England – My thoughts on Euro 2012
I tried to catch a few peoples thoughts after the game but seemed the people who could have given me some had taken leave to drown their sorrows or sleep. I want to therefore just get my thoughts across to the rest of the world about England’s performance at Euro 2012. England never do well at tournaments, being the home of football in many people’ eyes, always have high expectations. I do feel that the expectations were low this time round for England, plagued by injuries and a fresh manager I feel they had no chance it getting anywhere this tournament. The players themselves if playing for club would have probably provided a tough opponent and easily been in the run for the cup, but not when playing for the England badge.
I saw a strong defensive unit throughout the tournament, surprised to see Rio Ferdinand not picked but glad in a way he wasn’t, Terry and Lescott were good, Terry as usual made some stupid errors and was out of position or pushing forward too much, but Lescott was strong. Glen Johnson for me was the highlight of the entire England team. He defended well, he attacked well, he tracked back and covered mistakes. I still feel it was a big blow to lose Gary Cahill, but it was a solid defensive effort. Defensively there were problems, defending too deep and constantly standing off opponents such as Pirlo giving our opponents too much room was just stupid, Roy seems to think he is going to win every game on penalties, which we just don’t do.
So onto midfield now, Scott Parker was a rock in midfield, the guy was one of very few players to try make the difference constantly. Gerrard was solid as captain nothing special but had his few glimpses of quality. Ashley Young had a terrible tournament, his performance against Italy tonight was particularly poor. Whereas in contrast Milner wasn’t great but against Italy was one of the better players, which begs my major question, WHY did Roy bring Milner off when Young was giving the ball away so frequently, Milner looked more dangerous, what a silly decision by Roy. I thought Oxlade Chamberlain and Theo Walcott both were impressive, Walcott’s goal has to be up there with the best of them so far. I think Roy was scared to bring Oxlade Chamberlain in and it might have cost England, Young was terrible and Oxlade was awesome. Henderson didn’t really have any impact but he didn’t seem to have any obvious negatives either.
Strikers, well we all know Wellbeck was impressive, that cheeky goal against Sweden was a genius flick, yes for all the doubters, he sure did mean that, why else would he have done that? He did early on seem lazy, but often redeemed himself by coming back to the get the ball because the defence couldn’t be bothered to. Andy Carroll was pretty good too, he scored and he seemed hungry against Italy. Rooney got a lucky poachers goal and I think made every effort in getting the team on the attack but was often trying to be to quick to pass, or taking too long. He was obviously a little rusty but he didn’t do too bad. I have to feel for Defoe he fell by the wayside and I am not sure that it was fair not to give him more of a chance, he has worked well with Rooney before and I feel in attack a link up with his strike partner Crouch would have benefitted England, but that is just my theory that Man Utd strike force in todays age for England don’t seem to perform that well. It was not however the Strikers fault in my opinion. I place part of the blame on the manager, part of it on Ashley Young and that is because he was terrible and has declined as a footballer since his move to Man Utd.
I do feel however that the main reason England and other teams failed to do such a sterling job at this years Euro is that the standard of refereeing was poor. England got lucky thanks to this on many occasions most notably against Sweden I think it was when John Terry according to the blind official saved the ball from crossing the line. However this balanced out when John Terry was pulled down in the box twice by Italy, its obvious that none of the officials are clued up on the rules of football, also the amount of unsportsmanlike acting from a lot of the players after being challenged to stop an attacking move is terrible and anyone who is caught doing this more than once over a period of games should be banned from international football entirely. It is not something to be taken lightly, these players are as professional as a judge or policeman in that respect and should be shown no mercy if they disobey the rules, Robbie Keane was barged in the back by an Italian player and just took it, if that was a Portuguese, Spanish or Italian player they would have gone down like a sack of spuds and cried til they got a freekick, it seems before I am pointed at for being so biased that Ashley Young and a few English players might have cottoned on to this and are also attempting to use this to our advantage, but its not the way to play football.
On the whole England were a little better than expected, strong defensively minus a few errors, looking better until out of the group stages, promising youngsters who I feel will lose their spark come the next tournament. I dreamed we would finally topple Germany in the Semi’s but alas Italy wanted it more, thats all it was, they wanted it more, because my final word, English players play for money not the badge!