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Is Beckenbauer right about England?

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Phil McNulty | 14:37 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

John Terry tore around in England's training session like a man who had just finished reading Franz Beckenbauer's brutal analysis of Fabio Capello's side.

England's players were in combative mood in the brief time the media were allowed to watch them in action, with former captain Terry throwing in several robust tackles and, in a separate incident, Jermain Defoe ending up on the floor following another challenge.

If England's squad had a little bit of extra bite in their work on Rustenburg's coldest day since their arrival in South Africa, it may just have been the result of a highly uncomplimentary assessment of their style by German legend Beckenbauer following Saturday's 1-1 draw with the United States.

Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner as player and manager, was distinctly unflattering about England in a column in South Africa newspaper The Times: "It looked to me as if the English have gone backwards into the bad old days of kick and rush. What I saw... had very little to do with football."

But is 'Der Kaiser' right?

Franz Beckenbauer (right) and Joachim LoewBeckenbauer (right) has also said he thinks England can win the World Cup if Wayne Rooney shines

On the basis of England's performance in Rustenburg, especially the last 30 minutes, then his "kick and rush" claims are based on fact. England hit far too many long balls in the direction of first Emile Heskey and then Peter Crouch as they ran out of ideas.

But to suggest England have "gone backwards" under Capello on the evidence of a single game is nonsense and something the Italian may just have an added desire to address should his team meet Germany in the last 16 of this World Cup.

Everyone connected with Germany was clearly delighted, and rightly so, with the convincing manner of the win against Australia. Joachim Loew's emerging team played at a high tempo and showed an impressive command of the new Jabulani World Cup ball - hardly surprising as they have been using it since February.

It is a win, however, that should be placed in the context of a desperately poor Australian team, whose most influential player, Tim Cahill, was contentiously sent off in a game that was played at sea level in Durban.

Germany, with hopes typically played down in the build-up to the tournament, looked full of purpose. That said, much tougher tests lie ahead.

In contrast, England's performance at altitude was poor and deserved the criticism it received. But to write them off after one match would be as ill-judged as to declare Germany champions-elect after their thrashing of the Socceroos.

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Beckenbauer appeared to question whether Capello could have any serious impact on England's prospects in this World Cup, adding: "The English are being punished for the fact that there are very few English players in the Premier League clubs as they use better foreign players from all over the world."

Capello has indeed bemoaned the lack of English talent in the Premier League but Beckenbauer does appear to have rushed to judgement after one game, however undistinguished that game was.

England have been poor in recent months, but they were emphatic in qualifying, sweeping aside the dangerous Croatians home and away, playing some fine football in doing so.

Since his arrival, Capello has gone out of his way to stress in public - and in private to his players - that he wants England's team to adopt a passing style. It was, in fact, one of his first telling observations about the players he inherited.

Capello will have noted the basic approach in the last quarter of England's performance against the US and will no doubt attempt to remedy it, forcibly.

He also constantly preaches the mantra of the pressing game - and his displeasure at what Beckenbauer describes as "kick and rush" was clear for all to see when England played their warm-up game against Platinum Stars shortly after their arrival here.

He was at full volume - complete with the full range of irate body language - when berating goalkeeper Joe Hart for choosing aimless long clearances rather than a more measured approach.

If England were guilty of using the long ball as a blunt instrument against the United States, then it is highly unlikely to have been at Capello's instigation.

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Where Capello does not help himself is that he is locked into using either Heskey or Crouch as a partner to Wayne Rooney. Sometimes the temptation is too much to resist when such obvious targets are presented.

The argument that Steven Gerrard should be Rooney's close companion on the field if England are to master the style demanded by their coach is an old one. One of Capello's other more strident public statements, however, was that he would always use two strikers, usually one big and one not so big.

Surely the pairing of Gerrard and Rooney would be more conducive to a more fluid, passing style? Capello clearly thinks not.

The coach has utilised width and has also settled on two attack-minded full-backs in Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole, indicators of his dislike of the long-ball game.

If Beckenbauer has based his remarks on watching England throughout Capello's reign, his criticism is wrong. If they are based on the evidence presented in Rustenburg on Saturday, then he is offering up a very short-term and premature view.

And yet, unwittingly, Beckenbauer may just have done England a favour.

Fabio Capello will get his message across at trainingCan Capello get England playing the way he wants them?

He has drawn to very public attention a flaw that did mar their game on Saturday. And he has prepared Capello's pre-match speech for him should England play Germany here.

Reaching for the press cutttings is often the last refuge of the desperate manager, but it is a safe bet Beckenbauer's words will be used as a motivational tool should England and Germany cross paths.

The feeling around the England camp on Tuesday was that Beckenbauer may have been indulging in some good old-fashioned mind games to disguise his healthy respect for the old enemy and their hugely experienced coach.

After all, it was not so long ago he was lavishing praise on Rooney and admitting he could even be the architect of an England World Cup win, labelling them one of the tournament favourites.

Capello got plenty wrong in his decision making on Saturday. There have been other slips, too, such as the ill-fated 'Capello Index'.

But when Beckenbauer suggests England have hit some sort of reverse gear under Capello, he might care to reflect on the parlous position they were in when the Italian took over - not even good enough to qualify for Euro 2008 from a generous group.

England have advanced under Capello - the way they secured their place in this World Cup proved that - and they may yet get the chance to deliver a more emphatic answer to Beckenbauer's brickbats.

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Capello hasn't so far made any significant changes to the way England play.

    Sure, he has bought some organisation and discipline and results have consequently improved.

    But to to get through t the latter stages of a World Cup tournament, or indeed win it, you need to be able to keep possession and have craft and imagination.

    Putting a big man up front (Heskey) to launch long balls up to and hope your main striker can feed off the crumbs is football from the dark ages and won't get England very far in spite of their excelent physical condition and organisation.

    It could still be saved - bring in Joe Cole, play Gerrard behind Rooney and leave Crouch and Lennon in reserve for when a plan B is needed.

  • Comment number 3.

    He is certainly right about the USA match. Playing at altitude does indeed effect your game but not that much. It is down to England poor mentality and lack of team play.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think Beckenbauer meant that England have gone backwards since qualification was wrapped up. A sentiment that has a lot of merit. Also why do people say the Euro 2008 qualification was generous. It should have been easy to qualify but it was one of the more difficult groups and the only one in which both qualified teams made the knock out stage of the tournament.

  • Comment number 5.

    Does it matter what Franz Beckenbauer or anyone else thinks? England will not win the soccer world cup and has never had any realistic prospect of doing so despite the ridiculous and unnecessary hype touted by the tabloids.

  • Comment number 6.

    "Can Capello get England playing the way he wants them?"

    let's hope so.
    In my opinion "hoofing" a long ball forward to heskey/crouch will indeed win us games, 1-0 up with 10-15 minutes left.. go 4-5-1 with carrick/barry behind the midfield & play defensive tactics.. with counter attack, has proven so useful for big european teams before.

    Unlike a lot of fans, I don't expect england to lift the World Cup this year.
    Semi-Finals would be a great achievement.

  • Comment number 7.

    My team selection for Friday would be from back to front and laft to right:

    David James (if fit, if not Robert Green)
    Glen Johnson, J Carragher, J Terry, Ashley Cole (defence)
    Aaron Lennon, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole (midfield)
    Steven Gerrard (attacking midfielder just behind Rooney)
    Wayne Rooney (striker)

    Lets see how that team would go.

  • Comment number 8.

    Ignore the Kaiser - it is as you suggest nothing more than mind games.

    In my view England are not good enough to win the World Cup when compared to Spain, Holland, Brazil, Argentina and now Germany. We after all are only ranked 8th in the world.

    Having said that I think we have been very lucky with the draw and should make the semis. If we can get that far who knows what could happen on any given day.

    The real danger is not finishing top of our group and meeting Germany in the last 16.

  • Comment number 9.

    Franz is well known for being very outspoken and in all fairness, about his own club Bayern München as well.

    I still think he`s a TV pundit for the CL matches broadcast in Germany.

    To suggest England went bkack to the old days of kick and rush is nonsense, but wuite obviously he had expected much more of the players in their first match. Beckenbauer once coached the german side and did win the World Cup at Italia 90. If I remember correctly, the right`s for the release he video of the final vs Argentina were not taken up in the UK, because that match was as poor as it can get.

    He shouldn`t have commented at this early stage, most other nations played well below par too, just to name France and Italy for this moment in time.

    Fabio had just two years and compared to a club manager few games to change things around. The choice of top classe english players is very limited, but the same applies to Löw and his german side.

    Since the golden generation of top class german players in the late 60`s and early 70`s and the likes of Beckenbauer himself, Overath, Netzer, Gerd Müller, Hoeness etc, few world stars have appeared on the scene.

    The really big difference between the english and german sides is the mental strenght to overcome stronger and more skilful opposition and to convert penalties when it comes to that.

    The 4-0 win was against a poor Australia, surely a big boost for the matches to follow, but to become a favourite and to win the tournament what at least one german tabloid has already suggested, takes a lot more.

  • Comment number 10.

    Can we just calm down a bit and stop all this constant analysis and speculation until we've played a few more games please? Let's at least see how we do against Algeria.

  • Comment number 11.

    England have the capability to play well (as proved by their qualifying group) and are consistently in the top 10 of world football sides. They have some excellent players. However, Beckenbauer is correct in his analysis. English teams have always had difficulty in keeping control of the ball and lack the technical ability of countries such as Brazil, Argentina and the Netherlands. There is too much emphasis in England on physical prowess and not enough on keeping control of the ball. Thus, when England fail in their direct style of play (ie trying to play incisive, quick football with through balls and quick crosses from the wings) their general approach is to try and hoof the ball to the biggest player on the pitch. This happened on Saturday. English football has much to offer and is the most exciting to watch in league terms due to the 'have a go' attitude and fast-paced nature of the game. Possession football is pretty boring. Unfortunately, the latter is usually the approach that wins international tournaments. England are unlikely to win if they continue their current approach. Can they play possession football? Doubtful.

  • Comment number 12.

    Is Beckenbauer right?


    But he needn't be. Bizarrely, Capello has drifted back to the most English of obsessions, 4-4-2 and lump it to the big galumph up front.

    Yet we have Lampard, Gerrard, J Cole, Rooney, Lennon, SWP, who can all play quick passing football.

    I just hope the USA display forces him to think again - what worries me is that we would probably beat Algeria & Slovenia with whatever formation we choose - it'll give him misplaced confidence to continue with 4-4-2, and a decent team will belt us.

  • Comment number 13.

    Based on the US game, FB is partially right in his assessment. In the second half of the game it was as if Eng took out the Graham Taylor book of tactics.

    In reality though this is the old experienced FB playing mind games and deflecting attention away from the Germans.

  • Comment number 14.

    He can say whatever he wants - in fact, he should insult us a bit more so we can use it as extra motivation!

  • Comment number 15.

    Comments made at 4.07pm still awaiting moderation at 4.36pm (and counting). Not good enough BBC, not good enough. Not when you've got every BBC and his dog swanning around in South Africa at my expense.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Franz is right to say what he said, the facts are England were like the Crazy Gang on Saturday. They employed Wimbledon tactics...
    As a team, they just didn't gel.

    I hope they improve, because the players are better than that performance.

    However for all the critiscism, I am sure the England team have learned a hell of alot from that performance against a well organized and committed US team, it should stand them in good stead for improving the teamwork..

  • Comment number 18.

    "He (Beckenbauer) has drawn to very public attention a flaw that did mar their game on Saturday. And he has prepared Capello's pre-match speech for him should England play Germany here."

    Uh, Mr. McNulty: English passion rarely defeats the characteristic German calmness in these pressure siutations and on the big stage. It, along with some contentious officiating, gave England a world cup win in 1966 and an irrelevant victory at Euro 2000, but otherwise Germany have always matched and trumped whatever England has thrown at them in the past.

    I think this article has the smell of desperation about: it's all a bit too defensive. You're right to point out that one should not draw the conclusion Germany are formidable and England impotent from their respective first games, but then this is so obvious to even the casual observer. However, one cannot deny the purpose, the endeavour, the style and the complete ruthlessness of Germany's demolition of Australia, while England grafted for little reward against Team America. I believe USA are a better team than Australia, but then I believe they are a better team than the Anglocentric media would have you believe. Beating Spain and outplaying Brazil for 45 minutes is more than England have achieved in the last 12 months. They could have won it too, but for a top class save from Green, and for all their huff and puff in the second half England didn't once force Howard into making a save of any real merit.

    The fact is England's game plan is very limited. They blew away their qualifying group with pace and width, bouncing the ball of a big man with Rooney going through a purple patch. However, at the very top level the big man Heskey is completely ineffective (Onyewu and Demerit are no great shakes), the opposition have the pace or the intelligence to deal with head-down speed merchants like Lennon, and the angry Messiah's goals have dried up. On top of that there is no pace in centre of defence. Gerrard's drive gets you so far, but if anyone epitomises the 'kick and rush' mentality its Scouse Steve. Lampard is a good attacking midfielder, but relies on service and space which is limited in the packed midfields of international football. Barry will never hurt anyone and Milner is one of the most overrated midfielders in European football. On top of that the English mentality is not a winning mentality, it lacks the discipline, the confidence and ruthlessness of, let's say, the Germans.

    I just cannot see England winning it: Spain, Argentina and Portugal are technically more gifted and suited to this level; Brazil are too powerful for England; Italy and Germany mentally too strong. Even a poor France I feel are less likely to choke than this English lot.

    It will be quarter-finals, again, at best.

  • Comment number 19.

    With Crouch or Hesky up front, England will always resort to Route 1, kick and rush, long ball tactics - whatever you want to call it - at some point.

    Arguably this is even more evident when wingers such as Lennon and SWP can't cross consistiently. If they could they surely we would use the wings more but when the likes of Gerrard, Barry and Lampard are working balls to the wings and see the crosses wasted time after time, long ball almost becomes the only option.

    You could argue that Gerrard and Lampard should play it through the middle more but we all know that old conundrum!

    Englands style is fast paced, charged football a la premiership but at International level patience is needed, which the English game isn't really suited for, hence resorting to 'kick and rush' football when, passing, flowing football doesn't work. The only team to buck that trend in the premier league are Arsenal, who keep trying to play 'football' til the death.

  • Comment number 20.

    No, hes not right about England. England have improved under Capello for sure. Hes playing mind games and probably winding most people up!

    On the contrary to him winding people up, I also believe that sometimes this kind of negativity from 'opposition' may bring out the best from the players. I certainly hope so! the only thing I do agree with is that England need to player sharper football and in a major competition I'd rather they do that gradually and peak at the right time i.e. Qtr-final onwards.

  • Comment number 21.

    Oh, Germany had a good result did they?

  • Comment number 22.

    I watched the Germany v Australia match the other day. I actually got pretty angry at how much play acting the Germans did and some of the challenges that went unpunished.

    I actually thought England played well. we got a draw, it's not the end of the world unlike most of the media are saying.

  • Comment number 23.

    I don't think Beckenbauer's comments are fair and we need to see what England can do in their next match. One thing I will say in watching their first game was my disappointment in them kicking and passing the ball around in their own half, a bit forward then back then sideways and not playing attacking football like the Germans or other European teams. This won't get them anywhere. I do hope we play the Germans and thrash them.

  • Comment number 24.

    "The English are being punished for the fact that there are very few English players in the Premier League clubs as they use better foreign players from all over the world."

    The truest and most honest statement/description of english football!! And it came from a german....they should know they were there about 10 years ago. The difference is they did something about it.... The english premier league just carried on chasing the money.....

    No one can even contemplating forming an arguement against that.... unless they are blinded/deluded by the premier league. Don't get me wrong it's entertaining but it cripples the national team and that's your country comes first!!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Beckenbauer is like Pele - great player, rubbish pundit

  • Comment number 26.

    Your statement that "Beckenbauer does appear to have rushed to judgement after one game" is very closely followed by "England have been poor in recent months", which suggests that Beckenbauer knows exactly what he is talking about.

    Most of Premier League football IS kick and rush nonsense, so it's no surprise to see England resort to playing that way when things aren't going well. It's the way they always play at major tournaments, and yet the media are always surprised, or so it seems.

    So there is a problem of expectation, but the poor football from English players is down to our win-at-all-costs youth coaching, and the "get rid" culture.

    Yet we refuse to tackle the main problem, so Capello will get the blame for any failure at the World Cup. The knives are already being sharpened.

  • Comment number 27.

    Franz is right - English football has no fluidity. I look at teams like Germany, Argetina, Brazil, Spain, Holland etc. who move the ball through the midfield using short passes and creating lots of space - and then I watch England NOT do it.

    We have not got a hope in hell of winning the world cup and although there are many reasons for this there is 1 very good reason - we are not good enough - and therefore do not deserve to win it.

    History tells me that either Argetina or Brazil will win the cup because if you go back to 1962 - either Brazil or Argentina have won it every other time the competition has been on:

    1962 - Brazil
    1970 - Brazil
    1978 - Argentina
    1986 - Argentina
    1994 - Brazil
    2002 - Brazil

    2010 - Argetina ???
    2014 - Spain ???
    2018 - Argentina ???

    What do you think?

  • Comment number 28.

    27 comments awaiting moderation - maybe the moderator is watching the football

  • Comment number 29.

    He is mostly right. England have one team and very little back up. Many of the top teams have little or no England youth coming through. The saving grace I hope will be the new UEFA rules on homegrown talent. I hope they also bring in the rules about money out matching money in.
    It's sad that it can not be realised by the FA and it takes Franz to point out what we all know in our hearts.

  • Comment number 30.

    Rooney must not call officials naughty names when the ball rolls down his leg. He must connect with the 3 lions to ensure his toe punts are destined for financial reward to uk business. Local drums will beat with the heart of Lampard's hit and hope 30 yarders as they sail into top corners sending England's public into a frenzy.

  • Comment number 31.

    Who cares what Beckenbauer thinks. He should keep his mind on the German side and his mouth shut. The only person I am interested in hearing from is Fabio.

    Looking at the time it's taking to moderate (AGAIN!!!) I shall not be posting again on this blog.


    PS wonder what Beckenbauer will have thought of Portugal's display then. Truly awful IMHO.

    Come on England!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    what a surprise - a PM blog and a large section of it taken up by his opinion that Gerrard should partner Rooney up front.

    I think we all get it now Phil, please can you stop going on about this in every blog you write. It is getting a little tiresome.

    Otherwise, you make some good points. And i cant really disagree much with Beckenbauer, we have looked like a "Wimbledon" team a lot of the time, hoofing it up usually to Crouch, who whilst he may be "good on the floor for a big man" he is also terrible in the air for such a big guy.

    Final point - there has been a lot of comment about the new Jubulani ball, which seems to accompany each new tournament where a new ball is used. I wonder how many of the complaints have come from players sponsored by Nike, Umbro, Puma etc? (Well maybe not Puma actually). But i sometimes wonder if there is not some of this reasoning behind the criticism, as they get paid handsome amounts by rival manufacturers? Perhaps i am too much of a cynic...

  • Comment number 33.

    Someone sacked all the moderation team ?

  • Comment number 34.

    Good blog Phil. England were poor on Saturday and did run out of ideas toward the end of the game. More importantly though why did Capello not use Carrick instead of Lampard? Lampard is a fantastic player for Chelsea but he rarely replicates that form for England and lets be honest neither Gerrard or Lampard are ball-winners.

    Carrick is in no way an identikit replacement for Barry but he would of at least offered a bit more stability in the middle of the park as well as maybe winning a few more tackles than either Gerrard or Lampard managed. When Barry is restored to the team on Friday I'll be surprised if the England players persist with long balls. Barry always seems to be there for the simple pass and keeps the game moving. Simplicity is Barrys' game and how England missed him last week.

    Hopefully Friday will be different but I still can't stop thinking that Owen Hargreaves would not allowed the USA the time and space to play. At the end of the day if Robert Green hadn't made a freak mistake I dare say the majority of the press would be papering over the cracks rather than shooting England down.

  • Comment number 35.

    Beckenbaur is entitled to his opinions, and this seems like the tactic of another wiley old timer, none other than Sir Alex.

    The reaction will be interesting, and surely raises an interesting point as to what he was looking to achieve.

    Was it just a blatant dig at a team he no longer feels has the ability to compete at this level, or is it that he possibly relishes the prospect of meeting England in the quarter finals and testing his mettle against an old adversary?

    I hope he does get the chance, and I hope we send them home, a la Argentina in Japan.

    The fact remains that we will have to improve greatly in order to do so!

  • Comment number 36.

    Why are all 18 comments above awaiting moderation.

    Yes, I agree Capello had made mistakes, not picking Joe Cole (after previous excellent warm up game), James heralded as No 1 goaly & not picking him, Brown should be dropped for such a catastrophic blunder, he should be aiming for the highest standards, if someone fails at that level they should be out. His perseverance with Heskey, in spite of almost universal criticism by the UK media (including BBC) has proved to be right, who was one of the few England's successes, against USA.

  • Comment number 37.

    England does not need a German to wind up our team to knock it down - our Red Tops are very good at that game. Our Red Tops do make our players fear failure and that is never the right frame of mind for success.

    We did lack mid field balance and flair in the game against USA. Hopefully, that will be resolved when Gareth Barry is back in the team - a player even more important to the team than Rooney as far as I can see.

  • Comment number 38.

    Franz is almost right. England didn't play "kick and rush" - whatever that is - they played "big boot". The defenders got the ball, passed it amongst themselves, and then hoofed it long up the field.

    And why?

    Because Steven Gerrard, who was supposed to be holding the central midfield together, knitting defence/midfield/attack, was consistently about 20-30 yards too far forward. The defenders booted the ball long because in front of them there was a desert, and their teammates were so far away.

    England were dire on Saturday. Gerrard wasn't the worst by any manner of means, but the man has no idea at all about how to play the holding role, and my god it showed.

  • Comment number 39.

    Phil, please expand on the 'plenty' that Capello got wrong against the USA.

    Was it the selection of the most talented, in-form centre back who just so happened to go on and get a completely unrelated injury to his existing injury problems? No.

    Was it selecting a midfielder on the left who, although was probably not operayting at 100%, was also far more likely to track back and defend compared to alternatives SWP and Joe Cole? No.

    Was it selecting a goalkeeper who had done little wrong in his England appearances prior to Saturday, and someone who remains unbeaten in an England shirt in competitive games? No.

    I used to think your blogs were acceptable, if mild and somewhat predictable. Now I realise that they are shoddy, desperately unimaginative and just generally tend to follow what every other two-piece reporter in the country is writing.

    I said this to David Bond and I'll say this to you. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but something we only possess after the event, so please do stop banging on about the 'dubious' selection of Green and King. Most England fans would agree they were the best available options at the time.

    I look forward to your next England blog, which I guess will be something along the lines of 'England bounce' if we go onto beat Algeria.

  • Comment number 40.

    And Beckenbauer has what to do with English football? Sounds to me like he was on his high horse after Germany were the only team to go for broke against a distinctly poor Australia team.

  • Comment number 41.

    The Kaiser is totally correct, but to be fair, that is the only way we will have a chance against continental teams who do not like high tempo and physical presence.
    We are hardly going to pass Brazil or Argentina of the park are we , so stick to what we do best, even if it is dross to watch.
    PS. What ever system we play, we should get rid of that plank Heskey as soon as possible, goals win games, Emile is a joke on the goals front.

  • Comment number 42.

    Beckenbauer appeared to question whether Capello could have any serious impact on England's prospects in this World Cup, adding: "The English are being punished for the fact that there are very few English players in the Premier League clubs as they use better foreign players from all over the world."


    I am not sure how valid this point is of Franz and many others.

    Many of England's players do play at big clubs, with a good CV of reaching the latter stages of probably the World's premier Club competition year in, year out.

    A Cole, Ferdinand (ok not here), Joe Cole, Terry, Carrick, Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Crouch have all played in Champions League Finals, with Carragher, Gerrard and the Man Utd players having played in two. The Chelsea players have constantly held their own in the latter stages of the Champions League year after year.

    When you add in the emerging Man City and Spurs who both have a number of players in England's World Cup squad to the group above I have my doubts as to how the lack of English players in the EPL stands up.

    The 'good' one's will break through to the International game.

    Would wonder how this compares to other top nations??

    And lets face it, in the 1970's and 1980's, English clubs were pretty much made up of exclusively British players and more than held their own in the European Club competitions....and how well did the England and the rest of Britain's international sides do in international tournaments??.....worse than we do now!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Germany dont get the credit as an attacking outfit in 2006 and euro 08 they always look to get forward. But whilst i agree with some of beckenbauers criticism i would ask him has he been watching the other games. All the other teams look rubbish as well in a terrible world cup devoid of creativity, skill imagination, passion and any spark at all so its not just England is it.

  • Comment number 44.

    The thing that bothers me about this article, and other English posters I've read... is that because Beckenbauer has criticised England, quite rightly, for a poor performance... you all start picking wee holes in the Germans excellent performance.

  • Comment number 45.

    Beckenbauer is obviously right! I'm surprised there's even an argument. The only point where he's wrong is that they've gone backwards under Capello (they haven't, of course). But, they're too reliant on aimless long balls and unable to keep possession. Not a sign of a potential world cup winner. I find it laughable how commentators are often condescending towards other teams playing long-ball and unable to keep possession without realising that England are exactly the same.

  • Comment number 46.

    Cant stand Beckenbauer, regardless of whether he has a point or not, he has no real business passing any comment, total has-been. It's like Trevor Brooking commenting on the Germans... Hopefully all it will to is spur the England team on.

  • Comment number 47.

    Of course Beckenbauer is right! Wasn't it obvious on Saturday night? Was there anything new or refreshing from England's performance? No. Did we see fluid passing and movement? No. Did we see anyone produce anything special? No, unless you count Stevie G's goal which was a by-product of poor defending in my view. Was Rooney able to get a grip on the game? No. Did England look comfortable on the ball the way the Germans did? No. Did Robert Green push the ball into his own net in the long English tradition of goalkeeping disasters? Yes. I could go on.

    As for the qualifying - yes, but that was the qualifying. This is the World Cup and we have reverted to the boring, clueless football we played in 2006. And Capello could do nothing about it because he put on Heskey, Crouch, etc.

    Don't get me wrong, I can't stand Beckenbauer, but if someone is right, then he is right. He's only half-right about the lack of English players in the PL, though. There are just as many foreign players in the German league and not one of the Inter team that won the CL was Italian.....hmmmmm

  • Comment number 48.

    Anybody who saw England's game knows he is right.

    Our passing completely bypassed the midfield all night, it was between the defense, then a long ball up to either Heskey or one of the wingers who was in an advanced position. As such we never really dominated possession for long periods at a time and were unable to stamp our authority on the game.

    The wingers should be more willing to drop deep to give the defense and centre midfielders more options, and our defenders should be more composed when picking out a pass, perhaps they should try and knock it around in the midfield for a change.

    Another worrying concern for me is that during the friendly against Mexico, at one point in the game the England players passed it around for around 10 or 15 passes between the defense and the midfield. Do you know what happened? The crowd actually started BOOING. For me this is a clear indication that the casual England fans do not understand what is required in International football, and because of the pressure placed upon the players to do something, they gave it away cheaply in the end. The fans must understand that it is not like the Premier League where you must get the ball up to the front quite quickly with lots of energy.

    England, and it's fans, must learn to keep possession of the football or we will never go further than the Quarter Finals of the World Cup.

  • Comment number 49.

    Pride comes before a fall Beckenbauer...

  • Comment number 50.

    Lets hope his comments backfire and England play Germany in the next round, then we will see what he has to say.

    Yes England were poor, so have most of the other teams in this tournament apart from Argentina and Germany, but that is after one game.

    I fancy England to get better every game and I think we will beat Germany if we need to play them.

  • Comment number 51.

    Heskey & Crouch are in the squad for kick and rush. Put pressure on Carragher, Terry and they need an easy way out.

  • Comment number 52.

    It's ingrained in the culture of English football. Too much aggression and not enough passing and keeping the ball.

  • Comment number 53.

    Tired of the droning vuvuzela? try this. i have no idea how/where you install it or how to activate it while watching online...

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    I agree too many non - english players in the premier league.

    If our Prime Minister Cameron want to tackle the number of immigrants coming into England Start with non-essentials like foreign footballers.
    More doctors please and fewer athletes that do not contribute but only take money out of the economy and in many cases get paid through foreign companies so they do not have to pay any tax at all. Change the point system to favour other skills than football/entertainers. Also how did Manchester United ever get a permit to get two Brazilian youths into this country????? under eighteen (I think)

    Give more English people a chance to work even in football

    I live in England, Canadian Citizenship, born in Denmark......

  • Comment number 56.

    The crux of England's lack of style and fluidity is Lampard. He is a fine club player, but in a league where possession is cheap and chances plentiful. For England, his pot shots from 40 yards and dithering in possession outweigh the benefits of a surging run and goal every 3-4 games. I would stick to Rooney and Crouch, with Gerard the sole midfield man who breaks, with Barry, then J Cole for ball retention on the left and Lennon right. See impact of first vs second half against Egypt when he was withdrawn and England started to link things together.

  • Comment number 57.

    To extent he is right, just based on that one game. However he shouldn't get too smug yet. Germany, as good as they were in their first game, have won nothing yet. There haven't been many great performances yet in this tournament.

    I'd be happy in England can battle their way out of this group, although, Slovenia is still a tricky game to negotiate, which we may NEED to win.

    Hopefully we can have better balance once Barry. or Joe Cole are restored on the left. Any more bad errors may be terminal to the entire campaign though.

  • Comment number 58.

    I agree that it's mind games and i agree that using a "bigger" striker alongside Rooney cuts down the way we can pass the ball dramatically!

    If you ask me, we need a fast, quick thinking striker to go alongside Rooney and use other if we need to... And that could be to hold the ball up after we are winning, or just to give us an extra dimension if our passing patiently doesn't pay off!

  • Comment number 59.

    As A life-long fan of Beckenbauer, i am forced to disagree with him, slightly. I don't feel England have gone back under Capello, but I do feel they went back to being England of old, when they they played the US.

    There is no doubt that England lack real quality players in any sort of depth to choose from. So it is up to the FA to reign in the commercial power of the Premier league for the benefit of English football.

  • Comment number 60.

    Looking at all the matches (including this afternoons Port'-Ivory ) only Germany have stood out, But when you look at the facts Germany played a poor Aussie team who recently lost to the USA I think 3-0 ... England played a USA side ranked 14 in FIFA rankings who in the past have beat Spain and lost to Brazil 3-2 ... perhaps if England had played a lesser team and won well then good old Franz would be raving about how he told us so when he said England were one of the favourites! ....

    Let's get real!.. England have no chance of winning the WC unless they have massive luck .. and looking at Saturdays game this is not going to happen!

    The difference between them and the top teams is England would have to play every game at their highest level, Spain and Brazil can afford to have a bad day and still do well! ... England haven't gone backwards but unfortunately they are still not worldbeaters!

  • Comment number 61.

    The Germans would have drawn against the USA.
    Think about it, Australia played some very bad football against the Germans. They did not press, they defended appallingly and there was no drive whatsoever. The yanks, despite lacking some finishing upfront, were energetic and determined.
    Failing to score and save easy shots cost us the match against the Yanks. Germany played very well, but let’s face it, they were awarded all the time in the world!
    ‘Der Kaiser’ is a confusing character. Your correct Phil, he did shower praise on Rooney and has in the past spoken about us hosting the world cup. He has also said several times that he admires English Football. Sounds to me like a fan. So let’s take his words and understand this: the man knows we are capable of a lot more. So yeah, I agree with him.

  • Comment number 62.

    The Kaiser is wrong to say that England have gone 'backwards'. Since they have never played anything but kick and rush football it stands to reason that they have kept to their proud tradition of playing this way and yet still always believing that they are the best team on the planet ever!

  • Comment number 63.

    I think he has point to a certain extent, but blaming Capello for the lack of discipline on the players part is not right. If he uses a tall striker whats wrong with it if the wider players are able to cross?

    Its a bit like telling the manager "Hey listen, our players have kick and rush engrained in them so much that you should avoid any temptation" even if it means we reduce our options.

    Strange everyone here asks Gerrard to be played up front where as all the scousers want him ack in the middle at Liverpool !!!

  • Comment number 64.

    I thought Becks was too kind. England's performance was expected given the squad and players selected from it for the game. Cops has taken crocks and mediocre (in international terms)players who have consistently failed at this level. We will get what we deserve - very little.

  • Comment number 65.

    What is this English obsession with everything German, who cares what Franz said about England is this really news?

    "The feeling around the England camp on Tuesday was that Beckenbauer may have been indulging in some good old-fashioned mind games to disguise his healthy respect for the old enemy and their hugely experienced coach."

    Do me a favour, do you really think Germany is as hung up on England as England is on Germany...

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    Who cares what he says, Ze Germans have just smashed a very poor team indeed, and have put Insomniacs to sleep for years the way they grind out results, and for once they play a bit of football.. Bravo.

    I fancy us to turn them over.

  • Comment number 69.









    Rant over.

  • Comment number 70.

    5. At 4:16pm on 15 Jun 2010, NormalforNuneaton wrote:
    Does it matter what Franz Beckenbauer or anyone else thinks? England will not win the soccer world cup and has never had any realistic prospect of doing so despite the ridiculous and unnecessary hype touted by the tabloids.

    I'm sure that the Italian media had that same negative attitude 4 years ago, and I'm also sure that they had egg on their faces when Italy won the World Cup.

    England DO have a chance to win the world cup, whether people want to accept it or not, one bad performance does not make the team a bad team all of a sudden. Germany were pretty shambolic back in 2002 and they still managed to go all the way to the final. I see no reason why England cannot gather enough momentum to be able to achieve the same thing.

  • Comment number 71.

    Beckenbauer always lays into England given half a chance. I don't think he's ever got over the 1966 final. England is not his problem anyway. It reminds me of Mourinho's 'voyeur' comment about Arsene Wenger when he was always talking about Chelsea instead of his own team.

  • Comment number 72.

    I think Beckenbauer is wrong to make a judgment after one match, but there's no escaping the fact that England teams historically don't have enough players who can pass the ball properly and/or have sufficiently good technique. Even the sainted 1966 team were workmanlike rather than inspiring (Yes I do remember them!). However as the 1966 team proved it is a team that usually wins the World Cup, not a collection of talented individuals. That said, I think the semis would be a good result for England.......Does anyone know of an English centre half who doesn't just hoof the ball up in the air?

  • Comment number 73.

    Algeria have pace. Therefore Carragher must not start. My team would be:

    Johnson Terry Upson Cole
    Lennon Barry Lampard Cole

    If the game drifts from Englang, the have the option to remove Barry & stick Heskey / Crouch on.

  • Comment number 74.

    I think that Beckenbauer has a point.
    Crouch has the skills required on the ground and in the air and he can score goals, so I would like to see some respect for his all round game which is as good as anyone on show in this world cup.
    Rooney seems to hate being told to calm down and needs to grow up fast to make an impact on this world cup.
    If Rooney cannot play without resorting to abuse of referees and opponents, then why do we need him?
    I would like to see a team effort with some individual flair in the opponents third of the field.
    We have the talent, so lets prove it!

  • Comment number 75.

    Beckenbauer is right to a degree and only echoes many of the sentiments in Phil McNulty's first blog after the USA game, whatever Phil says now.

    I do think we have devloped under Capello and that our passing game has improved but under pressure we resort to waht we know. While I would hardly call it kick and rush the long ball ball is not even the most productive way of playing in the Premier League.

    Capello though also resorted to type in his squad selection by not picking in form and fit players.

    Get the ball down, play a fast paced game and we will be a match for most teams. If teams beat you through playing good football then you just have to hold your hands up and say you got beat by the better side. When england have played like this in the past we have more often than not won ourselves. Examples - holland Euro 96, Germany 2001, Croatia 2008/09, and Argentina in the pre-world cup game in 2006.

  • Comment number 76.

    Phil McNulty writes, somewhat predicatably in favour of Gerrard:

    "The argument that Steven Gerrard should be Rooney's close companion on the field if England are to master the style demanded by their coach is an old one."

    "Surely the pairing of Gerrard and Rooney would be more conducive to a more fluid, passing style? Capello clearly thinks not."

    Talk about continuing to miss the point, Mr McNulty! Gerrard is part of the problem. As is Lampard to a lesser degree. They are both fine club players and excellent goalscoring midfielders when in form. But clever, game controlling, creative and inventive players they are not. Any international squad would like to have goalscoring midfielders but to be a very top international team then a Fabregas or Xavi type is required. Or a one-off genius like a Messi or a while back, Ronaldinho. And in the context of England, a 36 year old Scholes IS NOT the answer either.
    Rob Green's error has masked the same old problems with this generation of England footballers. We barely looked like scoring on Saturday and with Lampard and Gerrard in the centre of midfield we were again bereft of ideas and creativity. How much more proof do you hacks need!? Rather than keep peddling the tired and lazy "Gerrard world class this, play him off Rooney that" you need to consider the repeated deep and severe flaws of the so-called "Golden Generation." And this is no more typified than by Gerrard. Yes he had a decent game overall but as is always the case with Gerrard came the sloppy passes, twice surrendering possession outside our own area. Both times Gerrard and England were lucky that such errors went unpunished.

    So Beckenbauer is spot on with his criticism. Our midfield (other than Joe Cole) is devoid of pure out-and-out creativity and no amount of overhyping of the likes of Gerrard can mask that. Assess and appreciate Gerrard and Lampard for what they are; strong athletes full of stamima who can run all day who are capable of making some good passes and scoring some goals. But let's not pretend they are equivalents to Xavi and Iniesta or even Pirlo in his pomp, four years ago. These two guys will help to get us so far but our midfield is still strongly lacking. Indeed, if I was to have one complaint about Capello it would be the conservative approach he took to his final 23. With an England team so bereft of midfield creativity a "gamble" or "wildcard" was required with one or two younger players who could perhaps provide a spark. The names Walcott and Wilshere come to mind.

  • Comment number 77.

    Its quite clear from the performance on Saturday that creativity isn't a playing trait England are blessed with. Other than Germany's drubbing of Australia there really hasn't been much to cheer - many of the games have been turgid affairs. This is the fear of losing the first game coming to the fore and England are always too inhibited as a team when there is an expectation of winning.
    Beckenbauer is entitled to his opinion and certainly his observations were correct based on Saturday's game but I believe the playing style will gradually change through the next games and when it becomes a knockout competition then a more positive approach will be in evidence.

  • Comment number 78.

    "may just have an added desire to address should his team meet Germany in the last 16 of this World Cup."

    Sorry - but i hate this attitude. Just like Green who came out and said he will try doubly hard to pull of outstanding saves, my first thought is that for the money he's paid, I expect him to be trying as hard as is possible every damn second of the 90 minutes he calls work every few days.

    God knows, when i "work from home" those 90 minutes I actually work are outstanding! Is it so much to expect?

    If there is more to expect from Capello, that he's deliberately holding back until we play Germany, can someone slap him and tell him to bring it to the table now please.

  • Comment number 79.

    It's just mind games from the old German. He knows there's a fair chance of us meeting in the next round so he's using old and outdated tactics to get under the England player's skin. I don't believe it can be effective these days as they are all used to this kind of thing in the premier league.

    England are better than people have been saying. Germany look like they have a decent side but don't forget that the aussies had an easy chance to score in the first fews minutes, a man sent off and a poor recent defensive record.

  • Comment number 80.

    England have 1 problem & its not the manager, ball, altitutide, style of play, team selection or anyother excuse they can think of.
    Its the fact that these players are not good enough & that has been proved by our results in the last 3 WC's, including a steady decline since 2002.
    For far too long now ive watched these players look ponderous in possesion & inept at creating chances & unable to beat a player with skill, also, the constant injury/goalkeeping curse disguises tht.
    Beckanbauer was right when he said we suffer because of the number of foriegners in the PL these players have been involved with England for too long & need to be replaced, but who do you replace Frank-what do i do-Lampard or Steve-loose the ball-Gerrard
    Oh and why did not Joe Cole play??? he is 1 of the few who is good enough to beat opposition players with skill and imagination

  • Comment number 81.

    Send the lot of them home. A disgraceful performance against the US. Where was the passion, energy and confidence? 99.9% of fans will applaud the team off the pitch if they show some pride even if they lose.

  • Comment number 82.


    Problem with your (and so many other's) side is that Lampard is in midfield, with Gerrard behind Rooney. When has Lampard ever played that role successfully for England?

    Gerrard is not a striker. Without him playing as he did against the USA, covering every blade of grass from defence to attack, we would have lost. He headed out of defence, crossed in, and scored the goal. We need that engine and drive in midfield.

    Lampard is not a deep playing midfielder. He needs to be near the striker for knock downs and to feed the striker with little balls around the defence. That is what he is good at. He is not Xavi or Beckham. Let him play the short pass to Rooney or out to Lennon and ghost into the area, not the short pass to the full backs or centre backs (which is all he does playing that role).

    Put Gerrard up the pitch and you'll basically marginalise both our world class players, neither of whom will get a touch.

  • Comment number 83.

    yes Bekenbauer was right to criticise England's performance against the US - at times the english team wasn't very creative. however,I disagree with his arguement that this mediocre performance was due to the influx of foreign players in english football resulting in a lack of players available for selection. Our squad are playing alongside and against some of the best 'foreign' players in the world when they play in the premier league and in european cup games. On balance i see this as a benefit in raising the standard and skills of english players. As for the next game, lets just hope the england team play with a little more assurance - and when it comes to substitutions instead of SWP Mr.Capello opts to play JC (Joe Cole that is)

  • Comment number 84.

    Problem with England is Rooney grossly overrated.

  • Comment number 85.

    FB is spot on. It was England, lumping it forward to the "big man" again.
    Totally different to the way we played in the qualifying games.
    King was the worst for doing it, but knowing now that he was injured from the 4-5 minute, I can understand he felt a bit more under pressure.

  • Comment number 86.

    I think the old fella got carried away due to the Australia result.

    England were disappointing against USA, but one swallow doesn't make a summer, Franz...

  • Comment number 87.

    And before I go, people saying to drop Lennon are surely not England team supporters. He produced two of the only three clear goal chances. You want SWP there kicking the ball off for goal kicks for 70 minutes?

  • Comment number 88.

    A bit of brinkmanship from Beckonbaur to be dismissed at once. To unlock defences England will need a MIX of a passing approach and less frequently the longer ball so we are not totally predictable in how we attack.It's an option we do have and quite a few teams don't have to do effectively. However to make our passing approach more creative and incisive we need Joe Cole to play. Have Lennon starting on the right and get him to go at the defence as often as he can. After he has run himself into the ground bring on Wright-Phillips for his version of the same thing and keep supplying Rooney and (for me) Crouch with ammunition. Finally as this time the weather is not really hot (the usual excuse for not playing at a high tempo) England should play at PREMIERSHIP PACE which they are completely used to and force their opponents to play at a pace they would rather not.

  • Comment number 89.

    Stick a video of Der Kaiser's smirking slap down before the Algeria game and use it like Sir Alex would for motivation or better still save it until the next round when hopefully we'll get the United Nations..I mean - Germany. We'll stifle the hell out of all those long balls they play to of their two Polish strikers, or their Brazilian one, or their Turkish midfield dynamo. Rather England face Jérôme Boateng than his brother Kevin Prince's Ghana!

  • Comment number 90.

    Franz Beckenbauer is 100% correct in his assessment.

    Unfortunately, the England team is full of one-footed players with little or no technical ability. This is also why the best sides in the EPL have a predominance of foreign players.

    If England do get through their easy Group in the World Cup then it will be interesting to see them try and play football against the better teams when they won't have the ball for long periods of time.

    Last 16 would be an achievement.

  • Comment number 91.

    His comments are based on a single match against a team who play like England so it was always going to be a 'kick and rush' game

  • Comment number 92.

    I believe the Germans have taken their youngest squad to a World Cup for the best part of 80 years.

    What are we doing ? Continuing to rely on members of "The Golden Generation", a group of players who have failed dismally.

    Capello has done a lot since he arrived, as much anything instilling a sense of discipline, the tail no longer wags the dog but even he is stuck when as a nation we havent got a goalkeeper who is of the highest quality, centre backs who cant join up play (Rio was the new Beckenbauer - oh yes, how many times has he waltzed up the field in his career ? He is not even a Baresi or Maldini), midfield players who cant shoot (Lampard - 30 shots now in the WC and counting), forwards who cant score (Guess who !!!) and we have ONE, yes ONE naturally left footed midfield/forward player and he is the defensive midfielder.

    Beckenbauer is right, ball retention is king but English players can get away with it in the EPL, they are shown up for what they are on the World stage.

    Germany may not get much further than us in this WC but at least they are trying to lay down the groundwork for future tournaments, us ? Short termism as usual.

  • Comment number 93.

    Phil, when you say "John Terry tore around in England's training session like a man who had just finished reading Franz Beckenbauer's brutal analysis" is the implication that some one had read it out for him? Or do you claim he did read it himself?

    How much more impressive would it have been if Terry, or indeed ANY england player in that session played like Beckenbauer? Or even with the dignity of Bobby Moore?

    Beckenbauer knows quite a lot about the world cup. He knows you need a good defence (almost always) or (rarely) an outstanding attack to win the world cup. He's seen Carragher and Heskey.

  • Comment number 94.

    Comments like this from 'legends' like Beckenbauer are commonplace during and before tournaments. They should be taken with a pinch of salt certainly. There is some truth to what he is saying regarding the last 20 or so minutes of this one game as you say Phil, but it is crass to say we have gone back to playing 'kick and rush' on the basis of this one, very nervy opening match. You do wonder about the credibility of such assumptions and how much he has watched England under Capello- there have certainly been improvements to our play in Qualifying. Look at Johann Cruyff, who recently made similar disparaging comments about England and Capello. His analysis is flawed somewhat- England have hardly been defensive minded under Capello (in fact they've been largely poor defensively!), and were top scorers in Qualifying, and to say a negative Italian philosophy has taken over our national game seems completely unfounded- Ancelotti's Chelsea are hardly defensive and they scored a record number of goals!

    Nonetheless, there was something worryingly familiar about the performance in the USA match. I felt we looked so nervous on the ball, so afraid of making a mistake, and therefore not surprisingly often gave away possession or went for the easy option of aiming for Heskey.

    I hope the England players learned a lot from having watched Germany; namely that they went out there confident in their ability, not so nervous and afraid to make mistakes but just to play their football and stamp their authority on the game. My hope is, with the first game and all the pressure/hype/long wait to get started over, we will settle down and try and play like we did in Qualifying, with confidence. Hopefully facing lesser opponents should help us get back on track a bit.

    My team to face Algeria:


    Johnson Terry Carragher A Cole


    Lennon Lampard J Cole



  • Comment number 95.

    One interesting thing I discovered recently was that the Bundesliga used the Jabulani ball from February as preparation for the World Cup finals.

    Teams in all leagues in all countries were given the option to use the ball from March but apparently the English Premier League declined the offer.

    England missed a trick here methinks.

  • Comment number 96.

    The question isn't, "Will we win the World Cup with these players?"To which the answer is, "No, not in a million years". The question every England fan should be asking is, "Is the manager likely to play the best players we have in the most effective, 4-5-1, formation?" (I won't bore you with repeating it as if you have half a brain you already know what it is.)Again the answer is "No." Mr Capello is consistent - that is to say mulishly stubborn and come what may he will play two strikers. As a result even medicre teams will over-run us in midfield and reduce us to the hit and hope game about which Der Kaiser has been so, correctly, scathing. How I hate to have to agree with that man!

  • Comment number 97.

    What's with all the Capello bashing? From the media I mean, not Beckenbauer

  • Comment number 98.

    I think Beckenbauer point has a little validity if based on Saturday's game, but it is hardly a massive sample to be working with.

    I would like him to discuss the fact that we might be a better team if we went the easy route like Germany, who seem to have stopped picking German players & have turned into the Harlem Globetrotters.

    In this country there was carnage when it was suggested that Almunia be considered, yet Germany have half a squad in this ilk. They actually make Jack Charlton's Ireland selection policy look akin to Atletico Bilbao's.

  • Comment number 99.

    "what a surprise - a PM blog and a large section of it taken up by his opinion that Gerrard should partner Rooney up front.

    I think we all get it now Phil, please can you stop going on about this in every blog you write. It is getting a little tiresome."

    Well said that man!

    EVERY single blog on the BBC seems to be pushing this agenda.

  • Comment number 100.

    Yep, same old dire, lumpy, long-ball England.

    For the nation who "gave football to the world" you have to wonder when they intend to learn to play it.


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