June 16, 2006

England fans – who do you fear?

So, we are into the second round of group stage games. Having seen all the teams in the competition who do England fans fear – who looks like a contender?

On current performance I think England have a lot to be worried about. There are quite a few teams with more pace and purpose than us at the moment. If we can't find a way to let our midfield boss the game then I fear for the worst.

I worry about Ecuador who look pretty tough – more resiliant than Germany, though would you want to play the Germans on their home turf?

Spain look pretty hot as do the Czechs. As for France and Brazil – BRING 'EM ON!

Seriously though – this is looking like the most open and competative world cup in years. It is also the most attacking, though it saddens me that England seem to be playing the defensive minded game more commonly associated with the Italians of the 80s and 90s rather than the expansive fast game we know and love.

A note on Rooney and why he is so important (and Lennon too) – the T&T coach said at half time that the England movement was very predictable. This is the problem with Crouch and Owen at the moment – they run in straight predictable lines, staying in the channels. This is easy for defenders to deal with.

Rooney runs across defenses and moves in a way that pulls people out of position – he is a lot less predictable and creates spaces for the likes of Beckham, Lampard and Gerrard to do their thang. Lennon did the same thing, pulling the T&T defense towards the corner and giving both Beckham and Gerrard the space and time to make an impact.

You have to be disruptive at this level – disruption and confusion is what creates opportunity. Predictable lines and pedestrian pace is all too easy to defend against.

And just to pimp my podcast sideline a little – link

I think I might go back to Henry after the group stage and see how his predictions stack up – France and Brazil not looking so hot now huh!

- 5 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. France were bobbins but I think they were always going to be. Brazil on the other hand weren't bad, just a little flat. They'll probably perk up a bit soon.

    I really liked England's setup in the second half after the subs. Lennon was great, more disciplined than Beckham though there's no chance Beckham will ever get dropped by Sven. Still, he was quite good as a fullback, though against bigger teams we won't be able to do that again as Sven won't want to take the risk.

    16 Jun 2006, 13:23

  2. I agree about Beckham as full back – Carragher just didn't seem to have the ability to go forward – better suited as a centre–back i guess.

    it's an interesting idea though is it not – Beckham as a defender!

    What might be interesting is to drop Lampard, who looks a bit aimless at present, and put in Carrick to free up gerrard to do what he does bes

    16 Jun 2006, 13:32

  3. Mathew Mannion

    Just wanted to say really enjoyed the World Cup–themed podcasts :)

    16 Jun 2006, 13:52

  4. Thanks Matt – If you are interested link is the report detailing Henry Stott's predictions

    16 Jun 2006, 14:20

  5. I think Becks would be quite good as a wingback, not so enthused about him as a proper fullback. This just shows how, despite the constant derision, Gary Neville is one of England's most important and best players. Man Utd fans have always known this, but obviously no one listens to us :P

    We do need to have someone taking the defensive midfield role with Gerrard coming more forward. It's a shame him and Lampard are so similar.

    16 Jun 2006, 17:05

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