Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A Plot, Long lost !!!

It is time I took back my words after having written off Germany in my last post after they inflicted that big defeat on the Socceroos. A sparkling performance that was...to pack off the Three Lions. Before the world cup, Fleet Street and the rest of the media worldwide had fancied England's chances this time around after they came unscathed in the world cup qualification campaign. But though it is too late to comment on that hype, it would be to state the facts plainly to remark that they got it all wrong. The world cup is always about a good team chemistry with a perfect blend of young blood and worthy experience. This aspect was completely defeated after Capello announced his 23 man squad for the world cup.

There were a number of questions about Dunga dropping Ronaldinho and Maradona choosing a weird squad. Germans were not with great odds on betting platforms with a squad that was labeled "too young". But in my opinion, those teams had their selections spot on to say the least. This world cup had two new surprises. The high altitude football and the all new Jabulani ball. Teams had to keep in mind how players would be prone to fatigue at high altitudes. Each match is a 90 minute test for a team's fitness levels and stamina. England lacked both these essentials. A half fit Rooney, Just-about-fit Barry, A dying Ledley King, An already-extinct-Emile Heskey... Epic fail. The world cup dreams were shattered right there.

Coming to a different but related observation, the fact that Germany spends a lot more money on its academy than what England spends was quite visible in the way young talent like Meuller and Oezil ran riot over the aging Terry and Barry. Speaking of that match, I would not hide my feelings for that bad decision given by the linesman minutes before half time. I would not go as far as saying England would have won it had that goal been given. Agreed... Germany played the better football and their passing was spectacular. But if the players had gone in at half time with a 2-2 on the score sheet, it would have been interesting to find out how England would have played their second half. A defensive strategy is the thing they would have resorted to, in all probability. But anyway, that is done and dusted and Germany have rightly got their revenge that took an awful 44-year long wait. They got their redemption for the infamous goal in the 1966 world cup finals.

So, coming to the long lost plot that Capello planned, it was lost right at the beginning when the likes of Adam Johnson, Agbonlahor, Muamba 'the beast', Walcott and similar young guns were left out of the world cup squad. England is not a nation void of good talent when it comes to football. What went wrong was the strategy and Capello didn't do anything different from Eriksson's failed tactics during the 2006 world cup. He paired the much-talked-about L-G midfield duo without any hesitation. Banked on Barry who I think is just too over-rated and came with a no-replacement for Rooney in case he misfired. All the wrong things that could have happened, happened. And the team was packed off at the right stage in the right manner. It is time to go back and take a look at how other successful coaches (at least till now in the world cup) played their cards. The way Joachim low used players like Ozil, Neuer etc from less known teams in Germany, the way Dunga banked on players like Ramires who weren't part of the "big" teams before the world cup. A lot to learn from these things. England's coaching staff should learn to use talent from all over England and leave the Big - 4 obsession behind when they sit down for team selection.

P.S: Sad times for England fans. Nevertheless. I wouldn't sign off as a defiant England fan trying to defend their performance in this world cup. But the question of a bad decision will linger in the minds forever and the hope for any silverware at the world stage will not die down.

An England fan now, An England fan forever!!!

P.P.S: This post is a set of observations in a generic sense, but has answers to the numerous  attended/unattended phone calls that flooded me right after the Sunday big-game.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Worst start to the world cup days?????

I have been watching almost all the matches in these 4 days since the start of the African fever. For one thing, I am not at all a satisfied football fan. To hell with these ridiculous vuvuzelas. One just can't concentrate and enjoy the football. Leave alone the french team complaining about vuvuzelas in action from 6:00 am waking them up from their slumber. I just can't concentrate on watching it. Sickening sound I say. Why are they still contemplating if that infernal thing should be banned or not? I thought Africa was all about dancing, singing etc and what did I get? a monotonous drone that does no good to mankind.

Being an England fan myself, I know it feels sick to say this. But there is a better chance for England to win the world cup than for the atmosphere to get any better during matches. Yes, first of all, By jove, I missed live action from the England vs USA starter. Blame on the overdose of chemicals and scientific advancements in the field of alcohol research. Sleep got the better of me. But I did watch the highlights to find out how my team fared. Fail, they were toothless. Fat Frank disappointed with an almost nil presence. Rooney was everywhere except inside the box and Heskey should better try his hands at Indianized games like Kabbadi instead of playing football at the international level. Peter Crouch should be banned from being called a striker. Period. Jamie Carragher should be asked to run a 100m sprint alongside Don Bosco kids from Chennai. My money on the kids. Disappointment. Agreed that USA are not a bad team at all and England had a far better display compared to their previous world cup. USA also defeated a full strength Spanish team in the confederations cup. But we are talking of a team's chances of winning the world cup and on that front, England doesn't look any good.

Few observations:

1. Germany look impressive, but one should wait and watch when they play a decent enough team that is aware of a few tactics like "pressing", "man-marking" etc. in the game of football. Their midfield had all the space in the world to create chances. But they were good enough. Klose scores after a dull league season. Mueller looks great.

2. England look mediocre. Why is Gerrard made to play a defensive role? Why didn't you take Agbonlahor Mr.Capello????

3. There have been very very few goals so far in this world cup.

4. England fans made some noise and most importantly managed to outperform the vuvuzelas decibel wise. There was some sound from them. But certainly nothing from the rest of the supporters. The other supporters just can't beat the sound of the vuvuzelas???

5. Green is not a bad keeper after all. But why don't we trust in experience to deliver? Give the gloves to the dying James. Please. No more goal keeping blushes for England!! We've had them in plenty already.

6. When Miroslav Klose is so close to being the all time top goal scorer in world cups (4 more to get past Ronaldo), why are we talking about Rooney, Messi, Torres and not him???

Overall, the start to the world cup has not been the best, especially if you are an English fan. But hope never dies. Bring on Algeria. Rooney, please get back to form. Wait. Before that, please get back into the box. And somebody please prove Germany is not all that strong. That was Australia being a pot of shit. Not German brilliance.