England Thrashed

Well, that was embarrassing.  The highlight of England’s world cup is therefore a 1-0 win over Slovenia, whose population is less than 2m and most people confuse it with Slovakia.

It was a good game to watch without a doubt, especially with England coming right back into the game after Germany inexplicably fell asleep immediately after the second goal.  They will need to learn to stay awake for 90 minutes if they want to win this thing for the fourth time (unless we cruelly suggest that West Germany, which no longer exists, was an altogether different country).   I was glad that the game ended 4-1 rather than 2-1, because had Lampard’s disallowed goal been the only thing dividing the two sides, we’d have four years of deluded English fans saying “We woz robbed!” and assuming they’d have won the inevitable penalty shoot out to go on and win the tournament, completely forgetting the generally woeful football that England have played in South Africa.

And woeful it was.  Despite some good attacking play, a few good chances, and the two goals (allowed or nay), England were outplayed for most of the match, and the word doesn’t even do justice to how the Gemans took apart the English defence.  Who was supposed to be marking Muller when he scored their third goal?  “World class” Ashley Cole that’s who: Muller was standing all on his own and had time to tie his bootlaces before belting in the shot that put the game completly beyond England.  So where was he? Standing about with the central defenders, watching on helplessly.  England’s defence never held its position properly and were embarrassingly outpaced on the break.  And as for their positioning before the first goal – which would have pleased anyone who had the German keeper in their fantasy league team and picked up unlikely points for a goal assist – the less said the better.  What I will say is credit to Klose for staying on his feet under Upson’s challenge.  He could have gone to ground and won the free kick; he didn’t, and scored the opening goal instead.

No doubt there will be dozens of calls for lessons to be learned from this beating, but alas I fear the wrong ones will be learned for the umpteenth time.  Take this piece of commentary from the BBC’s live feed:

You know, man for man, no-one will never, ever convince me that this Germany team has this much more ability in it than the England one. But the likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry just haven’t turned up. It’s hard to fathom why.

Well, yeah.  That’s the biggest problem the whole country has.  Nobody will ever be convinced that the players are not all Peles, Beckenbauers and Zidanes who mysteriously fail to play like them on every occasion.  Until the scales fall from your eyes and you realise that the players are really very ordinary then it’s always going to be “hard to fathom why” they got run off the park by a team of not-so-ordinary Germans.

Mark Lawrenson wasn’t any better in his analysis:

When they come away with England, something happens to these very good players. They play as a collection of individuals, not a team.

If only they did!  At least then we might have seen some good individual performances in a disjointed team.  Instead we had rubbish individual performances in a disjointed team, hence the 4-1 thrashing.  The players are not very good, and the results prove it time and again.

Garth Crooks is another who doesn’t get it and is fervently searching for some other explanation:

I’m in shock. I can’t believe we’ve seen some of the best players in the world, performing on the biggest stage of the world, not performing at all.

Not so shocking if you understand they are not and never were some of the best players in the world.

Chris Waddle gets it:

Why don’t the FA look at other countries and say ‘how do they keep producing this talent?’ Where is our Plan B? We haven’t got one. The back four can’t control the ball, can’t pass, we lack so many ideas it’s frustrating.

Yup.  It’s back to the drawing board.  Burgle a German sperm bank and start building for FIFA 2034.

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6 Responses to England Thrashed

  1. Tim Worstall says:

    “Burgle a German sperm bank ”

    Well, yes, although at the risk of being accused of the most horrendous racism….it wasn’t a German sperm bank that Germany raided to produce this team.

  2. Tatyana says:

    Tim*, unlike you, the Russians all over the world are yelling “England woz robbed!”
    See this: http://labas.livejournal.com/849449.html
    [some of them - in Germany] oh, there is no love lost for FIFA, that’s for sure.
    I wouldn’t risk translating the title and the comments of that post in a public place where occasional children might show up…ask Julia.

    *Tim, the author of the blog. Not the other Tim.

  3. Tim Newman says:


    Yes, I did notice that Polish and Turkish blood contributed to their efforts somewhat!


    I can’t remember the actual game against Slovenia which sent Russia out, but I take it there was something controversial in there! I’ll check it out. :)

  4. William Palfreman says:

    West Germany does exist, but its dropped the West part of the name. East German provinces formed themselves into states, seceded from the DDR and joined the Bundesrepublic. So legally it is East Germany that no longer exists and West Germany that is the whole of Germany today.

    HTH :)

  5. Cheeky Brit says:

    Chris Waddle, gets it because the Diamond Lights duo aka Waddle and Hoddle could score, shoot, pass with a somewhat godly like quality (take a look a some old Tottenham Hotspur footage) and beat people convincing.

    Its no surprise England went out and yes its about time the FA came up with plan B rather pushing the vastly over-rated EPL, which really should be renamed the World Premier League… However, what gets me most the lack computer support for the ref.

    The disallowed goal for calls time on the technophobic nature of FIFA – gone are the days of blurry images like the Maradonna ‘hand of god’ against England in ’86, fans can now watch football in multi angled 3D HD whilst in the Pub! Tennis moved on with the electronic net call and followed up with ‘hawk eye’, Cricket and Rugby too. Its not the England Germany game particularly but a catalogue of mistakes, France’s qualifying handball, USA off-side on-side goal, they all add up to make a poor spectator sport. Im not saying all decisions need to be taken away from refs but ball across the line is pretty basic. And Unfortunately the only people this mistake benefits is the FA who get another excuse for England being knocked out.

    For the English defeat I would like to blame the lack of English players in the EPL, however England werent any better prior to its phenomena

  6. Tim Newman says:


    Fair point, I stand corrected. I was hoping a German would bite, and whaddya know?! :)


    I’m sceptical that foreigners in the EPL is the reason England players are rubbish; that foreigners can come to a wet, cold island and push out the local talent is proof enough that the local talent isn’t that great to begin with. I don’t think the EPL is over-rated, I honestly think it is the best football league in the world. However, it is not great because it features the best football in terms of skill, technique, etc.; for that, the Spanish or Italian leagues would probably come top. But the combination of a huge variety of nationalities, the physicality, unreliable weather, and a whole load of other factors make the EPL the best to watch over a whole season, IMO. But hosting the best league does not translate into producing the best players. After all, we have hosted the best tennis tournament in the world bar none for decades, but rarely field more than a single player who is expected to go beyond the preliminary rounds.

    As for the TV technology…well, FIFA are showing us every tournament how amateurish they actually are, despite being a professional body. It is run by dinosaurs resistant to any kind of change.

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