Sunday, 25 June 2006

England 1 Ecuador 0

One pattern of England's play changed today: we played better in the second half than the first (it was hard not to) but crucially we still looked quite an average side; which considering the talent involved is shocking. When is this England side going to step up? We are now in the quarter-finals of the World Cup but that also means we're going to meet teams with far more quality than Ecuador.

The tactics were a problem, the 4-5-1 meant that Rooney was painfully isolated up front and it was only thanks to his genius he was able to make something out of nothing on a regular basis, he needs a partner with him to benefit from all his hard work. Joe Cole had his worse game of the tournament but still offered plenty and his chasing back and covering impressed me. Beckham, who scored a wonderful goal from a free-kick, was again quiet and his passing lacked the cutting edge required, while Lampard, yet again, missed a hat full of chances to put the game safely in England's hands and often looked lost.

The midfield benefited greatly from the 'get up and go' of Gerrard, who defended and attacked with equal aplomb and the talents of young Michael Carrick who passed the ball beautifully and blocked many attacks with his positional cover. But, Carrick is not a tackler and was liable to be 'passed through' by the opposition, I feel more comfortable with Hargreaves in the defensive midfielder role.

Robinson looked solid in goal, apart from one flappy effort at dealing with a cross and the clean sheet will no doubt boost morale. Hargreaves was a robust and battling right-back and once again impressed, he plays with real fire in his belly. Terry and Ferdinand, like Robinson, had the odd moment of flapping but it was the attacking runs and defensive positioning of Ashley Cole that stole all the plaudits for the defence.

As I write this I have no idea if we'll face Portugal or Holland next, all I know is we'll have to play a damn site better if we're to make the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

5 comments:

  1. Portugal without thier stars, I think we should walk it. It's hard to critisise England as they have got through this far and there is something reasuring about the amount of goals we've not let in. I think we have lost so much to the heavy foot of Lampard.. but perhaps it's his name which makes him Lamp the ball Hard... ooooh poor pun. That said it can demolisise the opposition to see him just keep going no matter what.

    Come on Englands... and stop fighting the Germans you English fans that war's over.

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  3. Why don't they play Aaron Lennon more? He was an absolute genius when he got on the pitch!

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