Thursday, June 15, 2006
Peter Crouch, Football Genius!(?????)
Just as I was thinking "for a big guy, he sure does suck at heading," well, see above. (For he big guy, he also sucks at kicking, witness his corner-flag threatening 'volley' from Beckham's cross in first-half injury time.)
Aside from that, I think I've figured out England's problem - they aren't Italy, though Sven clearly wishes they were. Ericksson's preffered game would be a crafty goal, scored without committing too many players forward, possibly from a set piece. Then, they defend for 80 minutes. Of course, this style suits neither the English players' temperment or talents. England simply needs to play at a high-tempo, pressuring the ball, and allowing Lampard and Gerrard to make those late runs into the box. The, measured, 'continental' approach does not work with a group of players who are skillful, but not exactly crafty.
Rooney gave them a boost, clearly, but Lennon made the bigger difference. Perhaps he should start instead of Lampard (or perhaps Downing, who was also good after coming on? Joe Cole has been England's best player, and moving him into the center can't hurt, can it?) I don't think it's an accident that Gerrard finally got involved once Cole was taken off, balancing out the midfield.
T&T looked dangerous on the break, at times, but they seemed to tire almost instantly when Rooney and Lennon came on - almost an "oh no, what now?" reaction.
So, England are through, but they need to do much, much better or risk an embarrassment at the hands of the dangerous looking Ecuadorians (Valencia is a very good young midfielder, and the Delgado/Tenorio forward pairing looks pretty good right now) or...Ze Germans!
MoM: Crouch was so horrific for most of the game, there's no way he gets it. Joe or Ashley Cole were the best England players over the course of the game.