Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Golden Generation In The Last Chance Saloon

It's something of a worry to think of the likes of Cashley Cole, John Terry and Steven Gerrard being in any form of saloon - the odds are that somebody will end up under a table, probably with a broken nose - but today the excuses run out. Entire careers, money apart, have pointed towards this game. A young German side are flexing their muscles for the very first time in the World Cup; but England are packed with gnarled old gun slingers with a point to prove.

How good is this German team? The answer to that is that they thumped a very average Australia team reduced to 10 men, lost to a poor Serbia team when a man short themselves, and only just came out on top against Ghana thanks to a wonder goal from Oezil. Take away the Australia match and people would be saying this was an ordinary team, and even against the geriatric roos, they could have found themselves a goal behind. The truth is, Germany played well in that first match but against truly poor opposition, and were helped hugely by that sending off of Cahill, far and away Australia's best player.

Let's not forget that we won in Germany with a virtual reserve team not so very long ago. The England team that day read:

James (Carson 46), Johnson, Terry, Upson, Bridge, Wright-Phillips (Crouch 90), Carrick, Barry, Downing, Defoe (Bent 46), Agbonlahor (Young 77).

Now that is virtually our defence today, but the German goal was courtesy of yet another Carson cock up when he failed to kick clear a long ball over the top. Terry showed his captaincy qualities by taking the blame, but everybody knew that Carson was at fault. No Gerrard, no Lampard, no Ashley Cole, no Rooney. Some, of course will say that was the key to victory! England's unused subs that day read like a who's who of "Who?" at international level: Robinson, Lescott, Richards, Mancienne, Davies, Parker, Bullard.

The German's too are much changed of course. The side they fielded read:

Adler (Wiese 46), Friedrich (Tasci 68), Mertesacker, Westermann, Compper (Schafer 77), Schweinsteiger, Rolfes, Jones (Marin 46), Trochowski, Gomez (Podolski 57), Klose (Helmes 46). Subs Not Used: Hinkel, Hitzlsperger, Weis.

Of that lot, only Mertesacker, Schweinsteiger, Klose, Trochowski and Podolski survive!

So what is the point? Well I would expect a German second string to be better than an England second string. Our complaint is always about our lack of strength in depth. It would appear that the opposite is true , however. The truth is, you don't have to be THAT good to make it into this German side, because the alternatives are not great. Yes they blended and fired against Australia, but so what? Australia, Ghana and Serbia do not possess players of the quality of Terry, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney.

What is the key to victory? Worryingly, for us to start strongly. England need to impose themselves on these young Germans from the start. We need to sow the seed of doubt in their minds early. Get the ball to Milner or Cole wide on the flanks and whip in an early cross. Give Rooney the opportunity to outskin the German centre backs early. Make the point to Lahm that he is there to protect his own goal, not to threaten ours. I genuinely believe that, on paper we are the better side, a two or three goal margin would not hugely surprise me.

Yes the Germans have some good players but would Ozil replace Gerrard in the Liverpool team? Not a chance. Would Schweinsteiger elbow Lampard to one side in the Chelsea team? Ballack couldn't! Would Klose be picked ahead of Rooney by Ferguson? Not a chance!

What are our weak links? Johnson looked laboured in the last game, which surprised me. Upson is a worry. Defoe might go missing. But we haven't really performed so far. If Rooney steps up to the plate, we will be transformed as a side. Strangely, I don't feel nervous. I think we are the better team and I believe we are going to show it!


Anonymous said...

will be funny if germany win then after this

Hammersfan said...

Hillarious if you are not patriotic!

Sav said...

Apart from the obvious lack of flair, what is missing in the England team is this thing called synergy. Where the sum of the parts is greater than the total of the individual parts. It comes about because of the relationships members of a team have built over time and exploit during a game. The Germans, as they have demonstrated very well in the game against Australia, can work as machine where each part moves in perfect co-ordination with the other parts in order to achieve the team goal. You are right HF that each individual England player would demand higher wages and earn a place in a Premier League team easier than any one of the German players. But as a team, the Germans are way ahead of the England team. They have all the components they need (including skillful players) and they fit very well together. This is why I predict Germany to go through this afternoon.

Zito said...

I would like to see England win but to be honest, they lack the required creativity and flair, and, I agree with Sav, the Germans function better as a unit. For England to win Lampard has to step up and show that he is an international class midfielder capable of supplying his forwards with quality ball. Also Ashley Cole will need to best Philipp Lahm (no mean feat). Defoe and Rooney is England's best striker combination but if they don't get enough quality ball, and I'm not just talking about crosses, they won't score many if at all.

Oezil and Lahm to run the game for the Germans who will win today.

Let's face it though, these sides are only playing for the right to be beaten by Argentina in the QF!

Hammersfan said...

Synergy was present as we swept through qualification Sav. The England team know this is an opportunity to impress, rather than a chance to look foolish. The better opposition will draw a better response. Ghana needed extra time to beat a USA team that, the Green error apart, we were very comfortable against. The Germany v Ghana game could have gone either way. That German synergy was not so evident against Ghana was it? Nor against Serbia. After 10 minutes of the Australia game they could have been behind. How does this German team respond to adversity? We don't know yet. Synergy is easy when everything is going your way. If the dice rolls against you, it may be a different story!

Sav said...

Sorry to disagree with you HF. Synergy was not present at any time during the past few months in any game I saw England play. What England had so far in the World Cup is opposition made up of weak teams that (apart from Algeria) played with fear and a feeling of inferiority against England. This is the sole reason England got through (albeit in second place - which of course means having to beat probably Germany-Argentina-Spain-Brazil to win the World Cup). I don't think Germany will allow England this luxury. They are too good for that. We don't have long to wait who is right.

Stani Army said...

I would start with Crouchy. Surprise the Germans and give them something to immediately worry about at set pieces. Get a goal, use Defoe's pace 2nd half.

Cashley and Johnson must get forward early to seize the initiative and get on top of the Germans. Barry to look to cover left back when this happens to make it a back three for any possible counter.

Kareem said...

Sell Upson...

How could he mess that one up?

Kareem said...

UPSON SCORED!!! ...that Lampard shot should have been a goal though! Wow...what a game

Sav said...

Now do you see what I was telling you all along about how poor this England side is? Toothless, disorganised and most of all not a team. Germany did not play fantastically well but they played as a team. I know you are going to say that "if only they did not disallow Lampard's goal". And of course it is a disgrace that it did not stand. But by the same token England would not have a World Cup if the referee at the final made an equally wrong mistake and give a goal that never was. Be that as it may, this England did not deserve anything more than they got. I mean just imagine, Upson came up to be their top goal scorer! Where was the so over-hyped attack! Where was Rooney? Where was Defoe or Heskey or eevn Joe Cole. Face it. This England was very poor. If we can't accept this then there will never improve. To have a good team you need more than individuals. The players need to gel together and play as a team. At least the 1966 team was indeed a team. They were all playing for and willing to die for each other. This team is best forgotten. The soonest and the better. I hate to tell you I predicted this and that you were utterly wrong from the start, but you know it is true (no matter what you come up with to defend yourself - in oyur usual style). Better luck next time.

Grumpy said...

Win the World Cup, was it you that said that Fanno?

Hammersfan said...

Yes. It was me. The one with Eggert on his face. Of all the facials in the World, could you think of a more hideous depositor?

We was robbed! Rob Greened! No, we was crap!

Anonymous said...

i was right, it was funny if we lost, not that i'm not patriotic but for the fact that this just like all the other games in this campaign was an absolute shambles!
humiliating! no words can express this. I even think slovenia would have given a better challenge to germany than we did