BBC BLOGS - Phil McNulty
« Previous | Main | Next »

Where is England's Pirlo?

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 18:49 UK time, Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Euro 2012: Krakow

The man held up as being single-handedly responsible for exposing the fault lines in England's football culture was as in control and centre stage at 'Casa Azzurri' on Tuesday afternoon as he was in Kiev's Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

Casa Azzurri is the impressive downtown Krakow headquarters commandeered by Italy for their Euro 2012 campaign and Andrea Pirlo was on show to the world's media before Thursday's semi-final with Germany in Warsaw.

The meeting with Germany may have been top of the agenda but the 33-year-old Juventus star was still being showered in acclaim for the midfield masterclass - and brilliantly audacious spot-kick - he delivered as Italy beat England 4-2 on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Pirlo has almost been cast in the role of the sort of player England most need, the identikit of the footballer that manager Roy Hodgson requires to shift their game away from the resilience, discipline and organisation on show here to something more subtle and modern.

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

Pirlo expects a very different challenge against Germany. Photo: Getty Images

The perception is that England are bogged down in the past while the rest of what the English would regard as serious rivals move forward. To bridge the gap is the trick Hodgson must perform after a creditable Euro 2012.

Italy had 68% of the possession against England and Pirlo seemed to have most of it. He was the game's leading passer with 131 while ageing legs did not stop him covering 11.58kms in 120 minutes, more than any England player.

The contrast in styles was most brutally exposed by the statistic that goalkeeper Joe Hart completed more passes than any of his team-mates.

Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard were too fatigued and shackled to their roles to restrict Pirlo while Wayne Rooney could not break away from his attacking duties to stem the 33-year-old's tide of precise passes.

Pirlo dropped deep to start Italy's attacks but was also astute enough to make his way into positions to provide decisive passes in attack. He had the full range when in possession - hence his current status as the antithesis of England's style and approach, which he described on Tuesday as "prudent and careful".

The oldest trick of the quality player, the ability to find time and space while having a picture of the next pass already fixed in your mind, is in Pirlo's bag but it will intriguing to see if his guile is allowed to flourish in opposition to men like Germany's Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger in Warsaw.

He also expects Mesut Ozil to come and occupy some of his territory in a way that Rooney failed to do and is ready for the greater challenge Germany will present.

Pirlo said: "There have been many games in the past when I have had as much possession as I had against England. It happens. The difference is that against Germany I expect Ozil to be a great threat in and around the areas where I am playing.

"Whereas Rooney stayed further up, he will play in the same areas, although Ozil will not necessarily do a man-marking job on me."

One of the most frequently asked questions since their trademark departure on penalties has been: "Where is England's Andrea Pirlo?"

The answer seems to be, sadly for Hodgson, in Arsenal's treatment room. If Manchester United's Paul Scholes was England's Pirlo of the past - at least when Sven-Goran Eriksson was not playing him on the left wing - then Jack Wilshere is being put forward as the future.

Whoever this mysterious figure is, he will do well to match the praise being heaped on Pirlo, whose performance was epitomised by the chipped, drifting penalty that deceived Hart to almost shift the psychological momentum back to Italy in the shoot-out after Riccardo Montolivo's early miss.

Pirlo is not regarded as the most talkative of Italy's stars, a trait which prompted one journalist at Casa Azzurri suggest that this silence and the ice-cold thinking behind his penalty portrayed a streak of madness.

"It was not folly. It was not madness," said Pirlo. "I felt like doing that thing at that moment. I just had this inspiration before the penalty. When you have to take a penalty you have to be confident in yourself. I saw the keeper move and I hit it."

Germany's approach may differ from England's but Italy will not alter their own style, which will inevitably have Pirlo as its hub.

He said: "Our approach to the game is the same because this Italian team can only play like this. We have to take advantage of our quality and technique. This is the only way, Unlike England, Germany can create many threats to our defence."

Quality. Technique. Two things Pirlo has to spare - and how Hodgson and England wish they could unearth some more of their own.


Page 1 of 10

  • Comment number 1.

    A brilliant player. He was instrumental in their victory in the 2006 World Cup and has set the tempo for the team so far in this tournament.

    I think Germany will beat Italy but I think it will be a close match. I hope it is as entertaining as their Semi-Final at the World Cup in 2006.

  • Comment number 2.

    "The perception is that England are bogged down in the past while the rest of what the English would regard as serious rivals move forward. To bridge the gap is the trick Hodgson must perform after a creditable Euro 2012."

    Less than two years ago, Hodgson was talking about how "the methods that have stood [him] in good stead for 35 years" would work at Liverpool too. Anybody who seriously thinks he's the man to take England into the future is a fool.

  • Comment number 3.

    @ 2. Sam

    Oh my word... a manager that didn't succeed at every job he's ever done, SACK HIM NOW!

    Don't be absurd, even if you ignore all the ridiculous extenuating circumstances at Liverpool - such as the impossible fans, a King-shaped spectre watching over his every move from the stands and an enormously average squad - you can't say that one failure means continuous failures at a completely different job. It's that sort of thinking that is wrong with English football today.

    That peeve of mine out of the way, I agree with England's need for a talismanic midfielder but the problem is more that we have about four who all play in the same position. Lampard, Gerrard, Wilshere and Rooney all like to operate in the 'Mesut Ozil' position between the opposition midfield and back four. You can argue 'till the cows come home about which would be better but the simple thing is that you can only put one there. On top of that, the position itself is one with much less time and space than Pirlo's deep midfield role where he can sit back and dictate (something Scholes could have done effectively).

    England need a clear, consistent strategy from grass-roots up to the first team, be that a concentration on fitness (or intro of a winter break) so we can do the 'Chelsea' counter more effectively after the first 25 minutes of a game, or one on technical ability so we can play more posession football.

    Either way, it would be better than the mishmash of tactics and training that we have at the moment that produces the Milners of the world that can do everything averagely and nothing well.

    PS please stop referring to Hodgeson's 4-4-2 formation a "rigid 4-4-2". It's no more rigid than the Dutch 4-2-3-1 or Germany's or anyone else's formation.

  • Comment number 4.

    Pirlo is a World Cup winner.

    Where is England going to unearth a World Cup winner ?

  • Comment number 5.

    Hodgson when appointed said he should be regarded in the same way as Sir Alex Ferguson because of his record.
    Sorry but wining a few Swedish titles and managing a couple of second tier international sides and then ' managing to avoid relegation ' with clubs in the EPL do not make a great manager.
    He made a huge mistake by not asking Paul Scholes to play at Euros and made rubbish substitutions against Italy..Welbeck was actually trying to do something while Rooney was abysmal..and it didn't take a genius to work out that Young had no chance of passing 5 yards all evening let alone score a penalty from 12 yards.
    As for Jack Wilshere it's ridiculous to even talk about him as a future great..just like Phil Jones was being talked about as a future England captain after 4/5 good games for Man Utd..he went on to have a shocker of a season.

  • Comment number 6.


    Wilshere's a bit more versatile than that and with Gerrard's best days behind him I think he's more effective in a deeper role. And since when has Frank Lampard played in between the defence and the midfield?? He's the best example of a box-to-box midfielder that there is in the Premier League so I don't think he clogs up that position. Besides, I think he's seen the last of his international days though that remains to be seen..

    And the reason people are calling it a rigid 4-4-2 is because it is.. Milner and Young were not allowed to deviate from their position and you could see the formation at almost all points of the game. So, it is a rigid formation and it's utterly bizarre to say that it's not especially in comparison to Germany's team which is blatantly more fluid.

  • Comment number 7.

    apparently there's a stat that shows not just that hart attempted more passes than any other england player, but that most of those passes were to andy carroll. that says all you need to know about england's defence and midfield and their ability to play out from the back.

    it is naive to think that by just having our own version of pirlo we are going to suddenly have a whole team of players comfortable enough in their own technique to knock it around and play through teams, and even more difficult to imagine us dictating the tempo of a match by keeping the ball and advancing patiently up the filed probing the spaces and pulling the opposition around.

    in fact the main tactic, and the one that has been so hugely praised, has been to whip balls in at pace from the right. but if that's what was required why the hell didn't england take beckham, and free gerrard up to go and try and run the centre of the pitch?

  • Comment number 8.

    hang on, lost the thread there... yeah so Wilshere; do people really believe he'll come back from a year off and suddenly be able to run a game at the highest level? and if he can't and it turns out to be more of the same what then? the kid cleverley at united showed great potential at the start of last season. and then he got injured as well. the kid rodwell has been out injured for long spells, and walcott isn't exactly relaible either from a physical point of view. the same can be said of phil jones too, if his first season at united is anything to go by, and neither he nor smalling so much as kicked a ball at euro 2012 anyway... there is no magic solution, there are no hidden gems either. the key is teamwork and pattern of play. look at what Martinez did with Wigan, and that's where the real answer lies - tactical creativity and imagination can turn a group of players of various ability into a great team confident in themselves, each other and in the way they play. England have some excellent players. it's a bout time they were taught how to play football with a bit of intelligence.

  • Comment number 9.

    Tom Huddlestone and Jack Wilshire are the answer. Huddlestone is the most gifted midfield player since Glen Hoddle. We need to get away from these high energy, chase all over the field types with poor pass completion rates to footballers who can pick a pass and keep posession. Critics will point out that Huddlestone is slow, well how much pace do you think Pirlo has? The British prototype midfielder has been left behind in world football. Skill and guile have replaced work rate and effort. Work rate and effort without an end product is worthless, See Scott Parkers attempts to complete simple forward passes in the final third of the field.

  • Comment number 10.

    the 4-4-2 is not rigid, the players are rigid. Young cut inside, Welbeck pushed out wide, but Milner, Gerrard and Parker along with the running-through-mud Andy Carroll don't offer anything in terms of fluidity. All you have to do is look at Manchester United to see that 4-4-2 doesn't have to be rigid. It's not a new formation that we necessarily need but players who know how to make it work better. You can't expect wingers to be swapping sides and Gerrard to consistently appear in the opposition box if we can't keep the ball in the build-up. We play counter attacking football so you start with solidity at the back and work on getting the ball up quickly to the forwards (that doesn't mean route 1 to big AC by the way). I don't think anyone seriously believes that group of players can play possession-based football like Germany etc. You could even make an argument to say that with Rooney or Young in the hole the formation essentially IS the same as Holland or Germany's: back four, then two holding midfielders in the middle, wingers that get up and down, a player between the defence and midfield of the opposition, and an out and out striker. Its just that we play counter-attacking so the wingers have to start from deeper, whereas Ger/Hol can keep the ball so they start higher up. That is the sole difference.

  • Comment number 11.

    @9 interesting point! Slow players need to be protected though but Gerrard, Wilshere etc have enough to do a box-to-box job like De Rossi, Montolivo etc around Pirlo do.

  • Comment number 12.

    @ 3

    Oh, please. "Didn't succeed at every job he's ever done"? He hasn't succeeded at MOST of the jobs he's ever done. The extent of his success is a few Scandinavian titles and a pair of UEFA Cup runners-up medals.

    That he failed at Liverpool wasn't even my point. My point was that that quotation is a shining example of Hodgson's inflexible, unchanging, archaic mindset. It totally undermines the idea that he did what he could at Euro 2012, and with that out of the way he's going to turn the side into some kind of potent force. No. He had them playing his way, and that's the way he'll have them playing until he's sacked.

  • Comment number 13.

    Who's way, exactly, do you expect the manager to have the team playing? The kit man's way? Nah, pretty sure it would be his way, the manager's way, wouldn't it.

    All I ask is that the people who throw about criticisms offer an alternative. Don't like Hodgson after he took a shoddy England team to quarter finals after a couple weeks in charge? Fine, how about a world-renound big name from Europe who's won numerous Italian and Spanish titles with the biggest teams on Earth? Nope, if you think Roy's inflexible you'd have had a heart attack watching Capello. Or maybe someone who's one nothing but an FA Cup and never managed at international level, but loves throwing men forward and forgetting what defending is? Pretty sure you'd have hated Redknapp too.

    Have your say, by all means, but just moaning for the sake of moaning isn't going to get anyone anywhere.

  • Comment number 14.

    Phil, your smoking some seriously bad stuff now. I suggest you lay off it if you want to see the weekend.

    Pirlo was NOTHING special. HE did nothing st half, and second half hit a few balls. Now to be fair the England midfield couldn't hit a few decent passes so in that respect he was better - but he couldn't and didn't unlock England

    Get a bloody grip will you.

    Scholes was NEVER EVER a Pirlo, he was a grafting midfielder who couldn't tackle to save his life. But in those days he was a standout midfielder, recent times England were blessed with Lampard who we so sadly missed in these championships. Gerrard had no where to hide this time around and was so exposed it made me sick. But to be fair to Gerrard he had zero support in midfield and the attackers had no support.

    So there is England playing with 6 players and 5 dummies tacking on Italy with 11 good - but not brilliant players

    6 v 11 that was it

    Nothing more

    Nothing less

    Young was AWOL, Milner (why?), Rooney seemed to be out of steam (why?)......

    Only the back 4 + Parker but in the graft and were up to expectations - the rest were rot. Gerrard as a skipper was found totally and utterly wanting.

    I so hope he is no longer skipper after ben found wanting yet again in a major tournament, he hit one good pass in 4 games - no where nearly good enough and has the motivational prowess of a house brick.

    Time to ditch him, Milner, Young, and co and look to the future,

    A new midfield - a new strikeforce

    Then maybe we can start moving forward.

    As for Hodgson - we'll see nothing radicle with him. A far far better choose than 'arry but just a steady force. Was he too scared to try anything new? HE was poor at Liverpool but better than they gave him credit for.

  • Comment number 15.

    Pundits heap praise on our players every Saturday night throughout the premier league season, “he’s world class” and ”best league in the world” . I’m sick to death of hearing it. A high quality league it may be but none of the world class players are English, and there lies the problem.

    We breed the wrong type of player; to succeed in the future our football culture must change. We must invest in developing and nurturing the right talent and change our coaching style.

    A definition of stupid is repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
    South America and the rest of Europe create the best players in the world, the most confident on the ball and in possession because it is taught from an early age. Do you think Andy Carroll would have rose through Barcelona’s academy with such prominence as he did at Newcastle. He was Newcastle’s Wayne Rooney, scored a few goals and Liverpool took the bait.

    Why don’t we emulate the Spanish, Germans or Italians? If you were a business looking for a model to drive growth, success and deliver profit the Europeans and South Americans have it. Picture the board meeting, “the English have never won a knock out match away from home soil but I believe they will come good this time, they are just unlucky at penalties. You would be taken to the nearest mental institution with your career left in ruins. It’s not rocket science.

    No manager can immediately change our teams DNA. They can improve moral and confidence but the way we play is so deeply imbedded that you’d have more success getting a small child to land a jumbo jet after seeing only a photo of the cockpit. Teach the child from a young age to pass the ball, be confident in possession and as in the words of Sir Alf Ramsay in his team talk before the 1966 world cup final, “don’t give the ball away, it’s like gold dust” then you can develop a team worthy of taking on the best, or the Italians at least.

    I’m fed up of watching our players lauded over in the premier league and fail to deliver any sort of performance that warrants their ridiculous pay or star status. We all have responsibility to do out bit in changing English football culture from the grass roots up. There is nothing wrong in admitting we have fundamentally flawed system that churns out at best average players against what the rest of the world has to offer, as long as we demand change.

  • Comment number 16.

    Pirlo can keep posession and make ACCURATE intelligent passes. Even if they are simple.

    Our players have no patience. Misplayed passes are an inherent part of our game.

    So to answer your question. Nobody.

    But IF WE PLAYED Wilshire and Carrick , with Gerrard further fwd. It would help alot

  • Comment number 17.

    England don't have a Pirlo.

    They don't have a Xavi, an Iniesta, a Makelele, a Xabi Alonso, they don't even have a Khedira!!

    England don't have any player with the technical ability to play the 'quarterback' position, or even as a Van Bommell 'destroyer' role. They have 1 dimensional midfielders and wingers who can only play in a very restrictive place in the team- look at those sides most effective at Euro 2012; Germany, Spain and Italy ALL have players that are comfortable floating in and out of many positions throughout the game.

    England are restricted to playing 1 dimensional football in an outdated formation with players like Andy Carroll and James Milner who have barely an ounce of technical ability between them.

    The stats of Euro 2012 don't lie- just check out for the stats.

    There is potential in players like Wilshere, but even if Pirlo had played in the England side at the weekend, it would have been closer but he would have been completely unable to make the passes he made as even the 'most average' Italian footballers are far more technically proficient.

    Just consider for a second how the outdated thoughts of Andy Gray "Messi's only so good, but can he do it at Stoke on a Tuesday?"

    Well, Mata, Fabregas, Silva. Aguero and Torres are all players who have been brought up in a Spanish system of playing football and have made many English players in the EPL look utterly child-like. Considering that the EPL is the 'most physical league in the world', why has it been so straight forward for them to show their class in such a 'physical league'?

    English football, and indeed British football, places far too much emphasis on winning, strength and myriad of other irrelevant attributes. When it comes down to it English team care about winning when it doesn't matter and then stop caring when it does!! How many players in England care about winning the Europa League? Very few. Yet just look at the reaction that Llorente had to winning the semi-final of the Europa League; sobbing on the pitch. And this man has a World Cup winner's medal!!!

    Simply put, the priorities of English football is all wrong. As is the structure of the game, the strength of the clubs and the standard of the coaching. England may well have the 'best' league in the world (which doesn't stand up to much scrutiny), but it's utterly irrelevant when it comes to creating decent, young English players.

    The simple and inconvenient truth is that English players are NOWHERE near the standard of their continental compatriots and don't stand to match them anytime soon. Unless the coaching system in Britain is utterly revamped, then England and the other home nations can look forward to experiencing the European wilderness evermore.

  • Comment number 18.

    Pirlo was fantastic, but the point has been made a lot - we let him be. When Veron was in the prem, he didn't have time or space to breathe, and so didn't perform. So it was very disappointing for us not to play like an English team, with pace and power. But we expected it.

    We had chances early on against Italy, and I can't see the Germans missing them, so Italy will have to be a lot more clinical themselves - Pirlo won't create 200 chances for them again!

  • Comment number 19.

    Italy will be the champion 2012. Besides Pirlo, the brilliant one is Baleteli.

  • Comment number 20.

    Balotelli will be a future of Italy. If Pirlo retire, there must be another Pirlo, otherwise Balotelli will be silent, quiet and lonely upfront.

  • Comment number 21.

    Watching Pirlo play is a joy. I've had the pleasure of watching his performances at Juventus all season, where's he's regularly played like this. The failure of Rooney to play with any discipline and attempt to restrict Pirlo's time on the ball was a key failing of England. He would have still made a fool of Rooney a few times, but he wouldn't have been able to control the ball with such ease.

    Also, Paul Scholes isn't, and never was in Pirlo's class. I wouldn't swap Pirlo for any other midfielder on earth right now. No one can match the range or accuracy of his passing.

  • Comment number 22.

    Chaps you are all right and you are all wrong. England's problems in footy is a reflection of your failures as a society. In no disrespect now, I love Britain as much as I love my own country, as a matter of fact I consider Britain my only home. But England has fallen behind in so many ways. You see all the great things that exist in England carry a hefty price tag, hence they are not the majority of Brits. Everything from your private schools, to your Harley Street Doctors to your City jobs..., they all belong to a separate ecosystem and are not available for everyone. Agreed that this might be the case in any country where you have the Ivy's and then the rest. But less collective efforts are made in Britain than in any other European country to equalize the gaps. Same goes with your footy, there is no progress there because there is no collective effort in making the change. You pay your players a ridiculous amount of money to put on a below average performance in the PL. This is why there are a handful of teams always winning the league. They either have the money to fill the gaps with foreign players or they already have the best players in the PL. For the rest, well you just keep on playing the same game year after year. Since you are playing the same crap teams every year, there is no need to think about changes, because everybody knows that top 3 will win the league anyway. You need to start thinking collectively and do something about your problems. As a matter of fact you should be paying your average players in PL the same amount as let's say the swedes are making in Sweden or the French are making in France. They are way overpaid for their rubbish performance. Perhaps they'll work harder to change their game if they wouldn't be riding the gravy train.

  • Comment number 23.

    well england got what they needed a hammering,which should have occured already cause ye have been out played in every game.from the build up to the game ye were saying italy are average we should win.well ye clearly didnt watch them in group stages.the were very do ye still think ye'll win the world cup [no one else does and for a matter of fact every apart from english has known ye hadnt a hope in winning a major in over a decade]but come 2014 ye will be excepting a world cup.same old same old from ye english think ye are they best and clearly arent

  • Comment number 24.

    Sorry, but the headline is "England's nemesis gears up for Germany after destroying England"

    I am sorry, but for me this epitomises everything that is wrong with English journalism! So Pirlo "destroyed" England 0-0 in 120 mins! For me this is the same as "easing" in to the next round. Sorry, but for me this a sad decline into cheap sensationalist style journalism for the BBC. Other medias we expect this, but not the BBC!

  • Comment number 25.

    Scholes was a Pirlo and Wilshere will be a Pirlo. How off the mark are those comparisons, it's shocking! Scholes is a grafter, with a good shot, long range passing etc. Basically a Gerrard 2.0. On the otherhand Wilshere has played a few games so you cannot assess his attributes and match him to a legend like Pirlo yet!

    England produce mediocre players who ARE over-hyped. They're never as good as there European or South American counterparts.

    Also another point I'd like to make about the EPL being the best league in the world. It is lauded every weekend like a religious saying, yet the best league in the world fails to produce quality players and the relatively weaker German team produce a young players of superior technical ability at will!

  • Comment number 26.

    21. At 00:18 27th Jun 2012, GigiBuffon1 wrote:
    Watching Pirlo play is a joy. I've had the pleasure of watching his performances at Juventus all season, where's he's regularly played like this. The failure of Rooney to play with any discipline and attempt to restrict Pirlo's time on the ball was a key failing of England. He would have still made a fool of Rooney a few times, but he wouldn't have been able to control the ball with such ease.

    Also, Paul Scholes isn't, and never was in Pirlo's class. I wouldn't swap Pirlo for any other midfielder on earth right now. No one can match the range or accuracy of his passing.


    For the last seven years now Paul Scholes has performed the exact same role at United as Pirlo does for Italy and has been Uniteds most important midfielder through a series of title wins and a Champions League victory.

    Altho he is older now and has to be used sparingly, when Scholes was 33, he was most deffinately in Pirlos class, anyone who watched him completely dictate games with united then will tell you that.

  • Comment number 27.

    14. At 22:57 26th Jun 2012, Franky wrote:
    Scholes was NEVER EVER a Pirlo, he was a grafting midfielder who couldn't tackle to save his life.
    Scholes is a grafter as some of you pointed out. His liability as a defender (given that SGE had better options in Lamppard & Gerrard) in the vital centre midfield for England was what led him to be sidelined to the left flank which he doesn't deserved too based on merit.

    Remember the season when Keane was out injured the major part of the season Scholes was inserted in the centre midfielder position and MU didn't win a major trophy, a rare occurence for MU then. Yes Scholes is a bridesmaid or grafter.

    Yes Scholes can ping the ball accurately down the flanks or into the opponents' box or passed sideways.
    A master craftsman at carving & shaping the passes he is not. He doesn't have the repertoire of kicks that Pirlo the master craftsman has.
    Pirlo mastery of football skills & nous with the mental strength, football presence (Tranquilo), allows the Italians to extricate themselves out of their box or midfield. Pirlo can dribble and hold the ball. His ball control is exquisite as most of the Italians do possess. Can Scholes?

    A typical Scholes moment is when he loses the ball to an opponent, he will chased after him often times fouling him from behind ;) I stand to be corrected.

    To all Scholes supporters stop being mawkish with red fawning eyse and please do not cite the paltering quotes of Zidane et al.

  • Comment number 28.

    Against the elite national teams players (Germans, Italians, Spanish) England elite is comparatively not as good as them.
    Hence its common knowledge that our English players are rightfully described as overrate & over hyped.
    That's the bottom line.

    Scholes comparable to Zidane?
    Simply this Scholes individual international honours?
    Better than Pirlo's?

    UEFA European Under-21 Championship Golden Player: 2000
    UEFA European Under-21 Championship Top Scorer: 2000
    2006 FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament
    FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball Award: 2006
    2006 FIFA World Cup Final Man of the Match
    FIFPro World XI: 2006

  • Comment number 29.


    England were dominated for 120 minutes. The fact that Italy didn't score is uttely irrelevant.

    The point is that across the four games, England were made to look like a distinctly average team. Certainly one that had absolutely no right being 6th in the world (mind you, Uruguay are 2nd so make what you will of that).

    The stats don't lie. England were the 4th poorest tournament in many many aspect- only slightly above Greece, Ireland and Ukraine.

    Don't believe me?

    Some of the stats are scary at the type of team they portray England as.

    @26 and others.

    Yes, Paul Scholes is and has been an excellent player up there with the types of player like Pirlo.

    However, the point you are all missing is that Pirlo could do what he did because of the quality of the rest of his team. Imagine putting Pirlo into that England team and asking Andy Carroll, Milner, Young or Johnson to bring down 40 yard passes on their toes time and again? Not a chance!

    England players are simply not technically skilled enough to be effective in a game of that manner. They aren't taught to play with the degree of control and ability on the ball the Germans, Italians, Spaniards and a few other continental nations teach their kids.

    The English disguise their relative weaknesses by being in stronger team in the EPL, made up of mainly foreigners on the best wages possible. And when they play the weaker European teams in a team of only English players their relative mediocrity is disguised by their strength and pace, even Iceland's u21 team shows more potential than the current English one.

    Until England (and the other home nations) recognise that something fundamental needs to change- well, nothing will change.

  • Comment number 30.

    I feel some of the criticism on scholes is harsh he was and still is one the great passers of the ball in the modern game. The England midfield we have are all to similar i said this on the forum in 2010 that we seem to like players who are big strong like to tackle and come in the box late to poach a goal. The future is with the Wilsheres or Oxlaides very good technically and love running with the ball and passing it.

    Personally i think Hodgson did well with what we had at this tournament. We had injuries that could have made the difference but i liked the way he actually tried going back to basics. In parts on of this tournament you could see the a glimmer of what he wants a very organised team that going forward could be good all he now has to do is get them to retain the ball and the introduction of Wilshere will allow him to do this.

  • Comment number 31.

    when was the last time an english manager won any thing ,the EPL is way behind the spanish, serie a and german league in skill and technical play none of the EPL teams can defend they bypass the midfield its like watching watford or wimbledon play

  • Comment number 32.

    England will never produce a Pirlo. Only thing England can do is to convince someone like Arteta naturalize to English citizenship. There are lots of premier league players who can not make it to their national sides but good enough to be Pirlos of England.

  • Comment number 33.

    All these people on here saying Scholes was not all that and having a go at him are a joke. It just goes to show how good he was as a blog relating to Englands deficiancies in midfield always returns to talking about him a full eight years on from when he retired from international football.

    How many times have England played well against the big international sides sicnce he retired in 2004? Answer - not once

    Whereas when Scholes was playing although they never set the world alight they still performed better against the bigger teams, had more possesion of the ball and were able to dictate games.

    Anyway back to Englands ineptitude in keeping hold of a football. It comes down to the culture of football that has been played by the majority of English teams and players and is celebrated so readily by media fans and pundits alike. Teams that play long ball, physical football have been applauded for the style of football i.e Wimbledon, Stoke and even as far back as Leeds in the 70's.

    The fact is the modern game has passed the English national side by and they are years behind the top nations. Tackling has been almost removed almost entirely from the game so possession of the football is king.

    People will argue of the success of the big English sides in Europe over the past 10 years but most of those sides (with the exception possibly of the United 99 treble winning side) had a large number of foreign players in their squads with foreign coaches.

    Can the change in children playing on smaller pitches with smaller sides help in the future? Possibly, but I dont think that alone will change the culture of the English game. It would require England to follow the German approach of every side having a quota of home grown players, introducing a mid season break and improving the quality of coaching.

    The problem is that the Premier League is king and while TV contracts get larger and demand for the type of football the league is famed for is still strong I think the future of Englands national team looks bleak.

  • Comment number 34.

    8.At 21:30 26th Jun 2012, The Trawler wrote:

    I agree, England have the players with technical abilities (Joe Cole is the perfect example). What they are lacking are tactical nous and footballing intelligence. Say what you will about them, but the recent English players that have those traits were only Scholes, Beckham and Sheringham...

    And to those saying Scholes did not set the world alight with England, here are some of the reasons:

    - Tactics = 4-4-2 formation (see if Pirlo can play in 4-4-2, Pirlo is only effective when he is played as a deep-lying midfielder, initially by Carlo Mazzone at Brescia and later by Carlo Ancelotti at Milan in a Christmas Tree formation).

    - Its a team game.. even though technically the other England players were capable, they were tactically naive and usually not in the same wavelength as Scholes so more often than not he got frustrated. Like Norsefox already said, even if you put Xavi/Pirlo in the current England setup, he will not be effective.

    And please stop saying Scholes cannot defend it is not his main job, even if it is go and look up the games against Barcelona 07/08 and see how many intercepts he made and how many times he disposessed the ball from Barca players. Do you ever see Xavi, Pirlo or zidane make breathtaking tackles? No, because the managers know they are better if they spend their energies to dictate the game.

    Scholes has one of the best footballing brains in the game, if some people cannot see that it means they do not fully understand how the game works. His greatest asset is not his shooting ability or passing ability, it is his brain. He keep things simple and make the team ticks. He knows when to hold the ball, he knows which pass is the best pass at any given moment in the game, he already envisions the pass he is going to make even before he receive the ball which is why he is always one step ahead. Even Makalele, Vieira and Zidane could not get close to Scholes.

    In summary, England need players who can understand the tactic and play more intelligently.

  • Comment number 35.

    frank talk about idiots smoking then posting you sir take the golden muppett award this year hands down...gerrard was by far the best player and had the best passing stats of any england player you complete dbag...

  • Comment number 36.

    lol zidane is so far ahead of scholes its just plain hilarious talk about people who dont understand football eh Thegitnextdoor...

  • Comment number 37.

    27.At 01:56 27th Jun 2012, Goluboy wrote:
    So you are saying that you have more understanding of football than Zidane?

    Saying Scholes cannot control the ball and dribble is just dumb. His deft flick to Rooney against Milan? his perfectly weighted ball to O'Shea against Arsenal in 2005?

    And you say Scholes has not got the mental strength when Henry said Scholes has an indestructible mental strength. For English players, Scholes is top scorer in the Champions League, scoring against the likes of Barcelona (both at OT and Nou Camp), Bayern, Inter, Milan (both in San Siro). That says it all about the guy's mentality.

    If you are truly a football fan, please stop telling people to not be biased when you yourselves are being biased.

  • Comment number 38.

    I can't stop laughing when people say Beckham is a football genius. He can't even beat my grandfather. I agree though that he was good in free kicks. Scholes and Gazza were the only talented English players for the last two decades.

  • Comment number 39.

    36.At 05:49 27th Jun 2012, 2team_la_joke_liga wrote:

    I said Zidane could not get close to Scholes in a particular game, does not mean Scholes is better than Zidane. Zidane is magnificent in his own way and he completely destroyed my beloved Man Utd in 2002/2003 but he was helped by Ronaldo, Raul, Figo and Makalele as well. Just because O'Shea managed to nutmeg Figo once does not mean he is better than Figo.

    I am not saying which one is the best/worst, because when I see the likes of Xavi, Zidane, Scholes, Pirlo, Iniesta play it still takes my breath away. I appreciate talents no matter what color of shirt they play for. Please do not be too extreme and learn to see things moderately.

  • Comment number 40.

    What suprised me most was that the mighty Henderson didn't turn the game around when he was brought on. It almost made me think he was just an average/mediocre player, and that his only role was to replace some tired legs. But that couldn't be, not with the depth of talent in the England squad, and tactical genius guiding it.

    Reality is that we have an average team, average manager, one tactical approach to games, and we'll only win something in the future if we get very lucky.

    Let's also hope that the next time we 'unearth' an extraordinary talent, we don't have a Swedish manager that plays him on the left, making him retire early.

  • Comment number 41.

    What is this nonsense about Pirlo single handedly destroying England?

    Yes, he was brilliant, but it was the rest of the Italy midfield that did the grunt work which allowed him the time and space he needed.

    If Gerrard and Pirlo had swapped teams we would be talking about a Gerrard masterclass.

    Context is everything.

  • Comment number 42.

    I just hope it is a computer-minority of English fans that behave like fans posting in these blogs and taking football journalists and pundits in this country seriously, otherwise the English football problem is huge.

    Pirlo is an excellent footballer that knows football inside out. Italy didn't contain Spain though because they had Pirlo but they did so because they had a team consisting of players who were good passers and could play Spain's game when they felt they had to. Didn't anyone notice in the Spain v Italy match that Italians, when pressurised, could themselves exchange quick, one-touch passes before releasing the ball to the forwards?

    Some people have the memory of an elephant when they want to rip rewards and accept success but they have the memory of a mosquito when they have to realise that change is required in the entire system applied in football in this country.

    Italy have Pirlo but also in England Scholes is playing Pirlo's role at 37, heading to 38.
    England hasn't had a Zidane but they've had a George Best.
    England hasn't had a Beckenbauer but they had a Bobby Moore.
    And so on.
    The detail is that one cuckoo doesn't bring the spring. A whole generation of birds need to come back to the country from warmer places in order to have one more indication that winter's gone.

    Looking at things positively and using the article title as an example, England don't have a Pirlo but they have the richest league in the world. So, allocate those rivers of cash in a more meaningful way so that English football can take a valid advantage instead of making ordinary Premier League chairmen wealthy by putting ready-made cash in the bank, telling us how good businessmen they are, managing to keep their clubs away from the red.

    Also, Premier League clubs do pay a lot for players and do have a high break-even point but the government puts taxation from all forms, coming from football, in the coffers without investing anything in the game so that they'll be able to keep taking the cash they want from the game.

    Plus, whenever you see Premier League teams parading 10-11 foreign players in one match, start pointing an accusing finger instead of taking pride for the spectacle available.

    But those last 3 paragraphs hurt.
    Don't they?

  • Comment number 43.

    #41. dogeared,

    Spot on!

  • Comment number 44.

    At 06:34 27th Jun 2012, TheGuyNextDoor

    I wouldn't bother if I were you. Goluboy is a pathological Utd hater, bitter to the core at Utd's dominance, with limited intelligence and lots of anger on board.

    2team_la_joke_liga behaves like a 10 year old deliquent on here, always looking for a fight and calling people names.

    Two of the biggest losers you'll find on here.

  • Comment number 45.

    Spain, Italy and Germany (three of the teams in the semifinal) have their core group of players playing for the same club Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern respectively. And they play with the same tactics on club level as well. Just a thought.

  • Comment number 46.

    England has produced some great players to include both Scholes and Gazza. Stop reflecting over the past and focus on the future. The new kids have a chance to win championships, but they need to learn to play a different type of football. Surely technique is important but more so vision, alertness and presence. Perhaps England should take a look at handball, basketball and icehockey to get inspiration to how they can pass the ball and be patient to find their opportunities rather than going duck hunting every time they touch the ball.

  • Comment number 47.


    lol, totally agree about the BBC - a bit like McNulty's previous blog about being 'thrashed' nil nil :o)

    The other thing about Pirlo was all these long balls to Balotelli - which came to nothing.

    Had that been Gerrard to Carroll there would be uproar about wasted Hollywood passes, but because it's Pirlo, it's how he 'destroyed' the England defence.

  • Comment number 48.

    @41.At 06:51 27th Jun 2012, dogeared wrote:
    What is this nonsense about Pirlo single handedly destroying England?

    Yes, he was brilliant, but it was the rest of the Italy midfield that did the grunt work which allowed him the time and space he needed.

    If Gerrard and Pirlo had swapped teams we would be talking about a Gerrard masterclass.

    Context is everything.
    Fro 'context' substitute 'delusion'......then you'll be spot on!

  • Comment number 49.

    44.At 06:56 27th Jun 2012, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    Duly noted :)

  • Comment number 50.

    Well, he certainly will not be produced from clubs like stoke city.

    And as everyone seems to be bemoaning the fact, we are miles behind the others on technical ability likewise we should not be trumpeting any virtue in hoof and chase, kick and rush brand seen week in week out in the PL nor should be heralding chelseas
    boring,bland style, which like engerland is enough to send most people to sleep.

    good morning

    pick the bones out of that then.

  • Comment number 51.

    #50, HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    You're easy on the talk against Stoke but what percentage of English players have played football on match day at Arsenal in the last 20 years?

  • Comment number 52.


    The point should be were are these technically gifted players coming from in the future ?

    seems to me, a lot of focus and attention has been made towards the likes of
    Wilshire & Chamberlin, these two are in the Arsenal set up, and are at least likely to greatly improve their technical ability at Arsenal, rather than say the likes of stoke,liverpool,chelsea.

  • Comment number 53.

    Swansea and Juventus has shown that a team does not need to contain world-beaters and still can excel if they have the right tactic and believe in the same philosophy. Juventus lost all their stars when they were relegated because of the scandal, only Del Piero, Trezeguet and Buffon stayed, look where they are now.

  • Comment number 54.

    #52, HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    You don't even realise that I replied straight to the point you're referring to.
    When clubs like Arsenal have been parading starting XI worldwide, the counter effect is that footballers in this country suffer as a consequence and the national team also suffers as a consequence.

    However, you and most of the lot supporting clubs with such policies, when asked, you all refer to the spectacle you prefer to watch.

    So, shut up and put up.

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 54

    and chelsea ?

    what gifted individual have they produced in the last 20 years?

  • Comment number 56.

    55.At 07:26 27th Jun 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    John Terry :p

  • Comment number 57.

    @ 54 Act 1 Scene 2

    i forgot to mention seeing as you referred to the last 20 years.

    What gifted individuals have been produced, that are english by;

    manchester united
    Man City

    after you have compiled the list perhaps you can tell us just what
    engerland has won in this time ?

    i envisage it to be a short one.

  • Comment number 58.

    #55. HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    You still carry on improvising on my answers to you, without even realising it. Wake up.

    Yes and Chelsea. And this already has made it 50% of top-four.
    And Liverpool in the Rafa Benitez years when they've even imported kids from Spain, since the manager was a Spaniard. And that makes it 75% of the top-four as we've known it for years. Don't you still get the drift?

    The point is that the revolution in Premier League football last season was little Swansea. Are you aware on Britton's passes ratio throughout the season? But that kid doesn't play for a top four club and, by default, is bypassed by every big mouth in these blogs.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ 54 Act 1 Scene 3

    swansea is in Wales

    just so you know I am fully awake.

  • Comment number 60.

    Don't worry about tactics, formations, possession or even finding the next Pirlo.....if what the media are reporting this morning is correct, the FA are pushing plans through for a winter break and the scrapping of FA Cup replays.

    You see, the idiots at Soho Square think that because both the Spanish & Germans have winter breaks, this will make Ingerlund favourites to lift the World Cup in Brazil playing champagne style possession football......because the team's failure at the Euro's was all down to tired legs and a long old season in the EPL......

  • Comment number 61.

    #57, HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    You keep posting nonsense. Don't you realise it?
    To have an individual who can influence a match alone, you're talking either about Messi or Ronaldo in today's football. Nowadays it's about well organised teams with quality on the passing that operate like a unit instead of a bunch of good individuals.

    You keep trying to satisfy your ego, talking about Wilshere (I suspect). Because Ramsey and Oxlade and Walcott have been purchases and not development products. However, even Wilshere is still a not proven kid. Or am I wrong?

    Manchester United produced (if I can put it that way because they too were buying kids at the time) a generation of young players who, together, won most Premier League titles to date. But is this the point?

    Since you mentioned Spurs, do you find it hard to digest that Spurs have produced more English talent than Arsenal?

    Wasn't Rooney an Everton product?
    Aren't Rodwell and Baines Everton products?

    Isn't Richards a City product?

    And when it comes to Liverpool: Owen, Gerrard, McManaman and others (take your pick)

    I'm still failing to understand you though. Do you have a valid point to make about England? Or don't you take pride of your club playing worldwide starting XI?

  • Comment number 62.

    #59, HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    I give up on you. It isn't that you can't see sense. It's you don't want to.
    Swansea is in Wales but Swansea F.C. play in the Premier League and Britton I was talking about is an English football professional player.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ 61

    and engerland have won ?

  • Comment number 64.

    "Because Ramsey and Oxlade and Walcott have been purchases and not development products. "

    as we speak all the above still play for Arsenal and as such are being ' developed '
    technically .

    Ramsey is Welsh so won't be playing for engerland though, again showing I am awake granted I should not be though.

  • Comment number 65.

    I have found the following article a facinating and stunningly accurate summation of England's difficulties, if anyone's interested in the specific nuts and bolts of how German football reinvented itself in the last ten years to become serious challengers again. I think there are some uncanny parallels with English football and the PL as to what the future may hold.

    I think It really does put everything into perspective about what we (whether players, ex-players, pundits, media, fans, rival fans, Scholes fans, Rooney fans, anti-tiki taka fans, and so on) could possibly hope for or expect from England becoming serious challengers by the year 2022, or some time later.

    "Ten years ago, Germany decided to invest heavily in youth development Jurgen Klinsmann helped introduce radical new philosophies. Germany Bundesliga reduced its percentage of foreign players."

    "How Germany reinvented itself"

  • Comment number 66.

    #63, HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    I don't know what's Engerland.
    However I do know England and, in recent years, they've won pretty much as much as Arsenal have won: nothing.

  • Comment number 67.

    @ 66

    you said the ' last 20 years '

    I think you will find Arsenal have won more than engerland during this period.
    engerlands last victory was shortly after the last Jurassic period.

  • Comment number 68.

    #64, HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    You're kidding yourself for sure.
    Are you implying there that when youngsters move to Arsenal are being developed to top players? To my knowledge, kids who go to Arsenal are being asked to play a man's game during development with the normal consequences.

    Wasn't it you who has been asking for Ramsey's head throughout the season?
    Wasn't Walcott a big prospect when he moved to Arsenal from Southampton(?) How far has he developed to date?

    Plus, since you mentioned Spurs, they've bought Bale from Southampton too (if my memory doesn't betray me so early on the day). However, Bale is one of the biggest names in Europe now when it comes to left wingers. Have Arsenal produced such a marvelous change to a purchased prospect, developed via their system?

    Are you kidding yourself early in the morning, HAHA?

  • Comment number 69.

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

  • Comment number 70.

    #67, HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    And Liverpool have won much more than your lot in the last 40 years. So what?

    The point is, take pride of what Arsenal have won in the last 20 years, talking to your fellow Arsenal supporters. I'm not curious what you'll receive as a reply because I know it. They've all gone from these blogs exactly because Arsenal are a winning trophies machine. Correct?

  • Comment number 71.

    65.At 07:58 27th Jun 2012, 2024seriously wrote:

    A very good article.

    Who train all these kids? Is it also a coincidence that Germany also has much higher number of UEFA-qualified coaches than England?

  • Comment number 72.

    @65 - yes but.......
    The DFB organises the German football leagues, including the national league, the Bundesliga, and the men's and women's national teams.....

    The FA cannot simply implement rule changes, radical new laws without consulting the Premier League who ultimately see foreign imports as a big way of generating more money globally and more television viewers.....unlike Germany, English football is run by two different organisations

  • Comment number 73.

    @ 70

    now i get it.

    Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are to blame for all of engerlands woes, ineptitude and failures.

    time to move on me thinks.

    as for the absence of Arsenal Surporters on here, have no fear, most of the plastics will be inundating the blogs very shortly.

  • Comment number 74.

    #15, cdlech

    Exactly how I see it. Goes way back to how kids are taught in schools; boring, same same tactics, no flare/flamboyancy being instilled, no killer instinct, no confidence, nowt. You have some measured players coming through, but that's all statistical, it has to happen. We should be breeding them ten to the dozen with the amount of footy-focus in this country. the whole thing needs a total shakeup and then see the consistency in the 2030s-40s. ;-)

    On Pirlo, no we don't have one, but he ain't no hero, he was just given acres of space.

  • Comment number 75.

    This is probably the 3rd blog I'm reading that says Scholes is Englands Pirlo..... YEAH RIGHT !!!

    Tell me was Scholes United's first choice when it came to taking corners, direct/indirect freekicks & penalties ??? No he wasn't & neither was he the one supplying the forwards with passes that led to goals.

    He was as one summed it up a "grafter". He worked hard by trying to win the ball back in midfield for his team & that was his role both at United & England. So please can you stop the comparison.

    Scholes was Scholes & there'll never be another Scholes.

    Pirlo is Pirlo & there'll never be another Pirlo.

  • Comment number 76.

    Had Bender been sent off when he pulled down Bendtner who was just about to score, with Denmark given a penalty, nobody would be talking about Germany now. Just like the last World Cup when Germany were picked by Spain when they faced them.

    The German football federation has performed miracles in the last 10 years.
    The Germany team can take pride of producing Klose and Podolski (read Poland) and Ozil (read Turkey). Oh yes, and Gomez - just wait until Bayern Munich find someone to buy him (half Spaniard who knew he would never make it in the Spain team) so that they can get rid of him and get a proper striker (they're working on it).

  • Comment number 77.

    #75. Trezegoal.

    In your reference about the comparison between Pirlo and Scholes you were probably referring to me, as I put Scholes's name alongside other names that English football has produced along the years.

    Let me correct you though: I never meant that Scholes has been as good as Pirlo. It is because Scholes is better than Pirlo.

  • Comment number 78.

    @ 76

    you forgot to mention

    they also have a Manager that actually knows what he's doing and is not a mere puppet of the Media.

  • Comment number 79.

    @ #19, nicettc6132
    "Italy will be the champion 2012. Besides Pirlo, the brilliant one is Baleteli."

    Sorry, ole mate, but I wouldn't mistake that performance against England as any sort of yardstick for your side's perceived quality. Italy were actually quite inept in not being to score a single goal against one of the worst England sides in recent times. Like us, you guys just ain't on the same page as Germany right now. Expect to be at least 2 adrift. ;-)

  • Comment number 80.

    15 you said "then you can develop a team worthy of taking on the best, or the Italians at least."

    The Italians at least?!! When England get to six world cup finals and win 4 of them, then you earn the right to come and sit at the big table. Until then England should learn to respect countries who have a real history of success not one which involves we invented the game and won a world cup in our back yard 46 long years ago.

    The English mentality toward other European countries who succeed is simply one of envy.

    "The Italians at least".....seriously?

  • Comment number 81.

    @ 80

    I very much agree with that.

    alas as the saying goes in england there's no educating Pork.

  • Comment number 82.

    79 unlike England, Italy know how to play against Germany...never lost a competative game against them....ever.

  • Comment number 83.

    Stoke City represent what the actual 'english' way of playing football , break a few legs crunching tackles strength , big strong players.
    Watch any Stoke vs Arsenal match and you will see how many Arsenal players are just kicked of the pitch with unneeded 'crunching' tackles.
    This is what the English game is all about - not skill.
    So let the FA carry on with their philosophy as it never has and never will work.
    English Football needs to learn from English cricket.

  • Comment number 84.

    how many ex england internationals are in the FA set up?

    Stuart Pearce????????

    I rest my case.

  • Comment number 85.

    75.At 08:19 27th Jun 2012, Trezegoal wrote:

    Please stop being silly, Scholes is not a grafter, he was a forward in his early days and moved to attacking midfielder and subsequently moved further back to deep-lying midfielder. Deschamp is a grafter, so are Roy Keane and Gattuso.

    Scholes is not specialised to take free kicks or corner kicks, Pirlo is better at those. Pirlo has scored 50 something goals and probably more assists but Scholes makes assists as well as scores more than 150 goals himself.

    You see, they are similar players but have different skill sets and utilised in a different tactic so you can't really say which one is better. But they are both great players and a joy to watch.

  • Comment number 86.

    @80 - your spot on.

  • Comment number 87.

    Another thing - how many pros that can play for england or another county choose the other country -eg: Ryan Giggs.


  • Comment number 88.

    87.At 08:44 27th Jun 2012, the_diego wrote:
    Sorry but Ryan Giggs is never eligible to play for England. He played for England Schoolboys because of the location of his high school.

    And yes the FA is responsible for England's recent failures. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow.

  • Comment number 89.

    England need to go back to square one. There is no quick fix. A player here or a player there won't help. The whole system needs a shake down. The current one doesn't work therefore trying to pin the problem on one or two players or a manager isn't going to work. The expresion you can't polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter springs to mind. England are constantly rolling in glitter when they should be starting again.

  • Comment number 90.

    @88 -
    He was eligible for england but was not picked when he was a teenager so opted to play for Wales. HE has stated this himself.
    Also remember Glenn Hoddle - he was very very skillfull player in his day but this was not seen by the FA. His england career reflects that.
    Your so right - you reap what you so - unfortunately for us as fans we got to eat it!!

  • Comment number 91.

    5.At 21:13 26th Jun 2012, craigas wrote:
    Hodgson when appointed said he should be regarded in the same way as Sir Alex Ferguson because of his record.
    Sorry but wining a few Swedish titles and managing a couple of second tier international sides and then ' managing to avoid relegation ' with clubs in the EPL do not make a great manager.

    Well he's won more titles than any other current english manager. Name another english coach with International experience? Who would you have had instead? Pep Guardiola? Jose Mourinho? Harry?

  • Comment number 92.

    @91 - Harry Rednapp over Hodgeson any day.

  • Comment number 93.

    90.At 09:05 27th Jun 2012, the_diego wrote:

    Yes, totally understand regarding the fans thing.

    Another interesting fact, in Spain they showed a lot of beautiful goals across Europe weekly and Le Tissier almost always feature every week and that's how young Xavi look up to him.

    Yet, how many international caps Matt Le Tissier won?

  • Comment number 94.

    27.At 01:56 27th Jun 2012, Goluboy wrote:
    14. At 22:57 26th Jun 2012, Franky wrote:

    The line "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right" springs to mind.

    Since when do the likes of Scholes need to tackle? They are playmakers. I seem to remember the great Pirlo playing in between ambrosini and gattusso.

    Scholes can't dribble? Dear oh dear. It's better to just leave it there. You both embarrass yourselves enough.

  • Comment number 95.

    41.At 06:51 27th Jun 2012, dogeared wrote:
    If Gerrard and Pirlo had swapped teams we would be talking about a Gerrard masterclass.

    If they swapped teams, the English would be saying how "they were going to win the cup" having beaten Italy having enjoyed an advantage in possession.

  • Comment number 96.

    England haven't got a Pirlo type player and haven't had one for many years. Hoddle is the last English player that I can think of who had the range of passes and reading of the game to play that role.

    The point is we don't need a Pirlo type player but we do need players in the centre of midfield who are comfortable on the ball and can link defence and attack better than the players at this tournament.

  • Comment number 97.

    Some of us are kidding ourselves, arent we?

    However good Scholes was, England have NEVER played like Italy did the other night.

    Regardless of the manager, the PL, the number of foreign players, the names on the team sheet....

    We've been Kick and Rush for 50 years.

  • Comment number 98.

    90: Don't think that the eligiblity to play based on residency was brought in until the mid to late 90s and Giggs didn't qualify to play for England through being born here or through heritage. Never seen any quote saying he could have but happy to be proved wrong.

    ESG, the majority of possession wasn't given away by the two central midfielders though so I don't think that Pirlo playing for Hodgson would have made much of a difference. I believe the players can maintain possession much better than they did but for some reason were choosing hard passes over those that were in front of them. Don't know if they were over estimating their ability or were under team orders.

  • Comment number 99.

    These frailties are not new we have seen them in competitons since 1996 where they have been good but not quite good enough and are perenial quarter finalists. From grass roots level skills should be taught and results not important, there are some excellent players coming through but we heap too much pressure and expectation from such a young age that the development is stifled. Players like Jordan Henderson at Liverpool has received dogs abuse this season for being a waste of money and his performances slated when he is the kind of player England need, hes still young enough for a good manager to teach the art of keeping the ball and controlling the park as Pirlo does. England have reached a crossroads now and need to develop young players for the future so in ten years they are ready to challenge as for the time being they will not challenge the likes of Germany, Spain, Italy and Holland with the talent coming through the ranks.

  • Comment number 100.

    92.At 09:11 27th Jun 2012, the_diego wrote:
    @91 - Harry Rednapp over Hodgeson any day.

    A pub team manager to manage a pub team. That sounds about right.


Page 1 of 10

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.