Germany demolished England 4-1 in what was an absolute clinic. Frank Lampard’s disallowed equalizier at the end of the first half could have changed things, but in all fairness the Germans were better at every position.
Miroslav Klose opened up the scoring in the 20th minute off of a long goal kick from Manny Neuer. England defender Matt Upson lost Klose in the box, and a late arriving David James could nothing about it. Credit where it’s due though for Klose, as he just as easily could have taken a dive in the box. Twelve minutes later, the Germans struck again. Thomas Muller was played in beautifully who crossed it over to Lukas Podolski for a relatively easy finish for the FC Colgone man. James probably should have done better, but make no mistake, 2-0 was an accurate scoreline at the time.
In the 37th, England got back in the game through the most unlikely of scorers. Matt Upson put Captain Steven Gerrard’s cross home, to bring one back for the Three Lions. Almost seconds later, Frank Lampard found the ball at his feet at the edge of the box and his sublime chip beat Neuer, who cleverly snatched the ball of his line and gave no indication that he was beaten. Replay evidence shows Lampard’s chip was clearly a goal, and England seemed to be punished by the soccer gods for their controversial winner versus Germany in the 1966 final.
The second half saw England trying to get back in the game, to no avail. Two textbook counters from Germany in the 67th and the 70th were both finished by Muller, and it was curtains for the English.
Lampard’s disallowed goal once again proves the need for goal-line technology. It would literally take seconds to make a determination, hardly taking anything from the game. This will be the headline in English papers tomorrow, but undeservedly.
Germany were clinical. Their timing, coordination and movement were nothing short of brilliant. The young Germans embarrassed the high-profile England stars.
Where did it go so horribly wrong for England? There was a large contingent of England fans who were thrilled that Rio Ferdinand’s injury would keep him out of the World Cup, but I am fairly certain they would take that back now. Both John Terry and Ferdinand had horrid seasons for both Chelsea and Manchester United. With an injured and then out of favor Ricardo Carvalho at Chelsea, Terry was exposed for being what he is. Terry is one the greatest stationary defenders on Earth right now, but without a compliment like Ferdinand or Carvalho (country and club) he is not very effective. While their options were limited at the back (an injured Ledley King and the inexperienced Michael Dawson), Capello’s hands were tied. There’s not a manager in the world who would have had the balls to drop Terry, so it’s hard to fault Fabio for not giving the likes of Dawson a run out.
Up front, where was Wayne Rooney? This was supposed to be his tournament, but for the second straight World Cup he was nowhere to be found. To be fair, their options are pretty limited in that regard as well. When you have to bring Emile Heskey in search of goals, sorry, your team has some serious issues. I think Capello was clearly wrong to go into this tournament with the Heskey/Rooney partnership. Heskey only partnered well with Michael Owen for England, and we’re talking about eight years ago. Defoe is not the ideal partner for Rooney, and while Crouch may be the best suited, he is certainly not close to world class. Their best option in my opinion would have been a 4-5-1, or a 4-4-1-1 with Gerrard playing behind Rooney. They have midfielders that are capable of scoring gobs of goals, but many of them failed to show up.
Lampard should have had his first World Cup goal today and was unlucky not to score another, but he has still yet to score a goal in the World Cup. The partnership of him and Gerrard in the midfield has never worked, and quite obviously will never work. Gareth Barry is no more than a pretty good holding midfielder. He has a sweet left foot and is at his best when he can play those diagonal balls to the wings. They lack cutting edge on the wings without Aaron Lennon or the excluded Theo Walcott in their starting 11, making Barry somewhat ineffective. He is a liability on the counter and Germany exposed him big time.
In the net, any logical fan could determine they do not have a keeper capable of winning any games for them. You need that in this competition. David James should have done better on two, maybe three goals today, but that’s David James. What did you expect from him? He came into the tournament as a backup to one of the worst, if not the worst starting keeper in the Premier League last season in Robert Green. Young Joe Hart is the best shot stopper of them all, but apparently his distribution problems were significant enough to warrant his place on the bench. It does not like the right call at this point, especially given Capello knew what he had in his first two choices.
Team dissention. It seems to always plague this group of players in particular, as there are two many egos in that locker room. Gerrard and Lampard have never been friendly, and when Gerrard was awarded the captaincy it set off a feud. As childish as it sounds, the last two weeks were filled with stories that the Londoners banded together in disapproval of Gerrard being named captain, and they felt Terry should get it back.
Point being, if Fabio Capello can’t make it work for England, who can? The answer invariably should be no one. Short of the “Special One”, you can’t argue there is a better suited manager to mold these talents and most importantly, personalities together. An English manager is almost surely to be the next step for England, if and when Capellos surely leaves his post.
England are headed home, and at no point during this tournament did they appear to be the contenders the media painted them out to be.