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England ease pressure on Capello

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Phil McNulty | 18:08 UK time, Saturday, 26 March 2011

Cardiff

England arrived in Wales braced for high-intensity combat more akin to the Premier League than a Euro 2012 qualifier. They were greeted instead by the international equivalent of a testimonial.

Fabio Capello needed relief after a fortnight in which his inter-personal skills as well as his judgement were picked apart following his decision to reinstate John Terry as England captain at Rio Ferdinand's expense.

It was provided in abundance by an efficient England performance that saw the game won inside 14 minutes courtesy of goals from Frank Lampard and Darren Bent, plus the unwitting assistance of a Wales side that threw a bucket of icy water over the fire and passion of Cardiff's magnificently atmospheric Millennium Stadium.

Wales were so poor that it provided heavy perspective for anyone tempted to heap excessive praise on England, but Capello rightly took huge satisfaction from three of his most significant selections.

Aston Villa's Ashley Young won Lampard's penalty and provided the second on a plate for Bent to ensure the mindless jeering of both national anthems was as hostile as it got, despite all the talk of this being the "derby" of international fixtures.

Jack Wilshere looked as at home with England as Capello said he would be, playing soundly and sensibly to repay the faith the Italian publicly places in him.

Ashley Young

Young was not initially offered a professional contract by Watford - photo: Getty.

And Scott Parker, finally given the holding midfield role that looked to have eluded him forever when he missed out on World Cup selection for South Africa, was the glue that held Capello's new 4-3-3 formation in place, allowing Lampard and Wilshere to augment an attacking trio of Bent, Young and Wayne Rooney.

Terry returned to the role of captain as if he had never been away, but this was one of his easiest England tasks, with pantomime jeering prior to kick-off representing the full extent of his discomfort.

All in all a good day's work for Capello off the field and his players on it. And what of Capello's system, a departure for a coach seemingly inseparable from a 4-4-2 format? It worked a treat - although England will face more testing examinations than the one presented by Gary Speed's timid Wales.

Young won the man-of-the match award for an all-round effort that made a strong case for further inclusion, particularly if Capello sticks with this formula.

It was a display that brought particular pleasure to former England and Watford manager Graham Taylor, who gave an intriguing insight into Young's character from his time at Vicarage Road before moving to Villa Park.

Taylor, a BBC Radio 5 Live summariser at the Millennium Stadium, told me: "I know Ashley from my Watford days. I think he has things to offer. I think he has the pace, the delivery and now it is up to him.

"I was the manager when he was in the Academy, so I knew about this young boy we had. When I left he was in the process of coming through at youth level and it was decided by the people there that he wasn't going to be big enough or strong enough to hold himself in professional football.

"There was a youth team coach called Chris Cummins who was adamant that Watford should not let him go. They didn't offer him a professional contract, so Ashley asked Watford if they would they let him come in and train on a full-time unpaid basis with the youth team from the start of the season until December, also playing for them.

"He did it for nothing and they then realised that he had developed into their best player at youth level and they offered him a professional contract. They then sold him to Villa for £8.5m going up to £9.6m and if he moves on Watford get 15% of anything over that figure."

Taylor added: "It was a real sign of Ashley's character and the man that really needs a lot of praise is Chris Cummins, the youth development officer I brought in on a full-time basis. He stuck up for Ashley and thought he should be signed. He made them realise that they had probably made a mistake and offered him that contract."

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Fabio Capello defends England tactics

And Taylor believes there is more to come from Young, who is expected to quit Villa in the summer with Manchester United and Liverpool in pursuit.

He said: "He's quick but he has to learn if you're shaping to cross don't always kid people because your centre-forward is making a run.

"Sometimes he doesn't look up enough when he's in that crossing position because he is more intent on tricking the full-back than seeing where his centre-forward is. There were two or three occasions in Cardiff where Darren Bent made runs to the near post and the ball wasn't delivered."

Taylor was equally impressed with Parker's contribution, a continuation of the impressive form he has displayed for West Ham United this season.

"Scott's father passed away recently," said Taylor, "so it was a tremendous performance just to be out there and what he did really pleased me.

"Parker was the holding midfield player and I really hope Fabio has seen this because he had him with him for the squad of 30 before the World Cup but never picked him. By all accounts he hardly spoke to him in training then and yet this boy has had a first class season for West Ham.

"He was very important to England in that three in midfield. I think it is now going to be very difficult for Gareth Barry and I think Capello may yet have this Gerrard-Lampard conundrum again because if you're going to play Gerrard in that formation you would play him in Frank Lampard's position.

"Parker was protecting the five more attack-minded players if the ball broke down as well as shielding his two centre-backs. I just thought to myself: 'Fabio, you might have found a formation with the right players in it.' The modern day parlance is a 4-3-3 and in international football I think you need three players in the middle of the pitch instead of two because against better teams you just get outplayed."

For all the pleasure England will gain, the loss was another blow to Wales' morale and to manager Speed's hopes of reviving their fortunes. Four losses and no points in qualifiers tell the painful story.

True Wales were robbed of their finest player, Tottenham's Gareth Bale, through injury - but there was more than a Bale-sized gulf between the sides and Speed faces a mammoth task.

Capello was not complaining, however, and the win means he can now move the agenda on from the contentious issue of captaincy to the business of qualifying for Euro 2012, a task made easier by the comfortable dismissal of Wales.

And as a former England manager well-acquainted with the unique pressures of the role, Taylor said: "Fabio will be very happy. It was a competent, professional performance, although it was against a very poor Welsh side when judged by international standards.

"They won in a comfortable manner and it will take pressure off the manager. Having been in that position myself, when the criticism comes from all around it does have an effect on the players, the authorities, everyone and it would only have increased had they lost.

"He has been getting criticism, some of it deserved because of his handling of the captaincy situation, but this win has taken the pressure off him and he can think about the Ghana friendly and the game in June against Switzerland, which is so important."

And that is exactly what Capello will have wanted after the soap opera that has accompanied his every move in recent weeks.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Capello was really in a no-win situation with this match. The result is welcome but considering the relative strength of the opposition it was only to be expected. Any other sort of result and the press would have been all over him.

    Nice to see a solid performance though, especially with the new formation. I doubt it will be used against stronger teams but its a good strategy when England need to be more aggressive against the smaller or weaker teams.

  • Comment number 2.

    Comfortable win for England today, but was disappointed that they didn't push harder for more after going two up so early on. Wales looked there for the taking and would have been nice to see England really punish them and get a few more. They looked lacklustre in the second half, but Wales never looked like threatening our goal. Either way it was a good win, but shows very little about how much improvement there was when the opposition was so ineffective, though playing against small opposition has usually caused us problems in the past in breaking them down.

    Parker looked good, but faced few threats, Young followed up his good performance against Denmark, Bent made good runs and Wilshere almost thread through some good passes. Johnson proved his worth going forward from right back and with an excellent ball for the second, but defencively he's the weak link.

    Interesting point about Young almost being released by Watford. This just highlights how much (wrongly in my opinion) clubs in England value strength and physique at a young age when we should be focussing on technique and skill more. Clubs need to wait until players reach at least 22 before fully judging them and giving them more development time. Too many bigger, more physical players are kept on because they offer more instant success while those developing later are released. Full credit must go to his youth coach and to the player himself, who was willing to go the extra mile, work hard, and all for nothing. Good on him, and he's getting his rewards now.

  • Comment number 3.

    A good result and it\s nice to see one England team win today........

    Oh wait, is this the point where we're supposed to say that we can now win Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014?

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes England played well and I agree the formation and personell like good, Parker, Wilshere, Young etc, but I fear the media will now blow the importance of this win to stupidly inflated heights. Leading up to every major tournament the press build up a sense of euphoria and invincibility about the England team, which lulls the public into actually believing we could go and win the world cup, euro's etc. It always ends in tears. Lets just let the team get on with it and go into Euro 2012 with quiet confidedence, take the pressure off them and see what happens. I know this will never happen, thanks to the gruelling media spotlight our national team has to endure. On the pitch we looked good, quite fluent, and the players looked like they cared. I fully agree with the selection of Parker, a man who has been in outstanding form with the Hammers. Now, I know its an outside shout, but how about bringing Joey Barton into the team, a man also in outstanding form with his club. I know he's had his off the pitch troubles, but he seems rerasonbly rehabilitated, and could partner Parker or Wilshere well. Its time to get ris of the old guard, the men that have consistently failed at major tournaments. Fabio should try something new, like he seems to be doing slightly, with Parker, Bent and Caroll.

  • Comment number 5.

    The selection of Parker, and the acknowledgement of how well he played, makes me wonder why nobody turned to him to be the new England captain. Sure, he's not hugely experienced at international level, but everyone knows how well he leads West Ham, and he's certainly been around long enough not to be daunted by big occasions. He was outstanding today, should have got MotM.

    #3,4: I don't think we ever will, but England do have the requisite talent in the side to win at least the Euros if not the World Cup. But like I said, I don't think we will. Especially not with Capello in charge. He takes a view to football like Mancini: if it's a tough game, play for a draw, and then oops, you've slipped up and then you lose. Maybe it's an Italian thing.

  • Comment number 6.

    Perhaps the reason English football performs so poorly at national level is because there are so many "specialists" talking so ourmuch nonsense.

    This was an easy win but a very poor performance by England. It may have been a 2 hours drive from London but it was not an away international fixture. England won performing poorly, creating few and far iin between goal scoring opportunities, playing boring football.

    ...and after 2-3 days of pointless opinions expressed in noumerous articles, what do the specialists come with? ...Capello may have found a winning formula.

    Nonsense has no end in English football and, when your job includes a pen or a microphone, it pays much better than deserved.

    How disappointing!

  • Comment number 7.

    Are you kidding. All that happened today was Capello finally woke up to what the WH supporters have been telling him since before the WC, (it seems even he gets it if you hit him enough times with a 4x2) that Scott Parker was the perfect man to solve England's midfield problems. Had he been there at the WC, I guarantee England would have had a much, much better tournament.

  • Comment number 8.

    People need to relax. While I'm not one to always agree with Mr. McNulty, to his credit he goes out of his way to not only say that England played against a vastly inferior side, but also that sterner tests await. And I'm sure England's play reflected the level of their opposition; I only caught the last 15 minutes. Perhaps the "winning formula" bit was purely a remark that, at least in this case, the new 4-3-3 formation seems to work. England won after all, didn't they?

  • Comment number 9.

    Wilshere must simply be a nailed on starter from now on. I don't understand after such an assured and brilliant performance, why he only get's one mention in this blog. Remember he is only 19years of age, and this was his FIRST competitive cap.
    This is mot about 'repaying' Capello's faith. You're talking as if Wilshere is a old player who has been kept in the side by Capello, even though there are calls for him to be dropped. NO, Wilshere is simply too good not to be starting anymore. He doesn't have to repay anyone's 'faith'. He's simply in the team because he's playing like a world-beater at 19 years of age.

    In my opinion, the midfield trio of England must be this as soon as Stevie G returns:

    .....Parker....Wilshere....
    .........Gerrard............

    Capello MUST stick with 4-3-3. The position on the right wing is between Young and Walcott. And Bent must do more than just score tap-ins if he's to keep Carrol out. Rooney will carry on playing wide until he REALLY returns to form.

  • Comment number 10.

    In case anyone's interested, a Welshman's view of the game

    Went into the game expecting a comfortable England win and hoping for Wales to put in a good performance. Whilst I was of course hoping for the underdog to have his day, this current Welsh side is completely lacking in morale, experience and confidence which is a legacy of repeated depressing limp performances under Toshack. Add this to the fact we are a small country with a limited amount of quality players, and those that we have are young, inexperienced and/or frequently injured and it's not surprising that Wales' rankings are in 3 figures.

    We will never know what Gary Speed's tactics were for this game, as the Welsh achilles heel of amateur defending showed itself twice in the first 15 minutes and effectively the game was already over. Wales were shell shocked and settled in to a damage limitation policy of zero risk passes in the Welsh half to prevent things from quickly getting worse. England compounded this by pressing the Welsh players when they had the ball very well, with Parker the best player on the pitch. Net result was that Wales played so far within themselves that it was almost a training exercise of attack vs defense, with Wales rarely getting beyond the half way line. (Think Barca vs Arsenal at the Nou Camp but with 1/20th of the quality)

    2nd half things improved as Wales played a bit higher up the pitch, and looked to pass the ball forward more. England were still on cruise control so were happy for Wales to have the ball and Wales slowly improved, especially after Vaughan and Evans came on. For the duration of the 2nd half England didn't really look like scoring but that was because they didn't need to, they were still in 2nd gear and Wales were more in the game.

    I was personally happy with the Welsh performance in the 2nd half and hope we can build on that for future games, although I am fully aware that you cant read too much into the 2nd half as England were going through the motions.

    England weren't anything special, but the poor Welsh start meant that they didn't need to be. I think that Wales kept their pride (15 mins in it looked like being a cricket score) but clearly still have a very long way to go before they can begin to consider that challenging for play-offs is a realistic proposition.

  • Comment number 11.

    Quick word on the ref:

    Collins was clumsy, Young went down far to easily and it was soft penalty, but it was still a penalty.

    7 yellow cards were issued but it really wasn't that kind of game. Only 2 or 3 were worth a card, the others were just usual fowls that you get in every Premiership game.

    Bit unnecessary really.

  • Comment number 12.

    Same old same old. England will qualify, but, as normal, will fail when it matters. You can't draw any conclusions, observations or hope from a game like this. The ebb and flow of commentary on the England national team is tedious to be overly polite.

  • Comment number 13.

    It's also worth consideration that the Welsh defense were atrocious, Ledley's performance was one of the worst I've ever seen by him, Speed's tactics were too negative, and the team wasn't balanced. Not a formidable opposition.

  • Comment number 14.

    LOL!

    "Graham Taylor tells Phil McNulty that Fabio Capello might have found winning formation "

    Two points to make:

    1) Darren Bent is never international class - is the national team really that desperate?

    2) If England try to play 4-3-3 against a decent footballing nation they will get ripped to pieces.

  • Comment number 15.

    Was there a match on?

  • Comment number 16.

    come of it mcnulty - young had a good game but against a very poor defence. he and bent are not top class international standard. we played well for 15 minutes against a dreadful team. improved performance but nothing too impressive. surely walcott will replace young when fit anyway...

  • Comment number 17.

    and just to add that as a west ham fan i was very pleased for scott parker to have played and played very well. he's had an excellent season and is an admirable player. he deserves his place.

  • Comment number 18.

    I watched the game (which, as a Welsh football fan was difficult at times) and as far as I could see, there were very few plus points for England: they did their job with minimum fuss. To be brutally honest, I was expecting a cricket score. It wasn't so much an astoundingly good England performance as an absolutely dreadful and tactically naive Welsh performance, especially in the first 20 minutes.

    It's incomprehensible how a Welsh defence which has several good quality players could play so abysmally. I'm not saying that they're world class or anything of the sort- that would be preposterous- but we've seen distinctly average teams keep out quality opposition in European games over the last decade. These are players who play for their clubs regularly at premiership and top 6 of the championship level.
    They played very poorly today.

  • Comment number 19.

    #14

    Seriously? Bent may not have amazing technique, but he scores goals. 3 goals in 9 caps for England, and one of the most consistent goal-scorers in the Premiership even since his Charlton days. What else do you want him to do to prove himself?

  • Comment number 20.

    #14

    Rooney wasn't there to tap it in was he. Rooney is never there to tap in a goal. Darren Bent will score goals - he's always scored them no matter who for and that will include England if he is given a chance. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if I was a striker and scored around 20 league goals a season all of them unspectacular tap ins off my crotch then I would still be a highly thought of player.

  • Comment number 21.

    G_K___ Comment 14 wrote "If England try to play 4-3-3 against a decent footballing nation they will get ripped to pieces".

    Why will they please get ripped to pieces? 4-3-3 is played by pretty much every top side at club and international level, from Barcelona and Real Madrid onwards.

    England have failed to compete at international football for years because of their successive managers reluctance to play it despite the fact that most of our players play it at club level, sticking to the nonsense that we are more comfortable with 4-4-2.

    4-3-3 gives the team balance, a holding midfield player to protect the back four and allow the attacking players freedom. Also the chance to control the game and keep possession, something we have failed to do in tournaments for years.

    It is only shocking that it takes Capello this long to "stumble" across the formula that has been obvious to most football watchers for years.

    This was only a victory against a disappointing Wales side, but the balance in midfield in this game is what went a long way to making sure Wales never got a foothold in it.

    Lets hope Capello now sticks with a midfield that contains a holding player (Parker) alongside a technically gifted passer (Wilshere) with a more offensive box to box midfielder (Lampard or Gerrard). There should be no Lampard Gerrard conundrum anymore, it should be one or the other. Both are getting on, more prone to injuries and less likely to play 90mins anyway.

    A midfield of balance will allow England to compete in major tournaments, I am not saying win them, but at least compete, something we have failed to do for too long. However, I am not holding my breath that this is a new dawn as Capello is too stubborn and I believe will soon revert to his trusted and failing 4-4-2.

  • Comment number 22.

    re: bent definitely a divisive figure.

    capello didn't think he was good enough to go to the world cup - he had his chances and blew them all. who was saying 'he bangs them in' then? (it's not like he's been more prolific in the league this season than others either) but like other players eg ashley young he's got his chance because others underperformed in south africa, he got another chance he didn't really deserve, and is suddenly good enough when he wasn't a few months back.

    he's 27 years old now so if he was good enough he'd have got himself in the team long ago.

    not that i can think of any stand-out goalscorer to replace him. i suppose it shows how desperate our pool of players is when he's first team!

  • Comment number 23.

    #22 You can knock Bent if you want, but he does the job. Check his figures, he's been a solid scorer, even at clubs outside the big-howevermany, ie Charlton and Sunderland. He scored against Switzerland, now against Wales, he doesn't do much else, but he scores and that's what actually wins games.

    His age is hardly an issue either, 27? He's probably got 5 years left at his prime, possibly longer, depending on how he adapts his game. Easier to support his goals than condone his lack of work, surely?

  • Comment number 24.

    just sayin that you would expect most international-standard 27 year olds, especially those with the sort of standards england have, would have more than 9 caps and 3 goals to their name.

    and not to specifically knock a player who scores goals, but his record at a club like sunderland wasn't that amazing - i mean the team was built around him to score goals

  • Comment number 25.

    I'd only consider it a 'winning formula' if it can beat the likes of Germany that took us to school during the world cup.

    Otherwise, those same old three magic words still applies to England and internationals: NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

  • Comment number 26.

    Maybe so, but a lot of players have only proven themselves as they've got older. Drogba wasn't exactly "world class" when Chelsea first signed him, but until this year he's apparently been the best striker in the world.

    Sunderland and probably Charlton too, may have built their team around Bent, but surely that's good tactics to focus on the striker's best asset? All teams focus on their best assets, thus Stoke have so many tall players to fit in with the quality of set pieces

  • Comment number 27.

    "if I was a striker and scored around 20 league goals a season all of them unspectacular tap ins off my crotch then I would still be a highly thought of player."

    Personally, I'd find that a bit creepy.

  • Comment number 28.

    true again - wouldn't call bent one of these drogba-esque late-bloomers considering his scoring record has been pretty consistent for a number of years at a number of clubs. but i take the point and the goals and experience might just give him a confidence boost. i have my severe doubts over his quality but he's a very divisive figure anyway.

    i think when 'Arry becomes kingpin i'd worry for bent's future. wasn't a great manager of the player, didn't seem to be a huge fan and said that thing about that sitter at his mum could have put in

  • Comment number 29.

    2:0 against Wales? And that's it, Capello is once again the man to lead England to glory?????
    No disrespect to Wales, they are currently in disarray and need to build up the team around a group of up and coming players, but two:nil and everything's alright again?

    No, Capello demonstrated how out of touch he is with any given number of situations by completely botching the captiancy issue.
    Letting the current captain "find out" via the media, not even having the decency to tell him in advance, face to face. Poor show that, and just because he adopts a different formation, so what? Every other national team would adapt their formation to play to the opponents weaknesses and strengths, as a matter of course.

    If England can win two:nil against Germany, Holland, Brazil or Spain, then I might sit up and take notice, but against Wales who are going through a lean period at the moment, na it's not enough to convince me.

    I bet England will struggle against Switzerland, would Germany, no. Germany would expect to win 3:0 or 4:0, without even trying too hard, when England start doing that then I might reconsider my opinion.

  • Comment number 30.

    So against a weakened Wales (that didn't even perform well!!) one goal from a Pen Kick and other from a tap in. And after a mountain of media hype (never before =?)

    Great, roll on Germany, the Grudge Comeback then xD

  • Comment number 31.

    i watched the germany game and most of england's and i'm afraid they'd have made complete mincemeat of us if we played them again next week.

    if anything they've improved since the world cup and have top youngsters flooding through. looking so bleak for us in comparison. no matter what the usual hype-machine might say about players like (i'm at it again!) bent and young we are still miles behind them

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm a Sunderland fan, and I barely rated Bent, but the game is about goals and that's what you get with him. Agreed, presuming Redknapp takes over, Bent will be out of it unless he scores 10 hat tricks for England by the time Capello leaves. Not quite sure who'll replace him though, Sturridge on loan at Bolton seems like he's coming good though.
    Still have no idea what I'm gonna see of Carroll at Liverpool and England. Can't help but worry he'll get penalised for every challenge like Crouch was in World Cup 2006, and he needs to improve his temper if he wants to seriously challenge to be England's number 9

  • Comment number 33.

    #32 NickNack as a sunderland fan how do you rate welbeck? saw him a bit before this season but seems to be developing promisingly this year. listening to capello he seems to want carroll in there soon. bit of a punt on a player who's just about to finish his first full season in the premiership and as you say has a temper. i've seen enough good about him to say he could be quality, but players like him certainly don't always. he should get his go though i think, definitely.

  • Comment number 34.

    England have failed to compete at international football for years because of their successive managers reluctance to play it despite the fact that most of our players play it at club level, sticking to the nonsense that we are more comfortable with 4-4-2.

    ******************************

    The main reason why England managers haven't used other systems, is simply because the players can't handle it.

    The technical awareness isn't there, it is simply not taught, only when England players feature in teams where there are only a few other English players can they "fit in".

    Constantly changing the shape and formation during a game just doesn't work when all eleven players on the pitch are English. Sven played with formations as did Capello to start with, but all reverted to 4-4-2 when it came down to it. Mainly because the players aren't up to playing with a sweeper, playing 3-5-2, or 3-4-3 or whatever. When do your kids play that sort of football at school?

    It's another reason we never win a penalty shoot-out, only a few years ago were FA Cup games decided by endless replays, great for the fans, but not great for practicising under pressure penalty shoot-outs.

    It's just a different culture, the formation is not key in the EPL, speed and staying on your feet is paramount. Unfortunately, when you get Spanish teams that play the exact opposite way and are fantastic at possesion football and passing, it is then you see the limits of the high speed, high impact game.

  • Comment number 35.

    When Gerrard is fit, Lampard rather than Parker or Wilshire needs to be dropped.

  • Comment number 36.

    Firstly. Emile Heskey should be starting up-front. on his own. Fabio should do all he can to get him out of retirement. i'm sure you all agree.

    Secondly. 4-3-3 is the best formula, we wouldn't be ripped apart against bigger opposition, providing we had a full strength team who were up for the game (which is the tricky part). Obvs Gerrard has first dibs in midfield, followed by Wilshere now. That third spot is up for grabs. parker is good, barry is not. rodwell might be on the scene come the Euro's, or maybe Nicky Butt can be persuaded to put his boots on again. Personally i like lampard. does the job for chelsea (i'm a utd boy) and is a good influence to have around.

    thirdly. young/lennon/walcott/A.johnson/milner/rooney are all good enough for the wing roles in a 4-3-3, but who would be up-front? Bent is good, but wouldn't run rings around Italy's, France's, Germany's defence. Defoe needs more games for Harry (good chap), and Carroll needs to justify his 35mil price tag. defence speaks for itself still providing no injuries, although rio is getting closer to being pushed out of the squad by dawson/jags.

    Finally. England won't be winning any major tournaments for a while unfortunately (in my opinion). Spain/Germany/France(recently)/Italy(maybe)/portugal/russia and luxembourg are all better than us.


  • Comment number 37.

    Firstly, very impressed with Young and Parker. Two players that I have felt should be part of the England team for a long time, especially the latter.

    But let's face it. Wales are 116th in the world for a reason. They were dreadful in the first half. They improved a lot when Evans and Vaughan came on (surprised Vaughan didn't start) but they played like a team ranked 116th in the world. I think we can all see England getting torn apart by a good team.

    I certainly want to look at positives but if you really look at the match there isn't that many apart from Parker and Young. Bent did exactly what he does, score a goal and not a lot more. Lampard was very much the same in my opinion and surely if this formation stays Gerrard will replace him, but I can see Capello dropping Parker because that's just what he does (despite being the best on the pitch, all season!).

    I thought Terry looked shaky when Bellamy and Ramsey ran at him but they didn't try it enough, have we all forgotten how fantastic Jagielka played in the last England games!? Everyone was raving about him and then he doesn't play here!

    I'm not convinced that anything has actually changed again and it's only a matter of time until it's 'same old story' again.

  • Comment number 38.

    Why was Speed even given that job?! It seems they're looking to recreate the Hughes era, but he had Speed, Giggs, Savage, Hartson, Davies, Jones, Pembridge, Delaney, Coleman et al to call on. The current squad are not in the same league & are crying out for a wiley tactician to make them hard to beat, as Sanchez made N. Ireland.

    No disrespect to Speed but he's had just 6 months experience as a manager & it's probably too much too soon. It was men against boys yesterday & quite embarrassing to watch, even though i'm an Englishman!

    It seems a case of football's decision makers perhaps making a mistake...............who'd have ever thought that would happen eh?!

  • Comment number 39.

    Difficult what to read into this game. England did what they had to, got off to a flyer, but after the second I thought faffed around, and I could feel a little anger simmering, because if Wales had got one, it would have been a nervy end to the game when we should have been out of sight. Wales were unbelievably poor, so England didn't need to be very good. Not sure we would have been 2 up against a decent team, but you can only play who's put in front of you.

    What often doesn't get mentioned, and is very important, is the pitch. It was terrible, not conducive to free flowing football, but as I've noticed with David Silva for Man City this season, this is when gulfs in technique come to the fore, and Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere overcame the pitch better than most yesterday I thought. I'm very happy to see Jack Wilshere starting for England. We're so used to seeing our players moving the ball around like they're stuck on a table football bar. It's so predictable with A passing to B on the same bar or another one. Jack doesn't play on the bars, he plays in the big pockets between them, which throws the opposition out of joint and creates space for his teammates. For this, Arsene Wenger has to be commended.

    I agree Scott Parker played a good game. I hope he's up to the truer tests that lie in store.

  • Comment number 40.

    Lampard doing anything even mildly incisive = not gonna happen. Resting on the laurels of being in a good Chelsea squad. Gerrard has to replace him on return and Wilshere and Parker, two of the only players who derserve plaudits for yesterdays performance, should stay right where they are.

  • Comment number 41.

    with pantomime jeering prior to kick-off representing the full extent of his discomfort.

    about as effective as the pantomime media coverage regarding him which we was followed by a lesser reported apology!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Capello found the winning formula against Wales... Let's see how his winning formula does against teams that move more, press more, have better technique, pass better, read the game better - in short, those that play 'brain football' - the Germanys, Spains, Frances etc..

  • Comment number 43.

    I am an Iraqi but I am a fan of the English team since forever.
    I liked the way England played last night, they were fantastic at the first 30 minutes and they showed a glimpse of how good they can play in this new improved formula. After they finished the game so early, I don't think they needed to bring more effort and to exhaust the players so they cooled the match and started playing like a training session. At least this is what I kept telling to myself!
    I can't wait for the Ghana match to prove that.

  • Comment number 44.

    I agree with #40 but we need to look at fresher faces as well if players are out of form. Jack Rodwell maybe?

    Our problem is not really midfield or defense but the no 9 shirt. In this new system if it is to continue who is the best candidate? It needs to be a good finisher with a lot of pace. The one that springs to mind is Defoe but at the moment he has thrown away his shooting boots.

    Carroll - too slow
    Bent - Not good enough
    Defoe - ideal but out of form
    Crouch - too slow, gives away too many free kicks

    Maybe the young Sturridge is worth a look ,he seems to fit the mould. I personally think we should use Rooney is that position. We have a long list of good wingers so we do not need Wayne out there.

  • Comment number 45.

    It's times like these when I begin to feel sorry for the England Team because no matter what they do, you still have people moaning.

    I've read the responses to these England blogs for a while now and people have suggested changing formation, bringing in new players, dropping players.

    For all the mishaps that has occurred,this is what Capello has done.

    Switching to 4-3-3, bringing in Wilshere and Parker and not relying on the "Golden Generation".

    I recognise we were playing Wales and we have won anything above 3-0, but we won. Surely that's the main thing? And no-ones expecting us to go and now beat Germany or Spain. Get a grip people, enjoy the win and stop moaning.

    Also, can people stop moaning about the Captaincy subject? It has nothing to do with anything. And you don't know the entire story. J.T is captain again and Rio/Gerard aren't. Get over it, it's such a pointless subject it's not worth lambasting Capello over.

    Enjoy the fact that England haven't lost and currently top their group.








    ......oh wait, I forgot, it only means something against big teams.

  • Comment number 46.

    Scott Parker is a delight to watch, a brilliant player who both holds and can dictate forward postional openings.He is also in many ways a older version of Wilshire. England and Wilshire can learn a lot from his play.Admittingly no disrspect to Wales but they are not really in the likes of tje teams England will have to come up against in the future. He is though a delight to watch

  • Comment number 47.

    Nice to see some progress with the newer inclusions. Really it is all down to application. Parker gives 110% every match as does Wilshire. Not like some other recent England performers....
    Suddenly it seems we have 2 good players fighting for each position, Capello got it right ( well it was Wales) this time. when will the juggling end?

  • Comment number 48.

    Never complained about any of your blogs before Mc, but asking me to take Taylors word seriously is streching my patience. You should have left this a few days, April 1st is just round the corner.

  • Comment number 49.

    5. At 22:17pm on 26th Mar 2011, sheffieldharry wrote:

    England do have the requisite talent in the side to win at least the Euros if not the World Cup. But like I said, I don't think we will. Especially not with Capello in charge. He takes a view to football like Mancini: if it's a tough game, play for a draw, and then oops, you've slipped up and then you lose. Maybe it's an Italian thing.
    ------------------
    That'll be why Italy have only won the world cup four times.

  • Comment number 50.

    let's not get carried away, it was only Wales after all. Like someone else said, a no-win situation. I still don't really rate Young either, and against the better sides he wouldn't do what he did to Wales.

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm still waiting for the 'roots and branch' investigation we were promised by the F.A after our failure to qualify for the Euro's under Steve McClaren. Nothing has changed except me becoming more and more disillusioned with the English game

  • Comment number 52.

    Bent took his goal very well, but he seemed well short of pace to me and certainly not quick enough to worry international class defenders.

    If Capello plays 4-3-3 then it really will be between Gerrard and Lampard and I suspect Gerrard will struggle more in that formation. Not because he is not better than Lampard, but I just don't think he can play the role required in that formation alongside Parker and Wilshire.

  • Comment number 53.

    Let's not make too much of a nothing match. Easy win for England but we cannot confidently say that most of England's midfield and defensive problems are solved. Long way to go yet and rebuilding hasnt yet begun.

  • Comment number 54.

    I think that this 4-3-3 formation has been a long time coming, this the formation that all the top teams around the world are using, it is perfect for dominating a game as you have more players in the middle to link and interchange positions and keep the ball, but you can also stretch the opposition if you have wingers, which england certainly do in wlacott lennon young jhonson, and if you have a goalscorer in bent or defoe or a target man in carroll or crouch or heskey, i don't think the 4-3-3 formation will suit rooney however as he will not want to play out wide or as a lone striker as he likes to roam about and look for the ball. I think that the wilshere lampard and parker partnership looks like a good one, and even with someone like huddlestone in there as he has a great passing range. Also england have good attacking full-backs in cole and jhonson so i think that this change in formation can only be a positive one for england.

  • Comment number 55.

    i think people just need to get off darren bents case, he scored a goal, which the last time i checked is what a striker is supposed to do! he's scored consistantly throughout his career, and been overlooked by england unfairly in the past by succesive managers. he's now getting a shot at a run in the team, give the guy a break. he's about a million times better than heskey ever was, and he scored virtually no goals for england!!

  • Comment number 56.

    Until England rid themselves of Capello, they will not be successful. The Capello style of play is boring and not very pleasant to watch. They need to get an Englishman in to do the job and bring a bit of spark back to the performance. Even under Redknapp i don't think England would do much damage in a major competition but entertainment value would certainly be increased. Top english players simply struggle to play well together and i've never understood why this is.
    Plus, beating Wales isn't exactly world beating stuff, when it comes to playing the top teams, this will prove Capello's worth and see if has learned.

  • Comment number 57.

    Wait for after the next game for a blog on how England can't play 433 and should stick to 442

  • Comment number 58.

    I've been a wales fan for 36 years or since I was born, and really england should take nothing from this result as this is the worst wales team I have ever known. They would struggle to beat a league one side nevermind an international team, we are about as good as the faroe islands. England should really have blown us away 6 or 7 nil, if we had plyed a spain, holland or brazil they would've have beat us by 10, thats how poor a team we have had the moment, so I was'nt really impressed with England and for capello to say his formation was key is a bit of a false dawn, as he would've won what ever the formation was, so be a bit realistic England fans and not get too excited and actually look at what you beat, a sub standard league one side with a couple of average premiership players if that, bellamy plays in the championship, collins has never really been that good and ramsey is only 20 inexperienced returning from a serious injury apart from that who have you beaten?

  • Comment number 59.

    England played adequately against a third tier team

    What was worrying was the reluctance to press home thier advantage after having gone two nil early on

    The lack of pace and apparent unwillingness to commit players to breaks belies a lack of ambition which against better teams will be punished. A better opposition would have punished England's defence in the second half

  • Comment number 60.

    im sorry to be negative,but this result was a formality,a poor wales side that never at any point put our midfield or defense under any sustained pressure,what pluses can we take out of this game?the emerging talent of wiltshire maybe,thats it for me,then again we can only beat whats in front of us,job done as for the future?who knows,the greater tests ahead are against a better class of opponent !!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Interesting point made at comment #2 about the physically stronger players getting selected and signed ahead of the technically gifted lpayers. The rise of the technically limited “reducer” has led to players who watch the player and not the ball like Nigel De Jong taking up prominent roles in elite teams.

    The modern defensive midfielder first came to light through Claude Makélele who was key in Chelsea's success in Jose Mourinho's seasons in charge before he was released. Since then it seems like every 'big' english club has taken on that formation with Ramires/Essien at Chelsea, Carrick/fletcher at Man Utd, Song/Diaby at Arsenal, Mascherano before he left at Liverpool, Palacios/Huddlestone at Tottenham, Rodwell at Everton, Petrov at Aston Villa, Barry/De Jong at Man City. It just seems to be the way to go and it has become the base formation for clubs since it was proved to have worked.

    In a world where teams like Spain, Germany, Barcelona or Arsenal have the ability to turn defense into swift attack the deep defensive midfielder is a must. In youth teams they will not face that kind of swift attack the “reducer” is less effective, especially if they are keeping a more skilful player out of the team.

    What I don't understand is when Capello was managing AC Milan in the 1993/1994 Season and he played Marcel Desailly in the holding midfield role which was one of the first times it had been done, they won the Champions League. Why he has been so reluctant when it is the way the best teams play I don't know. England are no Spain and our technical ability is nowhere near good enough and our squad selection rotation means our players are constantly playing with new players and there isn't a lot of gelling within the team. Spain have the majority of players playing for the same clubs because those are the best players and they gel at those clubs and so they gel at international level. We need to pick a squad and stick with it so the players know who they're playing with and have an idea of the strengths and limitations of the players. Easier said than done because I don't agree with picking one squad and sticking to it because new players will rarely get the caps but we aren't going to win a major tournament unless we change our attitude and start adopting formations and squad selections like the big teams do. But saying all this...do we really want a player who will karate kick a player to break down an attack?

    Comfortable win for England which was the equivalent of watching Chelsea playing Coventry and would have been good to see more goals but we got the midfield just right and Bent up front was a good call as well with Young and Rooney supporting. Bad points though, shame Matt Jarvis didn't get a run out, seems that calling him up to the squad but then not playing him is a bit cruel to be honest. Qualification should be no problem but not much to get excited about in terms of winning Euro 2012.

  • Comment number 62.

    i think people just need to get off darren bents case, he scored a goal, which the last time i checked is what a striker is supposed to do!
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The game has moved on a long way from the Lineker days, and strikers have to do a lot more than just score goals in modern football, even more so in a 4-3-3 formation.

  • Comment number 63.

    The only way Wales had a chance of a decent performance yesterday was to play with a passion that befits the rank underdogs. Having reviewed the squad players, and more importantly their country of birth, i.e. England, I ask what "real" passion must some of these player have, when playing against the team that is in real terms their country of birth. As a passionate Welshman myself, I believe it's time to concede defeat when we are reliant on the most tenuous of links to muster up, what still is a very poor side. I contrast what I saw yesterday with Wales v England rugby a few weeks back and while we were outplayed on the day the required passion was evident. Sad day.

  • Comment number 64.

    #62 Is that why van Nistelrooy wasn't successful?

  • Comment number 65.

    Yesterday, when the match in Cardiff finished, I switched to the Germany v Kazakhstan game for some 10 minutes. In those random 10 minutes, Germany scored a goal, the English way, had a glaring chance with Podolski, were dominating the game completely, attacking with intend. Then I looked at their table and I saw a goals difference of 16.

    England had an as easy game yesterday. It wasn't away really. It was played in a stadium the cream of English football is used to playing after so many finals having taken place there, 2-3 hours drive from London. But England had the same, old, boring game. They won 2-0 but didn't score for 76 minutes. It wasn't a nice spectacle. There will be nothing to remember. At any point during the match, you knew what the next minute will be about. It looked like a scrap between a strong side and a very weak one.

    The match was hyped before it took place. Was the hype about tacticts? No. It was about Wilshere v Ramsey, due to some thoughts of someone relating to satisfy the Arsenal contingence after a traumatic month this season, placing possibilities that would never occur - Ramsey is a kid turning into a man, while Wilshere, besides having a great future, he's no close to being a dominant force in midfield. Also it was about the great danger of a left winger who didn't play, so we didn't have the chance to see that one cuckoo doesn't bring spring - Giggs was playing in that position for years, yet Wales were never a threat to any strong national team.

    Was the hype about using the opportunity to bring youth into the team? No. It was about backstubbing the manager, yet again, on a silly captaincy issue. The news of the day was that Parker played his 2nd or 3rd start for England but this happened at the age of 30, turning 31. If you don't bring youth in a game like this, when will you do it?

    To his credit, Capello experimented with 4-3-3. At least, he tried something teams try when facing lesser opposition, while looking into the future.

    My miserable thought after the match was a question that popped in the mind, yet again: when will England be beautiful to watch, like so many national sides?

  • Comment number 66.

    The performance was not nearly as good as some are claiming, Wales really were poor. Even after such a result the worrying aspect is whether or not Capello is prepared to make the changes required to the team.

    Rooney's absence in the next match through a ban may prove to be a blessing, it creates space to bring in Gerrard. There is nothing wrong with playing Bent as long as he continues to score, he is, after all our only natural goalscorer (maybe should include Lampard here?)

    As soon as the under 21's tournament is concluded this summer we must promote the best players, and we must have the best players representing us in that tournament

  • Comment number 67.

    #62 Is that why van Nistelrooy wasn't successful?
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Firstly RVN versus Darren Bent....yeah good one!

    Secondly, he left the PL 5 years ago.

  • Comment number 68.

    Let's be honest Wales were awful and it was a boring boring game. This group of old clowns will not win anything. We should be talking about the U21 squad beating Denmark 4-0 and who out of that squad can come through now.

  • Comment number 69.

    jack wilshire is the future of england!

  • Comment number 70.

    WHAT WHAT WHAT on earth do you guys want Darren Bent to do??? For years we all bn praising Owen for being in the right place to score those easy GOALS, Now we have a natural goal scorer in Bent with proven records and yet we English hate him. I believe it is to do with something else other than football.. Only my openion.

  • Comment number 71.

    Well done England for getting the job done but lets be honest that was a very ppor Wales side who didn't even seem to have the heart to battle at times.

  • Comment number 72.

    Well the team achieved a result that was expected. Credit due.
    How good were they in doing it, difficult to say considering they beat a team whose world ranking is 34 places lower than that soccer powerhouse "Canada".
    So regarding the question of how good they are, we learned they are good enough to beat a team currently ranked 116th in the world. jim nicholls

  • Comment number 73.

    @62 - You mean like what Miroslav Klose does for Germany?

  • Comment number 74.

    A very strange article. England looked good, then again Wales were poor. The system really worked, but against a very poor team etc. Listen, England qualify for the two major tournaments (almost always) thanks to the seeding system. When they get to the finals they fail when the true big teams await. It has been a recurring sytem for about thirty years. Capello is not the man to break this cycle.

  • Comment number 75.

    We need to take in consideration that yes Wales aren't Brazil, Germany or Holland but they are probably on par with Algeria, possibly USA and Slovenia - all of which we very much struggled against at the 2010 WC. So yes lets not get over confident ahead of Euro 2012 but lets give the team some credit for upping their game finally and looking good in all areas of the pitch.

  • Comment number 76.

    Typical England...put a team together to win a game not the tournament!!

    Dawson, Bent and Young aren't World Class and wouldnt even make the Spain, France, Brazil Germany or Argentina B teams.

    Why not concentrate on using players like Carroll, Smalling, etc. who have bags of potential!

    We have a good crop of up and coming players why dont we use them now just as Germany did in the last world cup campaign! Using mediocrity like Darren Bent will not win England a major tournament.

  • Comment number 77.

    England have played in the 4-3-3 (or 4-5-1) formation before and it hasn't worked and this has even been under Capello. It's not revolutionary. Formations don't win football matches, team quality does.
    The formation was the result of injuries and once players like Gerrard return, the problems do to, like the unsolvable Gerrard-Lampard situation. Capello like many previous England managers suffers from the one big problem; not being able to leave the best players out of the team to create the best team. Big name players are shoehorned into the team and this will continue to the detriment of the national side.
    We've seen it before, if something works revert back to the method that doesn't afterwards.

  • Comment number 78.

    Parker is quality. hopefully this will now put an end to the international career of Gareth Barry.. who is awful.

  • Comment number 79.

    I always thought that Gareth Barry is too slow too lethrgic to be England mid field holding player ( remember the England Germany match in the wirld cup ) . Also Gerard is a luxury England cannot afford , He always seems to get lost in hisv undefined role and he has been out of form for the past two seasons , so why do you play him ??
    Scott parker is much more useful than both of them and when the chips are down he can make good runs at the opponents defences . Well done Capello at last !!!

  • Comment number 80.

    So now Darren Bent is as good as Klose and RVN, by the time this thread has finished he will have won the Ballon d'Or!

  • Comment number 81.

    I'm not even sure why I have posted on this blog, I've always been a fan of the German FF system. Like other posts here say, Germany have been and will continue to be way ahead, it's just their mentality and quality are such a perfect mix. I was just so glad that the whole media troop were put in their very right place at 2010.

    Blogs like this should be displayed only after a 2-0 win over France. France aren't exactly the former powerhouse they were anyway, so with this hype that estimate is perfectly justified. And anyhow, I'm all for France to beat England again, why do they never meet in real qualifiers like this one?

  • Comment number 82.

    So now Darren Bent is as good as Klose and RVN, by the time this thread has finished he will have won the Ballon d'Or!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm not saying he's good, England have hardly got world class finishers, our strikers consist of the list earlier in this thread which is very accurate and with Bent being our best fit striker, he had to play, and his goal record is undeniable but I have to say that on a one touch finish basis he's not bad, which is the type of player that van nistelrooy or klose is. If Bent has to take more than one touch he gives it away, gets tackled, misses, hits the goalkeeper or once in a blue moon manages to score.

    Crouch's goal record is undeniable but out of 10 long balls hit at him, 9 of those end up being fouls because he's wrapped his stretch armstrong limbs around the defender.

  • Comment number 83.

    Re 75
    We need to take in consideration that yes Wales aren't Brazil, Germany or Holland but they are probably on par with Algeria, possibly USA and Slovenia - all of which we very much struggled against at the 2010 WC. So yes lets not get over confident ahead of Euro 2012 but lets give the team some credit for upping their game finally and looking good in all areas of the pitch.
    -----
    Unfortunately, I very much doubt even Robbie Savage would credit Wales being as good as USA etc- in fact, see focus! These teams you mentioned made the World Cup you know, Wales aren't even going to make these Euros I'm sorry to say. Sad, because a team with Ramsey, Bellamy and Bale could do far better I think.

  • Comment number 84.

    5. At 22:17pm on 26th Mar 2011, sheffieldharry wrote:

    I don't think we ever will, but England do have the requisite talent in the side to win at least the Euros if not the World Cup. But like I said, I don't think we will. Especially not with Capello in charge. He takes a view to football like Mancini: if it's a tough game, play for a draw, and then oops, you've slipped up and then you lose. Maybe it's an Italian thing.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No no no it's starting all over again! All it took was a 2-0 win against a 5th rate national team and the delusion creeps back.

    England DO NOT possess the necessary talent to win either the Euros nor World Cup, please seek medical help immediately.

  • Comment number 85.

    People can be as negative and skeptical as they like on here - sometimes with good reason, particularly as it is England! However a win is a win and it was a very assured performance, which is something we were starved of in South Africa.

    I'm not bothered by the fact that we only beat a blunt opposition attacking wise in Wales, these are the games that confidence can be built up and partnerships can be forged. The main factor as pointed out in this article is that Capello decided to be a bit more adventurous for a change and introduce the 4-3-3 formation to England. This gives us a better balance of attack and defence, but also provides more balance in the link-up.

    I find it amusing that PabloPiatti brands Darren Bent as 'mediocre' even though his record in the Premier League is right up there with Drogba and Rooney, as shown on MoTD when Bent signed for Villa. He might not be the most influential player, but his record domestically speaks for itself and is now starting to show at international level because he is finally being given a decent amount of minutes. Quite clearly he is anything but mediocre.

    From now on I agree it'll most likely have to be Parker along with Wilshere and Gerrard or Lampard completing that midfield 3. Gerrard will probably get the nod ahead of Lamps, but at least Capello won't feel compelled to have both of them playing, which as everyone has pointed out over the past 7 or 8 years, is ineffectual.

  • Comment number 86.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 87.

    Re 83
    Unfortunately, I very much doubt even Robbie Savage would credit Wales being as good as USA etc- in fact, see focus! These teams you mentioned made the World Cup you know, Wales aren't even going to make these Euros I'm sorry to say. Sad, because a team with Ramsey, Bellamy and Bale could do far better I think.
    ----------
    All I was saying is that in 2010 we struggled against teams that were around the same level, I wouldn't say USA are amazing but yes they are probably better than Wales bar a few players.. However my point was we looked far better than we did in the WC, which is positive.

  • Comment number 88.

    We'll qualify.

    But too many of our players are not good enough.

    Terry?

    Gerard?

    Lampard?

    These and others have failed time and time again for England.

    Nothing has changed in that respect.






  • Comment number 89.

    Why do people post on these blogs when they have nothing positive to say even after an England win?

    Had this game been a League game (insert team names here), I guarantee people would be praising the team for another win despite not playing "beautiful" football.

    Can we read the responses of some England Fan's please? Serial moaners, jog on.

    In regards to the Darren Bent haters, what is the job of a Striker? That's right, to score goals. I couldn't care less if he hasn't got the pace of Theo Walcott or Aaron Lennon. Because we have Walcott and Lennon for that. As long as he is in the right place at the right time to score, then what is the problem? If we are to moan about any striker it would be the Wonderboy Rooney. Although I was impressed with him yesterday. Despite getting a booking, he has become a lot more patient.

    Please, people need to lower their expectations and gain some perspective.

    England appear to be the equivalent of a failing Premier League team fighting to avoid relegation. Can we not be proud that we are in the Top 10 teams and that we have at least won the World Cup once?

    The aim for this England team is not to win the Euro's or World Cup, because we won't. It is more about getting further than the Quarter Finals. At least if we get to the Semi's we can say progress has been made.

  • Comment number 90.

    England appear to be the equivalent of a failing Premier League team fighting to avoid relegation. Can we not be proud that we are in the Top 10 teams and that we have at least won the World Cup once?

    -----

    Actually, in terms of the Euros, England are only 14th best.

    ALL of the following have a better record than we do:-

    Germany
    Russia
    Spain
    France
    Czechoslovakia
    Holland
    Italy
    Denmark
    Yugoslavia
    Greece
    Portugal
    Belgium
    Hungary

    Which kind of suggests that all is far from well in the England garden! And - as nothing seems to change from one competition to another - explains why so many of us genuine England fans are so totally teed-off.






  • Comment number 91.

    I have a great deal of time for ALL of the UK national teams, but even with the best will in the world, a good performance against Wales cannot be taken as any sort of indicator with respect to future prospects.

    A win is better than any other result, but anything less in Cardiff and Capello would have deserved to have been shown the door....

    I hope that England goes on from strength to strength, but I saw no more than a team determined (in themselves!) to show that they deserve to wear the three lions on their respective chests.

  • Comment number 92.

    I`m writing from the perspective of someone who was unable to watch the game. Why was the result ONLY 2-0 to England? Was it just another England performance when they score goals early & then just sit back thinking that they don`t need to do anymore? If Wales had scored would England have made the effort to score again? I find watching England play extremely depressing.

  • Comment number 93.

    It was a composed professional performance by England against a side ranked much lower than them in the international rankings. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I don't think you can make big conclusions from it. Scott Parker played well, and suddenly he is the greatest thing since sliced bread but I remember first Carrick and then Gareth Barry being hailed as England's DM answer by the general public, and now they've gone down in everyone's estimation, while my reservation about Parker is that he couldn't cut it at Chelsea.

    Ashley Young for me is playing well, he is a lively forward-winger and looks in better form than Lennon and Wright-Phillips, who have been marred by injuries and loss of confidence. Young is arguably a better option than Walcott now, who is also injury prone. With Adam Johnson as well, I think England have some interesting pacy wide options.

    I do think 4-3-3 is the answer for England, even against stronger sides than Wales, but not necessarily with the same personnel that played against the Welsh. I do think Rooney is somewhat wasted in a wide role. If you play 4-3-3 I think you need to play Rooney either as the most attacking of three midfielders (where Lampard played), or as the central spearhead of the 3 forwards (where Bent played).

  • Comment number 94.

    "Actually, in terms of the Euros, England are only 14th best."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    True as that is, I was referring to the Fifa World Rankings in which we are currently 6th. I refer to this because it's the same reaction from fan's regardless of it being the European Cup or World Cup.

    But my point remains that people expect to much of England, whether it is the media or just regular fans like myself.

    One thing that does make me laugh is that people are coming on here saying "Get over it, it was just Wales, Third rate team...blah, blah" but I remember the Ireland vs England match where we lost 1-0.

    And it would be those same fans that would come on here, had we lost, saying "We should've beat Wales, we're terrible."

    Basically, England clearly can't get any praise from their fans win or lose....

  • Comment number 95.

    really don't understand why Capello deserves any credit when 4-3-3, which becomes more of a 4-5-1 in defence is the standard formation of almost every major club side in the world at the moment? the guy isn't some sort of genius for using it, particularly when playing a team who have nowhere near the same quality as Capello's side.

  • Comment number 96.

    Easy, just cheer up by pretending Germany are England, use your imagination! Problem solved!

  • Comment number 97.

    As a Sky Sports subscriber im feeling increasingly shortchanged. Given the exit of Keys there was a chance surely to liven up the coverage. Andy Burton is a horrendous anchor and we deserve better surely. As for Ryan Giggs "analysis" of the game, it surely is true what is said about a lot of great players, that they don't actually have a great knowledge of the game. He also gave the impression that he didn't want to be there.........................

  • Comment number 98.

    #90

    Not sure how you come to the conclusion that England are the 14th best team in terms of the Euros....Currently England is ranked 6th in the World, and the 4th best team in Europe. Surely our expectation rely more on current rankings, against current teams....not the previous winners or semi finalists?

    http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/ranking/lastranking/gender=m/fullranking.html

  • Comment number 99.

    Really struggling to work out what peoples case against bent is. He scores goals consistently in a similar way to RVN, klose, inzagi and raul. Ok hasnt proven it at a top 4 side/champions league but still fantastic record in the premiership. He also allows Rooney to play deeper and play some good passes and relieves him of pressue to score goals.
    For some reason though everyone wants to see carroll in the team, just because he's young and has done ok when the ball has been flung in from a set piece in his first season in the premiership. Seeing this Liverpool threw 35 million at him, more than Villa, David and so he must be better/ going to be as good as him.....NO.
    Still, looking forward to his inclusion to the team in later years as we resort to yet more long ball football to nod down to rooney who is unable to provide the tap ins a la bent. Why dont we go the whole hog and play a front 3 of heskey, carroll and crouch?

  • Comment number 100.

    Wilshere to be captain on Tuesday?

 

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