Monday, June 28, 2010

bongis tactics corner - capello gets selections all wrong

After yesterdays humiliation at the hands of Germany many people now look for what went wrong in a campaign touted to be potentially cup winning and a swansong for England's so-called golden generation.

many fans will use Frank Lampard's disallowed goal as a reason for the defeat but that would just be hiding away from the fact that poor team selection and an interrupted preparation for the toughest tournament in football.

Capello picked several players who are off form have had severely interrupted seasons or who are just not world class. The Germans exposed almost every one of these areas without fail. Starting from the back. In goal David James made a couple of good saves but was poor in the third goal and is prone to dodgy moments. Joe Hart, Premiership goalkeeper of the year, wasn't given a chance. The form keeper of the three that were selected and the one playing for the best side in the league. Experience is one thing nut David James hasn't played champions league football for more than a couple of seasons and has never played at the world cup so is he really that experienced or is his age actually negative.

In defense, Capello started with Johnson, Upson, Terry and Cole. Johnson simply isn't world class and is very dodgy in defense which is his main priority. Upson is in the same bracket and while he scored he was tame at the back to say the least.He doesn't have the speed or the ability to defend against the best and that was shown yesterday. Terry had a shocking game giving the ball away cheaply on several occasions and often caught way out of position. Klose's goal came from terry being far out of position off a goal kick. now ask yourself how a top quality centre back can be caught out off a goal kick?
Terry and Upson both struggle for pace which is a huge risk in a defense often left open down the right due Johnson's constant forays forward. Terry's form has dropped since his personal extravaganza and the captaincy seems to have kept his form down and his age is also a worry. Ashley Cole may have looked below par but he is undeniably one of the top fullbacks in the world. I believe Cole was weighed down by the amount of work he has to do to make up for the rest of his team. With Gerrard roaming inside a lot Cole has to make up the options down the left as well as being left exposed by Gerrard's absence. he also has to provide more cover for the centre back. If we look at all 4 of Germany's goals Cole was there every time having to cover for the centre backs. Add to that the fact that all 4 of them came from the right or the centre.

The midfield has the wrong balance to be successful. It is well known Gerrard doesn't play his best football down the left and while he is allowed to roam that means that there is always a big whole down the left and the attacks always go through the middle or the right. Barry can't hold the midfield together against the top teams because it's not his natural game. he prefers to play like Gerrard and roving upfield not holding the midfield together. Lampard had a much improved performance and was unjustly denied a goal but he needs to be given more space to move into. One of the main problems he faces is his way is always blocked by his forwards deep lying positions.
The problem is that while Rooney hasn't hit top form England don't play a style that suits him. At Manchester United he can sit right in the box and poach and attack many balls flung across the box by Valencia and Nani. With England he must come deep to fetch the ball and the crosses he recieves are poor. But not just Rooney, Crouch and Heskey are also strong in the air so why make them play on the ground. To get the best out of the forwards Capello picked he needs to put quick players on the flanks and send quality balls into the box but this for some reason does not happen.

This is where i question both the tactics and the selection. If you want to play the ball on the ground and run at your opponents you need to pick players like Lennon, Walcott and Agbonlahor who are fast agile and can probe the opposition defence. You could play Gerrard supporting Rooney with Lennon and Walcott on the flanks.
If you want to play with Rooney and Heskey or better Crouch or Bent you need fast wingers with good final balls and England only have three of those. Only 1 was picked. Joe Cole, Ashley Young and Adam Johnson are the only players with genuine pace and a good final ball who can pick out and use the aerial prowess of the forwards.

Many since the game have bemoaned the lack of young talented players coming out of England compared to Germany and other nations. But is this really so? no I don't believe it is. The English U21 team made the finals of the championship last year and lost out only to Germany. How many players from that winning German team are in their current squad compared to England?
Germany have khedira, Oezil, Boateng, Kroos, Marin, Badstuber and Mueller while England have only Milner and Hart(who wasn't given any minutes). This is why Germany will always beat England in the knockout stages of the World cup unless something changes now. England don't give any of their young players a chance to go to the world cup so by the time they do they're the seniors in the squad but have never been to the world cup before while Germany in 2014 will have 18 players who have been there before in 2014.

England have the talent available they just don't pick the young players who are on form. Dawson, Young, Huddlestone, Hart, Bent, Adam Johnson and several others should all have been picked and given a chance to add flare and youth and to gain experience at the world cup. Johnson starts ahead of Wright-Phillips at City. Bent scored more than Crouch, Heskey and Defoe while Young has pace and good delivery. Huddlestone is strong and anchors the midfield on a regular basis at club level while Hart was the best goalkeeper in the league over last season above Cech, Reina and Van Der Sar.

It is now up to Capello, Use the Talent Available and Don't stick with old, off form and poor players.

Bongi's England Starting Line up.

RB: Warnock



  1. I agree with pretty much everything you say apart from one simple point.


  2. dont sack capello. if they do, they'll sign harry, a potentially disastrous outcome for spurs.

    good work bong. one thing though is that 4 4 2 is clearly becoming a totally outdated and easily countered formation in international football. capello worships it and made the english fit into his formation when clearly unsuited for it. add the fact that many of the players were picked on reputation, and the english media hyping them up to be better that they really are because they squeezed past a spirited but ordinary slovenia and the outcome is huge disappointment that was always coming.

  3. Poor tactics, poor team selection and a team with zero heart gets you knocked out. Great Blog.