Okay, I must admit, the England v USA game went pretty much as I expected. England playing poorly, USA playing better than many give them credit for and England finding a way to self destruct.
As I said last week, England seem to only have one world class player (in form, which rules out Gerrard) in Wayne Rooney and even he didn’t really do that much. That’s not enough to rightfully expect to have a good World Cup. And to make it worse, England is relying on bit part players and hoping they produces something special that they are only capable of producing every blue moon. Shaun Wright-Philips is a classic example. He is capable of producing something special, but only every now and again. The majority of the time, he under performs.
Lennon is another example. He is capable of taking on players and providing good service, but rarely does it. And when he is given a chance at a shot, he seems to prefer to defer and look for the pass, which to me shows a lack of confidence.
Then we have other players who are simply not good enough. Heskey for example is a solid front player, but doesn’t have the class needed to start for England. Everyone was saying that if only he had scored the shot saved by Tim Howard, England would have won. But that is the point. He isn’t good enough to put the ball into the corner. He is only good enough to shoot it blindly right at the keeper. If he was good enough to score those type of chances regularly, he would at least be starting for Aston Villa, and he’s not.
Carragher, used to be an excellent defender. But there is a reason he tried to retire from international football. He knows he’s not the player he used to be. It was shocking to see Altidore beat him physically the way he did.
So when you add it all up – Goalkeeper problems, a wobbly back line, a below par Gerrard, inability for Gerrard and Lampard to play well together, relying on bit part players like Wright-Philips, Lennon, etc. and forwards who are not good enough to start for their club teams (Heskey), then it all points to little or no chance for England yet again.
And that is why I find it strange, the delusions of grandeur that most English fans have. I just don’t share it.
But let’s not take away from USA’s performance. They played well. At one point in the first half, they dominated possession 59 – 41%. They looked good with their passing, Donavon was excellent, Altidore was an handful at times and Tim Howard was excellent. I don’t think they have the quality to expect too much against the stronger teams though, but they are definitely capable of upsetting any team in this World Cup on their day.
Now to the teams who are capable of winning. From those that have played up to now, Germany and Holland look the best. Germany played exceptionally well, but it’s hard to judge because of the poor Australian team they faced. Holland on the other hand, looked impressively well organized and clinical against a pretty good Danish team.
I’m looking forward to seeing Brazil and Italy play and then I might make a prediction of who will win.