Hyundai has done a couple brilliant Top Gear spoofs – “Top Deer”. The detail in the videos are great. Very funny!!! GENIUS!
Ashley Cole may be an excellent football but hes an absolute idiot. As it has been revealed recently, he has had a few affairs and this led to Cherly Cole divorcing him.
One other thing many football fans will remember is years ago he reveals in his autobiography that he almost crashed his car because he was only being offer £55,000 a week by Arsenal.
Today is was revealed that he “hates England and the f****** people”. He announced this on his Blackberry and his status. He can pi*s off then and get lost!! This news broke after photos showed him (and Ledley King) joking and laughing as they returned to England. A day after being embarassingly knocked out of the World Cup, you would think you wouldnt be laughing and joking about like that. I dont expect them not to smile and get on with their live but it seems odd to seem so happy just as they land back in England.
Big players not “turned up”
It seems this World Cup, many of the big players have not “turned up” and performed as we may have expected. Of course there is still a good few number of matches to go so this could change.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored just 1 goal and that was a bit lucky. Some excellent strikes but didn’t really ignite the tournament. Portugal are out now after losing to Spain so thats his chance of making a big impression over.
- Torres – not done much. Been subbed on couple occasions. Must not be fit
- Rooney – already talked about him on previous post and how something just wasn’t right – mentally?? not fit??
- Drogba – properly harsh to include him on list since he was injured
- Messi – OK, properly unfair to put Messi here. He has been brilliant. Done everything apart from score a goal.
- Kaka – until the last game he was only on the edge of the game but the match versus Chile he showed what he can do and hopefully he gets better for next game
However, David Villa certainly has turned up and is in the running to be player of the tournament. I have said it before but Barcelona could well have a bargain even at €40 million.
- France – a complete shambles on and off the pitch. Anelka sent home, players not turning up for training, staff quitting. What more could you expect from a team “managed” by the nutter Raymond Domenech. (To make things worse, when he lost he refused to change other managers hand??). Finished bottom of group.
- Italy – drawing against New Zealand. Terrible defending. Finished bottom of group.
- England – dont need to say more….
- Only 1 African team getting into knockout stages. Disappointment for Africa. Would have been great for World Cup if at least another team other than Ghana got through
- The vuvuzela going on and on and on – I think we got used to it and TV companies did too managing to filter it out. I think people are starting to actually play it better so its not the constant drone.
- Standard of refereeing – see my other post
- Quality of early matches – the first load of matches were generally very dull. Teams were too cautious just making sure they didnt lose. It properly wasnt helped that some of the teams were not that good.
- The jubalani ball – maybe its not Adidas’ fault and they didn’t test at altitude but in the early stages shots were flying all over the place. Without playing with the football myself I can’t say really how different it is but there must be something that in the early games the shooting was terrible and freekicks all seemingly going over.
- The World Cup coverage in the UK – overall the BBC has been a country mile better than ITV. ITV’s biggest mistake was cutting to adverts by accident in the middle of a game on its HD channel. It happened during the England v USA game and actually at the same time as Gerrard’s goal! The pundits for the ITV have been poor with Edgar Davids being a bit rubbish, Craig Burley not that good either. Not a fan of Chris Coleman either. However, the BBC isnt perfect with Mick McCarthy avoid talking out of his backside. Adebayor was OK – he seemed to know his stuff but his accent is very strong so its sometimes hard to understand. However, he gets extra points for one of the moments of the World Cup when his mobile went off while he was talking to Gary Linekar live on TV.
There have been a few “unknown” players who have impressed me. These are the players who aren’t one of the “big names”. (Properly forgot a few)
- I think Sanchez (Chile) looked really good. The whole Chile team were generally impressive.
- As we saw when England played Mexico, they are a very good team who keep the ball well. I was most impressed with Salcido and Dos Santos
- Portugal left back Coentrao
- Germany’s Ozil
- Honda (Japan).
- The North Korea team impress in particular in game versus Brazil. Really like there striker (Jong Tae-Se) whos apparently called the “People’s Rooney”. He plays in Japan and drives a silver Hummer. Worked really hard as lone striker, some good skills and one of the things you will remember about this World Cup is him crying during national anthem. It just showed how much it meant to him to play for North Korea.
- Impressed with the freekicks of Japan and the Asian teams as a whole for working hard as a team.
- As much as the commentary/pundits for the BBC/ITV have been rubbish, the BBC setup with Gary Linekar, Alan Hansen and Lee Dixon. (Maybe not so much for Alan Shearer – hes “alright”). Special guests like Harry Redknapp and Roy Hodgson have been good. I was pleasantly surprised by Clarence Seedorf. Never really heard him talk before but he was great – talked a lot of sense. Colin Murray has done a great job for the MOTD highlights.
Going back to the actual players. Some other “big names” who have done well are Messi, Forlan, Higuain, Ramo, Maicon, Eduardo (Portugal), Lucio.
Refs in the World Cup
I think the refereeing overall in this World Cup has been very poor. I know its a hard job and thats why they should be given some sort of help – a “5th official”. This would have prevented, for example, the Lampard “goal” incident. There have been several other big incidents this World Cup.
On the same day as the England match, Argentina played Mexico. Tevez scored but he was about a metre offside. We all saw on the replays to confirm. Unfortunately (and it shouldn’t have happen – it was a mistake) it was shown on the big screen in the stadium. Every saw that it was offside but the officials couldn’t do anything. Crazy!! Luckily the error in showing the replay on the big screen didn’t cause any crowd trouble. It did cause some problems between players and management at half time.
Other incidents this World Cup I remember:
- USA goal disallowed. Referee thought it was a foul but if anything the Slovenia players were fouling US players
- USA goal v Algeria wrongly given as offside
- Keita getting Kaka sent off after Keita ran into Kaka’s arm and collapsed grasping his head
- Torres is clipped slightly and then plays dead on the floor for ages – other play gets a 2nd yellow and is off
- Fabiano handballing the ball twice for his 2nd goal – amazingly the ref asked him if he handballed and of course he said no
- Klose sent off after 2 yellow cards – first one possibly was yellow but 2nd was nothing
- Tim Cahill getting sent off for a challenge he was pulling out of
These are the big incidents I remember but there has (unfortunately expected) been lots of play acting and blatent diving.
The argument against technology and goal-line technology is that it can slow the game down and at what point do you stop play. Would it just be used to see if ball crosses the line?? Fouls?? Red cards?? Why managers be asking for the use all the time?? Some of these things are a matter of opinion but something has to be done. To see if the ball crosses the line shouldn’t be open to opinion – its either crossed the line or not.
The latest is that Sepp Blatter said that FIFA will look into video technology and said sorry to England (and Mexico).
Well I have had a couple days for it to sink in that England are out of the World Cup. England were just not good enough. For whatever reason, pretty much none of the England players “turned up”. The reason is not clear – are players tired, unhappy with Fabio and the camp/setup, playing out of position???
A poor World Cup for England
England have been overall very very disappointing this World Cup. To be fair the game versus USA was OK and if it wasnt for Robert Green’s mistake it properly would have been a win for England (and then who knows). The game versus Algeria was awful – once again the English problem of not keeping possession of the ball. It was better against Slovenia – playing at a much better pace, keeping the ball, passing it about nicely and playing as a team. Even though England were the much better team, England still only won 1-0. After the Slovenia match, everyone was more confident and hoping England would continue to improve. Of course it was against Germany but we had some reason to be confident because on paper, we were better. However that wasnt the case….
Match versus Germany
Its never straight-forward, matches between England and Germany. However, in recent times England have had a good record against Germany. England didnt play well and found themselves 2-0 down. It could easily have been a lot more. Players always losing possession, the ball just being whacked up the field aimlessly. This doesnt work the best of times but when you have small strikers like Defore and Rooney its pretty much hopeless.
England managed to get a goal back after good work by Gerrard. He got the ball outside the box and crossed the ball in. Upson scored with an excellent header. We had played so bad but somehow we were back in it. Less than a minute later Lampard got the ball and scored that “goal”. I am sure you have all seen and read about it. It was about 2 foot over the line and there was shadow of a doubt it was in. Everyone is calling for technology in football and things like goal-line technology. However, in this particular case there wasnt any need!! No need to see if it was over, it was so clear and everyone except the officials could see it was over the line.
England went in at half time at 2-1 down so still in it and after getting a goal back and getting the “equaliser” we had the momentum. Who know what may have happened if that goal counted?? Chances are the result would have still been the same and that “goal” would have just papered over the cracks!
After the teams came out in the 2nd half England did well for a little bit but it went back to “same old England”. However, the lack of defence and the big huge gaps in defence is just not acceptable! When Germany scored the 3rd goal, it all came from England losing the ball way into the Germany half. Almost all the players were in the Germany half and it left just a couple defenders back. Crazy!! Maybe with a minute left needing a goal you throw everyone forward but there was still about 25 minutes to go. Germany got the 4th and that was it all over.
The only person who came out in credit in this game was David James who made some good saves and was commanding in goal. (Maybe he could have done better with the 3rd goal though). Rooney once again was poor. The defence played as if they had never met each other, Defoe was anonymous. It was all too narrow and we didnt get the ball wide enough. Germany’s left back was one of their weaker players but hardly ever did Milner take him on and run at him.
Whos to blame?
It always seems to be the case after England get knocked out of a major competition that someone has to be blamed. At the end of the day its the players on the pitch who have control of what happens. They are the ones kicking the ball. Have the England footballers just confirmed that they are overpaid, arrogant, lazy, prima donnas??
However, as manager, Fabio Capello has to take some blame in the performance. Throughout this tournament he has made strange team selections, even stranger substitutions and seem just too stubborn to change. Some people may blame the FA – they are in control of English football and can influence/decide the development of young English players. A time for a big change?? Coach the coaches, train players properly?? Maybe the influx of all the foreign players is ruining the chances for young English players?? Are players like Gerrard and Lampard, who look so good for their club just not good enough?? Do they just look good because of all the foreign players playing alongside?? Maybe this is what happens in Italy – Inter Milan won all sorts last season and I think they have no Italian players in their first 11 team. Italy crashed out of the World Cup “early” – properly as embarassing as England but maybe not as bad as France!
Going back to Fabio and how he could be to blame. As manager he is the one who sets out how everything works and how things in run in the England camp. Maybe his strict way is just not right for English players?? We did brilliantly in the qualifiers but maybe the players were OK with the strict methods as they would be back at their clubs in a few days. With the World Cup, they are away from home for several weeks. I think England have been away for 4 weeks.
I think Fabio must take some blame with the actual football side of things. Almost everyone wanted Gerrard to play more centrally – whenever he is in the middle behind Rooney he seems to cause problems and it brings the best out of Rooney – its the position they both play for their club. (I know Rooney is a different player to Torres but it was worth a try). With Rooney playing a lone striker role, England would have been able to play 5 in midfield and there would be a much better balance if you actually played players in their normal position – could have Milner/SWP/Lennon/J Cole playing out wide and in the middle Lampard, Gerrard (further forward) and Barry. (Maybe even try Carrick with Barry for more protection and Lampard, Gerrard and Milner). Eitherway, England were just being over-run in the midfield.
Not the best of luck
He didn’t have the best luck with personnel so that made things harder for Fabio. Losing Rio just days into the tournament was terrible news. He was the captain and also the central defender with pace. He lost Ledley King after one half of the game and then was left with Carragher – who looked slow and was anyway missing for a game with suspension – and Upson – who helped a team get relegated. In an ideal world he would have had Hargreaves who would have been in for the tortoise paced Gareth Barry. He also didn’t have Beckham – he would have at least shown some effort on the pitch.
Fabio seems obsessed with the 442 formation. It just didnt work and may have been a factor in England basically being crap. (Although saying that if you can’t keep possession, give the ball away and just smack the ball upfield it doesnt matter what formation you play!). Hardly any of the big teams now play 442. Spurs are properly the only ones who do it regularly. Also Fabio makes some odd substitution decisions. Just looking at the Germany game, when England needed a goal, why not bring Crouch on who has a great England record?? (He just doesnt seem to trust Crouch and in the whole tournament I think he gave him about 15 minutes). What is the point on bring on Heskey? Goalkeepers have scored more than him!! Also, what is the point on bringing SWP on for about 5 minutes?? No need to timewaste!!
End of Golden Generation
This is now the end of many from the “Golden Generation”. There are a good handful of good young English players and hopefully they can continue their development and become a success. Players like Joe Hart, Ryan Shawcross, Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson. The likes of James Milner, Aaron Lennon (needs to learn to cross), Ashley Young are still young enough too. Established England players who still should be in next squad are Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson, Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe. However, this is properly last World Cup for Gerrard, Lampard, James and co. As for Heskey……
Maybe no one is to blame and we are just not good enough no matter what system or manager?? Many of the players are over-rated e.g. John Terry. Other teams show much greater technical ability – not just the “big” countries but teams like Japan, Chile, even Algeria.
Maybe 2nd round/quarter final is all we should expect at the World Cup?? Looking at record since 1966 we have rarely got past the quarter final:
1970 – knocked out by German first knock out match
1974 – Did not qualify
1978 – Did not qualify
1982 – Drew 0 – 0 with West Germany and Spain in first knockout phase
1986 – Beat Paraguay knocked out by Argentina in Quarter Finals
1990 – Beguim and Cameroon after extra time, beaten by West Germany in the semi finals
1994 – Did not qualify
1998 – Beaten by Argentina in first knock out round
2002 – Beat Denmark beaten by Brazil in Quarter Final
2006 – Beat Ecuador, beaten by Portugal in the Quater Final
2010 – Beaten by Germany in the first knock out phase
Players rating for tournament
- David James – Did pretty well overall. Properly Englands best player but not hard.
- Glen Johnson – Nothing special and just confirms (as if we didnt know) that hes good going forward but suspect at the back. Excellent block in game against Slovenia
- Ashley Cole – Did alright but overall disappointing
- John Terry – Pretty poor. Out of position on many occassions especially in Germany game. Did make some great blocks against Slovenia and an extra point for literally throwing himself in the path of a football to block a shot.
- Matt Upson – not good enough. OK versus “lower” opposition but against decent teams hes not good enough for England. Admittedly hes argubly 5th choice
- Gareth Barry – terrible. Lost the ball so often you wouldn’t what team he was on. Also looks SO slow! Why were Liverpool so desperate to get rid of Alonso and replace him with Barry?? Ozil gave him a 10 yard head start but still beat him. Just think we were all praying that he would be fit for World Cup after his injury – he shouldn’t have bothered!
- Milner – Had a good game against Slovenia with some Beckham-esqe crossed. Was kind of getting into the game versus Germany but strangly taken off?? However, he didn’t put many crosses in and for some reason didnt attack the dodgy looking left back for Germany.
- Gerrard – at least he looks like he wanted to be out their at some points unlike his team mates. Alongside James as properly England’s best performing player. Good cross for Upson goal v Germany. Tried his hollywood passes too often.
- Lampard – disappointing most of tournament. Did better in Germany game compared to others and had a goal wrongly disallowed. Good freekick that hit the crossbar but he still wasnt the same player we see for Chelsea.
- Rooney – we were all saying he was the big hope and if he played well, England had a good chance. He never got going but even if he did the rest of the players were awful. Maybe hes not fit even though they say he is. He wasnt sharp like he is for United. Not chasing everything. People will put some blame on Rooney and say he couldnt handle the pressure but he didnt have great service. Thats not to say his first touch most of the time was shocking.
- Defoe – forgot he was on the pitch sometimes. Like the game v Slovenia he can go for ages without touching the ball. However V Germany he wasnt given much service.
- Lennon – ran a lot and thats about it. Always cuts inside. Why he doesnt use his pace, knock the ball wide and in front and run I dont know??
- Shaun Wright Phillips – same as Lennon but a tiny bit better
- Joe Cole – didnt do much. Properly not 100% fit. Only given brief sub appearances for some reason. For the short time he was on he lost the ball a few times. I think he deserved longer. He could have given England something different and in some of England warm up games did really well
- Heskey – to be fair he worked hard and held up ball. Did pretty well against USA. However, why have a striker who doesnt score goals. Everyone said he played just because Rooney plays well with him but thats not right now!