World Cup: The Experts’ Verdicts On The England Performance


The experts gave their verdict on the England performance in the World Cup in Brazil and were not impressed, pointing the finger of blame at manager, Roy Hodgson.

The Experts’ Verdicts on the England Performance

Gary Lineker in the Sun; “Roy got it wrong. I think it’s just too big an ask to have just two central midfield players. I think we would have been better with three midfielders because you have got to give yourself a chance defensively…Gerrard didn’t spot the danger on England’s left in the first game…Defensively we were not good enough.”

Alan Shearer, “We can no longer live in denial. When it comes to our national side we can no longer be required as a force in world football…Or national team is amongst the also-rans…Steven Gerrard said before the tournament that there could be no excuses. No, there aren’t any excuses. We just aren’t very good.”

That’s pretty strong stuff. It certainly puts into context the light-hearted spoof GCSE multiple choice I wrote in the immediate aftermath of our elimination. It got over 1,000 hit is the first few hours and several of you even took the trouble to “like” it. It’s nice to know the original piece was appreciated. The intention was for the pertinence of the points made to be put across in the way that lessons could be learned from genuine errors made but also with a smile at such a frustrating time. I also made it clear that I was one of the majority that felt that Roy Hodgson should keep his job.

Of course, there is always one…a pensioner who refers to himself as an “activist” (I guess that says it all) commented to say I should be replaced by Fansided with a new recruit. God knows what he would say then about the much stronger pieces by Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and the leading correspondents in the Times and other papers. Waddya reckon, Liverpool, Man U or Arsenal supporter?

Matt Dickinson, the Times Chief Sports Correspondent said,

"Hodgson must start proving his employer’s faith is justified."

#451167300 /

Tony Evans, the Times football editor, “The defence for Roy Hodgson seems to come from 2 angles. The first is based on the assertion that he is a nice man. The second that there is no other viable alternative for the England manager’s job…Against Uruguay Hodgson made a decision not worthy of a Sunday league coach, never mind a man of his extensive multinational experience. He played two midfielders…think about it two midfielders in a match in the World Cup finals. Rooney and Sterling were looking over their shoulders worrying about the middle of the park rather than scoring goals. The central defence was left unprotected… (England) is better than their first two group performances suggest. They have not played to their strengths. Instead the selections and tactics accentuated their weaknesses. Most people’s instinct is to blame the players on the pitch but they were let down by their manager.”

More from World Cup

Oliver Kay, Chief football correspondent for the Times, “England’s defence, once a source of strength is now a source of weakness…Even now with expectations lowered, they are less than the sum of their parts. That has to change.”

All of these articles appeared before we failed to beat or score against Costa Rica in our final meaningless game.

Domestic Violence

What kind of A**hole beats up a woman or child? That might sound a bit chauvinistic but hopefully in a good way. I don’t mind admitting that I am the sort of guy that will hold a door open or offer a jacket on a cold night. By the same token I will never understand how a man could hit his partner. A one-off loss of temper and control is bad enough but repeating it is absolutely inexcusable. For me, that is the lowest of the low. Only a down and out coward could do that. For God’s sake, if the red mist descends get out of the house and punch a lamp post. Trust me; you won’t want to do that more than once. Go for a walk until you calm down.

By now you would understandably be thinking what the hell has this got to do with a football blog? I’ll tell you. On BBC Breakfast on 23 June there was a feature to say that domestic violence shoots up during England games at World Cups… In Greater Manchester there were 248 incidents; up 20% during England games and up 27% on the figures for 2010. The problem is that serious that the FA has endorsed a poster campaign that is about to be launched with the slogan “Let’s show domestic abuse the red card”.

I have some experience of this issue from the early days of my civil service career. I was one of the few executives to be given access to two battered women’s refuges in secret locations. The cases were heart-breaking. I never dreamt that 30 years later I would be reading about how some men use England World Cup defeats as an excuse for their violence.

If this blog leads to just one thug thinking again, or one woman plucking the courage to remove herself and her kids to a safe haven and not returning it will be worth the occasional sledging that comes in from the odd pensioned off “activist”.

Hopefully the next blogs will be able to stick to football and a more light-hearted approach.