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.