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England: Can't Win. Won't Win
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
I am English. And it is going to hurt me to write this....

Finally another world cup beckons, and yet again I see that all familiar glint returning to the eye of the England fans across the nation. "Yes, this time is finally our time" I hear being cried from pub to pub across the land. I have seen the hopes on the little children's faces, as they imagine Rooney holding the trophy aloft, just like the photo of 66 they saw in history lessons (known to people 12 and under as "The Pre-Ipod Era")

Well, don't get your hopes up kiddies. Because here is the cold, hard truth -England will not win the World Cup. Simple as. Fact.

Don't get me wrong, I am going to support them to the bitter end, I hope and pray that I am wrong, and when we are 1-0 up in the final I will gladly call myself a depressive cynic if I am proven wrong. But I can't help but look at the facts and feel deflated.

The Goalkeeper Issue: We ain't got one!

Never have I seen such mediocrity vying for the English goalkeeper slot. If Ben Foster really is the number one English goalkeeper, as Fergie claims, then that is only a reflection of the lack of true quality that England possess. The candidates:

David James - Probably odds-on favourite, although the last time we played a 40-year-old in goal he seemed to contract Alzheimers mid-way through the match and let a ball go over him. And that man's nickname was "Safe Hands", you want to have that happen to a man we nicknamed "Calamity"?

Robert Green - Probably the biggest challenger to Dave, but would Ronaldo or Villa really be troubled by him, when he has already conceded 37 goals in the Premiership? More likely, they are licking their lips in anticipation of the Golden Boot possibility right here.

Paul Robinson - Certainly has the experience, but this was our Golden Boy before. He was meant to be the next big thing for British Goalkeepers, but he is far from in his prime, languishing in mediocrity with Blackburn in the middle of the table. Allardyce says he should be number one, yet he's let in 39!

Ben Foster - If he is number one, then it's a dilemma for England when he is behind Van der Sar and Kuszczak.

Scott Carson/Chris Kirkland - They amongst others, firmly belong in the "should have been great but where are they now?" category.

The Midfield Issue: We have too many of them!

What is the best 4? Lampard, Gerrard, Lennon, Wright-Phillips, Walcott, Barry, Huddlestone and Carrick…and Downing and Young and Jenas and Milner......

Basically, we may have one of the best midfields in terms of depth, but we don't have a "best 4", rather an "in-form" 4 where it suddenly can go all tits-up for them in an England game.

Striker Issue - We only have one!

Let's face it, if Rooney is injured, it's all over, because we still only have one true world-class striker.

Why are we still in this position?

Well, nobody else has ever really been given the chance to prove themselves. Rooney was an easy choice, his flair was just so noticeable. But at the moment all three leading English Goalscorers should be eligible for the role - Rooney, Bent and Defoe.

Defoe I feel has never really been given the chance to shine for club and I feel he has waited far too long. But Darren Bent apparently is not even a consideration for selection (note his Houdini act on the England team squad page). Yet, he has scored 14. To put that in perspective - Heskey and Crouch combined, have scored just 6! That's less than Agbonglahor. Jimmy Bullard has scored more than Heskey, and I'm pretty sure, even Peter Schmeichel has had a better goalscoring record than the big man!

Why are Heskey and Crouch put ahead of Defoe, Bent and Agbonglahor? I am all for the assists, but we already see these coming from midfield. Heskey is surplus to requirements and was never a real contender at the international level in my opinion. Crouch, he is different, he brings quality in the air, but he isn't clinical enough and should only be lent on as support later on in matches, rather than starting.

The Defence - Actually, not too bad....

The defence is fine, if the top 4 are fit. Terry, Ferdinand, Cole and Johnson, you certainly can't complain with the quality. If they aren't available, we do have Bridge and Lescott to prop the central roles = Wayne Bridge for the left and Wes Brown for the right (although it is a little disconcerting to see that Brown has more international caps than league caps in some seasons).

So there you have. In a nutshell, that's why we can't, and we won't win. We haven't got a world class goalkeeper we can rely on. We don't know our strongest midfield and we have never given the chances or experience required at this level to those strikers who are performing.

Best hope - quarter-finals. And I haven't even mentioned the penalties....

(Coming Soon - An article on why England WILL win the World Cup, by the more opportunistic and positive half of my multiple personality disorder)

This blog entry was submitted by a footytube user, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of footytube and/or its partners
Ant (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Fantastic post, certainly blogworthy. Throw a few images in there and you're set!

I've said it before and will say it again. I think the main downfall of the English team at big tournaments is the combination of intense media pressure and weight of expectation. No-one could argue that England have had some amazing sides and players in the last 50 years, so why no World Cup? My personal opinion is that the pressure is too intense. Players know that if they screw up, like missing a penalty, or getting sent off, they will be absolutely torn apart. Anyone remember people hanging and burning effigies of Beckham after he was sent off?

I have England down for a Quarter or Semi final place for this tournament
Lee (Kidderminster Harriers) 6 years ago
Couldn't agree more Ant. And how do the media big wigs alleviate this pressure this time round? No official world cup song, and no WAGS at the tournament....

"Because this time, they mean business" I assume? It's just a different spin on the same old hype. Last time the England team meant business, because we had finally employed a 'proper' English manager that knew the players hearts and minds....

Anyone remember that crap from Wrighty saying it was a disgrace that England didn't have an English manager? Well that worked out well didn't it....

So now, WAGS and World Cup songs are to blame for the last mess, and banning them will fix the problem?

Not even. It's counter-productive, same old attitude, same old hype and same, crazy, intense pressure that ultimately leads to our downfall. I feel it myself, I'm getting giddy already, but at 33 I'm now a very firm and hardened cynic - been here too many times already, I won't believe it will we're actually in the final.

And am I the only one that thinks the only way we will fix our penalty nerves is by wiring the entire team up to some kind of electric shock generator, that has a needle slowly edging towards 'lethal' every time a player on the team misses?

P.S. I'm deadly serious about this (I think). They do it for astronauts, why not the England team?
Brazilix (Real Madrid) 6 years ago
The part with David James just cracked me up for a couple of minutes. Thank you for that
Fromtheisland (Toronto) 6 years ago
All do respect, I am not from England but placing blame on media and pressure sounds like a load of bull to me. Pressure is what great players should thrive on. And why do people have such great expectations for England? Sure, on paper they are legitamate contenders but paper means zero. PLus Brazil has won 5 WC's and I would think they have just as much pressure. Personally, I think the EPL hinders the Englands international program as well as having an itialian for a coach. You would think you could find one enlgishman in all of england to step up and coach. Bottem line is england has no chemistry. Though I feel very bad for England the way they were cheated in the game against Germany. England could have won that game if not for a poor call
Alen (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Very nice read, I agree with you on most of that england needs to do a 4 5 1 and use their advantage of the midfielders they have

Also I notice you did not mention Joe Hart I think he has been pretty good so far this season had some amazing saves I think he is one to consider
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Ah yes, knew I was going to forget a goalkeeper. Yeah he is pretty good only 19 conceded, that's as good as Manchester United, and only one behind both Tottenham and Villa. He is getting called up but only coming on once. A bit of a shame because he is seems to be overlooked by Foster, Green and James. He should at least be in the squad
Alen (Liverpool) 6 years ago
You might even say he's better considering the back 4 of Birmingham City, and the back 4 of Spurs, Villa, and Man you, and how much that plays in affect towards the goalie conceding a goal
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Very good point, well that's me convinced, Hart, pack your bags boy!
Alen (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Haha I personally think he's the best goalie England has, and give him a year or two and he will be the best, and David James is what like 40 now?

Did I mention he can shoot as well?

Mesmes (Arsenal) 6 years ago
Well ok, England doesn't have a top top goalkeeper. But not everyone in the wc2010 champions team (whoever that will be) must be at his peak form. That definetly wasn't the case in Italian squad four years ago. In every team, there are people more and less gifted, and more or less in-form. Some of them become world class players only after the tournament. I only wonder if these world class players you have at the moment (Terry, Ferdinand, Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney) will handle the responsibility that's lies on them. If the leaders can do that the rest of the team can rise to the challange. And I am sure that all : James, Green and Hart are well capable of rising to that challange.
James - old bones, (he will propably get injured just before the wc finals)
Hart - too young, (we didn't see enough of him because half a good season is still not enough for a goalie)
Green - good luck, (looks like its you pal!)
Alen (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Another thing with the England midfield is I see too many Chiefs not enough Indians just my thought
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 6 years ago
One thing that has to be considered is the fact that brazil almost never has a world class keeper (some argue that cesar is their first truly great keeper for brazil) and yet they are still the holders of the most world cup titles. I honestly believe that hart is a very good keeper and could be a real success for england so long as he is able to handle the pressure that comes with the job (ask james, robinson, and foster about how that feels). So in that department I think england may actually be pretty good
Mesmes (Arsenal) 6 years ago
Good point Alen, "in a four man midfield - at least two indians.... " - Sitting Bull.
Who would be your top three indian type midfielders among english players? I think Barry is the obvious choice (or is he....), are there any others?
About Joe Hart. I also think that he is your future no. 1. Great keeper, no doubts. Maybe even the best at the moment. But because he is young there is a risk that he may not handle the pressure. And Fabio won't take that risk
Alen (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Well my perfect England midefield is all chiefs haha I would love to see Joe Cole, Lampard, Gerrard, Beckham that's if they can manage to play together
CanonsofArsene (Arsenal) 6 years ago
I have to say that Hart is really someone who's unexpectedly caught my eye throughout the season. But really guys, especially Mesmes (even after being a gooner), does being young really matter? If the guy can perform, let him
Jdwallace14 (Arsenal) 6 years ago
I'm not a big fan of Lampard starting for England's midfield. He kind off seems like a hit or miss player that usually is a miss. Granted I haven't seen him in the international game as much as I watch his club, but it's just a thought
SYYYM (AC Milan) 6 years ago
I agree with you alen  The big problem is they can't play together
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 6 years ago
Jdwallace so your judging lamps by his club form? And you think he's a hit and miss player from his club form? Are we watching the same lampard that plays for chelsea? He's probably the most consistent player in our squad
Jdwallace14 (Arsenal) 6 years ago
Yep and I'm gauging him on the past few years performance as well. I can't simply disregard all the simple misses that Fat Frank has had just because he has hit an upswing AND is surrounded by many players who are also playing quality (even if there is some inconsistency) as well. Those misses had little impact on Chelsea's overall results but I still feel as if counting on Lampard to pull something big from the national stage is stretching hope beyond its limit.

It's only my opinion and if I'm 100% wrong all the better for England.
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 6 years ago
Lamps has tremendous finishing. I haven't seen him miss too many sitters honestly so I think we might be watching a different player. Lampard is by far our most consistent player in his overall play, and that includes finishing. There is a reason he is able to net 20 goals a season for us from midfield. He is really good at putting the ball in the back of the net. Plus he is a great passer of the ball, arguably his best feature in fact
JuzTroublez (Manchester United) 6 years ago
Blueskiesahead, I'm sorry but if Lampard is being considered good/consistent for being a great passer, then I'll say we might as well settle for David Beckham who's main specialty is passes and crosses. And speaking of finishing, I've never seen Frank Lampard score a deciding goal for England at all. He's scored but.... None which were crucial goals. He's good with the blues but.... What good is he on the World Stage?
JoshJMcc (Manchester United) 6 years ago
Looks like Hart has a good chance.    "Hart is having a fantastic season, " said Capello.
Millzallah (Barcelona) 6 years ago
Very interesting post. Now that youve pointed out the flaws you can build on a positive note. Ps I didn't see beckham's name mentioned, he's still got some juice in him
Sergio 6 years ago
Great post, shame I'm eating now. Bookmarked, shallbeback!
Nearski (Tottenham Hotspur) 6 years ago
Very negative! Let's just hope eh...
Ltm017 6 years ago
How is it Negative? If England plays the right people they have the potential to win!....

The problem almost always lies in who is played....
Tintifra (Seattle Sounders) 6 years ago
Two thoughts:

1.) Capello is an excellent tactician and coach and it's clear his charges believe in the project.

2.) The fewer Liverpool players included in the squad, the better. They've been hexed
Dario (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Haha nice.... Nice.... But it hurts though
Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
I don't see any reason why england can't win it, its not as if the football world is blessed with the greatest teams at the present, maybe outside of spain.
The south american teams are not cutting it, and the usual european sides are not the forces they once were ie: germany, italy etc:.
I think it could be one of the most open world cups for a good while, and maybe a shock winner, but not any of the african teams, not after watching the acn, they still seem to be a way off producing a world cup winner in africa.
I definitly would'nt like to see france win it, as they mugged our irish counterparts.
But england? .... Why not
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 6 years ago
The only real problems england has at the moment are the amount of quality selections in midfield and the pressure they have. Rooney is good, but him going down would not be the end of the world as you stated since defoe has a real nose for goal. He would need a partner however to perform each game as I'm not convinced he can deal with the worlds best defenders on his own, but england has that in carlton cole and peter crouch, both of whom are gambles, but really in the world cup, everything you do is a gamble. As I mentioned above, england has some quality beween the pipes in the form of joe hart. The question is, can capello get the defence used to playing with him, thus making for a more confident backline (necessary to win this tournement) before the cup actually starts up.

If capello can solve those two things, as well as find away to take some of the pressure away from the players and find an absolute starting midfield we will not have a problem. And I have faith in cappello. Can he do it? Most certainly. But will the players and fans cooperate enough to let him?

Great post by the way
Francafu (Manchester United) 6 years ago
If anything, the goalkeeper issue should be researched way more. I know it's a crazy idea but maybe Lampard would be a fitting striker up with Rooney. He's a world class player and even though he's a midfielder I've seen him pull off some breath-taking finishes. That could help out with the midfield issue
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 6 years ago
Lampard can play as a supporting striker but he's not so good at it. Its been tested at chelsea and though he doesn't play terribly, he just doesn't go on and start scoring goals for fun. In fact he has more difficulty with it. I think gerrard is a better option if we're talking about brining players up from midfield
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
The last thing we want to be doing in the World Cup is putting players out of their natural positions. If we are going to have a second striker, it should be Defoe, then Bent, then Crouch in my view
Riggs (Manchester United) 6 years ago
I wouldnt go so far as to say they can't win, and won't win. I think they have just as good a chance as anyone. Yea, england have some problems, but so do many other teams. I also don't see a problem with the midfield. There isn't a best 4, but out of whatever midfielders they bring, you know they'll be good. I don't see that as a problem in any way. For striker, there are 2. You've got rooney, and egland's forgotten son: Michael Owen. (The 2 play very well together I think, not that its helping my argument much....)

On occasion ferguson has played rooney up front alone, and stacked the midfield. This formation might make sense for england.... Given they have tons of midfielders, not many strikers. (granted, it didn't work out well for united as rooney works best with a partner I think.) Or perhaps play wright-philips or someone else as a striker?

Furthermore, england bring a solid back four to the table. As has been mentioned
ChadForArsenal (Arsenal) 6 years ago
You are the prime example for why people hate manchester united fans. Just saying
TheTorresBounce (Liverpool) 6 years ago
@ ChadForArsenal, he didn't even say anything controversial, just voicing an opinion...
Ravensd (Newcastle United) 6 years ago
Speaking as a Newcastle and England fan, I am understandably reticent to consider having any hopes ride on Owen.... Too many bad memories and injury-riddled years. Forgotten son does seem an apt title (however skilled he may be when in form), as it is often easy to forget a player who spends most of his time in the stands, only to return to play and be felled at his first touch of the ball
TheTorresBounce (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Great post! I can't help but feel that it was slightly harsh however, Englands downfall in the past has been down to the immense pressure that comes with playing on the international stage, not our team-sheet which looks like it can compete with anyone on paper (I know this is cliche and football isn't played on paper but I'm saying we have the potential to be champions). With Cappello comes experience and a firm mind who won't crumble under pressure, he brings much needed discipline to the side and his tactical prowess is undeniable.

Like Ant pointed out, Joe Hart is a very worthy pick in goal although I concede is no Casillas or Buffon. I'd throw Robinson on that plane too because, despite conceding 39 goals this season as you pointed out, Blackburn's team is far from solid defensively and with Robinson comes experience as he's played as England's no. 1 for a respectable time so he knows what he's doing between the posts. Our defence and midfield are both solid as long as we get a good chemistry going in the midfield, we won't do ourselves any favours if we keep mixing it up. Finally our attack is one of the best in the world in my opinion with many different options to choose from, being a good forward doesn't just mean scoring goals. Heskey and Crouch are proof of this and they add a whole new dimension to the England set-up as we can go with either of the two; I'd go with Crouchy, or we could go in a different direction with Bent/Defoe/Owen who have all been in relatively good for this season and each have a case for South Africa. Defoe, even without having a regular starting place at Spurs, has been banging them in with 14 goals already this season, he also gives us a good counterpunch option coming off the bench. Obviously any of these previously mentioned strikers would play second fiddle to Rooney who is debatably the most in form striker in the world as it stands.

I give England a fighting chance in this coming world cup as we go there with experience, a steady-headed manager and a great team on paper with many potential tactics readily available due to the differing qualities in our players
ECEssien (Chelsea) 6 years ago
I don't think England need an outstanding keeper, or another prolific striker other than Rooney. The most important thing to win a big tournament is good defence and the ability of the team to play together and vibe well as a team. If that flow is there, the individual names don't matter. Hopefully Capello can make this team really mesh and play as a team and England stands every chance of being champions
Asarhan04 (Al Ahly) 6 years ago
Joe hart's had an amazing season so far; I would put him in the squad and label him as a very serious contender for the #1 spot- regardless of his age. I believe he has enough experience as well as talent, not to mention that he's matured a lot this season especially. As a response to people who think he's too young; Perrygarl has a point, that at least it's better than a 40-year old whose nickname is Calamity! Remember the 2002 World Cup where there were times when Seaman's experience didn't save him from errors. I also think you underrated Paul Robinson. I'm sure many of those goals have been due to Blackburn's bad defending, and he's definitely rebounded well in form for the past couple of seasons.

For the midfield, at least we know that Gerrard has the flexibility to play literally anywhere- recall when Capello played him frequently on the left side during the qualifiers, and from there he combined beautifully with Rooney. Other than that, it really is both a blessing and a curse to have too many midfielders.

Otherwise, I definitely agree with your point on Heskey. Tons of experience but his best days are way past him- he hasn't had an impressive season with Villa by any means.

But then again, who knows? This is all predicting the future, so you and I may either be right on the money or completely wrong. Time will tell if Capello has some tricks up his sleeve.... Good luck for England in any case
Vegascoaster (Arsenal) 6 years ago
I would have thought that was for a magazine or something. Nice job!

I agree with a lot of the sentiments but I do think England could do it. I don't have them picked to win it all, but I wouldn't be shocked if they could. There is a ton of pressure on them as always and they have a good side and hopefully if the midfield and defence do their job you don't test Foster or whoever they pick too much. I think there's more striking talent lying around England but its a matter of whether Capello recognizes that and or opts to get pure strikers in rather than going for the physical aspect. With the way they played in the qualifiers, I wouldn't put anything past them

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