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.

11 comments:

Mani.. said...

All Agreed..
But these are just reasons we invent to defend England..

Among ManuUtds, Liverpools, Chelseas, Arsenals etc.., there was no hunger but fear..

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Mani:

I didn't try to defend England at all in that post. Were the team selections a bit better and logical, England would have looked a more formidable force. The hunger would have been there with a few young guns in the team which lacked the energy.

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Mani:
And on a completely different note, did you see Alexis Sanchez (Chile), Chiellini (Italy), Benzema (France), Muller (Germany) and Fabiano (Brazil) are all linked to a move to Old Trafford. Many of these news bit seem to be more than just rumours.

Jaiganesh said...

Hindsight is a pretty gud thing to have,right??:P
where were these excellent points at the start of the WC..afterall, the team u blamed was pretty much the same at the start of the WC, when, even u were pretty sure of the performances from these same players?They play badly, then u start pointing fingers at their age. One more thing about taking players from lesser known clubs..except for england, the 'stars' from good clubs are performing well for most countries..

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Jaiganesh:
At the start of the world cup, with a bad team selection already in place. England's hopes was only a diminished affair. In the minds of all English fans, the only hope arose from a sparkling Wayne Rooney. Also, 1. No hopeful England supporter even dreamt of a Heskey Rooney front line.
2. Capello with all his the achievements to his name gave some hope to all of us and even with a weird team selection, the world thought he would do something special, which didn't happen.

Though we England fans were distraught at the stupid team selection, we prayed for some Capello magic. Now that we know he is not special. This is the right time to observe what he failed at. No hindsight in question here.

Pradeep Sekhar said...

And I would beg to differ on the good-players-performing observation of yours. You got it wrong there. Ronaldo is an epic fail, Messi is not what he was expected to be, Kaka has not delivered his best. Torres is struggling to find the net. Big players have been a failure elsewhere also.

raghu said...

Dude...not the team selection nor the captain...what wud u have done if this team had done well...u wud have said capello rightly dropped the young guns out of the squad...

Some of the faults that i see:

1.Players never did what they had to do...they played out of positions...rooney unsure whether sumone is capable of passing the ball to him...always went back to get the ball....
2.Gerrard more of a central midfielder deployed at left was always found just behind rooney's back...i guess this movement was more due to his captain's armband...and he wanted to do sumthing which he knows he wud not if he hugs the left touchline...
3.Lampard can create chances but he was left out at a place in btwn gerrard and barry which neither allowed him to be a DM or an AM.
4.Joe Cole seriously has lost his brains and footing for sure...
5.Terry not the best but teams targeted him coz the his pair was always weaker and easier to target. Ferdinand's command and presence was missed.

So summing up the major fault was players not ready to sacrifice their plusses and reinvent themselves for their national team...everyone wants to play like what they do for their club.

Ronaldo - Epic fail.
Kaka - dude he is giving brilliant assists...just that he is not on the score sheet...he is getting back
Torres - No comments...he will be back scoring in no time...he is just 70-80% fit now...
Messi - To my knowledge the very best performer in this world cup...You expected messi to score hat0tricks and spectacular goals every game. But to me he is the team man... He has sacrificed his attacking instincts to cope up with what the team needs...maradona has clearly taught what the team needs out of him and he is doing just that unlike the english. He is played right through anywhere in the midfield and if am not wrong higuain's hat-trick belongs to messi...he just tapped everything at the last moment(just like what the world-class bendtner does)

raghu said...

Sorry for the typo "not the team selection not the coach or not the no-sex rule"

and the most disgusting thing was there was a situation in a game where all 5 england players (barry,lampard,gerrard,rooney and heskey in order of appearence) except milner where found standing in a straight line and gerrard had the ball but didn know whom where to pass or what to do...

I seriously doubt calling these ppl the Golden Generation.

Other than Messi another example of playing for the team is David Villa...in the current form that he is he can demand that he should stay in the box upfront all the time but if you had noticed he played as a left winger most of the time :)

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Raghu:Lots to write after you've written a blog post over a blog post by way of comments. Gimme 2 secs. I need to breathe after reading it. Many of your observations are probably right. But i beg to differ on two major things.

1. Leaving out young players was a blunder and even if England had won the world cup with this team, it wouldn't have been any convincing world cup for them. That would have happened only by hook or crook. Darren Bent with 24 goals last season is an obvious choice and would be part of the young brigade which i said were missing from this squad. He may have done a Muller give his season form. Also players not knowing to pass is simply because of two reasons. a.) Barry being an invisible member on the field the game becomes a 10 vs 11.I am pointing out at him since he is playing the most important position for any team in a big tournament.Holding Midfield.
b.) Lampard and Gerrard SHOULD NOT be played together. They get confused as to who does what.
Having said that, 3 central midfielders have been accounted for. Now that in turn means there is no scope for innovation from midfield. And the most important thing after this long essay of mine in return: All this because Capello chose to play G and L together and in turn traded off their capabilities and Capello overrated Barry whose brains I would rate as on par with a cauliflower uncooked.

2. Apropos Messi, he is being rounded off by 5-6 footballers whenever he gets the ball and i know it is tough to deliver then. But when the world talks of him as unmatched and with so much deification justice would be done only when he gets over all the problems and deliver like a king. His performance has been above average but not sparkling.

raghu said...

Agreed...with LG "Life is not so good" for england...

But for a coach who prefers Heskey-Rooney line up and would choose Peter Crouch (who is just a "TALL"ent) as the first choice replacement leaving behind defoe...I dont see bents or the walcotts even getting out of their benches and do a warmup...

Agreed - Messi is not sparkling but he is just good enough for Argentina.

And everyone should stop comparing Ronaldo and Messi. Ronaldo is just an optical illusion which looks better against minnows.

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Raghu: Yes. Spot on. No defense for Ronaldo after he left the Theatre of Dreams and ruined his career. And 'TALLent' and Life is not so good observations were fantastic :-)