Friday, October 14, 2005

England's new found "confidence"

I must take the stories from the English press with a grain of salt. Much like some of the sports writing in big US markets where stories swing on a wild pendulum depending on the latest result, English press is not averse from short term memory issues. A few weeks ago the English were in turmoil, they had just suffered a terrible 1-0 loss at North Ireland and their world cup aspirations were on the rocks. This remained the mood after they barely beat a tough Austria team 1-0...but all of a sudden after defeating Poland, at the end of the match, they are being touted as "strong favorites" for next year's world cup: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/feature?id=252463&cc=5901

While I have stated that I felt England had the talent to do well in next year's world cup, I am not sure that their victory vs Poland should unleash irrational exhuberance over this team. There remain many holes -

Rooney, while he has the promise and talent to become a special player, he has not shown the discipline to control his temper. Teams will foul him, taunt him, and get under his skin knowing that the hot tempered youngster is just as likely get himself a red card as he is a goal. Something that both club and international teams have demonstrated works against him.

Midfield, while England has talented players - Lampard, Gerrard and Cole they don't really know what to do with Beckham....some argue they should drop him, leave him on the left,etc. Sven himself seems not to have a clue, playing him as a holding midfielder is slightly south of stupid.

Defense, what to do in the middle, go with an aging Campbell or trust in Ferdinand to pair with Terry...both have their own problems.

Goalkeeping...well as long as Calamity James is not in the net England is better off....

Let us not get too excited for England and their chances in next year's world cup, just look back a few months, they lose to North Ireland and get shelacked in Denmark 4-1....granted there remains 6 months until the World Cup but this is not where a team needs to be today to be annointed world beater in Berlin next summer.

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