this niggly doubt that Sven's second team is actually a damn sight better and more balanced than his first team, but that he will not make the logical step and force the changes that need to be made.

    13 Oct 2005, 08:48

  8. It's certainly odd that King, a man around 8.6 times worse a footballer than Gerrard, always puts in a good game for England, but I agree that he should keep his place in the side (at the expense of Gerrard, who hasn't put in a decent game for England in ages).

    I feel Beckham has to return though, because on some many occasions he's simply been the only England player to show any competence whatsoever – such as in the woeful Northern Ireland game when he came close with a free kick and played a number of excellent passes. Wright Phillips looked more impressive than he actually was last night because he saw a lot of the ball – most of the time he ended up knocking it straight into the left back's shin and off for a throw in/corner.

    Joe Cole is infuriating, and has to be replaced by someone else – he possesses no footballing sense whatsoever, and simply can't cross the ball, which is a bit of a worry for a guy playing down the wing.

    And Crouch has to stay (as an option on the bench) as even though he doesn't actually do very much, England are seemingly incapable of not winning when he plays.

    13 Oct 2005, 10:44

  9. Joe Cole's replacement should be Downing. Sadly he's injured at the moment though…

    13 Oct 2005, 11:06

  10. Joe Cole can't cross the ball? There were at least two outstanding crosses from Cole last night – one that Owen fluffed the header and another where no-one attacked the ball.

    Cole's problem is that he is playing on the left, on his wrong foot. It's a bit much to ask him to put in pin point perfect crosses with his wrong foot. When he played more in the middle of the park in the second half he looked pretty useful.

    As for Beckham, I'm sorry but with Rooney and Lampard in the side you have two other players who can score from dead ball situations just as well as Becks. Long crosses to two short front men are pointless, unless of course you play Crouch, which just fills me with horror. W-P plays better balls to feet and is faster and more direct than old goldilocks. England need players who can break at speed from within their own half. Recently Beckham just seems to slow the play down more than provide the killer pass.

    13 Oct 2005, 11:46

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