I must admit that the discussions around our gathering before England took on USA were largely centred around the goalkeeping selection. Our straw poll seemed to favour David James as the best option, with Joe Hart second and Robert Green – who’s had a not particularly impressive season with West Ham – a fairly distant third.
But still, Mr Capello knows his onions, we reasoned – and well, were soon distracted from an excellent start from England where the oft-maligned Emile Heskey teed up captain Gerrard to finish with aplomb to give the Three Lions an early lead. Maybe too early, maybe we relaxed – certainly the fatal shot wasn’t the first hopeful pot-shot from range by the Americans.
That said, a draw probably isn’t such a bad result – having suffered Algeria and Slovenia fight out a spectacularly dull game in which the Slovenians managed to profit from another goalkeeping blunder to give them a first every win in a major tournament. That puts them top of the group, and frankly, if England can’t register points against either of these two teams, then there’s something fairly seriously wrong.
Certainly Green will need the support of his colleagues, who’ve all said the right things after the game. Let’s face it, all players make arse-ups of things – unfortunately for the goalkeepers, their cock-ups generally end up as goals. Whether the mistake is sufficient for Capello to replace his ‘keeper remains to be seen- but certainly the start of our World Cup hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.
Of course – perhaps a brief reminder that we’re not invincible might be welcome. Robert Green’s mistake doesn’t excuse the distinct lack of decent chances we created in the game, it doesn’t make up for the lack of ideas – it doesn’t hide the fact that we really need to see more from Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard as key senior players. Perhaps this could provide the wake-up call they needed.
Oh, and aren’t those vuvuzela horns the singularly most irritating contraptions we’ve seen in a while? I really hope that we don’t see them starting to infiltrate our own league games!
Filed under: World Cup 2010 |