One goal does make the difference!

Hey!

So, our beloved England are out of the World Cup already with the worst World Cup defeat ever! You are probably thinking that the title of the Blog Post is wholly referring to the disallowed Lampard goal but it isn’t. At the start of the World Cup Finals, the World Cup is up for grabs by any team who has managed to qualify for the World Cup. This makes it a equal title race to the finals but what happened to England who are said to be one of the best teams in the world?

England went into the World Cup and were drawn up with 3 other teams in their group. 1) USA, 2) Algeria, 3) Slovenia. Each of these teams were some distance below England in the Fifa Rankings so England had gone into the World Cup with the confidence that they will Top their group also the fact that they had good results in their qualifiers added to their confidence. With all this confidence and a world class manager coaching England it just seemed like the perfect combination but it wasn’t to be!

There were many factors that caused this to happen but I will just discuss the main turning points.

Squad Selection – Heskey but no Walcott?

We all know that this is the main part of the formula to crack the “winning the world cup” code. Overall, the selection of the squad was correct but there were a few key squad members which should have gone and there are those which shouldn’t have gone. This did make a huge difference! The formation at which the squad plays is also a key factor to how England perform in football. I believe the standard England 4-4-2 formation should be changed. Especially since the current best club in the English Premier League is Chelsea and most of the first team is predominately Chelsea players and they do not play with that formation. The 4-3-3 formation in my opinion should have been England’s primary formation!

England vs USA – The fumbled conceded goal

Having got off to a flyer with an early goal against USA, England thought they would be scoring loads of goals Premier League style against USA. This caused over confidence and it was difficult to find a second. Gerrard was close to score a second goal but it never came. USA got their confidence every second they had possession and Dempsey managed to get a yard of space away from Gerrard and shot the long range speculative effort beyond the defence and what should have been a save became a fumble by an out-of-confidence goalkeeper, Rob Green. That was the turning point of the game. We failed to score another goal after that causing the game to be a draw. So only 1 point from that game!

England vs Algeria – 1 goal away from a win

An absolute dire performance by England who were always shy of 1 goal from start to finish to get all 3 points. Credit where it is due to a spirited Algeria performance! Nevertheless England would still qualify with a final win.

Slovenia vs England, USA vs Algeria – 1 goal away from top spot!

England were looking to go top spot with a 1 goal advantage over Slovenia with Slovenia also qualifying with England as USA hadn’t managed to find a goal against Algeria. The final minutes of the USA Algeria game involved a goal from USA who managed to knock Slovenia out of second place and pushed England down to second place based on the number of goals scored as the goal difference was equal. If USA hadn’t scored, England would have had top stop, or we could have guaranteed top spot if England scored 1 more goal!

Group stages complete

So at the end of the group stages, group C finished as follows:

Team W D L Goals + Goals – Goal +/- Points
USA 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 0 1 2 0 2 -2 0

As you can see, as USA made a come back against Slovenia with 2 goals they had tallied up with more goals to top the table. If England scored one goal anywhere the goal difference or points would have allowed them to top the group! However this meant USA got to play against the second place team in Group D (Ghana) which I am sure England would have loved to play against as England ended up having to play against their Arch Rival team, Germany, who topped Group D. If England managed to beat Germany they’re next game would have been against Argentina. If England topped the group, beat Ghana, then they would have had to play against Uruguay; this would have been the better option! Nevertheless, if England truly are a World Cup winning team, they should be able to play against any team and win!

Germany vs England – The disallowed goal!

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Unfortunately I never managed to watch this game live until the last 10 minutes (pretty pointless). I saw the highlights and you can easily see where England was lacking in terms of performance and confidence. Having gone 2 goals down before the first half, England were fighting to get back in the game which was possible and managed to do so. The next task was to get a second goal which actually did happen but was disallowed. It was the type of shot that hit the cross bar in a funny angle causing the ball to spin but the direction of the ball fell 2 feet beyond the line but the spin of the ball caused it to come back out of the goal. This goal should have stood and the game should have been level before half time with 2-2 as the half-time score. This meant England would not have to throw so many men forward to gamble for an equalising goal but England had to gamble. Unfortunately the gamble didn’t pay off and Germany had 2 deadly counter attacks to see the game out. The disallowed goal is definitely not the primary reason as to why we lost but it is a major factor. Ending the half on 2-1 is still enough for England to show their Premier League quality to get a goal back and also win the game but Germany were the better team. Capello’s substitutions did not help though!

To conclude

As you can see, one extra goal in any one of the games would have changed the fait of England in the World Cup but there was always some type(s) of force(s) stopping England from doing as well as we think they should do in the World Cup.

Who would we blame?

Fabio Capello: Initial squad selection? Late squad announcements before a game? Bad squad announcements? Bad coaching? Scaring the players that they won’t get to play if the players have a bad game? Bad formation choosing? Not playing Gerrard behind Rooney? Not fluent in English?

Robert Green: For fumbling the goal into the net? Lacking confidence?

Emile Heskey: For not doing much but get possession? Always being offside? Couldn’t link up with Rooney? Can’t score for England? Injuring Rio Fedinand in training?

John Terry: Losing his captaincy? Bad defending at times?

Matthew Upson: Bad defending against Germany?

Steven Gerrard: Not scoring the many opportunities he had? Not being a vocal enough captain?

Gareth Barry: Losing vital possession?

David James: Conceding 4 goals?

Frank Lampard: Not doing what he does best for Chelsea?

Wayne Rooney: Not scoring a single goal? His frustration?

England Team: For not being a fluid England team?

British Media: Putting far too much pressure on the England team?

British Fans: Not being louder than the vuvuzelas in the stadium?

Witchcraft: Have England been hexed from not being able to win the game we’ve invented?

Who knows who we blame, I know who I would blame though, the Coach! Should he be sacked? Only if we can find a better replacement who can speak Fluent English!

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