So England played their first game since the "dreadful" World Cup. In my opinion there is only one thing you can blame for how terrible this was, the media. They build up players and then lambaste them the first chance that they get all to sell a few more papers. They place ridiculous expectations on the players and then are surprised when these expectations aren't reached.
Yes it was a below par performance. A par performance would have been the quarter finals. We are normally ranked between 7th and 11th in the world, which suggests we should be making the last 16 or the quarters. You wouldn't expect the 7th seed to win Wimbledon would you? We were beaten only by Germany, who are ranked above us, basically we don't have the players to win! Sven reached 3 quarters, which for me is a good performance, yet still his reign is constantly criticized, despite the fact we were unlucky not to beat Portugal, twice going down on penalties and having a perfectly good goal ruled out and once we were knocked out by Brazil. Hardly shameful.
They were at it again for this friendly. Building it up as the start of a great comeback which will see the kids lead us into a new era of domination. 'England expects'? Fuck off, no they don't, or at least they shouldn't! The media builds up players to be better than they are. The BBC had a photo piece on Jack Wiltshire as if he was the new Messi and single handily going to turn our fortunes around. He looks a good players - I think he's at the right club to progress, but he may come under increasing pressure, just look what that's done to our other stars, Michael Owen... Joe Cole... Wayne Rooney... all in recent years have faded away. Wayne looks a shadow of himself in an England jersey now. Fortunately he will not be under the same ridiculous pressure at club level which may help him pick up form.
The media also crucify players for any one mistake (unless they are players loved by the media). Just look at Dawson on Wednesday night, he made one slip and the ITV commentary team would not drop it, making hardly any mention to the fact he made it back and hooked it off the line (irrespective of the goal wrongly counting). Always looking for a scapegoat.
That's not to say the players/manager couldn't do with some changes. Why Capello resorted back to 4-4-2 after half time I don't know, nor why he persists on playing both Gerrard and Lampard. It was telling that Gerrard's two goals came when Frank wasn't on the pitch, both from positions I'd have expected to see Frank in. Also, Gareth Barry is not an international class holding midfielder, why people cannot see this I don't know. I biggest miss at the World Cup (apart from Rooney who wasn't there) was Hargreaves, it is a shame that his injury problems have ruined what was a promising career. Hopefully Huddlestone/Rodwell will improve enough to make themselves genuine possibilities. Glen Johnson still hasn't learned to defend and Terry's personal problems seem to have had a huge impact on him in the last 6 months.
There were a few positives from Wednesday. Hart looked every bit the International, Johnson showed flashes of quality and Young looked really good. Walcott was also promising, but he really needs to kick on this season, develop his final ball. Phil Jagielka also looked a lot better than anyone of those who played in the World Cup. For what it's worth this would be my team for the next game (fitness and playing for their side depending):
-------------- Hart --------------
Johnson - Cahill - Jagielka - Cole
Johnson - Cahill - Jagielka - Cole
--------- Huddlestone -----------
------ Milner - Gerrard ----------
----------- Rooney -----------
Walcott, Dawson, Bent, Carson,Wiltshire, Zamora, Gibbs on the bench.
Now, hopefully this'll be the last time I feel the need to blog about England for a while!