England Knee-jerks, home truths and facepalms

I know it's one game, and we have a habit of being slow starters, but that was not exactly great against the USA. For several worrying reasons. Green, the risk (and failure) of starting Milner and King. Lack of imagination and guile. Far too many average, fragmented performances from our 'big' players.

My pre-World Cup prediction was that England would stumble all the way to the final, so I guess on performance, they're in the right gear to progress. I certainly think we will, considering the lack of quality possessed by Slovenia and Algeria.

Courtesy of the England v USA match thread over at Rumourwhores.com. Feel free to agree/disagree/discuss:


I'm watching another 'alternative' game here - England were 'in control' for max 10 mins on mine, with the US posing far more probs as the half wore on. The clever & direct interplay from Dempsey, Donovan & Altidore looked to be causing us far more probs than our blunt instrument of Heskey failing to free up the Roonster - Chopper


England looked confident until that mistake (Green) as well. That one on one from Heskey though, you've got to seriously question his role after that haven't you? It's wonderful grafting for the team and bringing others in to play, but seriously, a one on one with the keeper is a striker's bread and butter. He never even made Howard work. It went straight at him. Dreadful. Shaun Wright-Phillips was completely clueless and Aaron Lennon regressed to his old no end product self. Glen Johnson was superb up that right flank for me though, some superb crosses in to the box, good support of Lennon and played well. USA well organised and both should qualify from here. - Kop


Someone please find a retirement home for Jamie Carragher...what a useless old fart he is. Should have put Dawson in. England basically look the same lackluster side they did under Sven. - Spiderman


"A fantastic save from Green" err, no it wasn't, again he didn't get his hands fully behind the ball and was lucky it came of the post. A good save would have been to have pushed it out for a corner to cut out the immediate danger. Thought on the whole we were the better team, and 3 points wouldn't have flattered us.

I'd like to see an England a little less prone to taking their foot of the pedal. After one of the better spells, the last 10 minutes seemed to me to be more concerned at not losing than trying to stretch. There had been some decent balls in from Johnson, Gerrard and Lennon - so with Crouch on the pitch I'd have liked to have seen more effort to get it out wide, quickly.

So I guess James will be in goal for Algeria - assuming his knee improves. Beginning to wonder whether there was any point to Hart going as - despite obviously having had the best season of the three - his lack of Internationals is just going to be held against him. - Skitters


Right, that was a bit disappointing wasn't it? I'll start with the positives, I actually think we looked good for stretches of the game, perhaps not as much in control as ITV were making out as the US certainly threatened but we opened them up numerous times.

Gerrard took the captains role on well, he had a good game and looked menacing throughout. Johnson also played well, looking more of a threat than either winger and there was really no problems at the back until Carragher came on and got roasted a few times.

On the other side apart from Green f**king up (which is not in the least bit surprising, we've all seen him do it before) and Hart not being picked when he's been the best English keeper this year the most disappointing thing was how quickly we resorted to hoofing the ball. Everything good we did was along the floor, even Heskey main contribution was a clever round the corner pass and yet the closer it got to the end of the game the quicker we abandoned that and started smashing the ball up the field aimlessly, losing possession and looking more and more desperate.

The bit when we held onto the ball for like 30 seconds at the back and then just hoofed it up the pitch in the last minute was cringeworthy.

Get King back in a few days, put Hart and Joe Cole (for SWP or Milner) in the team and I'm still hopeful. - Zero


I thought England were fair sh*t last night until the last 10-15 mins when it looked like they thought about the passing a bit more instead of rushing everything and struggling to put a couple of passes together. Still dont like the look of our defence down the middle either. With the players we have there a simple ball over the top and the two CB are in trouble .

How come Milner got taken off so soon? Yes i know he got booked, was he still ill or something. Overall the result wasn't that big a surprise to me we normally start off shit in the opening games and either scrape the win or draw. - Stacki


Said at the time that King's inclusion was f**king insane and it's certainly looking that way now. Thought that Gerrard was very good, as was Johnson, and Heskey probably England's best player for me, which says a lot as I don't rate the guy at all and never have. Green's mistake was a total disgrace - under zero pressure, no-one even closing down, and he still manages to f**k it up. England will still qualify - I fancy them to tank one of Algeria or Slovenia - but it puts them under unnecessary pressure as they had more than enough out there to see of the USA handily. They need to play now with real intent though as if they are gunshy in any way they will come unstuck. I think Capello is too canny a manager to let that happen though.

I rate Capello as probably the most accomplished manager England have had since Robson in 1990. And remember everyone was calling for Robson's balls in 88 when England got dicked in every game. At the end of the day Capello's first job was to get England to the World Cup and he did that with absolute ease. We're at the business end of things now and ultimately he will be judged on how England fare in this tournament. I'm a hell of a lot more comfortable with him in charge than the likes of McClaren or Eriksson as I don't think he'll shy away from making tough decisions or shaking things up.

As for Joe Cole, I think he should defo feature in the next game. Milner looked like he was trying to force things and was wisely subbed so there's a spot for him on the left, where he's excelled for England before. - Chronic



Call me knee jerk but is he (re: Fabio a canny manager)? People have been blowing smoke up Capello's arse largely because of that thrashing away to a depleted Croatia side, dismissing the ordinary performances and predictable defeats against any half decent team. It all echoes a bit of Eriksson's reign to me. Take last nights performance, it was exactly the same as we have always played - sh*te in possession, fast to adopt the long ball when things aint going our way, a lack of cohesion and a staggering lack of quality from players who have had the season of their lives for their clubs in Rooney, Lennon and Lampard. We played ok in little spells but that is simply not good enough on this stage.

Green has had his worst season for us but there is no way that stat is correct. It was an utterly embarrassing mistake which you will be hard pushed to find at the next 2 or 3 international tournaments. I totally agree with you about the 'wonder save' as well - he got lucky. I don't give a sh*t if he's dropped and it wrecks his confidence and his career. This is about England winning the World Cup (yeah, I know, don't laugh), not Rob Green's mental state. It's ok anyway, he prepares for making a mistake before a game.

Anybody else think we were crying out for Joey Cole last night? Oh, and Carragher. Somebody put this **** down. He was never that f**king good in the first place. - Chazza


For more discussion and verbals, check out Rumourwhores.com here. Fans of all clubs welcome. Back to England...

Do we drop Green for James or perhaps Hart? What's the answer to the CB conundrum with King out (how long for - depends on what report you believe)? Heskey does a job for England but if fails to impress does that have a detrimental effect on the performance of Rooney? And If Heskey is there to aid Ron and bring other players into the game when holding up the ball, does it really out-weigh the ability to hold his nerves (rather than the ball) and take a chance in front of goal when presented with one? Lennon was well marked and rarely had the ball played into space in front of him (it's International football, so it's not going to be easy) so if he's doubled-up on, surely there's more space down the middle to exploit? Was SWP the answer on the opposite side? Not on yesterdays performance. Gerrard and Lampard work? Seemed too. Gerrard played with heart, with Lampard doing well to fulfil his Barryesque duties. But was that enough? No deflected shots or runs from Frank, so was his role too contained?

It's tricky not to over-analyse, because that's what we do thanks to the traditional expecation that England will turn up and turn on. The reality is, we never do but that doesn't mean we should be dismissing our chances just yet. And considering this is the World Cup, we could have had a bit more assured swagger and intent. I'm happy to get this type of result/performance out of the way first game, and get it right in the next one. As long as we get it right, of course.

Roll on the next 90 minutes of torture.