Germany 4-1 England: Reality Bites

Posted: June 27, 2010 in England, World Cup
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Today saw the physical abuse of the idea that England are better than most nations in world football. Indeed, that idea was beaten with a metal rod, had its legs broken, removed, then stapled to its face. It was then dragged naked around the streets of South Africa with a giant sign stuck to it that read “OUR BOYS ARE GOING TO WIN THE WORLD CUP”.

Yes, we got absolutely fucked by a vastly superior side.

Here are a number of things that will mark you out as an idiot tomorrow morning:

ENGLAND LOST BECAUSE THERE WAS TOO MUCH PRESSURE

Go fuck yourself.

WHY CAN’T THEY PLAY LIKE THEY DO IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

Because in the Premier League they play the likes of Wigan, Stoke, Bolton etc for 32 of their 38 games. That and they are surrounded by vastly more talented foreigners who can make them look better. Out of all the players that have featured for England in this World Cup, only Gerrard and Rooney have really been the best players at top clubs this season. And look where fucking Liverpool finished. No English club made the semi-final of the Champions League, lest we forget. A German club did, including the guy who scored 2 goals today. The winning team might have been Italian but it had Brazil’s defence and two guys deemed not fucking good enough for Argentina’s squad.

GERRARD SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLAYED BEHIND ROONEY INSTEAD OF ON THE LEFT

Oh right, like he was during the majority of qualifying, where we won every game bar one? Love that idea Shearer, let’s abandon everything Capello has presumably worked on for the last 18 months on a whim during the World Cup simply because Gerrard plays “off the striker” for his club. Presumably if he had played there all those shit shots from 30 yards today would’ve flown in, right?

I AM RIDING MY HIGH HORSE LIKE A MASSIVE TWAT BECAUSE ENGLAND’S PLAYERS ARE OVERPAID WASTERS

The Premier League is not even the richest league any more. Most of the best players have fucked off to Spain where their state-backed clubs have virtually unlimited funds. England’s players might earn a metric fuckload but they’re no different to pretty much every other team that stands a chance of doing well at this World Cup.

IT’S TIME FOR AN ENGLISH MANAGER

Get the fuck out. An English manager? Are you fucking joking me? So who’s that going to be then. Roy Hodgson aside – whose two-season achievements at Fulham are remarkable, sure, but come on, for England? – the best English manager out there at the moment is Steve Fucking McClaren. Try and argue that point with me, go on, I dare you. I will beat you down. Who else? Harry Redknapp? Steve Bruce? That guy who’s so shit I can’t even remember his name right now. Seriously who am I trying to think of. Allardyce, that’s it. Shearer?

IF WE PLAY TO OUR POTENTIAL WE CAN BEAT ANYONE

No, really, we can’t. If you can’t see how wrong that statement is, you’re either stupid or you don’t follow football very closely. And by “very closely” I mean you’ve not seen Spain, Brazil or Argentina play in recent weeks. Do you honestly think England’s “potential” could have beaten that? “Oh but Gerrard is amazing for his club” fuck off. “Rooney is one of the best strikers in the world” fuck off is he, Argentina have four, possibly five better than him. The facts are that we have three goalkeepers who are varying levels of average, a central defence that was worrying before it got fucked by injury, a misfiring midfield, a scatty right-wing and one striker, who hasn’t scored since March. Granted Ashley Cole is one of the very best in the world in his position, and I think of all England’s players he has proved so at international level time and again from about 2002 onwards. Unfortunately you can’t win a World Cup with a team consisting of one left-back.

But if you think any of the bolded lines above, then I have one message for you: you are tools, you are all stupid, fucking tools. If you hear anyone saying these things tomorrow, I implore you to take up arms and beat them to death with them. Do it for the Three Lions.

The Lampard “goal”. I have to say that had this been given, it would have made a difference to the game. There’s no way you can say “oh well it doesn’t matter, we’d just have lost 4-2 instead of 4-1”. That is highly unlikely. Germany’s third and fourth goals came when England were pushed up the pitch – suicidally so – looking for an equaliser. Quite why they were so far out of position and so much slower and less fit than the German counter-attackers is a different matter, but nonetheless 2-2 would’ve made it a very different game. Seriously what was going on for that fourth goal. On the replay I watched Upson legging it back from the opposition’s box, 30 yards behind play and just about catching up with Muller as he put it in the net. That’s what usually happens to me playing five-a-side, running towards my own goal hell-for-leather and getting there just in time to get a great view of the opposition scoring. Might as well have stayed up front.

Lampard. Poor bastard. He’s had another poor World Cup but by my reckoning he’ll have taken about 35 shots at World Cups now without hitting the back of the net a single time. And that includes a penalty in 2006. His “goal” would’ve been/was a belter, a marvellously controlled loft over the keeper, and he also smacked the bar from 35 yards. Felt sorry for him because I have come to respect the guy in an England shirt for the way he adapted into a role that basically played second-fiddle to Gerrard attacking-wise, based on Gerrard’s “potential” despite the fact that Lampard has scored 100 goals in his last 5 seasons.

For some reason this thrashing really doesn’t feel like a big deal to me, emotionally. Right now here’s a few things that are annoying me more than England getting bent over by “the old enemy”:

1) My train back from Sheffield was cancelled, so I didn’t get home until over an hour later than I should have done

2) I have to get up in the morning

3) There was a big spider in my sink when I got back, which leads me to worry that it might happen again

You see? Not that bothered. 1-0, I was frustrated but unsurprised. 2-0 I was worried at the potential thrashing that might ensue. 2-1 I gave a mild, Henman-esque fist-pump of pleasant surprise. “2-2” I almost dived headfirst into my dad’s TV before angrily stomping out of the room to get a beer. 3-1 was “oh”. 4-1 barely registered. The last 20 minutes or so it was actually quite nice watching a team pass it around so neatly.

I think it’s because that in all honesty, it’s easier to take getting knocked out like this. I know that there was the Lampard “goal” incident, but normally we go out in more annoying, emotionally-trying circumstances than this. Euro 96 was the first tournament I really cared about, so here’s the breakdown:

  • 1996 – emotional penalty defeat
  • 1998 – emotional penalty defeat, Beckham’s red-card, Campbell’s disallowed ET goal
  • 2000 – last-minute Phil Neville fuck-up
  • 2002 – Ronaldinho lobbing Seaman (lolz)
  • 2004 – emotional penalty defeat
  • 2006 – emotional penalty defeat, Rooney red card, Ronaldo winking
  • 2008 – spared the trouble
  • 2010 – bent over

So maybe we’re getting better at being worse.

It has been an absolute travesty of a tournament by England though. For all that I go on about how they’re not actually that good, I have had nothing to get excited about, much like 2006 where at least we reached the quarter-finals. Looking back over those other tournaments there were some great, memorable moments – thrashing the Dutch in 96, Beckham’s freekick against Colombia in 98, beating Germany in 2000 (in an awful match, admittedly), beating Argentina in 02, emergence of Rooney in 04. This time round the most enjoyment I had was beating fucking Slovenia. We have scored 3 goals in 4 games and it’s just been dire all the way apart from that one game.

Also, now that England are out can you please GET OUT OF MY FACE with your stupid advertisements or held-at-gunpoint betting adverts. Bet! Fucking bet! If you do not bet on the next goalscorer with Betfair we will murder your children. Official partner of the FA? Fuck you, Nivea, fuck you Mars, fuck you all the rest.

Right I’m going to go to bed now rather than going on all night, so here are my marks out of ten for all the players who featured for England during this tournament.

ROB GREEN 2/10

He will be forever remembered for that balls-up against the US. He sort of redeemed himself with a save in the second half but really his most notable contribution after that was in the media, where he showed an admirably brave face. And then was dropped anyway.

DAVID JAMES 7/10

Arguably England’s best performer. It could have been even messier today were it not for him and he never looked like making a mistake. He could probably have done better for Muller’s first. But his handling and command of his penalty area were excellent. Definitely the Least Worst of our three keepers, although that’s probably his last England game now at 40.

ASHLEY COLE 7/10

One thing that does defend the “move Gerrard to the middle” argument is that by having him on the left-wing, we don’t maximise one of our better players in Ashley Cole. Gerrard drifts infield too often and that leaves Cole both exposed and isolated. He had a good tournament, defending solidly and getting forward when necessary. Could have done better today but then who couldn’t?

JOHN TERRY 4/10

Had a good game against Slovenia. That was about it. WTF was that diving header all about? He was all over the fucking place today, a horrorshow of a centre-half performance. Slack against USA and unnecessary against Algeria.

LEDLEY KING 4/10

Played 45 minutes before doing what we all knew he would, and going off injured. That meant that he didn’t have chance to improve on a slack first 45, but at least it meant he couldn’t fuck it up any more either.

JAMIE CARRAGHER 3/10

Carragher is bollocks. He’s slow, old, and not actually a footballer as in he has no control, awareness, or passing ability. I am flabbergasted that Capello picked him in the first place, and that he was first-call when King went down. He is so far from being an international defender these days that it is laughable. The dick only played 135 minutes and managed to get himself suspended. Seriously, just get rid.

MATTHEW UPSON 5/10

Culpable in The Worst Defensive Performance Ever today, veeeery culpable. But did really well against Slovenia including That Tackle By Upson, and got a goal today, so was responsible for a third of England’s goals in the whole tournament.

GLEN JOHNSON 5/10

His defensive frailties are overplayed, but he was poor today. He is better going forward than going back, and showed that with a strong performance against USA where he was probably outdone only by Gerrard. Linked up well with whoever was ahead of him throughout the tournament.

AARON LENNON 3/10

Really poor. A lot was expected of him but he didn’t deliver. In fact that was the problem, he delivered perhaps 1 good cross in his two games. By the third he’d been replaced by Milner and that was that. Cut inside far too often against Algeria when England craved width. Never really owned a left-back as we’d hoped he would.

SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS 4/10

Gave England a bit of width and directness, but this impact substitute failed to make any real impact at any stage.

JAMES MILNER 6/10

Got off to a mare against the USA, was the best player against Slovenia where he proved that rare thing, and English winger who can actually fucking cross who isn’t called David Beckham. Not a great game today mind but certainly not the worst. However if he’s the future the rest of football will hardly be cacking themselves. He might improve but he is what the Australians would term “pretty ordinary”.

GARETH BARRY 3/10

Another massive disappointment. He was injured for starters but when he came in he didn’t so much look off the pace as in reverse. His passing, usually his strength, was weak. His movement looked fine until today when he was horribly shown up for the final two goals. Really, really disappointing.

FRANK LAMPARD 4/10

I said he was unlucky today, but for too long he was either anonymous or shit during the four games. I barely noticed him against USA and his sole contribution against Algeria was England’s single chance of note plus a 30-yarder that was booed by England’s fans. Better against Slovenia when England had some control but that’s the story: I think he needs to be part of a team that can control a game rather than be the battler to exert himself and give his team the edge.

STEVEN GERRARD 6/10

One of England’s better players without a doubt. Man of the match vs USA with a nice goal, but the usual foibles are all there unfortunately when England are struggling. He tried the hard ball far too often, including several brainless long-range efforts today against Germany. He was on his game against Slovenia.

JOE COLE 3/10

AKA The Great White Hope. He probably should have played more but when he was on the pitch he did next to nothing with it. Thought he was going to get himself sent off against Germany, the way he was lunging stupidly into tackles.

JERMAIN DEFOE 5/10

Got himself a goal – the only one by a striker – thanks to his trademark movement and nice finish. Germany shackled him easily though and he was largely anonymous when I thought he’d be able to stretch a slow central defence.

PETER CROUCH 3/10

Ineffective in the limited minutes he got. Saw more of him on that stupid Pringles advert.

WAYNE ROONEY 3/10

Wayne. Jesus. He was fucking awful from start to finish, actually that’s slightly harsh because he was better today. But he never looked fit, his touch was occasionally ok but mostly bad and a couple of times appalling, and too often he had to come deep just to get the ball. Had a go at his own fans after the team were deservedly heckled. It’s really hard to think of a bigger flop at the whole World Cup to be honest; what’s worse is that I know it wasn’t just England fans who were building him up.

EMILE HESKEY 5/10

Look, I like Heskey. I get the merits of playing him simply to free up space for others, it worked in qualifying. He set up Gerrard’s goal v USA with a great little touch. When he loses the ball he chases it down and wins it back. But unfortunately he loses the ball quite often, and when presented with a chance to score – as against USA – he never looks like hitting the back of the net. What other side in international football would pick a striker who cannot score? I think Terry needs one more goal to surpass him. At 30-odd it’s time to put Emile out to pasture. A good honest trier but ultimately a flawed footballer. At United we had a right-back called Rob Kozluk about whom there was a saying that I like to think applies to Heskey: “He’s either passing to the bloke he’s just tackled, or tackling the bloke he’s just passed to.” It would make a nice epitaph.

I think that’s it. If anyone else got on it was either so limited that it wasn’t worth commenting on, or so shit that I forgot. Sorry.

Goodnight.

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