As the title suggests I’m feeling a bit smug – cast your minds back to my previous blogs on England especially after they had beaten Brazil at Wembley and apparently were going to win the world cup :D. My summary – good result but not that important add to that I made comments which basically said that the three lions are not on top of the world. Good players, a half decent team but no way at the pinnacle in regards to international football. This was proved when they went to Montenegro and despite dominating early they could not turn their superiority into the victory that would have been far more pertinent than the one against Brazil!!!!!!!
England have now returned the favour to the 2014 World Cup hosts and played them last Sunday (2nd June) in the famous Maracana Stadium and in my opinion despite a shocking first half when they could have been at least three or four goals down (if not for Joe Hart) some positives can be taken. The managers change of tactics in bringing on Oxlade-Chamberlain which brought a dramatic improvement in the team performance – but the comeback was not as amazing as had been reported in my opinion – especially as they seemed to forget how shockingly bad England were at actually keeping the bad during the first 45 minutes – an all to frequent occurrence in a lot of their games!!!!!!!
As I have stated before, friendlies just don’t do it for me, results in the games that matter do. Despite reports to the contrary I don’t think that the draw with the Rep of Ireland, a few days before the trip to Rio, was that dire, yes the performance was not great, but England created chances but could not take them add the fact that for Ireland getting a draw at Wembley is a massive result and means a lot more to them and once they took the early lead were always going to be hard to breakdown.
England’s players now go on holiday and will meet up again for a friendly against the Auld Enemy, Scotland, in August before the four matches in September and October that will resolve England’s World Cup qualifying fate; matches they need to win and more importantly matches that matter big time. At this stage a minimum ten points is required from these matches, though that may not be enough, so only four victories give a guarantee they will definitely be in Brazil during the summer of 2014, something that is very doable, but could also not happen unless the players and managers are fully focused and prepared as being good enough on paper sometimes is not enough as Wembley Nov 2007 against Croatia proved.
So unfortunately for England at the moment they need to improve upon recent performances to convince me they can topple the world, though as I have mentioned before they have good players and given a bit, ok – A LOT – of luck they could do well in Brazil (if they get there). I mean Greece won Euro 2004 with a functional team with a standard tactic of defend well, hit on the break and produce from set pieces. In my opinion England have better players so are capable – you know what they say you’d rather be lucky general than a good one.
Let me know your thorts
ps apparently the FA are planning on a special England 2014 World Cup strip – careful I say – WE MAY NOT BE THERE!!!!!!!