Sportsthoughts (109) – World Cup reflections, day 8


OK, let’s get this over with.

Uruguay 2 England 1. Beaten by two goals from half fit but world class striker Luis Suarez. Both defensive errors but also superb technique in the finish.

The players did their best. Not sure they were set up in the right way. The four forwards – Welbeck, Sturridge, Sterling, Rooney – didn’t do enough of their midfield duties, which made the formation a 4-2-4 and left Gerrard and Henderson exposed. The first Uruguay goal came from that.

The substitutions in the second half made things better. Barkley again did well – so why wasn’t he starting? Rooney got the equaliser and that was good to see. He gave everything tonight – England’s best player. Briefly it looked like we could go on and win, but then Uruguay rallied. And scored out of the blue. Big punt from the keeper, poor header from Gerrard, defence all over the place, Suarez lethal.

And that was it. England didn’t really look like they could come back again. Just not good enough. No criticism about effort. These boys gave their all. Just, right now, we’re not good enough. Reality.

So there’s still a chance of going through. If Italy beat both Costa Rica and Uruguay and we beat Costa Rica by a decent margin, we could go through on three points and goal difference. If, if, if. Italy can go through drawing both their remaining games. One draw knocks us out.

Forget it. England are out.

So who to support from now on? Belgium have a largely Premier League team. Holland are good to watch, and they are usually my default second team, but they let themselves down badly in that 2010 final with those brutal tactics. Brazil are the home team and we always love them, Argentina have Messi, Aguero, di Maria et al.

But the team for me is Germany. I love the way they play. Positive, skilful, fast, full of joy. So many fine players: Muller, Lahm, Goetze, Ozil, Kroos, Schweinsteiger…. They combine all the best aspects of European football.

Do it for Europe, boys!

About John S

I'm blogging about the things I love: music, sport, culture, London, with some photos to illustrate aspects of our wonderful city. I’ve written a novel called “The Decision”, a futuristic political thriller, and first of a trilogy. I’m also the author of a book on music since the 1970s called “ I Was There - A Musical Journey” and a volume of poetry about youth, “Growin’ Up - Snapshots/ Fragments”. All available on Amazon and Kindle.
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4 Responses to Sportsthoughts (109) – World Cup reflections, day 8

  1. Dood says:

    All correct, John, and your point about the forwards playing too far, um, forward was a good one. But I didn’t dispute any of Woy’s selections, and was glad he took an adventurous approach. Had he stayed with Milner, Lamps, etc., we never would have known what the younger crowd could have done. (And if they’d taken Ashley Cole and we got knocked out, the press would have been baying for Baines!)

    It seemed to me that leadership and maturity was lacking. Gerrard looked like he was running out of gas, Rooney was clearly battling his own demons (he looked so anxious before the game, and I was delighted that he scored), and probably the third most senior player, Johnson, failed to impress yet again. So we ended up looking pretty callow.

    My only issue with your analysis was Barkley, who didn’t strike me as having much of an impact. He does look great on the ball, but he’s not always the most productive player. But again, and like the rest of the kids, he has real promise, and will definitely mature.

    I think they should stick with Woy until the next Euros, move on from Gerrard, and build the rest of the team on what they have here, plus Walcott – and Wilshere! There’s the basis of a fine side there. Brian.

  2. Well, sometimes ifs happen…
    Okay I’ll pile on the Germany band wagon!
    Could it end up in the finale Germany vs USA? That would be fun for me!

    • John S says:

      USA were within seconds of qualifying for the last 16 yesterday, but now will struggle to get through. Playing Germany next.

      • I saw that!!!
        I must say the second USA goal looked pretty sweet to me! I couldn’t see enough replays. I admit when the other team scored with less than a minute, my stomach sank.
        What a work out the players get! The clock never stops!
        It really is a great game.
        There has never been USA coverage (we get tons of US stations) like I am seeing this year. The Americans are chomping at the bit to take home the CUP!
        Thursday’s game with Germany will be totally wild!
        I can hardly wait!
        (Of course I’m in for Germany)!

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