Once again England leave the World Cup all to early, but quite frankly, we deserved to. The performance against Germany was abysmal, barring a little ten minute spell in the first half, where we scored twice. One counted, one didn’t.
There’s no way we can use the Frank Lampard ‘goal’ as an excuse. The fact is, we weren’t good enough. Nowhere near good enough. We didn’t play as a team. We didn’t defend well enough and for all the possession we had, we didn’t attack well enough either. The lack of defensive solidity was actually quite staggering. Our centre backs got pulled out of position all too often, which left huge gaping holes for the Germans to exploit. I’m not just blaming the centre backs though. The midfield didn’t give the back four anywhere near enough protection. Ozil dropped into the spaces between the lines at will, giving the centre backs the dilemma of whether to go and close the ball down and leave space in behind, or back off and let Ozil have the time to pick out a pass. We didn’t press the ball well enough either. I noticed quite a few times, that one player would go and close down the player with the ball on his own. This doesn’t work if your team mates don’t shut down his passing options. It just left the player out of position as they passed it round him all to easily.
Germany on the other hand, played as a team. When we had possession they sat behind the ball and kept their shape. We weren’t good enough to break them down. We didn’t move the ball fast enough. Our players were too static. It’s hard to break teams down when you don’t give the player in possession an option for a pass. How many times did we actually get in behind their defence? We didn’t play with nearly enough width. Milner gave us width at times down the right, but I can’t remember us getting too many crosses in during the 90 minutes. I was very surprised we didn’t take Adam Johnson to the tournament. The lack of a left-sided wide player really hurt us in my opinion.
From pretty much start to finish, we were out played. The Germans knew how we were going to play and planned for it. They made good decisions. They counter attacked us with pace and width. Time and time again they had a man over on the break. I actually think they should have won by a bigger margin. They had a better game plan, they were more organised. They were a team. I can’t say that about England.
It’s not for me to say where we go from here and if it was, I wouldn’t have a clue. We have good players, of course we do, but how many great players do we have? In my opinion, none. If you were to pick a World XI, how many of this England team would be in it? Maybe Ashley Cole at a push. Other than him, I don’t think anyone else would make it. Lack of great players however, is not the biggest problem. We’re not a team. We’re not on the same page a lot of the time. We need a find a way to gel these players together, or we need fresh blood. I don’t know if Capello is the man to do that, but if he does go, can we find anyone better? I’m really not sure.
All that being said, what it really comes down to is this… They wanted it more on the day. That’s the most disappointing thing.