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martes, 14 de abril de 2009


Our friends from -a recommendable website about football with some articles in Enlgish and other in Spanish-sent us this article about the “new” English national team.
Thanks again Elliott.
Capello’s Conundrum

Two moments burn in the England fan’s mind like a stack of hot coals. First, Wayne Rooney trudging alone up front in Germany, growing frustrated as the technical Portuguese passed circles around Lampard, Gerrard, and Hargreaves. Eventually, Rooney would stomp Carvalho, see red, and England would lose in penalties.

Second, at home in Wembley, David Beckham and Peter Crouch enter as substitutes and soon combine for a goal. The euphoria is short-lived as Croatia respond with a stunning goal that would send the Three Lions on an extended summer break.

The quarterfinal exit stung like a bee sting in the spring: painful but passing. The failure to qualify for Euro 2008 induced a collective psychosis: root and branch analyses of the English game emerged. Was the problem not enough training grounds for five year olds? Perhaps England should cease importing stylish continental players?

Capello, a man of conviction and bravery, assumed the mast amidst a tempest of uncertainty. While the Italian has the ego to overpower any individual English player, and his ruthlessness is legendary, signs are emerging that his reign may reap results equal to his predecessors.

The Three Lions has 5 straights wins and a cushion over Croatia, but the lack of a striking option not named Rooney is troublesome. Michael Owen, if fit, would be the logical choice. However, the former talisman’s career has been more desert than oasis, and as of late his struggles to regain match fitness threaten to cast a dark shadow over a solid career.

The other options, Heskie, Crouch, and Defoe, lack international class. All of them have faults obvious to the amateur’s eye, let alone professional assistant scouts preparing a match report in a knock-out setting.

In the win over the Ukraine, Capello played Barry, Gerrard, and Lampard all at once. The midfield triangle, reminiscent of the Sven era, was slow and imprecise in the pass – a deadly combination against technical sides. John Terry headed home a setpiece to seal the game, but such scores, a dime a dozen in domestic leagues, will be hard to come by in South Africa.

Spain won the last European with a salivating frontline of Fernando Torres and David Villa. The Spaniards bombarded the flanks with Iniesta and Silva providing a handful. England, in Joe Cole and Theo Walcott, certainly has the widemen to create. But who will head home those crosses?

For the meantime, expect more of the slow, lumbering 3 man midfield. Gerrard and Lampard may not work well together, but they are both superior to the options up front. Until a genuine #9 emerges to steal once and for all Michael Owen’s shirt, the semifinals of a major tournament will remain a bridge too far.
Elliott (a member of

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