England Algeria: Oh Dear, Oh Dear, Oh Dear!!

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Were you disappointed with last night’s performance?  Did you expect better?  Pete Sixsmith invokes the spirit of Ambridge to try to get our gallant lads back on track

As older readers would know this was Walter Gabriel’s response whenever anything went wrong in Ambridge in the 50s and 60s. Walter was not a football fan, being more interested in ploughing matches and pig breeding, but I have a feeling that:

a) he could have picked a better side than Don Capello

b) he could have played better than Wayne Rooney

c) he could have offered more insights than the lamentable Andy Townsend on ITV

What a shocking performance from a bunch of players who showed exactly why Franz Beckenbauer’s criticism was absolutely spot on. In fact, they could not even play kick and rush effectively as crosses and long balls were just ballooned into the sky.

It’s difficult to know where to start on this game. I could not see one redeeming feature in this performance. Tactically naïve, technically inept and showing no idea of how to break down a well organised Algerian defence, they reminded me of a poor Championship side c 1994.

Let’s deal with the tactics. Capello is rapidly being shown as having feet of clay. Where is the originality in the approach to a game? What exactly ARE the tactics? I can’t work them out. It seems to be: “Get the ball, run fast and try to pass it to someone – maybe.” I thought Sunderland were a tad one dimensional during the Great Slump of last season, but we looked positively Brazilian compared to this lot.

Technically, Capello must be shaking his head in disbelief at the lack of ball control shown by the likes of Johnson, Lampard and Heskey. The inability of players to pass a ball to one of their team mates has always astounded me. I can understand it from a Sunday morning player with a hangover and I would make some allowances for a Shaun Cunnington or Jeff Whitley, but not from so called super stars like Lampard. He was wretched and has been for a long time in an England shirt. I do take considerable pleasure in watching him struggle as he is such a horrible person who epitomises all that is wrong about the Premier League and its loud mouthed inhabitants.

Algeria were everything England were not. They were tactically aware, the coach had an excellent game plan, which involved his players trapping a ball, controlling it and passing a ball to a green shirt and they worked their socks off.

They played a simple game which we were taught at school in the early 60s: “Control. Look. Pass”.  Algeria followed this while England seemed to pursue a policy of “Let it bounce off your foot; Keep your head down; Try to give it to someone (White shirt optional)”.

I spent the second half looking at the pictures and having the radio commentary on in the kitchen. By half time I had had quite enough of Andy Townsend and his constant talking up of “these fine players”. Mike Ingham was as laid back as ever but became exasperated as the second half droned on. When Alan Green took over, the fireworks started. Not a man to keep his opinions to himself (unlike moi) he was less than impressed with this stuttering shambles of a performance. Chris Waddle, a very good summariser, was of the same opinion, while Graham Taylor is clearly not a fan of Don Capello and takes a wee bit of pleasure in his discomfort.

I would imagine that Darren Bent is rather relieved that he is not tied up in all this. David James indicated in his post match interview that this is not a happy camp.

Paraguay on Sunday and here’s hoping that Riveros is able to push forward and give us an idea of what we are going to get next season. Da Silva will continue to impress – he’s a good player.

Viva Paraguay!!!!

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16 thoughts on “England Algeria: Oh Dear, Oh Dear, Oh Dear!!”

  1. On the other hand, Bent could have made all the difference with a couple of breakaway goals. I hope Capello will be held accountable.

    William and Harry’s apparently reluctant presence (“I say, Wills, what are these chaps doing?”) reminds me of the old story of Tommy Cooper being presented to the queen after one of those royal command variety shows. He asked her if she liked football and, when she replied “not really,” said, “Can I have your cup final tickets?”

  2. I said in response to an earlier article that Darren Bent was well out of it and looks like I could be proved right. Enjoy your holidays Darren.

  3. The USA provided a tremendous recovery and a game that saw someone come back from 0-2 to win would have benefitted the whole competition.

    The two ponces; ehr….sorry princes looked thoroughly bored with proceedings well before the rest of us did. Fresh from a visit one of their charities in Lesotho apparently. It’s a dog’s like being a ponce, sorry again; prince these days.

    I’m at a loss about Capello’s surprise. It really shouldn’t be. It’s no surprise to us. We’ve been talking about how bad they would be for weeks on this site!

    I really can’t see things getting any better for the third game and there’s the greatest likelihood of failing to qualify for the second stage. Given the group we ended up, that really is pathetic.

  4. You could be right about the free kick, Jeremy, but I’d have loved to see the U.S.A pull it out of the fire. They worked so hard and played so well. But the standard of refereeing, at least in the first two games of the day, was not good. I couldn’t believe the number of cards the first ref gave out, few of them justified, especially the red.

    I cannot fathom Rooney’s sense of entitlement. Is he so lacking in self-awareness that he doesn’t realize that for every brilliant game he plays, he puts in half a dozen utterly lacklustre performances? How could he not realize how badly he’s played in South Africa?

    Capello was quoted in the Guardian as saying, “This was not the England that I know?” Really, Fabio? It came as a surprise?

    I wonder what Princes William and Harry said to the team when they visited the dressing room? Other than the standard, “Have you come far?”

  5. I didn’t think the USA were robbed Bill, simply because I don’t think that it was a free kick in the first place.

    So, Rooney thinks that it was wrong for the fans to boo that shambles does he? He should think himself lucky they didn’t have access to rotten eggs and tomatoes as they thoroughly deserved to be on the end of a pelting.

    Rooney has referred to “loyalty.” The fans supported that “team” throughout the game and booed them with justification at the end. Did he expect cordial applause and a queue for autographs after that display. Rooney has a completely distorted sense of his own worth fuelled by a sycophantic Capello who has seen him notch once in 10 games. You would think that getting booed would provide him with some sense of perspective, but all it does is highlight how little perspective he really has. He’s as tick as two short ones fastened together with a rusty nut and bolt. He’s set himself up as a figure of hate and frustration with his remarks after the game. The football supporting public need to see some evidence of contrition on his part and not self indulgent arrogance.

  6. Hard to believe that Rooney was heard complaining as he came off the field that the England fans were booing the team.

    Compare and contrast their performance with that of the U.S.A. What a heartbreak for the Americans to be robbed of their third goal and very well-deserved win.

  7. Capello looked a great appointment, but he has certainly come up short so far. Part of is problem is that our “star” players are suported in their club sides by world class colleagues who bring a differing approach to the game. Throw all the England players together and they have no other influence but themselves.
    Look at the English players at Sunderland – committed, hard working, do certain things well, but little flair. All have been in Academy Football and have had spontaneity coached out of them. Look at how Mensah and Da Silva defend compared with Kilgallon and Turner. They want to play the ball rather than lump it upfield.
    We have convinced ourselves that spirit and heart are much better than the ability to play the right ball. Only England would think that John Terry is a world class player. He is, when he is up against English centre forwards, but he struggled last night against a 20 year old Algerian, who knew how to move and how to take a step off a defender.
    Capello appears to be bereft of a game plan and I agree with Jeremy that he took the wrong players. Lets be thankful that Bent is not in what must now be a fetid atmosphere at the training centre.

  8. Our inability to have a gameplan and then even come close to executing it is awful.

    It’s not like we were held off either, Algeria gave better than they received; they passed the ball around well, took the man on and worked some nice chances. We did none of these things.

  9. Does anyone genuinely believe that we wouldn’t have done better had we given the job to John Gregory, Nigel Pearson (I was going to suggest Gareth Southgate, but don’t wish to look a bigger fool than I already am!), or Steve Coppell?

  10. Followers of England are accustomed to failings in major tournaments. There’s usually a simple explanation and an all too obvious scapegoat, who waits until the critical moment to reveal their tactical ineptitude, poor temperament or lack of ability, when it matters most. It’s very rare to witness a collective demonstration of shortcomings where only one or two individuals emerge with any credit whatsoever. That is very much the case with England’s performance against Algeria.

    Remind yourself that Capello has been paid millions of pounds for the privilege of embarrassing England and its people. Paid millions to select the most appalling one dimensional squad from which he had fielded a team in two games with a midfield that gets in each others way, without a centre forward, and with wingers that can’t deliver a cross. Aaron Lennon’s response to criticism of his crossing ability against the USA was to permanently cut inside and avoid positions where crossing became necessary. All the while Capello was watching this and did nothing to remedy the situation, until introducing Wright-Phillips who is even Lennon puts in the shade on cross balls. We largely failed to trouble Algeria because we were playing without a centre forward. Gerrard and James apart the rest were completely rank.

    The game was drifting away, and nothing happened until it was too late. No change of tactics and only changes of personnel were far too delayed to produce any dividend. Even then, the one player in the squad who may have produced something different: Joe Cole, wasn’t used for the second successive game.

    Capello limited his options with the squad that he took to South Africa and his chickens have well and truly come home to roost. Even if England lack a crop of players with real international pedigree, there is no shortage of versatility and individuality amongst the English ranks which grace the Premier League every week. There are better wingers left at home in Johnson, Walcott and Etherington. There are better goalkeepers in Robinson and Harper and there are more potent goalscorers in Bent, Cole and Agbonlahor. Heskey has had a lot of criticism but his detractors should remember that he scored five more goals last season than Bobby Charlton did. There are arguably better midfielders than Barry and Lampard. The absence of versatility in Capello’s 23 man squad shouts at you from the rooftops, yet it shouts no louder after the draw with Algeria than it did when it was announced. He simply hasn’t anything to change it with and that’s all there is to it. Capello’s real mistakes took place weeks ago and last night was proof.

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