Saturday, 19 June 2010

England Are Down But Not Out

England might beat Slovenia and in that case they will certainly qualify for the next round of the World Cup. What happens next will be what happens next. In the past I have seen so many teams somehow stagger through a competition or season to do remarkably well at the end despite all the woeful predictions, insults and making hard work of their games.

Algeria were always going to be difficult. Fast, skilful and well coached they have a good record in African competition where they have faced some very useful teams. The USA were going to be big, physical and again well coached. They were never going to be a push over however much the wishful thinkers felt. The Slovenians run and run and have the full range of skills.

Some of the England players are not long out of tricky injuries. Also, it is clear that the FIFA guidance to referees has meant that teams need to be very wary of using some of the heavy mob tactics too often used in the past. To win the World Cup means playing seven games against very fit teams. It means your players have to survive. This entails avoidance of injury and critically too many yellow cards and as few red ones as possible.

At the moment it is in the balance, but looking around the groups there are some class teams who have come unstuck and may not make the next round. There are going to be very few easy victories. It may well be that England do not make it. If so, OK that’s the way the cookie crumbles, so can we all remember that there are other things to worry about?

If necessary and England just have to grind the beggars down then so be it.

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