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Woeful England thrashed in heaviest ever World Cup defeat

June 27, 2010

Frank Lampard's effort clearly crossed the line but the referee and his officials failed to see it


Put your hands up now if you were one of the millions of deluded people who believed England could win the World Cup. 

We thought a dismal display and 0-0 stalemate with Algeria was the lowest of all lows, and it is clear that a good performance and result against the smallest nation in the World Cup, Slovenia, acted as a smokescreen to the reality that England were indeed a very poor side. Optimism and positivity were rife at the start of what the whole of England hoped would be a day to remember. Anger and disappointment are the overriding feelings now. 


The story is simple. England were atrocious and Germany took complete advantage of the lack of pace and naivety that was so evident in the England defence. John Terry, apparently one of the best defenders in world football, was made to look distinctly village, not to insult the millions of Sunday League footballers that play with heart and belief week-in-week-out for their club sides. Matthew Upson faired no better, and with one of the World Cup’s greatest ever goalscorers leading the line for Germany, there was only going to be one outcome. 

Whilst the likes of Spain and Argentina have their problems in defence, they don’t look anywhere near as vulnerable as the English back-line looked against Klose, Podolski, Muller and co. The reason being; The aforementioned nations have picked players who are in form, and doing the business for their club teams. Carlos Puyol won La Liga with Barcelona last season, as did Gerard Pique. Sergio Ramos had a super season at the Bernabeu for Real Madrid. Argentina have Martin Demichelis, a Champions League finalist and Bundesliga winner, at the heart of their defence. To make a comparison with England’s defensive options, they’re about as far apart in terms of quality and form as Burnley and Chelsea were last season. Ever since the rumours regarding John Terry’s personal life conspired, the Chelsea captain has not been the same player. He seems to have lost a great deal of pace, his reactions are slower, and his ability as a natural winner is completely absent. 

Matthew Upson has had an awful season at Upton Park, not just because of the under-par league position that the Hammers managed to achieve. His performances have been scratchy to say the least, and he’s another player who has absolutely no acceleration or pace whatsoever. Therefore, playing Terry and Upson together against a team like Germany, the kings of the counter-attack, is a flawed idea. To play one of them would be a risk, but both in the same game is a disaster waiting to happen. 

Due to the central defensive frailties that caused England so many problems throughout their short stay in South Africa, Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole had their work cut out to cover the back-line. Whereas Cole has performed admirably, Johnson has looked a shadow of the player that enticed Liverpool to pay £17m for him at the beginning of last season. It’s much precedented that going forward Johnson is a useful entity, but when it comes to the defensive side of the game, questions need to be asked. Unfortunately for England in this tournament, he’s been very ineffective in both thirds of the field. He’s been clumsy in the tackle, poor on the ball, lacklustre in his attempts to thwart the opposition’s attacking moves, and generally very poor in every circumstance. However, what Johnson didn’t do in any of the 4 matches, Ashley Cole did do to a degree. 

As much as I dislike the man, it pains me to say that he is one of 3 or 4 players who can genuinely hold their heads high and say that they did their part to help the team. In particular against Slovenia, Cole’s forward runs and ambition proved to be one area where England benefited. He supported Gerrard well down the left side and looked threatening whenever he ventured into the opposition’s final third. Defensively he was solid and he played with a desire that very few other England players did. Obviously though, one man can’t make for a good team performance, and England needed 11 Ashley Cole’s on the pitch, at least in attitude, to even stand a chance. 

In the past I’ve said my piece on Frank Lampard, so I won’t spend too long analysing his contributions, or lack of, on this occasion. Reputations mean nothing when it comes to the big showdown, and they say that world-class players are only world-class if they perform in the biggest competitions of all. You don’t get any bigger than the World Cup, and to this day, Frank Lampard has gone missing for England. Throughout the tournament he has been the regular catalyst for attacks breaking down and for possession being handed back to the opposition. He’s failed to score a goal, and whilst he was very unfortunate against Germany to be denied a clear-cut goal by the referee’s assistant, that is no excuse for his lack of contribution to the England side. Critics have said that Lampard and Steven Gerrard cannot function together, but I have always believed that the problem lies squarely at Lampard’s door. 

It is open to debate whether Fabio Capello’s neglection of Joe Cole throughout the tournament was correct or not. No game-time against USA or Algeria, followed by a pointless 15 minutes against Slovenia when all England were looking to do was keep the ball in the corner, and rounded off with half an hour against Germany when the game had arguably already passed us by. Cole is a proven match-winner and performer, for club and country, and his exclusion from the starting XI had everybody questioning Capello’s credentials to lead England through the knockout stages. If Cole’s absence was bizarre, then Wayne Rooney’s lack of form was simply incomprehensible. There was no flair, no creativity, no excitement, and most importantly, no goals. His first touch was abysmal all the way through the competition, and in front of goal he lacked every quality that made him the potent force for Manchester United last season. 

There is plenty more I could say and would like to say here, but I fear it would go on and on for pages. Therefore, I’ll leave it to you, the fans, to debate what went wrong and what should have been done during England’s dismal World Cup 2010 campaign. Let the post-mortem begin. 

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2010 8:22 pm

    I agree with everything. England looked God awful this World Cup. Rooney who? Yikes. I’m sorry for Lampard on that goal they didn’t give him, but seriously, they looked so lackluster the entire tournament. The shellacking they got was warranted.

    Their fans were more fun to watch. I liked the Prince and Queen masks in the stands. The Medieval chain link armor costumes weren’t bad either. At least someone was having fun for 5 minutes before the public beating.

  2. June 27, 2010 10:13 pm

    Great blog you got going here and a very well written article! I think it was brutal to see the Germany-England game go the way it did. Also, you think you check out my post cuz I really wanna hear your opinion on my thoughts.

  3. George permalink
    June 27, 2010 11:29 pm

    Thank you very much for reading, and for your comments. Apologies for the lack of paragraphing – There’s clearly a technical issue there. I’ll try and sort that out ASAP.

  4. George permalink
    June 27, 2010 11:46 pm

    That’s all sorted now.

  5. maserati4200 permalink
    June 28, 2010 1:28 pm

    The England players were abysmal and clueless. But the one thing that astonishes me was that Capello had no Plan B. His substitutions were, essentially, like for like – striker for a striker, midfield for midfield and the shape stayed the same. Plus, if your looking for a goal or two, why the hell do you throw Heskey on?

    Surely, Upson should have been replaced at H-T, despite his goal. Carragher would have added some stability and discipline, plus Terry would have been able to switch to his favoured left-side of central defence.

    A switch to a 5-man midfield would have meant that Germany wouldn’t have been able to pass it around us (this formation should have been adopted from the start, however).

    The upshot was that we played like a pub team, although I’ve seen better pub teams than the team that capitulated yesterday.

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