England: Playing for the shirt [Photo: england-footballshirts.com]

Alan’s Summer Diary: Time For Another England Post-mortem


England’s fate at the World Cup has been decreed so it’s time for the regular England post-mortem which follows their exit from a summer tournament.

Alan’s 2014 Summer Diary No. 12

Out for a duck

redduck WP_001791I thought it was a bit strange when the FA issued a rubber duck as an official piece of World Cup memorabilia. Now I realise it was actually quite appropriate.

England Post-mortem

Thursday 19 June continued

That’s it. England are out of the World Cup already, all bar the shouting and no doubt there will be plenty of that, particularly about the defensive errors which led to the two goals. Unfortunately Steven Gerrard’s ricks led to both goals. For the first he played an accidental one-two with the Uruguayan midfielder on the half way line to set up the attack. For the second he headed a long punt by the goalie on to his Liverpool colleague Luis Suarez to score. I saw him do it a few times for Liverpool last season but then they were both on the same side.

Just like the Italy game we are done by strikes from a world class striker. This time it’s a barely fit Luis Suarez. The 4-year cycle of disappointment has rolled around again. Yet somehow it still feels better than 4 years ago. Back then, the players did not appear to be making much effort. This time they clearly were.

The performance wasn’t as good as against Italy but we had some good forward play and players that were prepared to take defenders on with dribbles and one-twos. That element of luck was missing yet again though. For example Godin should have been sent off for elbowing Daniel Sturridge in the face after he had already been booked for hand ball. Wayne Rooney looked more comfortable in the central role and scored a tap in after busting a gut to get in the Lineker position. Trouble is he still missed two chances and fired a third straight at the keeper with the goal yawning before him.

I don’t think Roy Hodgson could have done much better and is clearly developing the team. Nor do I think many managers would do much better with the players available.

A brief tale of the Texts

Seriously, although it was a gallant effort, you could see the defeats coming. Tonight it was so palpable, I could feel it before the game.

18:56 Ric – “Think we will draw and win in final game to qualify”

19:05 Me – “I really hope we win tonight because I think Costa Rica could beat us unless we have really hit top form in this game. I’m not feeling lucky. Everyone seems too confident. Time for Rooney to come good. Worried about Suarez even if not match fit. He’s tough as well as skilful. He could do a Gascoigne free kick as in the Arsenal FA Cup semi, or put Cavani in. I hope not.”

20:45 Me – “Rooney got his chance and headed it against the bar. Suarez got his and headed it into the net. The difference between good and world class.”

21:37 Me (after Rooney scored) – “So pleased for him. It was only a tap in but at least he got himself in the right place. The boy Linaker would be proud of that one.”

I thought Glenn Hoddle’s immediate post-match summary was spot on. He said our movement in the final third was not good enough and we did not make good enough use of the wings.

I’ve already seen the headlines from Friday’s papers saying we need a miracle. That says it all. If you end up needing a miracle just to get through the first round, then forget it. God has better things to do.

Friday 21 June

Told you so. Costa Rica beat Italy 1 – 0. Mario Balotelli seemingly happy to miss chance after chance. The fat lady has sung already.

I am glad Greg Dyke has come out straight away and confirmed Roy Hodgson will keep his job. This is a work in progress with plenty of positives. Glenn Hoddle has supported the decision too. As he said, what could another manager do? Sign two world class centre backs?

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Tags: England Post-mortem Soccer Tottenham Hotspur World Cup