Failure By Fine Margins Teaches Nothing....

Some will demand inquests but is there anything fundamentally wrong with England or are they just a half-decent side who came up narrowly short? The truth is pretty dull...

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Comments 1 - 10 of (29)

badwolf (Manchester United) says...

Yes, the team isn't far from doing ok, but that you know full well Van Gaal, Sir Alex, Mourinho or Simeone for four examples would have done better is the problem. The manager is 'ok' but that's not good enough. We have a good talented collection of players coming through right now. We shouldn't be happy with quarters or semi-finals. Barkely, Wilshere, Ox, Sterling, Walcott, Sturridge, Rooney, Jones, Shaw, Walker, Henderson, Rodwell, even Welbeck, Zaha and Cleverley probably are talented enough to make a good fist of taking on the best. This is an opportunity to form them into a good unit. Every position bar centre back (unless Smalling gets his form back) has hope. It's been quite a while since we had this. We need a good young manager to grow with them, not an 'ok' man.

Posted 4:07pm 26th June 2014

gusman says...

pfo - spot on i totally agree. which is why talk of sacking (another) manager and picking this player or that formation is frustratingly wide of the mark and so futile. we struggle with tournament football, always, for exactly the reasons you've so succintly put - mostly it's in the head. any managers best laid plans fall to pieces the minute England cross the white line, there just isn't the presence of mind to move/control the ball intelligently enough to tire an opposition, or probe and exploit an opponents weaknesses. something does need to be done about it and that something is plainly obvious; better focus on youth coaching, a vast increase in the number of accredited coaches, and a sea change in ethos (more focused on teaching young kids ball control and ball skills, than kick-and-rush competitive football). this is precisely what sets us apart from the likes of spain and germany, the evidence speaks for itself - Spain has roughly ten times the number of accredited coaches as England (Germany have approximately 5 times as many). We are miles behind. The 'debate' has been going on too long, when the solution is staring us in the face. Putting faith in a meat-head like Greg Dyke just about sums up the FA's chances of fixing anything, anytime soon.

Posted 11:00am 26th June 2014

ajsr1982 (Liverpool) says...

A very good article Sarah, largely because of the lack of hyperbole. However, in my opinion, those fine margins have been exacerbated by the tactics used. England are, quite simply, too easy to score against. Yes, they could have won all three games comfortably if Rooney and Sturridge had perhaps been a little sharper in front of goal, but sometimes your forwards don't fire. that's football. However, playing with this system, England will always concede too many goals. If yoru forwards don't fire and you draw, you get away with it. If your forwards don't fire and you lose, on a consistent basis, questions have to be asked.

Posted 10:41am 26th June 2014

johnwolf (Wolverhampton Wanderers) says...

A measured reasonable article attempting to analyse the performances without resorting to kneejerk demands. Therefore it's not going to go down well

Posted 8:12pm 25th June 2014

pfo says...

I'm tempted to write a long and detailed and carefully defended argument but I have a life, so I'll keep it (relatively) short. What's wrong with this article (and almost all the reporting on England's failure I've seen so far), is the stubborn refusal to see that England are psychologically unable to pass-and-move with the ball with thoughtfulness, invention, and PATIENCE through the centre of the pitch. All the top teams, and quite a few of the above-average ones as well, can do this, but England can't at all. Stats about pass completion don't tell the full story. Until England can not only keep the ball, but move it forward on the ground in a crisp, assured, incisive, yet CONTROLLED manner (instead of the helter skelter that's their default), England will not find consistent success. The technique could be better, of course, especially in tight spaces, but the bigger problem is in the head: the 1940's era, attack-down-the-wings-and-only-down-the-wings, crossing-obsessed, pace-obsessed, workrate-obsessed, athleticism-obsessed, "get-in-behind-em" obsessed, always-forcing-the-issue, subtlety blind, utterly predictable, utterly pervasive England cultural mentality that apparently no one notices in all of Blighty, will continue to stunt England for the foreseeable future unless something is done about it.

Posted 7:45pm 25th June 2014

gusman says...

First sensible article I've read all week. Precisely the argument I've been trying to make. We just aren't that good, we really think we are (we make a national passtime out of thinking we are) but we're not. we were in a tough group with 3 other teams at or around our level, we had no right to expect to get out of that group, we had a go and we came up short. We made some mistakes, we were unlucky too, on another day it could have been different. Grow up, deal with it. We are just a nation of cry babies unfortunately and when things don't go our way we start wailing and bawling and wanting people sacked. The tabloids are acting disgracefully and frankly making fools of themselves - but it was ever thus, and there's enough morons around to lap it up and follow suit. Everyone's happily ignoring the fact that Italy also failed to get out of that group - so presumably, Prandelli is a hopeless dud manager as well? This is Englands worst world cup performance ever? another tabloid fallacy being lapped up by the masses. Does anyone really think that failing at the group stage is worse than not qualifying at all? Does anyone in fact think we performed worse than when we struggled to get out of a group with Algeria and Slovenia? I saw somebody commenting that Roy should be sacked because "this squad would get in the top 4 of the premier league easily" i mean, what can you even say about such a spurious argument as that!? The sense of entitlement is staggering.

Posted 1:58pm 25th June 2014

Gab1965 says...

Skoolyad - Funny, I read somewhere that the Costa Rican side was younger than England's.

Posted 1:55pm 25th June 2014

DiamondLights (Tottenham Hotspur) says...

I think Sarah's article is pretty much spot on and I agree with the earlier comment that a 2-1 victory in both of the first two games would not have been close to a mugging of the opposition. That was also much more fun to watch than anything in 2010 or 2012. To demonstrate the hypocrisy of the press, can we all sit back and imagine the jingoistic b**locks that we'd be going through had the results gone the other way.

Posted 1:55pm 25th June 2014

Gab1965 says...

Italy failed by a fine margin, we came bottom of our group and Costa Rica exceeded the results we achieved against the other two sides. That is not a fine margin at all. We lost narrowly to two sides who don't look good enough to challenge the best sides that we have seen at this world cup. The Brasils, Mexicos, Chiles, Netherlands, Columbians. That's before we think about the French, Germans and teams like Belgium and Argentina. If anything Hodgson has taken this team backwards already. And, if that was not bad enough, Costa Rica are playing Greece for a place in the quarter finals.

Posted 1:54pm 25th June 2014

Gab1965 says...

Lord_Weetabix - Sometimes there is a quick fix, though. When Sven was manager, he would have been out of a job already for overseeing a campaign like this. So why is Roy safe? If you include a highly flattering 3-0 win vs Peru, England's performances have been poor for some time now. When is the last time that the team won convincingly and created good chances? Montenegro? Since then, teams like Scotland, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, have all come and given as good as they got. Leading into a world cup, it is hardly surprising, based on those performances, that the team didn't win a game. Unlike most teams, that had an extended period to prepare before the competition, this team actually got worse with extended exposure to Hodgson. Why would a young team, full of up and coming stars, nearly all attacking, flounder under the guidance of a manager like Hodgson, I wonder? He's out of his depth here and, more to the point, not the right type of manager to get the best out of the players that we hope will make up the team over the coming years. Even more so if Gerrard and Lampard finally step aside. If the best candidate is not English, who cares? I'd rather be in the quarter finals with a swede than out at the group stages with a turnip. Sorry.

Posted 1:48pm 25th June 2014

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