Thursday, February 08, 2007

Poor Spain Defeat Clueless England

Macca Under Intense Pressure


England 0 - 1 Spain

ESP - Iniesta

Although it was only a friendly, it has to be one of the more dire and abject performance by the Three Lions in recent times. Now England have gone 4 games without a win and England fans should be worried as to whether the team is really moving in the right direction or are they falling further behind.

Impact wise, it is not as devastating as the defeat at Croatia when Paul Robinson decides to put up a truly dreadful performance but you've got to wonder what lies ahead for McClaren and his team. Because for me, I see no improvement whatsoever. And don't go on about evolution or revolution because they are PR stunts and are said to appease the fans.

Performance wise, dreadful, insipid and absolutely woeful. Apart from the first 5 minutes when England turned up the gear and played at their own pace and momentum (which is at 100km/h), they just looked out of sort, confused and lost.

We must admit that the Spain team last night was not the best as well. They struggled to cope with the pace of Dyer and S-Wright Phillips at times but I think the England players must be in awe of the way Spain controlled the possession and rhythm of the game.

Xavi in the middle was the one pulling the strings. He don't seemed to appear in your TV screen as much as Lampard or Gerrard but did an awful lot more than the whole of England's XI added up together. Sums it up pretty much.

David Villa then decides to conjure up brilliant cross which was well defended by Rio Ferdinand. Unfortunately, the ball fell to the worst possible candidate in England's eye. Andres Iniesta of Barcelona fired into the top corner. Everyone stood still, no one there to close him down.

You'll expect some sort of response from the England team, who are playing their last game at Old Trafford before moving into their new home at Wembley. But that was about it. It was just like what happen when you play Football Manager when the opponent scores and then there was absolutely no reply from your team for the next 40-50 minutes.

Now let's put the performance aside. I think McClaren should have a reality check. Because either he doesn't watch football, doesn't have the tactical nous or the FA just think he's a stop gap for someone bigger, like Scolari or Hiddink (??).

Firstly, on the case of Paul Robinson. We've been harping for months on how dire and inept this goalkeeper has been since his move to Spurs. He seemed to gain an extra stone or two and to be honest, in all the Spurs match I've watched, any shots on Robbo's goal turned out to be a goal. Who can forget his air-kick? To sum it up, his form this season has been absolutely awful.

So, Macca tried out Ben Forster in goal and he managed to put up a decent performance. But the key here would be the pre-match talk where McClaren mentioned 'Robinson's position is not threatened'. Are you crazy? Which manager would tell their player that their position is safe no matter how shit you play? So now Robbo must be thinking 'aye I can continue to eat my pies and till get the numer 1 jersey every year'. Reality check one. Fail.

Regarding Gareth Barry, the most under-rated player in the Premiership by far. With Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge withdrawn from the squad due to injury, you would expect the Villa captain to be slotted into the left back position with ease. His performance for Villa have been consistent in recent years and deserve it all.

Overlooked by Sven, now he has his chance. But McClaren once again, came up with one of the most bizarre decision I've seen. Putting Phil Neville in the left back slot. Is this Philip the one that cost England a penalty in the Euro 2000 game against Romania? In the left back slot?

His reason was: 'I want players to play in the position that they play for their respective clubs'. Gareth Barry have been playing as a left winger for majority of the season at Villa, fair enough. Hang on, is Phil Neville a left back for Everton then? No? I thought I saw him playing in midfield against Liverpool and perhaps a right back a few weeks back. So everything, backfires. Sorry, your reason is not a reason but an excuse.

Looking at the first eleven of the England team, the only left footed player on the field is none other than, the goalkeeper. How much of a joke is that? I could find more left footed players than England do!

Tactics wise, I'm no genius, but I see no movement or plan on the pitch. They're so 'flexible' that everyone seemed to get into each others way. You could argue that England are missing a few key players and it's just a friendly. But you've got to wonder where England are heading with this man.

Problems are not on the surface. It's a deep problem down to the youth system. He mentioned about England having to play their own style rather than copying the other team's. So what now, is England's style? I think even Mr. McClaren have a problem answering that.


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psychohare said...

shouldnt England's style be swift, fast paced wing attacks? i mean that's the main deal with the EPL, and mancs have been thriving with world class wingers for years...

still Macca is inclined towards playing players from big clubs...
Phil was from mancs... SWP is in chelski (despite not being a regular with chelski, and yet he actually gets a first team spot for England LOL). Woodgate! GOD! i know hes good, but for god's sake OPEN YOUR STUPID EYES! Carra is one of the best in the EPL, and he has been consistently so for 3 seasons! He definitely deserves more playing time for England. I'm still not convinced that Ferdinand is better than Carra, other than hes faster... but i havent watched Rio play much, and im biased...
Poor Xabi, didnt get a chance to play against Stevie...
regarding Robinson, i actually read an article somewhere that says that his performance for Tottenham has been pretty inconsistent, which is also contributing to their poor points tally.
If McClaren is gonna learn from Rafa, other than copying tactics and learning how to use Liverpool's players the right way... he should learn Rafa's philosophy as well... earn your place!


To me, I think Carra will always be like who O'Shea is to Man United. Versatile and there when needed. But always not up to the grade. Don't get me wrong. I love the man. But clearly, the managers don't rate him and one reason why is his lack of pace.

With Terry playing, Carra has virtually no chance of playing or the two lumbering centre backs are going to get caught out by strikers like Villa.

Well, it's England after all. It's a comedy on the run. Thankfully we don't have to see Carra in the show for too much.

J said...

ARGH. why is it that a team with so much potential consistently fail to impress???
i think they should train together. all teams need get to know each other's style.
and i think the coach should stop being stuck on playing players that people *want* to see or that are great by themselves. it has to be players who can work with the team!. that said, i think having a few players from hte same team will help so they will understand each other better on hte field since they play club togehter. and keeping in mind i may be biased, carra should play!
we also need a few more strikers. not that crouch isn't good, but we need more, and variety!
robinson...i don't know. he used to be okay. granted i havent seen the most recent ones but lots of pplz have been complaining... =S. i'm sure we have more than 1 goalie.
i still say, bring beckham back. it may be the experience, it may just be confidence that someone who have captained the team for so many years are amongst their ranks, he doesn't have to play! he can be there for backup when mcclarens choices stuff up majorly. but being hte proud man he is, becks will
never be seen on hte england team again. sadly. until mcclaren is fired! OHOHO.
oh. and the wingers comment,. i don't know, i think as long as you hjave solid mid, not necessarily wingers, and you can pass the ball up to ur strikers, you dont' *have* to have speedy wings, but of course, having them gives you yet another option! =) everything helps.


I'm sure Rooney wasn't playing because Sir doesn't want him to. Fact. He's injured? See, he'll play in the next United game, no problem.

Paul Robinson have been absolutely gash for the past few months. His form have dipped to new low and it seemed every Spurs goal conceded, it has to do with his positioning or poor handling.

Looking at David James, he have been immense this season. He's not as error prone as before and is still an excellent shot stopper.

Even Carson deserves a chance.

To me, Beckham is sacrificed. End of. If not, he wouldn't have moved to the States. He knew his time was up and the door is closed. He offers something extra to England which many don't see and is one of the few players who you can see that they wear their heart on their sleeves.