Team : England
Group : C
Played against : USA (12th June 2010)
The game was setup nicely for England when they had their break on the 4th minutes courtesy of neat interchange play between Heskey and Gerrard at the edge of USA penalty box. Excellent finishing by Gerrard with some composure.
The USA strike back on the 39th minutes when a shot by Dempsey bounds off Green's palm and the ball agonisingly rolled over the line to make the scoreline 1 - 1. And, that is how the game finished.
Overall, the England team was not playing as fluently as expected. The choice of Green (keeper), Milner (Left Midfield) and King (Centreback) has backfired.
1) Green. Made a bad mistake when he should be shielding the ball by his body if he got a good body positioning behind his pair hand. Should the ball skidded pass the gloves, it should hit the body as to prevent the ball from rolling into the empty net. Although, he made an excellent save in the later stage of the game, it cannot redeem the mistake earlier. The damaged was already done. He seems shaky from the starts.
2) Milner. It seems that he has no clue of what his role is on the field. Milner is predominantly right footed and always plays on the right side of the field when featured for his club. At 23, may be he hasn't been matured enough to take the responsibility of playing out of position. Rarely got a ball. Foul as much as he touch the ball. Nothing of his play on that night worth remembering. In single word.. ineffective
3) King. A good player he is but the trouble with injury is well documented. Capello take a gamble on him and it had backfired immediately. He suffered another injury blow and will keep him out for some time. As good as gone. He should not be picked in the first place. I believed, England do have many talented centreback who are ready to step up. Like Gary Cahill (Bolton) and Phil Jagielka (Everton). I was surprised that neither made to the squad. Not even the provisional 30!
Suddently, England had a gapping hole to be filled in the centreback area. The choices are Upson, Carragher & Dawson. They are all of the-John-Terry-kind of centreback. Non is like the Ferdinand type (the closest is King, but he got injured now). Most probably, Upson will got the nod ahead of the others. They also had problem (always does) with the left midfield position. For sure, Milner & SWP were not a natural there. In fact, none of the England squad is a natural left midfielder! The closest they got are Joe Cole and of course 'the man in a mission' Captain Courageous Steven Gerrard. Even those two are not a natural left midfield player. Not to mention the dilemma the coach facing for the goalkeeping position. Is Mr-Calamity-James really the answer ? or should Capello gamble with the inexperience Joe Hart ? or stick with nervous-errorred-prone Green ?
Having said all that, where is the-boy-wonder-the-best-England-striker Mr Rooney been in this game ? Possibly, the USA had a good game plan in curbing Rooney threat that his name was hardly being mention by the commentator. And, the worrying fact is ESPNSoccernet had given the Man-of-the-match to Emile Heskey. The striker whom does not score enough goal himself. Even Lampard-the-midfielder scores more goal for England than Heskey-the-striker.
Whatever it is, the campaign is already look steep and England will struggle to match their fans' expectation to bring back the Cup they solely won on their home soil 44 years ago!
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