Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Capello Set to Carry Can for England Failings

As the dust settles on the burnt ashes of England’s world cup disaster and the inquest into its mind boggling failures begin, one man that may truly feel the sword of Damocles towering over his head is England manager Fabio Capello. The Italian manager, who had seemed so confident and self assured in England’s pre world cup press conferences following what was undeniably a highly successful qualifying campaign has seemingly subsequently been reduced to a stuttering buffoon in recent interviews, struggling with his English, using an interpreter and clutching to the same excuses that previous England managerial failures had clung to over the past few years in accounting for their team’s ongoing incompetence. Capello looks a frustrated and broken man – and who can blame him after such a wretched World Cup campaign for the English team.

The FA announced upon the arrival of England’s world cup squad’s return to the green fields of home that they would wait 2 weeks to decide on the future of the Italian. However, the question it seems may not to be whether they want Fabio to continue as England boss - but more a case of whether they can afford to get rid of him. If English football’s governing body had genuinely intended Capello to stay on as a spearhead of England’s Euro 2010 qualifying campaign, they would have immediately backed him publically and unashamedly following the national team’s defeat to Germany. Instead they have chosen a 2 week period of discussion thus illustrating their clear unrest at the Italian’s performance at the World Cup. A reported £12 million is needed just to get shut of Fabio Capello, and the FA’s wisdom of extending the mangers contract days before a major tournament now look very questionable indeed.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Woeful England Slump to Goalless Draw with Algeria

England produced an all round pitiful team performance as they were held to a 0 - 0 draw with Algeria in their second world cup fixture last night. The England side packed with highly paid internationally recognized names looked completely bereft of ideas as they struggled to produce any clear cut chances in the entire match, as the little known Algerians looked great value for a fully deserved World Cup point. England’s players often found themselves struggling with the basic elements of the game such as passing and controlling the ball in what was undeniably the worst effort they have produced under the current managerial regime.

As is so often the case, England’s biggest hopes lay in the form of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard - who both performed woefully under the spotlight of the international stage. Gerrard, once again acting as captain for the injured Rio Ferdinand produced arguably his worst performance in an England shirt, while Rooney was similarly ineffective, losing possession on numerous occasions before berating the England fans that had booed his side’s shambolic efforts at the final whistle. England now face an uphill battle to merely qualify from their group, and almost certainly must beat group leaders Slovenia on Wednesday afternoon if they are to progress beyond the preliminary stages of these World Cup finals.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

England Must Stand Up and Be Counted Against Fired Up Algeria

English football fans across the country are urging their team to stand up and be counted in tomorrows World Cup Group C fixture against an Algerian side that to some extent remain an unknown quantity. The African side have been fired up by recent quotes from Wayne Rooney in England’s press conference that they have seen as disrespectful of their footballing calibre. Nothing less than a win will do for Fabio Capello’s side after a lacklustre performance that led to a draw against the United States in their opening World Cup match - in which they failed to fashion many clear cut chances. German World Cup legend Franz Beckenbauer derided England’s efforts in a press conference earlier this week, and was quoted as describing the English national side as a “kick and rush” team, that had regressed under the leadership of their current manager. While this is a somewhat harsh summary after just 90 minutes of football, England know they still have a lot to prove if they are to silence the doubters of their World Cup credentials.

England will however be boosted by the return of holding midfielder Gareth Barry from injury, who’s neat and tidy play at the centre of the park was a critical element in the success of England’s qualifying campaign. Nonetheless, question marks still remain for the selection of the England side in key positions. One such area that remains the subject of great scrutiny is goalkeeper - following Rob greens devastating error against the USA. Capello’s alternatives David James has been struggling with an injury and young goalkeeper Hart is thought to lack sufficient international experience.

There is some great speculation also in terms of who should partner England talisman Wayne Rooney in England’s attack. In spite of ongoing criticism from the English media and fans alike, Emile Heskey was arguably one of England’s few shining lights against the USA, setting up the goal for Steven Gerrard and proving a strong and consistent outlet for his side throughout his time on the field. He may yet however be set to be replaced by pacey Tottenham front man Jermaine Defoe, who is thought to offer a greater threat and more prolific record in front of goal. Whoever England select tomorrow they know they must up their game if they are to stand any chance of winning the biggest prize in international football.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Humble Keeper Green Apologises to English Fans

England goalkeeper Rob Green has openly and publically apologised to English football fans after his disastrous mistake against the USA in England’s opening World Cup fixture last night. Green somehow managed to allow a Clint Dempsey grubber to squirm away from him when he was apparently in the correct position to cut out what had seemed to be a fairly innocuous shot from Fulham’s American midfielder. Some sources suggest that Green may now make way for the more experienced David James in England’s goal – although the Portsmouth star has himself had a season plagued by injury.

The keeper’s mistake proved costly for Fabio Capello’s side, as England failed to add to their 4th minute opener from captain Steven Gerrard to earn what will ultimately seem a frustrating 1 – 1 draw against a lively USA side. England must now rally quickly in order to secure victories against other group rivals Algeria and Slovenia if they are to avoid a shock exit in the preliminary group stages of the World Cup.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Brazil Confirm Final World Cup Warm Up Match Against Tanzania

The 5 time football World Cup winners Brazil have confirmed they will participate in a friendly match against Tanzania on the 7th of June 2010 as part of their final preparations before this summers World Cup finals get underway in South Africa. The world renowned Samba Stars will play the African nation in the National Stadium at Dar es Salaam before taking part in their opening World Cup Group G fixture against North Korea on the 15th of June.

Brazil are looking to add to their already unrivalled World Cup pedigree by taking home the biggest prize in world football for a sixth time, and not surprisingly therefore rank amongst this year’s tournament favourites alongside the likes of European Champions Spain, Argentina and England. Brazil coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player and now seeks to bring the trophy back to Brazil - but this time managing the team from the sidelines. The finals of World Cup 2014 are set to be held in Brazil, so Dunga and his players will surely want nothing more than to enter that tournament as reigning champions by triumphing in South Africa during 2010.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Walcott Humbled As Capello Slims 30 to 23 Ready For South Africa

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott was the most notable emission from England manager Fabio Capello’s final 23 man squad for the national team’s forthcoming World Cup campaign. The young speed merchant has seemingly paid the price for some disappointing recent performances in England’s friendly matches against Mexico and Japan. During these recent fixtures Walcott’s critics had suggested that while he had shown some glimpses of his great pace and willingness to take on the full back, he had consistently failed to deliver crosses into the box of sufficient quality for an international footballer - and the player has indeed seemed to have made little real progress over the last year in which he has been plagued by injury and inconsistent form.

With the absence of Theo Walcott, Capello’s final 23 man squad does in retrospect seem to offer a greater degree of balance with the addition of Michael Carrick as cover for Capello’s preferred holding midfield player Gareth Barry - who was today himself passed fit after a great deal of scrutiny by the England physio team. Joe Cole also played himself back into contention with a fine second half against England’s most recent opponents Japan - and offers a greater level of big tournament experience on which the coach can draw. The final 23 man squad will now fly out to host nation South Africa carrying the hopes of the English people on their shoulders - and no doubt dreaming of being the first England side to reach a World Cup Final since the country hosted and won the famous tournament back in 1966. For those who have been left behind the pain they feel must be immense - but you would feel that Walcott at least at the tender age of just 21 will remain hopeful that his chance on football’s greatest stage is still yet to come.