So England won on Friday night, let me remind you; England-one-Germany-four.
Is it just me or does a win over a third-rate side, on home soil, not even begin to detract from the utter humiliation received this summer. Having said that, last night’s display was a far cry from the shambles of South Africa, with the likes of Joe Hart, Adam Johnson, and Theo Walcott bringing a new lease of life to the England team – enthusiasm, energy and purpose that we didn’t see this summer.
It goes unsaid that he got in wrong in South Africa and we can reminisce about the lows of the 2010 World Cup for the next 50 years, but what’s the point. We need to look forward and perhaps, just maybe, after last night’s performance our national side is beginning to do just that.
In Capello we trust. He promised us a massive shake up of the team and it seems he has delivered. However, had it not been for injuries I have no doubt in my mind the likes of Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill would have been replaced with John Terry and Rio Ferdinand. In hindsight, the injuries to Ferdinand, Terry and Lampard were a blessing in disguise.
For me it’s no coincidence that England appeared to play better without Terry and Lampard, Phil Jagielka and Matt Dawson looked solid at the back and Lampard went unmissed in an otherwise perfect midfield. It still defies logic why Capello persists with a 4-4-2 formation, when 4-3-3 would appear to suit England far better. Walcott, who I thought played well, was left to fend for himself in wider areas, he looked lost at times a far car from the player who tore apart Blackpool on the opening day of the season. Wayne Rooney was forced far too deep.
Despite scoring early England never really took hold of the game during the first half and I saw very little to suggest the team has moved on. That was until the pressure of the task was lifted by a second goal. With a slender cushion England got the ball down and an Arsenal-esque style of football rang round Wembley – free flowing possession play and counter attacking displays that would punish the World’s best.
Amidst the negatives of Capello’s previous selection nightmares Defoe looked sharp and his turn of foot upfront is what England have been lacking for years. Reversing his usual chances-to-goals ratio, and then some. At last he showed the form they sometimes see at Spurs. Joe Hart proved why he is the man for the number one jersey, two brilliant saves kept England in the game and allowed Capello some breathing space; he just seems to ooze composure. At the back we looked professional, obvious signs of communication between the back four, unlike before, and how reassuring it was to have one fast and one very fast central defender. As for Milner and Johnson are these the wingers we have been longing for? Pace, skill and an ability to pick a pass and not to mention net a goal or two. Last night was a good indication of the direction England can move in, it may just be unfortunate that the man pushing them is Mr Capello.
Despite the poor opposition and the changes that were made through injuries as opposed to choice England looked relatively convincing. Whether or not Capello has restored his faith remains to be seen as it’s going to take much more than that for me to fully believe in our potential. I’m happy to sit on the fence on this debate, at least until Tuesday. I have this passion for England that doesn’t allow me to comprehend that our national side is doomed.
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