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England need to make changes to advance

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John Motson | 16:34 UK time, Saturday, 19 June 2010

I've been watching England matches since 1972, and I'm struggling to remember a performance that was more disjointed or disappointing than the one we witnessed against Algeria in Cape Town on Friday night, as the match ended 0-0.

England coach Fabio Capello is now in the firing line for the first time since he took over from Steve McClaren. The team had a great World Cup qualifying campaign, so what went wrong against Algeria?

Click below to find out what I made of England's display and what I think they need to do to progress to the knockout stages.

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  • 1. At 5:49pm on 19 Jun 2010, Paul wrote:

    Got to agree, Gerrard up with Rooney, Cole on the left. England have to really go for it, if we win the group we have a much better chance of progressing far, if we finish runners up we play the group winner from Germany's group. Despite how poor we've been a win by a better margin than the USA achieve (assuming they win their game) and we would still win the group.
    Motty is right, changes are desperately needed, not just in personnel but also in passion, commitment and it might help if they gave us the impression they were one team. Right now England are playing like a bunch of second rate individuals - it makes sorry watching at home. Big reputations count for nothing, time to see some big performances.

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  • 2. At 5:53pm on 19 Jun 2010, Andy wrote:

    Where is Joe Cole? has he gone home early?

    I can only think there's something gone on behind the scenes because he was quite obviously the spark that won us the warm up games in the build up to WWC2010 and to leave him out just seems ridiculous.

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  • 3. At 5:56pm on 19 Jun 2010, bounce bounce bounce wrote:


    Capello HAS to play this formation and team in the next match. HAS to. Everyone's saying let Gerrard play to his strength's which is behind the main striker, and let Joe Cole do his stuff on the left. Lampard or Carrick for the other option as Frank obviously cannot produce club form for England.

    Why doesn't Capello ring in such changes? He needs to stop being so stubborn and consider the options available to him now, open his mind and play with a tactic and formation that lets key players play to their strengths, this will get the best out of England because those players will be motivated for it, as opposed to not to and being forced to play out of position.

    Capello, make the change NOW. You have 90 mins to make the difference. And in addition to winning, England needs to start scoring goals because we also face competition from the US in who will top the table on goal difference if that were the case.

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  • 4. At 6:01pm on 19 Jun 2010, 1860munich wrote:

    Good points made but everybody seems to be ignoring Peter Crouch. In the last two matches England have lacked goals or even clear cut chances. Crouch's goalscoring record is phenominal and I think he deserves more than 10 minutes off the bench.
    Secondly I believe that Frank Lampard should be dropped because he has achieved absolutely nothing in the two matches. I would agree with Motty that Joe Cole must definetly be introduced simply because he is England's only gifted and creative player. I believe it is too late to change the system and I believe England should stick with their 4_4_2 which is the only formation which has ever worked.
    Therefore my line up would be: James-Milner,Upson,Terry,A Cole-Lennon,Gerrard,Carrick,J Cole-Rooney,Crouch
    If England don't improve quickly England's World Cup may be over before it even started. I also believe the FA should change some of the rules in the Premiership ie. the amount of foreign players and the missing winter break otherwise I think World Cup success may be beyond England not just this time but also in the future!

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  • 5. At 6:15pm on 19 Jun 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    Very like the start they made in 1986 don't you think Motty?

    Losing to Portugal and then drawing with Morrocco(?).

    Unfortunately you got through then only to meet the hand of Diego!

    Lampard looked like a lost wee boy last night though!

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  • 6. At 6:18pm on 19 Jun 2010, BBCLegend wrote:

    I think a change of formation is needed not because there anything wrong with the current system tactically, but because it would freshen things up.
    The problem wasn't in my opinion with the formation, but with the players. They gave the ball away too easily. Even the defence, which for years has been England's strongest point played way too riskily. I can remember at least Three occasions against Algeria when passes to the Goalkeeper were very risky, and James had to scramble for it. Uncharacteristically, Rooney and Lampard gave the ball away a few times too.
    Joe Cole should be playing, he is one of England's most creative players. Put him on the left, and Gerard behind Rooney. With Philips on the Right. I don't think he played long enough yesterday that we can really judge him. Good Luck England !

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  • 7. At 6:22pm on 19 Jun 2010, Phil wrote:

    Motty is right as usual - Cole in on the left, Gerrard just behind Rooney, no idea though about the wide right position as neither Lennon nor SWP has shown any spark.

    Becks was interviewed with William and Harry and said that the players' spirits were raised by the princes' visit. What they really need to raise them is a rocket from Capello.

    Time for Fabio to earn that £6 million...

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  • 8. At 6:27pm on 19 Jun 2010, MoveOverBeckhamLovers wrote:

    Why Joe Cole hasn't been in there since the first game is baffling. The guy hustles non stop... Honestly, he reminds me of an American player. One that never gives up.

    Capello needs to throw away his "on Paper" ENG team nd go with some serious grit. ENG made Algeria look like Finals contenders when on the surface they are mediocre at best.

    Without a serious attitude adjustment England will not see the 2nd round.
    I say sit Lampard til the half, the guy needs a slice of humble pie.

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  • 9. At 6:37pm on 19 Jun 2010, Cassandra wrote:

    If we ever want to win the World Cup we need to deal with:

    - causes and not symptoms; and

    - real issues not just the things that will fill the tabloids tomorrow.

    The fundamental problem is not the players or even the manager but the administration. In particular:

    - the split between the FA and the Premier League; and

    - the fact that none of the administrators actually have any relevant skills or expertise.


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  • 10. At 6:42pm on 19 Jun 2010, Cassandra wrote:

    I challenge all of the BBC's football commentators in South Africa to answer this very simple question - DO YOU THINK ANY CHANGES SHOULD BE MADE TO THE WAY ENGLISH FOOTBALL IS RUN?

    Surely one of you has the balls or the national pride to analyse what must be changed.

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  • 11. At 6:43pm on 19 Jun 2010, Andy wrote:

    Everyone seems to want to stick with Rooney despite him being amongst the worst of the perfomers so far. I agree e is probably still our best player on paper, but if he is given another run out, somebody needs to give him a MASSIVE kick up the rear end and tell him to stop dropping back so much.

    Bring in Cole or Milner or both to provide a little creativity and effort.

    Oh how I wish we'd brought Walcott too.

    If at half-time we are not winning against Slovenia. I'd also suggest dropping Capello and putting Pearce or Beckham in charge.

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  • 12. At 7:08pm on 19 Jun 2010, theyellowfever wrote:

    Rooney should really be dropped not only because of his performance but because of the negative effect hes having on the rest of the team. Hes a great player when on form but when his head is down its a real burden on the rest of the players, put him on the subs bench and hell be itching to get back out there while watching the others play.

    Dropping rooney leaves us with limited choice to start, we need pace, height and someone who knows where the net is. My Choice would be Crouch and Defoe, these guys have played together all season and both up front with Cole on the left and lennon on the right would terrorise any back four.

    Its such a shame capello didnt bring walcott and/or bent and capello should really shoulder 99% of the blame for this mess. Playing Gerard on the left was a complete mistake....

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  • 13. At 7:14pm on 19 Jun 2010, Stew10 wrote:


    You'd sack Capello at half-time!?! The world has gone mad!

    Becks in charge? Brilliant!

    He'd advise on what the shape and cut of the strips should be, whether certain hairstyles were appropriate or not and how to do the Ben Stiller 'Blue Steel' (Zoolander!) look on a football park!

    The wife could also do a song with the squad before games.

    Please England, put Becks in charge now!

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  • 14. At 7:23pm on 19 Jun 2010, georgito wrote:

    Sensationalise much? I'm sorry Motty, you are an absolute hero to me, but I must say you've called this wrong. As much as I was hurting from last night's offering, I can safely say I've seen worse under McClaren. Losing the must-win croatia game at Home in the run up to euro 2008 was much more painful to me. A draw, even as poor as this one, is still a draw. We haven't blown it completely yet and we need to postpone our conclusions until such a time as it is concluded.

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  • 15. At 7:26pm on 19 Jun 2010, righteoussasquatch wrote:

    Everybody at home is so behind the team, flags and bunting on so many houses, it is lovely to see. There is no question a massive desire to support the team and yet on the pitch the team is NOT delivering back to the fans and dispatching the opposition like they did in the qualifying. The opponents have done their homework and sadly Englands approach is met by a strategy that blunts our attack. Well done USA and Algeria. Is it to be a Thursday flight home or a place in the last 16? Come on Fabio you are paid well NOW is payback time.

    The fans that booed have a right to an opinion having paid their money the best way for the team to silence them is score goals and lots of them.

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  • 16. At 7:33pm on 19 Jun 2010, georgito wrote:

    my post was in reference to the first 3 lines of blurb above the video, so I do accept that we were mediocre. I'm just disagreeing with media representation of this as england's all-time low.

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  • 17. At 7:33pm on 19 Jun 2010, bazza001 wrote:

    Spot on Motty! Can you please have a word in Mr. Capello's ear! Everyone can see it needs Cole on the left and Gerrard behind Rooney - everyone except Capello!

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  • 18. At 7:36pm on 19 Jun 2010, Sean wrote:

    Comment Num 3 above from RockingTheJoint has the right system I reckon:


    Also, the England supporters need to get 100% behind their team. Booing and jeering shouldn't happen at all, well at least not until the lads/pampered multi-millionaires are back home.

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  • 19. At 7:42pm on 19 Jun 2010, UaintGotaKalou wrote:

    I am astonished at the level of support for a 4-2-3-1 formation. One that includes Gerrard in a the free role with Joe Cole on the left. I am certain Capello is aware of the pressure on him to play this system, whether he will i'm not so sure. When the FA appointed Mr Capello, englands players were marched through the disiplinery corrodor and were given a real sense of purpose and style of play. Capello seemed to have cracked it in terms of getting the set up of the team correct but is determined to stick with the 4-4-2 that bore so much fruit in qualifying. The players badly need a confidence booster. A change of formation is a good way to start the recovery process and it freshens things up.

    As Del Boy once said, He who dares, wins

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  • 20. At 8:23pm on 19 Jun 2010, Matt Kirkpatrick wrote:

    I never thought i would say this, but i agree with Motty with regards to the shape/formation and personell. I am so sick of the rigid, 4-4-2 b***s*** with a big man up front. Play the 4-5-1 with Cole on the left and Gerrard behind Rooney. The reason Rooney is dropping back so much is because he is sick and tired of feeding off scraps! He needs to be the high guy, and stay high, and not come back! It's up to the rest of the players to get him the ball in the right areas, something i think will happen more with Gerrard in a free role

    If Capello insists on 4-4-2, bring in defoe or crouch, cole on left and drop lampard. I like Lampard, he is a good player but the shape and balance of the team comes first

    Despite of all this shape talk, one of the major problems is the players playing with fear. They are scared. Why? 2 major reasons. The expectation and pressure put on the players is way too high when you look at the talent of this team. Fair enough for Argentina and Brazil, they are goo enough to warrant such lofty hopes. We have some decent players but in no way shape or form should there be any other expectation other than hopefully getting out of any world cup and then seeing if we can get some momentum.....

    Basically, the players have this huge pressure on them, similar to Brazil or Argetina but the problem is we are nowhere near those sides therefore we shouldn't expect so much from a team who can't dribble, have no flair or imagination. It's ludicrous. I love supporting England, and want them to do well, but we must be realistic. Just because our players are well paid domestically, doesn't mean they have good first touches and are comfortable on the ball. Look at Algeria....most of those players would not be gooe nough for the top prem teams but yet they are all comfortable in possession. The best player on the pitch was a portsmouths left back............

    Last thing, our best players all play with better players at their clubs (Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Ashley Cole). Think about who they train and play with day in and day out.

    They play with better players under less pressure against weaker teams (most of the time). At international level they play with weaker players, against stronger teams with more pressure

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  • 21. At 8:28pm on 19 Jun 2010, jack halford wrote:

    Total disrespect for the squad system in place!
    If players are NOT performing then change is needed to inject some enthusiasm and ideas.
    Crouch and Defoe should start with Rooney on the bench and perhaps Lampard as well.
    This bunch of super stars needs some real humble pie to get them motivated because it seems that Capello cannot do it!

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  • 22. At 8:33pm on 19 Jun 2010, Matt Kirkpatrick wrote:

    Rockingthejoint from comment # 3 has it spot on....why is capello so stubborn? We have nothing to lose . CHANGE IT

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  • 23. At 8:33pm on 19 Jun 2010, djelastic wrote:

    Why hasn't anyone talked about dropping Rooney?

    Yes he is a good player but has played terribly in both games, looks sluggish and his attitude after the Algeria game proved he has not matured as everyone says he has.

    Heskey is likely to be dropped but at least he had one ok game and a lot of his mistakes were not his fault against Algeria, just having to deal with hopeless punts from James et al.

    Everyone seems to think Barry and Lampard with Gerrard in front in some kind of mak=gic formula but i don't this would suit lampard at al. Capello needs to strap on a pair and pick between Lamps and Gerrard and play a proper winger on the left (hint: J Cole).

    Analysis of England against Algeria showed just 2 passes into the box from the left compared with about 20 from the right. So England are a very one sided team, which makes us pretty predictable. Cole is having to do too much because Gerrard kept tucking inside

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  • 24. At 8:36pm on 19 Jun 2010, Kurtis-E-Bear wrote:

    Just as long as Lampard isn't in the team then it will be an improvement, also please get rid of heskey, we just semm to want to launch it high and the same happens when crouch is on, please can the midfield start passing to feet then things might improve, what a mistake not taking Adam Johnson and oh for Robson Hoddle in midfield now.

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  • 25. At 8:40pm on 19 Jun 2010, Polardog wrote:

    At the end of the day its the same core team that keeps on under performing time after time when it matters.

    I look forward to the next generation of English players whoever they will be, perhaps they will have some hunger for these tournaments. When this farce is over it really is time to gut the team and build from the bottom up I would be happy to see a completely new squad with none of the current players in it.

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  • 26. At 8:58pm on 19 Jun 2010, pukelman wrote:

    The obvious problems with this squad are now becoming apparent. Capello gambled on one system and that has failed.

    We have NO left winger - no Johnson, no Downing, no Young. We can only put in another right-footer in the form of Joe Cole.

    We have NO backup right-back. With Carragher mystifyingly used as a central defender, and now suspended, we must all pray that Glen Johnson stays fit and available or else God help us. Who plays there if Johnson is carried off in the tenth minute? Milner? Gerrard?

    What's really needed against these lower-level teams is real width in the form of proper wide players. With Lennon disappointing and no obvious backup (since we picked so many central midfielders and the horrible SWP), we have no pace or width.

    Walcott and Adam Johnson should both start against Slovenia. But neither is even in the squad.

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  • 27. At 9:10pm on 19 Jun 2010, pompeymark wrote:

    I agree with the comment reference leaving Rooney out. In 1966 Alf Ramsey took a brave decision and left Jimmy Greaves out for the sake of the balance of the team. Bobby Robson was forced to play without Ray Wilkins because of his sending off. More of the same is required!

    At least he now has the goalkeeper correct, hopefully Carragher's sending off will also force him to play someone with a bit of pace in central defence.

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  • 28. At 9:17pm on 19 Jun 2010, MGUK82 wrote:

    4-4-2 can work, you just need the right players in the right positions. Gerrard in the middle, Joe Cole left mid and Lampard on the bench please Fabio!

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  • 29. At 9:35pm on 19 Jun 2010, Dean wrote:

    Joe Cole is a must to start against Slovenia. Cole has exactly what England need right now, some invention, spark and the occasional killer pass. I don't know why Capello is willing to bring on Crouch, Defoe and SWP ahead of Cole. They are all decent players (although Defoe has never done anything for England IMO), but are any of them as inventive as Cole? I think not. Start with Cole.

    Generally England's problem is the same as its always been. All our players are Premiership players. The Prem plays at a high tempo with the emphasis on attack, and consequently teams play in a counter attacking style, utilising the space left by the opposition when they commit men forward. Thus the England team play the same way. This is why when we play the 'lesser' teams, such as the US and Algeria, who are willing to an extent to play for the draw, they attack less, get men behind the ball and challenge England to break them down, and England struggle.

    This is also why when we play the bigger boys, like Italy, Germany, Spain, Holland etc. who are playing to win and thus commit men in attack, more suiting our counter attacking play, more often than not we are able to hold our own (no we don't win every game against the big sides but we win our share, and if we lose it is usually by a narrow margin).

    If we get through, I have no doubts we will raise our game against the 'better' sides.

    But Cole IN!! Also for the record, Glen Johnson has been great so far IMO, and SWP is another player who runs at the opposition and I think is worth putting on at half time if things aren't going our way. He may lose possession when he runs at people around 50% of the time, but 50% of the time he gets passed a player and puts a decent ball in, like her did against the US.

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  • 30. At 9:40pm on 19 Jun 2010, Ian wrote:

    After Rooney's outburst and performance I would leave him on the bench and play Crouch with Gerrard up front.
    To stabilise things I would drop out of form Lampard and play Carrick with Barry allowing Barry to playmake from the back.
    Wings have to SWP and Cole who both run at defenders and make things happen. Only question remaining is who to play with Terry, Upson is my choice.

    Now we all wait to see how much spine Mr Capello has. More of what we saw yesterday just will not do.

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  • 31. At 9:48pm on 19 Jun 2010, chuck wrote:

    It has been the same outcome year for years now! England just are not performing and all we can blame is the manager. We don't win the world cup and therefore decide we have to change the manager! Has anyone not thought the players may be to blame. They just are not motivated enough even though paid 100k a week!

    Something must be done!!

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  • 32. At 10:00pm on 19 Jun 2010, TheTomTyke wrote:

    I'm surprised a certain Mr Lampard hasn't come in for more stick. I think it's obvious that the problems lie in the middle of the pitch and that's where he was supposed to be. I can't actually recall him doing anything of value.

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  • 33. At 10:03pm on 19 Jun 2010, Sam1r wrote:

    Lets face it, there are only 2 or 3 players in THE ENTIRE SQUAD that can cut it at the top.

    The rest of them possess neither the technique nor psychology to achieve anything at the highest level of international football.

    This problem roots from the way our children are taught to play football. The complete rigidity they are forced to play under. The lack of technical development. The celebrating of players that throw themselves on the line, rather than those with any skill. It's woeful.

    This problem is then exacerbated by the clueless hacks who write for the red tops. Telling players like Frank Lampard they are "World Class" after knocking in a brace against Blackburn, when the harsh truth is the majority of the squad, Lampard included, fade away at the first sign of any quality opposition.
    The complete lack of a quality first touch, the absence of any close control under pressure, and the inability to pass to a team mate when being hustled by the opposition; shows our players in their true colours.

    Having said all that COME ON ENGLAND! :D

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  • 34. At 10:04pm on 19 Jun 2010, brads27 wrote:

    Drop Frank Lampard,i can't remember the last time he had a good game for England,play Joe Cole instead,and bring in Peter Crouch for Hesky,we need to score and Crouch fits the bill.

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  • 35. At 10:08pm on 19 Jun 2010, Paul wrote:

    Leave out Rooney - not fit. Leave out Lampard - not fit to wear the shirt. My team:-
    James, Johnson, Terry, Upson, A Cole, Lennon, Gerrard, Barry, J Cole, Crouch, Defoe.

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  • 36. At 10:27pm on 19 Jun 2010, Dean wrote:

    #30 Ian-

    Spot on!!

    SWP and Cole on the wings. One pacey little guy running at players and knocking in crosses, one the most naturally gifted skill player we have, also running at the opposition and sliding in killer balls.

    Totally agree.

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  • 37. At 10:32pm on 19 Jun 2010, willythewriter wrote:

    Two more words: John Terry
    Why not reappoint him captain? Take some of the weight off Gerrard's shoulders, he's only 'third choice' anyway, filling in for Ferdinand, who was filling in for...

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  • 38. At 10:39pm on 19 Jun 2010, ghost_of_66 wrote:

    I have always championed Lamps for england, but his last few games have been dire at best, he seems to get rid of the ball far too early in midfield, like he's afraid of being caught in possession, for chelsea he tends to drift through with the ball past a man or two before passing, gotta drop him I feel, give Crouch and Defoe a start, leave Rooney on bench to get him spitting for action, Gerrard seems to be best bet as attacking midfielder. The whole team need to stop being afraid of losing and start trying to win matches, sounds obvious I know, but draws dont win world cups, we need to be prepared to lose to win basically.

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  • 39. At 10:42pm on 19 Jun 2010, Sami wrote:

    It amazes me that English fans and pundits think they know better than a man who has managed Milan, Real Madrid, Roma and Juventus in a career spanning 20 years.

    When you get one of the greatest managers of all time and you still fail its time to start looking at the players.

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  • 40. At 10:47pm on 19 Jun 2010, bluth78 wrote:

    DROP FRANK LAMPARD simple as that!!!

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  • 41. At 10:51pm on 19 Jun 2010, Marchanti wrote:

    Johnson -Dawson-Terry- ACole
    SWP-Gerrard-J. Cole

    Lampard and Gerrard don't work together; Dawson is fast(ish). And Milner will at least TRY, if he's over the flu...

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  • 42. At 10:57pm on 19 Jun 2010, 66Remembered wrote:

    Dean, at 9.35 said that in his opinion Defoe hasn't done anything for england. Check the stats. Minute for minute pitch time he has a better strike rate than Rooney!

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  • 43. At 11:04pm on 19 Jun 2010, sheilaex wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 44. At 11:07pm on 19 Jun 2010, bill40 wrote:

    I hear a lot of talk about fielding a left winger/ left midfield player for the next game. I hate to point this out but we did'nt take one.

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  • 45. At 11:13pm on 19 Jun 2010, Xiaobao wrote:

    The next round is called the "knock-out round" for a reason. It's because, if we do manage to beat Slovenia and progress, a decent team will then knock us out.

    So the pain either ends on Wednesday or it goes on for another 9 days after Wednesday.

    There is some decent football being played out there in South Africa. Why not enjoy it in a pain-free environment?

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  • 46. At 11:21pm on 19 Jun 2010, McFerrari wrote:

    Capello has a record that can only be comparable with a select few of managers from the past 25 years. If they fail on Wednesday, it's not the manager's problem. You can criticise his tactics against Algeria but even with the most bizarre tactics, you'd still expect England to beat Algeria! Time to start pointing the finger of blame squarely at the players I'm afraid.

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  • 47. At 11:40pm on 19 Jun 2010, sheilaex wrote:

    I agree with Motty but at the end of the day we must question the true ability of our players. Week in week out our 'world class' players play alongside true world class players and I feel as a result they believe they are better than they actually are. Also when the supporters complain about the performance when it would take the majority of our fans five years or more to earn what some of the players earn in a week, you can't blame them. We must, however, remain behind the team as it lifts the whole country when England do well but Fabio, please make changes to the formation and selection - it is a no brainer not to do so!

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  • 48. At 02:20am on 20 Jun 2010, armchairmanager wrote:

    we need to play with 2 strikers in a must WIN game with gerrard playing behind them
    rooney is playing badly but he must play becuase there are no alternatives heskey plays decent and tries but he is not a goalscrorer crouch does have good record but both he and heskey would encourage england to play the lazy long ball
    no left wingers in squad so we have to play either joe cole who deserves a chance if he is fit dont know why he ignored so far??? or 2 right wingers swapping wings
    lennon and wright phillips have ability but no consistency but we need to give faith in one or both if joe cole injured/not fit
    my team is
    johnson terry dawson cole
    lennon gerrard cole
    rooney defoe
    we have to attack from the start and play without fear
    barry is good wen we play better teams we dont need him against slovenia
    i would play carrick over lampard because i dont think lampard can stay back and its not his position anyway and carrick over barry as carrick is a better passer of the ball he can start our attacks passing down the wings or into gerrard or through balls "along the ground!" to rooney defoe etc
    in the second round when we qualify which we will do! :D
    then we can play
    lennon gerrard lampard/milner
    but i would play rooney and defoe to the end of tournament and hope they dont get injured/suspended
    when they play well they are goalscorers and quality especially rooney so need to put faith in them to deliver no matter what
    crouch is a 75min extra stiker sub not a replacement if in semis and not goin well play all 3 take off defender!!!
    fortune favours the brave
    i would rather play great high tempo attacking football and lose in the final to brazil 4-3 than play like eg greece and win it
    performance is massively important because performance = confidence and belief
    we aint gonna win with no confidence and belief and just fluke it all the way one nil or on penalty shoot outs!!

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  • 49. At 02:45am on 20 Jun 2010, southseapom wrote:

    It is indisputable that England didn't play at their best. However, there is no evidence that the team did not try. Most of us learn at primary school that blame lies only on those who do not try.

    Therefore something was clearly deficient in the primary education of the fans who booed their own team at Green Point yesterday. Furthermore, they also appear rather badly brought up because they think they have a right to be provided with a certain standard of football because they bought tickets to the match, travelled to South Africa et al.

    Perhaps they are jealous because Capello didn't pick any of them.

    Either way, they ought to realise that they paid to travel to South Africa and watch a game of football, and they have therefore got what they paid for. If they regard themselves as supporters - something which they haven't paid for - they should, well, support the team and not behave like the overgrown, overprivileged schoolchildren that members of the England first XI are often accused of being.

    Wayne Rooney had it absolutely right and it is a pity that he apologised for his entirely justifiable outburst.

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  • 50. At 04:41am on 20 Jun 2010, oppfighter wrote:

    It's a bit after the horse, but the other Johnson would have given us a fresh flair option - Joe Cole should do well enough, with Gerrard on the right behind Rooney. I agree Lamps needs to sit this one out: he's had enough chances. I read a report where Graham Taylor suggested there must be something going on behind the scenes - i reckon having Pinky and Perky as a presence in the dressing room is utter stupidity - of course they're going to affect the team's ability to concentrate and prepare in the proper manner. They should keep out and let the team get on with their job.

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  • 51. At 05:27am on 20 Jun 2010, pezzonovante wrote:

    Capello should drop Gerrard and Rooney. Lampard should be played in a more attacking role. That's England's only hope against Slovenia.

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  • 52. At 09:13am on 20 Jun 2010, theyellowfever wrote:

    The last two games have simply been tacticle mistakes by capello, the first against USA not so clear but with algeria it was all laid bare for all insundry to see.

    First mistake is playing two attacking central midfielders i.e Gerrard and Lampard, both these cancel each other out by way of leaving the midfield wide open when players are out of position. Playing Gerrard on his unnatural left will just create problems with him cutting back in on to his right foot when we need to be using the full width of the pitch.

    Second mistake not playing with two attacking wingers, the problems lie in central midefield with to many players getting caught out of position and not using the full width of the pitch, this is where J Cole and either SWP or Lennon on the right would open the pitch up. more space in the middle means more space for running into and less players "cluttering up" the central ares of the pitch.

    Thirdly we need a strikers striker and/or another with height up front. Hesky has his uses but cannot finish so thats where crouch for me would get his chance. The question then lies with rooney, i would actually leave him on the bench for the start, probably pair defoe with crouch just for the first half and see how it goes, get rooneys blood boiling and bring him on as an impact sub.

    The problem with rooney is he knows his first team place is guaranteed, dropping him would take the pressure off him slightly, give him something to think about and also take a large negative off of the rest of the team. there is no reason why rooney cannot be brought on half way through, we have enough qaulity players to easily get through the group stage providing the manager plays the right formation, opening up the wings would transform our game i feel and a goal or two latyer this will all be forgotten about...... confidence is a funny thing!

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  • 53. At 10:35am on 20 Jun 2010, thomas wrote:

    I agree with John Motson, the current group format gives rise to many meaningless/boring matches with the potential for two teams to contrive a result.
    I would propose the following changes (if you agree please pass on to FIFA, if you don't agree pass them on anyway)

    Group stage is to long with to little riding on many of the games
    1st group games tend to be non-events.
    Last group game can be meaningless or a result can suit both teams (Germany Vs Austria). Effectively the order of games can help determine qualification.
    Instant knock out is not appropriate (due to travelling supporters/ local facilities/costs etc).
    Instant knockout also has the potential problem of devaluing the tournament if one or two ‘big teams’ are knocked out after one game.
    Teams/supporters etc need to know or have some idea (before the tournament starts) where their team will play. E.g. cannot be sure of group qualification or if in winners or runners up spot but can plan for such eventualities.

    Need each game to have real meaning.
    Need teams to be masters of their own destiny at all times and not dependant on other teams helping them out.
    Need to ensure that all teams are in the competition for at least two games
    The possibility of tracking your teams progress re:venues and dates dependant on results

    Solution – Knockout with safety net
    All games are played to a conclusion. If drawn after 90 minutes extra time then penalties.
    Instead of groups 1st round matches are decided by seeding. All 32 teams are seeded.
    Stage 1: seed 1 plays seed 32, seed 2 plays seed 15 etc. All winners are through to stage 2. The 16 losers play each other. Loser of game 1 (seed1 Vs seed 32) plays loser of game 8 (seed 8 Vs seed 9) etc. The eight winners of this second round of games also go through to stage 2.
    Any teams eliminated at stage 1 will have lost two games.
    Therefore 24 teams in stage 2:
    The safety net is gradually withdrawn - at stage two some teams will miss it!
    Similar format, 12 games - 12 winners through to stage 3. Of 12 losers eight lucky losers are selected (based on not having lost opening game, GD to date, disciplinary record etc). These 8 teams play each other, 4 winners also progress to stage 3.
    Stage 3: 16 teams straight knockout as now

    There are no meaningless games, to be knocked out at stage 1 you must lose two games. Teams/supportes/etc can plan (pre tournament). The lower your seeding the harder your route will be i.e reward for consistency of results pre tournament.

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  • 54. At 11:25am on 20 Jun 2010, danielbaharierdanielbah wrote:

    I agree with dropping Rooney and starting with Crouch and Defoe with Joe Cole on too .the only player i was impressed with at the last world cup.BUT I think all england players are underated against thier contemporaries in other teams and I would like to remind everyone that in 66 only Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Greaves were big names,and to the surprise of us all we won and the biggest surprise of all without Greaves.So maybe dropping Rooney would not neccesarily be such a bad thing

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  • 55. At 11:36am on 20 Jun 2010, Cos wrote:

    Just wanted to say that all this about England winning the world cup, Capello's fault, the team's fault is all academic.
    I've come to the conclusion that the world cup is a complete waste of time and is almost as authentic as the Eurovision song contest.
    Sepp Blatter needs to go!! The reason that England, as well as many of the other top footballing nations are struggling are down to several things:
    1) The refereeing has spoilt this world cup! Its no longer a contact sport, but merely training ground keep ball combined with panto. How many sliding tackles did England make against Algeria the other day? The answer - not many through fear of the gestapo referee!
    2) The ball which is the most important piece of equipment for a game of football does not behave like a traditional football. Some conspiracy theorists would say its no coincidence the Sepp Blatter a German has introduced the ball to the Bundesliga for a full season ahead of anyone else.
    3) Now is it me, or am I paronoid in thinking the Sepp Blatter has it in for England. Why is it that the referees have been directed to learn English obscenities, what about all the other languages? Seems like England have been singled out to me.
    Is it any wonder that England have struggled to play their game when they know that any small mistake could cost the game, and the media are waiting to vilify them, just look at poor Robert Green, and Rooney knows only too well. And by the way, I don't approve of the vuvuzela - the football atmosphere is completely drowned out by this instrument that makes the bagpipes sound like a saxophone.

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  • 56. At 11:47am on 20 Jun 2010, ark wrote:

    Many of these players are near the end of international careers .pride alone should make them forget cliques and other problems .if they want to be remembered by the jokes now doing the rounds then so be it .i for one was never sure if having ex captain in side was a good idea .with reo around maybe ok . england cricket team win ,because no player is safe ,players perform or they are out .seemple as alexander says.
    maybe rooney needs to sit on the bench alongside lampard.tell gerrard he has 60 mins to sweat blood for his country then bring on lampard .tell rooney the same play crouch and defoe ,tell them they have 60 mins to burn up the airways give everything .go for broke ,become legends or a joke . many people outside of manchester have thought maybe rooney is to use a cricket term a flat track bully .prove us wrong. gerrard remember instanbull .open the door and look at 1000's of people who have given up a lot to be there and lift your head up and as shankly said rember you are england they are who ? get out and fling kitchen sink the mrs and anything else you can at them ,make them realise that you england get out of the way we are on the march .Rugby Union boys done it Under17's done ,Cricketers done it .

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  • 57. At 3:04pm on 20 Jun 2010, JoC wrote:

    #7 Phil wrote: Motty is right as usual - Cole in on the left, Gerrard just behind Rooney.

    Seems this is most people's favourite choice of line-up but doubt Fabio will bend to public opinion. As for the right-hand side I keep hearing 'Where is the team that played so well in the qualifiers?' - I seem to remember some young Arsenal winger scoring a hat-rick against Croatia from this position and everyone later calling for his omission from the squad? He would have been fresh as well..nevermind heh ;( I would go with Milner to allow G.Johnston to bomb forward more and bring Lennon on to roast them for the last 20mins if needed.

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  • 58. At 5:03pm on 20 Jun 2010, pedrobarca wrote:

    It's clear that the big name stars are distorting our reality with England. Due to their premiership hype we believe that they're infalable when actually our weaknesses are very clear.
    1. With the loss of Rio and King we've lost our two most technical defenders. The result is seeing Terry and Carragher hoof the ball up field time and time again to no Joy.

    2. To overcome this problem you need someone to come and collect the ball like xavi or scholes but England don't have this player so we use Barry who equally hoofs the ball up field.

    3. Capello in his genius did not take any left sided midfield players A.Johnson, Downing,A. Young so instaed we play Gerrard. Joe Cole will be equally in affective out there!

    4. Heskey, Heskey, Heskey!! Two years ago he was sat on Wigan's bench with a cold bum. Now he is leading the line of one of the potential favourites in this world cup. Capello has dupped us into thinking that he was a candidate to partner Rooney. Only crouch can partner Rooney, they may not play well together but at least they will both score.

    5. 4-5-1 Do it fuzzy brown hair italian man!!!!!!

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  • 59. At 6:02pm on 20 Jun 2010, Universal0 wrote:

    John, I concur with your comments. . .


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  • 60. At 6:43pm on 20 Jun 2010, sportsgrouch wrote:

    I think Mr C should be on the phone to SAF asking him to send the hairdryer and a full set of china teacups as there seem to be a few boneheads in the England team that dont seem to understand simple instructions and the idea they might put forth a little effort in support of their team mates and an expectant nation. A dictionary open at P... for patriotism might also help, and for the few, I hope, who can't read a little time spent with the US team might be educational.

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  • 61. At 6:49pm on 20 Jun 2010, northcarolina wrote:

    As an English supporter surrounded by Americans, I have to tell you what my US friends and neighbors are saying about England - They don't look like they want to win. Ditto for some of the other 'big' Euro countries. My advice to England is to watch the energy and commitment of 'lesser' teams (like NZ today) A lot of the comments are good about individual players and combinations, but what England is completely lacking is teamwork and desire. For example, I'd drop Rooney not because he's playing poorly but because he doesn't seem to care

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  • 62. At 10:36pm on 20 Jun 2010, DHa wrote:

    I must admit to not being fully behind the choice of Mr Capello for England Manager from the start, but I have been moved by his professionalism, discipline, passion and commitment since taking on this very difficult task.
    Looking through the ranks of the highly paid professionals in the England squad, any sensible selection from this pool of players is capable of beating anyone on their day, and so the same has been said of many previous England squads over many tournaments going back over a long period of time under many successful club managers who became below par England managers..
    I would suggest we take a closer look at our players and the long term strategy for the English game,
    1) Players Tired and Lethargic – players appear burnt out after a very tough and long Premiership and “cup” season always played at a 100 miles an hour.
    2) Commitment – where is the passion and team spirit that drives on Welsh, Scottish and Irish teams to collectively deliver performances to surpass their individual ability? Which players will stand up and be counted in an England shirt.
    3) Selection Policy - from ground roots up, players are preferentially selected for being athletes with pace, great for the Premiership football at 100 miles an hour, or is it? . This translates into a difficulty to make the transition and hence the grade to international football and compete with the best.How about looking for a more players with a footballing brain, good ball control,positional sense, team players and who can score from 12 yards (penalty spot.)

    However as of now, our current manager and squad has to play to their strengths. Mr Capello is there at the sharp end and his selection is based on up to date knowledege and tactics, let him get on with his job of managing.
    If Mr Capello asked me my opinion, the big names who aren't performing at the top of their game and want to dictate to the manager, should be put in their place and dropped, allowing the players that have desire to play for England to take England to glory.
    I would like to close by saying let’s all get behind Mr Capello and the England players, I give you my full support and wish you luck.

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  • 63. At 10:55pm on 20 Jun 2010, 66Remembered wrote:

    I don't understand all the comments asking for a change in formation with Rooney playing on his own up front, with Gerrad sitting in behind him. I could have sworn that's the exactly how we tried to play against Algeria. Heskey too easily gets isolated, with Rooney droping back, so might have well not have beenon the pitch! And, Gerrard gravitates to the centre irrespective of where he is meant to play.

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  • 64. At 10:55pm on 20 Jun 2010, Ramweezy wrote:

    Im a Chelsea fan i will say that now!! but we cant drop Lampard from the starting 11. we should be playing 4-5-1 with Gerrard playing in the middle of the 5 just behind Rooney and then Lampard making his late runs that he does for chelsea. Capello also needs to get JOE COLE playing on the left wing!! every Englishman knows this is the best formation and best way to get the best out of Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard why can't Capello. COMEE ON ENGLANDD!!!!

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  • 65. At 11:19pm on 20 Jun 2010, Anneeq wrote:

    One man who has kept a cool head about things and is speaking sense over all this over reaction and hysteria is Jurgen Klinsman. He made the point that too much is put on the manager. The players are the people that get the results not the manager, people must remember that cos its something that gets easily forgotten. Capello draws up the plan the players execute it, Capeelos plan worked during the qualifiers because the players executed them. He also made another point that the players should be excited that theyr in the world cup, its the world's biggest footballing stage and its their moment. Its their time to show the world that they are the bees knees. Formations are important but they shouldnt be obsessed over endlessly, it really shouldnt matter whether Gerrard in on the left wing, or behind Rooney in a 4-5-1, 4-4-2, 5-3-2 or wtever other formation there is!! The pride he has in representing his country and what iv said above should motivate him and make him excell wherever he is on the pitch! The same goes for every single member in the england team.

    There u have it, its not rocket science, i havent hypothesised a complicated formation, thats all it is! The England boys should want to win the w/c not simply try to.

    Another thing the media seriously need to back off and stop laying into the team any moment they have the chance! We're supposed to be encouraging them to win the world cup not, bully and guilt them into winning it. I know people earn their bread and butter by trying to demoralise our players but this is part of the reason why the players are so damaged mentally. The journalists need to take responsibility here and be England fans before theyr journalists

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  • 66. At 00:09am on 21 Jun 2010, SydneyToon wrote:

    The down side - England were so poor in attack, that a bird was able to have a little snooze on the Algerian net.

    The upside - England have started many of their previous World Cups badly and gone on to do better in the knock-out stages. This particular time reminds me of 1986 and 1990.

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  • 67. At 00:43am on 21 Jun 2010, Herts_Philby wrote:

    Well Motty, another good blog edition and I must say that it's good to know that at least you've been paying attention and have seen what we've all seen back home.

    I agree with the calls for Joe Cole to come into the starting line-up on Wednesday, I was backing Joe Cole to get into the 23-man squad in the first place and then I really thought after good performances in the warm-up games that he would at least play some part in the USA game. After he was surprisingly left out of the opening group game in South Africa, I thought surely he would go into the team for the next clash with Algeria given that we expected them to shut up shop and Joe Cole to get the ball and run at them. Still no sign of Cole. I really hope Capello has been learning from the first two games out there, I want to see Joe Cole starting on Wednesday for one big change to a so far failed and flawed system.

    Here's my first preferred change of system for Wednesday's game, I'm ditching the good old-fashioned 4-4-2 because it's become exactly that for England - 'old fashioned':

    Johnson-Dawson-Terry-A Cole
    Milner---Gerrard---J Cole

    4-2-3-1 has been tried, tested and it's worked for England under Capello's management before, we saw it during that fantastic qualifying campaign wherein we only lost one game (to Ukraine, after we had already qualified, which says something else about England's current team mentality). We know this would put a lot of the so-called 'key players' for England into more natural, comfortable, better positions and allow them to bring club form into their International games.

    Joe Cole must start against Slovenia, as one of the most lively, creative and hard-working attacking players in the squad out there he personifies exactly what we lacked against both the USA and Algeria. Rooney has been very poor in his first two games in this tournament, he has though been played out of position in my opinion, as someone else above has mentioned IF Rooney is kept in the starting line-up he must play as the front man with someone like Gerrard or Heskey behind him for support. Rooney cannot play as a centre forward clearly, he needs the freedom to roam around up front and someone like Gerrard or Heskey would do better in that free role behind him to link up with the midfield and supply him with the ball.

    Milner is the best right midfielder in that England squad, both Lennon and Wright-Phillips have failed to establish themselves to any justifiable good effect when they have played so I wouldn't gamble on them again. Milner is creative, better defensively (as a further possible alternative for right-back as well), works harder and is a better distrubutor of the ball than the other two. Lennon is all about his pace, he can't cross a ball well enough to play outside someone like Gerrard or Rooney, and Wright-Phillips just seems to run around like a headless chicken to on good effect.

    Lampard is on thin ice I feel after two disappointing performances so far, he has been one of the main culprits for failing to bring club form up to International games. Carrick must be waiting in the wings, but my faith is still more with Lampard as on his day he can be a match winning midfielder. Barry should stay in the team as he'll be good protection for the back line and will allow the attacking midfielders freedom to go forward without worrying about getting back. Defoe must also be desperate to get on that pitch, he looked better in the 20 minutes he played against Algeria than Rooney has done in two full games.

    So changes are indeed necessary Motty, my suggestion is the 4-2-3-1 system of the recent past with James in goal which worked so well before now. COME ON ENGLAND! LIFT YOUR GAME, IT'S NOW OR NEVER IN THIS TOURNAMENT! KEEP THE FAITH!

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  • 68. At 02:01am on 21 Jun 2010, Dizzee69 wrote:

    Agree with those calling for Joe Cole. The guy wasn't even meant to be going to the world cup, then played well in a warm-up game, got selected, only to sit on the bench?

    Agree also with Peter Crouch starting alongside Rooney.

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  • 69. At 02:52am on 21 Jun 2010, anthony roberts wrote:

    Brilliant....I get to listen to Motty in the USA..thank you in the US, everyone is proud of their teams performance in the last game. I'm sure that Fabio and the team will make us all proud after this critical game....once more into the breach....!!

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  • 70. At 08:40am on 21 Jun 2010, mmjnr wrote:

    With all respect to you all and to Mr. Motty but the core of the problem lies in the fact that this is England's best at big competitions because England is simply not a world clas national side and does not possess the exceptional talent that the big teams have. If England ever went to this World Cup without too much expectaion they wouldver performed miles better but the problem is the media and the fans made it sound like England are out there to win the World Cup!!!! and that wont happen even if the tournment is played in England on home soil becuae simply there is mile better teams than England who could be ranked 7th or 8th at best ..

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  • 71. At 12:18pm on 21 Jun 2010, rowanofipoh wrote:

    Perhaps we are all guilty of being too hard on Team England. Spain (no 2 in the world), Italy (no 5 in the world), Germany and France are all in trouble. I have watched most matches and I believe that the root problem is the ball and pitch. The only teams that seem able to control the ball are the South American teams and then only barely. The strikers do the defender's job for them by their inability to control the ball, pass the ball or strike on goal with it. Between that and the inept refereeing, it's a defenders paradise! So the teams that have to defend (not being rude but Switzerland, New Zealand, etc., etc.) are doing well because a 0:0 draw is a real result for them! Crashingly boring for the spectator and frustrating for the attacking team! How many of the goals have been scored from outside the 6 yard box? Not many. How many floated balls have reached their target? Not many. How many floated ball 'over the top' have stayed in play? Not many. My advise to England is to forget super ball control and technique, shots through the middle etc. etc. Get to the bye-line and just bang in ball hard and low to the 6 yard line. With this ball they will fly all over the place from hitting defenders as much as anything. 9 out of 10 will go harmlessly upfield, away for a corner or away for a goal kick. But 1 out of 10 will fly into the back of the net with the goalie stranded. Own goal or scored goal; who cares.

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  • 72. At 12:27pm on 21 Jun 2010, MrVanDango wrote:

    If Capello is going to stick with 4-4-2, then he needs to drop Rooney and play Crouch and Defoe up front together... They have a lot of good experience playing together at Portsmouth and Spurs!
    Also, I find that for Capello (or indeed any manager) to ignore an individual with an international goal-scoring record like Crouch is completely ridiculous!

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  • 73. At 12:49pm on 21 Jun 2010, Swissiron Avgrunt wrote:

    Switzerland won 1-0 with a great goal that demonstrated their passion (a bit of a surprise in fact given their normal character) England played with no passion and so it's time to drop all the big names who seem to think they are never at fault - so Lampard, Terry, Gerrard, Heskey and Rooney all need to go, let them sit on the bench and watch the so-called 2nd XI show some passion and commitment

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  • 74. At 12:53pm on 21 Jun 2010, riggy wrote:

    As a football loving person...I have to say my faith in the England players is falling but should they scored 5 or more against the Slovenians then I'll be a little bit happier for them but I somehow doubt they can get out of the easiest group so far.

    I can't wait for the rule Sepp Blatter is setting up for league teams...a minimum of eight home grown maybe in ten years England will have their second gold star on their tops.

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  • 75. At 3:37pm on 21 Jun 2010, myMusicQuiz wrote:

    Actually it has very little to do with manager, players, tactics, altitude, attitude, servitude or dodgy food

    Quite simply we never win when ITV has exclusive rights to England World Cuip games (as far as I can recall).

    So, Wednesday night will be fine as it's on the BBC

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  • 76. At 3:41pm on 21 Jun 2010, rowanofipoh wrote:

    Can I add to my earlier comment. Tonight's 7-0 rout by Portugal confirms my view that the problem is ball/pitch not the players, systems or management. The rain and the wet pitch slows the ball both in the air and on the ground and neither does it bounce as high. This allowed Portugal to play gloriously weighted passes, disecting (yes, I mean disecting) the Korean defence, all of which was a delight to watch. They anialated a defence that had previously (on a dry pitch) held the world's number 1 team to a 2-1 win when, on paper, it was a missmatch of almost biblical proportions. Portugal's strikers previously could only manage a 0-0 draw against Cote D'voire. Had it not been for the rain then I believe that most of those wonderful moves would have broken down with overhit passes or throughballs going behind for a goal kick. I also believe that I am right in saying that no goal was scored from further out than a couple of yards outside the 6 yard box.
    If I were in Capello's shoes, I would include a rain dancer within the Team England management!

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  • 77. At 3:41pm on 21 Jun 2010, MANfanWITHOUTbias wrote:

    Join if you agree, this was pissing me off so much, and there was no group.



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  • 78. At 5:50pm on 21 Jun 2010, RedWhiteandermblue wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 79. At 7:01pm on 21 Jun 2010, SageWithAge wrote:

    The events of the entire World Cup to date, and England's issues, suggest that Mr. Capello is not the issue here, nor is the formation of the current players, aka deck-chairs on a sinking ship. What is happening in the Cup? Well, the likes of Ivory Coast, New Zealand, Slovenia, Ghana, Switzerland and Paraguay can now challenge the powerhouses of the past: football has globalised. Secondly, when a small teams play together year round while the powerhouses bring their egos together for say six weeks a year, it is hard to have a a national team gel. Thirdly, the demands of the pro leagues always seem to supercede so that the focus on the youth who has the energy and the hunger, gets overlooked. Lastly, there are the superstars themselves who may not try as hard as an injury might have repercussions on the marketing potential of their names as "brands".

    The turnover up high in the organisation earlier this year and the incapacity of other past coaches who now seem to do well with the likes of Ivory Coast, to deal with the issues suggest that the organisation is aware that what happens on the field is but the tip of the iceberg, and well above the capacities and the scope of Mr. Capello. And this is not applicable to England alone: France, Italy, Spain and other "powerhouses" now must deal with whether or not their national teams are but little occasional side projects, or meaningful competitive full-time undertakings.

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  • 80. At 9:31pm on 21 Jun 2010, leeds1969 wrote:

    The only time England have looked at all like a threat in two matches was against the US after Crouch came on! Beyond that, no one looks like they want to be there. Don't they realise it's a competition? Everyone should stop whining about team chemistry and taking time for the team to "gel". These people are supposed to be professionals at the top of their game. Perhaps they should start acting like it.

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  • 81. At 9:37pm on 21 Jun 2010, Graham wrote:

    I feel like everyone is not facing reality if you think that Joe Cole is going to magically change the side's fortunes. Remember that at the last world cup England played exactly the formation everyone is asking for except with Hargreaves in for Barry and Beckham in for Lennon. Gerard and Lampard did not complement each other well and Rooney was isolated.

    The bottom line is that England's performances offensively have been poor but defensively they've been much better than previous world cups in my opinion. Lampard just looks to not have the energy or vibrancy to his play and Rooney, likewise, did not look like his dynamic self. Heskey has not worked out and there needs to be some sort of change. Maybe Defoe who at least looked hungry and ambitious when he came on.

    But, we should have faith with Capello who is a great manager and can judge this much better than we all can. These players are a bunch of indulgent babies who do not possess a winning mentality when wearing the England shirt. Technically, this is one of the most complete England sides in many years, from our full backs to our center backs, right through the side. We're going to be fine, if we can just start to find our groove. A win or bust scenario is exactly what we need.

    I'm confident and I think England can continue to go far in the group stages. Capello is the man.

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  • 82. At 07:46am on 22 Jun 2010, CaptainObvious wrote:

    "As much as I was hurting from last night's offering, I can safely say I've seen worse under McClaren. Losing the must-win croatia game at Home in the run up to euro 2008 was much more painful to me. A draw, even as poor as this one, is still a draw. We haven't blown it completely yet and we need to postpone our conclusions until such a time as it is concluded."

    England might have lost or tied more important games, ie Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia, but I have never seen ANY English national team play with less skill, flair, passion, and work rate, than they did against Algeria. A major problem with English football, is that far too often the result is the end all, and players exhibiting average skills, are given too much praise. IMO, this is a main reason why England has developed so few "TRUE" world class players over the past 30-40 years, and why the national team finds it so difficult to excel on the world stage.

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  • 83. At 6:30pm on 22 Jun 2010, truevillain wrote:

    It seems to me as though John Motson is having some memory problems. England have turned in a plethora of far worse performances over the last twenty-five years or so. They were awful in the 1986 WC for two matches before Gary Linekar got going. They were awful in two of their three group games in WC 1990 before getting to the semi-finals, albeit with a healthy helping of luck, as both Belgium and Cameroon outplayed us. Some of the performances under Graham Taylor beggared belief and Steve McClaren's reign was a weak one too.

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  • 84. At 00:42am on 23 Jun 2010, commissionaire wrote:

    One thing is guaranteed - Slovenia will defend to the death like the two opponents before. We will probably only get three or four chances however we play. Makes sense to play anyone who can actually score goals for England - to include Crouch and Joe Cole and Gerrard to play side to side across the top third. Easy enough - we've played like that many times. But can our defence keep Slovenia to one goal - assuming we can get two? That's the end we have to watch!

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