Lackluster England Draw USA, But Better Things to Come from the Three Lions

England's Steven Gerrard (L) fights for the ball with Landon Donovan of the US during a 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 12, 2010.     REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

Let’s face it, England were quite poor in their opening game match of the 2010 World Cup with the United States, but I whole-heartedly believe that it’s not all doom and gloom just yet and England fans have seen nothing near the best that will come from the Three Lions throughout the rest of this month long tournament.

I’m taking nothing away from the US who put on a great show. For much of the match, the US looked the better team, but also looked like the team that wanted it more. What an incredible job they did in closing down England players, bossing the midfield and defending when England pushed for the winner. 

The US played with heart and determination and easily could have won the match when Jozy Altidore skinned Jamie Carragher down the left side of midfield and cut in towards goal only for Robert Green to push the shot onto the post, Green redeemed, if only slightly.

But the thing I noticed about England’s performance allowed me to convince myself that in all actuality, the draw wasn’t such a bad result for England (more specifically, it proved to me that Gareth Barry will allow England to change their formation and congeal upon his return). Remember, Italy drew the US in 2006 and went on to lift the trophy. Great teams take a few games to gel, to find their best eleven and to figure out what works best for them as a unit playing in a different country with a different atmosphere. There were some positives to build on for the next match v Algeria.

Rooney came alive somewhat during the second half after an extremely quiet first. Rooney is a player that hasn’t been at his best in the past few months, but seems to be slowly building back towards what we know he can do. Steven Gerrard looks the part of captain as he was able to get forward and score England’s opening goal. Aaron Lennon looked decent when he was actually able to run at defenders, but remained quiet for large spells during the evening. If Lennon can find that killer ball to go along with his blistering pace, England will find a winner in their next match.

The positive way to look at things for England fans is to realize that the weaknesses that were shown against the US, (the back line, the goal keeping, etc.) have always been known and understood. Hey, at least no new glaring weaknesses have surfaced with this England team. It will now be time to move on with a point, take what can be learned from this match and get three points in the next one and progress to the round of 16. World Cups aren’t won or lost in the opening game and Green’s monumental error that allowed the US to equalize is saved 99 out of 100 times. If anything, England just need a little luck.

England did in fact dominate possession, create more chances, and were able to push more players forward and support attacks than the States were able to muster. The US were just able to hold on and to defend well enough and deny England the winner with so many players back in support of the defense.

On the other hand, England is England, and England will always be England. The midfield combination of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have yet to convince me that the two of them can ever function together as an attacking unit in such close space. When Gareth Barry returns to Fabio Capello’s plans, then and only then will the both of them be able to coincide effectively on the same pitch at the same time. Gerrard will likely play on the left side of midfield which will allow Lampard more room to himself in the center of the pitch while Barry protects the back four, an asset they really need.

I’d love to see Capello place Gerrard slightly behind a forward Rooney and utilize an attacking midfield three in Lampard, Lennon and James Milner, if fit. Barry in front of Terry and Carragher would give the England back line some much needed stability. Speaking of,…

More question marks now surround the back line, more specifically the back two than ever before. Carragher looked himself upon his arrival and way off the pace. Former captain John Terry looked indecisive and also slow at times. My initial thoughts of Ferdinand’s absence not effecting England that much may easily be proved wrong in the next two group stage matches.

It’s not all doom and gloom for England just yet. Can Gareth Barry be that small key that will unlock England’s bigger picture of success? Can Rooney re-find the incredible form he showed for club this past season? Although there are questions that Fabio Capello will want answered from his players soon, for England, it could have been worse and should likely get better.

62 thoughts on “Lackluster England Draw USA, But Better Things to Come from the Three Lions”

  1. Did you watch the match? what sort of tactics did Fabio use? The England back line is just horrid old and will be ripped apart by any team with pace. Where was the wing play that was going to break down and destroy the USA, where was Rooney? Why was SWP on and not Joe Cole. Yet the blame will be on Robert Green. and How does Heskey miss a one on one from the spot….

    England will be lucky to get out of the group. Slovenia will pact the box, be physical and rip apart that back line. Algeria might even beat the English.

    Its not all roses… not at all. Its just another match where they came out of the locker room in the second half and mailed it in.

  2. Lets keep it real please. You can’t blame the defence just because The goalie has a shocker. Apart from one good chance for Altidore, England restricted the US to shooting from long distance. I thought G Johnson and Cole both played well, as did Terry.

    England had 60% of the ball
    They had more shots on target
    and they had the better chances

    America were lucky and they they scored and got a point from a long shot which Green should have saved.

      1. I agree here – this shouldn’t be viewed as all “doom and gloom”. England didn’t look great but on another day they would have won that game if not for a really poor shot that wasn’t saved. Altidore had a great chance but England had the Heskey shot and about three crosses across the goal mouth that were begging to be tapped in.

        As Jessie said though, I’m not taking anything away from the US. They played well and I think a draw is a fair result.

      1. Yeah, more delusional bullshit. An inability to realistically view the match as pretty much even. The US let England have possession in the last 30 minutes. Too bad, as a result for the US was there for the taking. All those names, all that hype. Doesn’t mean shit! The US is every bit as good. So sad you are all so wrapped in a history that means nothing now. Welcome to the new world, England.

        1. To start, I’ve never had any delusions of England reaching the final. Most England fans would say that same (don’t believe the silly, English media hype).

          I could, realistically, view the match as even if it was. It wasn’t at all. England pressed the majority of the second half and had many more chances. Not taking anything away form the US but c’mon!

  3. England looked old and slow. The U.S. players, in one-on-one situations, routinely owned the English. The U.S. has no idea how to move and play as a team, but from a physical standpoint is bigger, faster, and stronger than England.

    If “Yay, we’re just as bad as we thought we were” makes you feel better, good for you. Physical play from a team more skilled than the U.S. looks to be able to dispatch England quite handily.

    Best of luck!

    1. What a load of crap.

      ‘The U.S. players, in one-on-one situations, routinely owned the English.’

      I think for a start you need to remove the (s) off situations because there was only one time this happened and that was when Altidore went past the slowest person in the English squad.

      I lost count of how many times Lennon skinned your left back. Anyone would think you guys have just won 5-0. You got your arse kicked and were lucky to get a draw.

      1. This is a bit extreme Poker. There is no way you can say with any truth that the US got their arse kicked. I’d like to see stats on possession in the first half vs. the 2nd half. From watching the match it seemed the US controlled possession for the first half and about 15-20 of the second half then fell back into defense mode to hold on for a draw while England continued to press for the win.

        I think a draw was what was deserved by both teams. I don’t think the US deserved the win and England didn’t show enough to win either. Wayne Rooney barely touched the ball. Props have to be given for keeping him out of the match. Lennon can scream down the line as much as he wants but if the men are marked and he doesn’t create anything let him run away. He had the one cross in the first half that Howard got to that created a chance.

      2. “You got your arse kicked and were lucky to get a draw”

        Hmm…England’s 18 shots to USA’s 12…

        Still ended a 1-1 draw…that was HARDLY an ass kicking.

        Let’s face it: US frustrated your overrated national team but playing hardball. Just a shame that you couldn’t see it since your head is up your ass.

        Now f**k off bastard.

        1. yet another european immagrant opening his fat yank mouth,kartik ur a mug,a german guy defended me against english fans just like the guy from paris on the plane what next the italians outside a pizzaria yank mugs no 1 wonder no 1 like you guys

  4. If I’m England right now, I’m worried. With that abomination of a U.S. defense and not being able to score more than one goal — Tim Howard’s brilliance notwithstanding — is cause for concern. Rooney is not 100%; of all people he should have been able to exploit that U.S. back line.
    Gooch still cannot challenge people in the air–Heskey had him a few times, Crouch too!
    Gerrard is such a star and today he proved it. What a world-class performance.
    And as for you Mr. Green, I suggest you Google the name Bill Buckner. Enjoy Idaho!

    1. Then you didn’t get the full idea of the article. That was one game that Yes, England didn’t played their best. But it was only their first. Let’s see how Capello gets into the players and changes things up.

      Let’s see a match with Gareth Barry included. Let’s see how this team rebounds from a lackluster performance. England fans shouldn’t be worried after one game.

  5. Oh let the banter begin. The English saying the US got lucky and the US saying we told you we could hang with the mighty three lions.

  6. Don’t worry England, it is just the first game, England should have won this game, you should have no problem with Algeria and Slovenia. England played well, Howard made some great saves and England Goalkeeper was terrible to say the least.

    1. Howard did play terrific but at the end of the day the shots were right at him. He honestly made the saves he should have. England needed to move him around a bit and make him work.

  7. England might win something (fair and square) one day when they stop looking for scapegoats and victimizing their own players. IMO David James is one of the best keepers in the world, yet most wanted the mediocre Green to start. If you look back over the past couple of seasons playing behind one of the worst defenses in the league James has made some sensational world class stops and when fit showed great form. His oops moments are no worse than some that the best keepers in the world have committed. However he’s one of the scapegoats used as the reason for England not winning in the past… cause we all know that they would’ve won otherwise right? Whatever… England has some very good players. Few deny that, but if the mainstream papers, forums and blogs in England today are any indication it’s little wonder that side can’t manage to raise themselves to the level necessary to win a major tournament.

  8. I am sure The English will play a lot better. But we gifted some of the offense that they had by not playing the one player that can keep possession for the US and release our players – Torres. Thanks Bob Bradley.

  9. people going for england talk about this or that but the bottom line is they didn’t do what the english supporters thought they were going to do. dempsey’s stock & howard’s stock rose to go to better teams that they play for. don’t tread on me.

  10. After the Gerrard goal, the two best chances of the match were the Altidore sitters (first from Donovan, and then beating Carragher). Luckily for England, that kid has no clue how to score – as evidenced by his 2 goals in 34 European club appearances.

    The English will whine all day how the “Yanks were lucky,” but frankly, the English were fortunate the Americans didn’t score three.

        1. I love it. he plays for a piss poor club that doesn’t suit his style and is often used as a late sub in those appearances for Hull yet he gets ridiculed by you guys for it. Guarantee he becomes one of the young players of the tournament. The foreign press were loving him and Michael Bradley in the post match interviews and if you don’t see the benefit that he brings to a team like the US then you must also not see it in guys like Heskey.

          1. ‘he plays for a piss poor club that doesn’t suit his style’

            Piss poor is every bit his style. The guy is a bag of shit and needs to go back to your mickey mouse league. He has no business playing in the top flight of English Football

          2. Sorry Poker… the mighty three Lions just aren’t as good as you and your country thinks. Not saying they are bad but they are not a top tier squad in the likes of Spain and Brazil. They are closer to the US team than the likes of Spain etc…

            Sorry but it’s the truth and they’ve proved over many many decades now…

        2. So they aren’t chances because you think he can’t shoot? By that logic, Heskey’s shot wasn’t a chance either then, as he can’t shoot either.

          Don’t you see? Your logic eats itself

          1. Right!

            I’ll give you the Altidore chance that could have gone in (not sure I remember another chance he got), but then you have to give England the Heskey point-blank shot and Lennon chance that could have gone in (and another three or four goal mouth crosses in the second half that could have been tapped in)?

            US did really well keeping shape but they only really had two decent chances and one went in. England had multiple chances but couldn’t finish.

            I hate to say it because it sounds so negative but this game was about England playing bad not the US playing well.

  11. A well fought draw, both teams had their chances, and both goals were born from mistakes, a very big results for the yanks, and a disappointment for the three lions…

  12. You know what’s great? I sit on this site for months hearing how we’re inferior, you’re superior and we’re just not up to par with England. I get it, I really do. England have great players and a proud tradition. But at the end of the day, tradition doesn’t win football matches, and neither do star players necessarily.

    I’ve decided that this bickering back and forth truly is useless. You should have won, you could have won, but you didn’t. Don’t blame Green, don’t blame the ball and don’t blame the ref. Blame yourselves. The expectations and arrogance of this team are immense, and what happened today was not unlucky, spiteful or anything else magical. It was what was deserved and in the overall picture was a fair result. Two more shots on a goal and a couple percent difference in possession is what was between the glorified English team with all their players at United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Villa against MLS, and 2nd tier European football clubs.

    England will advance, and England might very well still make the final if they clear some things up. But they are not Italy, they are not Brazil, Argentina or any other top nation in the world of international football. So please, please, please, stop treating them like one.

    1. Well said!

      England is a better team than the U.S., no doubt. But at the end of the day, neither of these teams is going to amount to much of anything. The U.S. might threaten to accomplish something if they could make three consecutive passes without turning the ball over. England might amount to something if Capello didn’t have to worry about a dozen or more fragile egos and the ridiculous English press.

      Still, there are teams in the WC that will mop the floor with either England or the U.S. Hope for a fluke if you want, but understand the reality of the situation.

      I, for one, am glad this game is over. Let’s get down to some real football, now, shall we?

    2. I agree with most of what you’re saying but is it really the England players? I think its the delusional expectations of the media and fans. The players are only who they are. Supposedly they are some of the best players in the world (and IMO they do have about 3 excellent players), yet it’s telling that very few big clubs outside of England have seriously come in for any of them. In fact that’s one of England’s main problems… few play abroad and come under the same local league scrutiny as foreign players or individual competition within their side because they’re given native land advantages. The fans and media hype up their own in their league, the better players are talismen by default for their sides and goal tallies are annually padded from penalty kicks. All of this is understandable but is a ruse as to the measure of actual talent in the national team.

      Frankly as an American I could care less about English mass delusion. In fact like most of the world I’m humored by it. What HAS annoyed me to no end however is that because of our shared language, our own media and fans swallow that nonsense and repeat it as gospel, often marching in lockstep with everything put forth by a nation of woefully deluded though wonderfully devoted football fans.

      It’s interesting that I’ve read through many articles from English sources and from all I’ve seen hardly the slightest bit of credit has been given to the US team… a team that defeated Egypt, Spain and almost took out Brazil in the Confed cup last year. Of course English media blew that off as a Mickey Mouse event and Spain not caring, but had THEY performed as such we’d still be hearing about it to this day. Like last century when they didn’t bother to show up to the World Cup until 1950 thinking the rest of the world were inferior playing “their” game (only to get humiliated by the US), arrogance and condescension will continue to be their downfall.

  13. Also, it was a somewhat lackluster performance from the USA too. They are capable of much better. Both teams were nervous. The teams are about equal. I know it pains the egos of the English to hear that, but England proved very little today.

  14. must suck to tie such a lowly team like USA, huh? lol.

    one day you will get it, this isn’t 40 years ago and squads outside of europe are really closing the gap. btw, for all the confused folks on this blog . . . by nature of it being a tie, both sides were lucky not to lose, and unlucky not to win.

    btw, the US wasn’t bunkering in the second half . . . they were just doing what they had to do when a quality striker like rooney finds form. starting about the 70th minute the guy just took over the game. total class player and any team should be proud when they can hold a guy like that scoreless.

  15. Kind of disappointed with the US here. England was very ordinary and wasted most of their limited chances. We got a gift from Green and then Bradley packed it in and defended for the last half hour. I would have like to see them chase this game as in the mid-field it was pretty even all night.

    I’m a little worried if I’m England. You know the US was going to give up some golden opportunties and I thought England would punish them but fortunately they almost all went to Heskey and Lennon. If Rooney or Gerrard doesn’t get it going, England doesn’t look to dangerous. That backline is slow and nothing special. Take out Cole and they aren’t very good. I’ve read plenty of England fans on this site rave about Milner and Cherundolo made him his bitch tonight. They’re not getting to the final that’s for sure.

    The US had plenty of their own problems. Bocanegra got turned around by everyone on his side. I like the industry from Findley but it would help if he had a clue. I thought Clark was in the side for his defense????? Maybe Torres can track his man and complete a pass.

    Good result for the US, I hope they can make it worth something.

  16. Watching the US side, for the first time really, was interesting. As a Stoke supporter who attends pretty much every home game and a few away, having seen Tony Pulis’s sides in his two spells at the club, the US performance was the closest I’ve seen another side replicate what Pulis does. All that was lacking was the long throw!

    It’s not meant as a dig or snide remark, it’s a compliment if anything. Neither team is expected to win anything but both are at the top table and competing with the tools they have available. In fact I’d go so far as saying if Tony Pulis retired tomoroow and our chairman wanted to progress in the same vein, I would recommend Bob Bradley for consideration.

    Anyone who doesn’t want to see the similarities doesn’t see enough of Stoke (I’m sure the Arsenal followers would love to see more) and thinks more of what they’ve got in front of them than is actually true.

    An interesting aside is that when Pulis first came back to Stoke he went after Onyewu from Standard Liege, I think before he spent time at Newcastle. Having seen him for the first time he is a typical Pulis defender. I liked Robbie Findley up front to, a much better prospect than the hugely over rated and Mark Spitz loving Altidore.

    Good luck for the rest of the tournament, find yourself a Delapidator and you could have some fun.

    1. United States is the Stoke City of the 2010 World Cup? I don’t take that as an insult, but it’s definitely an interesting observation. I’ll have to watch them from that perspective the next time I see them play, on Friday.

      The Gaffer

      1. USA = Stoke? That was the first analogy that popped into my head as well. Good game plan, not thinking they are better than they are, playing within themselves and being hard to beat. I’d rather we be compared to Stoke than Wigan. As an LFC supporter it pains me to say, but hopefully against Slovenia and Argentina we’ll be a little more Evertonesque though. Tight at the back, retain possession in the MF and make the most of our talent in attack.

        Would it be carrying the analogy too far to say England looked like Aston Villa? Lots of promise going forward, but ultimately failing to deliver b/c the MF didn’t control the game and the wingers were ineffective with their final ball? No intended disrespect to Brad Friedel

  17. Bradley who the chess match of coaches. He forced England to go to the bench early and took England’s big names Rooney and Terry out of the game.

    England face it you are no better than the US and you can not even play Brazil or Spain as well as the USA did.

    1. Where’s that 3-0 win by the US you’ve been predicting over and over on the comments section?

      I know a draw (with a lucky goal) feels like a win to the US but don’t read too much into it.


      1. Oh, and Bradley or the US players had nothing to do with Milner getting subbed. He wasn’t even supposed to start due to a niggling injury and week-long virus.

        Capello’s worst decision in that game was starting him in the first place and best decision was to take him off after a frustrated Milner was on his way to getting a red card.

  18. ‘he plays for a piss poor club that doesn’t suit his style’

    ‘Piss poor is every bit his style. The guy is a bag of shit and needs to go back to your mickey mouse league. He has no business playing in the top flight of English Football’

    Bag of shit? Mickey Mouse League? No business playing top flight? So bitter…..I’m sure you would choose Heskey over Altidore, right? The striker that doesn’t score? I get it, the brits invented soccer, the epl is arguably the best pro league in the world, but your slights of Altidore and the MLS are abusurd, and reek of English snobbery. Accept the fact that the US is not an international football joke anymore. In fact, if the best atheletes in the US played soccer, there is no doubt the would be the best in the world. Imagine Kobe as a striker, and LeBron James as scoring midfielder? Poker you probably don’t understand what world class athletes we have in other sports, but eventually the US will outclass England on the pitch. Watch out, the Yanks are coming!!!!

    1. I’d still take Heskey over Altidore but I guess it’s a matter of personal preference.

      Also, remember this:

      Heskey is what… 32? Altidore is… what? 23? At about that age, Heskey played for Liverpool and scored something like 24 goals in a season. It’s not fair to compare a player on the way out with a player that is coming into the prime of his career.

      Do you think Altidore will ever score even 10 goals in the top flight of England or be as influential as Heskey is at 32?

      1. Lol, ya,actually Heskey scored 23 goals in 2000-2001, but the year before he scored 3 goals….Heskey benefited from a team and system that worked for him….Put Altidore on a team and system that works for him and you will see fantastic results….

        1. And how may goals did Heskey score in the EPL last year, thats right 2, which is one more than Altidore….

          1. Alright, I actually did my research this time. Ready?

            Again, most of these stats are from when Heskey was about the same age as Altidore is now.

            Heskey did only score 3 goals in the Premier League, 1999-2000 season but he only had 12 appearances (Altidore had 23 appearances and 1 goal this season). He then went on to score 22 for 2000-2001, 12 for 2001-2002, 9 next season, 12 next season, and 11 next season (these are for all competitions).

            Lastly, you’re almost right. He managed 3 goals in the EPL last year (two more than Altidore) but, again, he’s ‘effing 32 now!


            As for the system and team excuse – Altidore will only get put in a system and team that works for him if he proves himself to be a valuable addition. If he isn’t in such a system or team it’s because he hasn’t proven himself yet. Hesky came from Leicester City (probably better than Hull but still…) as a young player and proved himself to get his place at Liverpool.

            I think Altidore is a great player and could turn into a wonderful striker but if we’ve comparing here I would still put Heskey as coming out on top after each player has finished their careers.

            Altidore would have to come out next season with a golden boot performance in order to be on track to outperform Heskey’s career.

      2. Hey Gaz,

        I agree with a lot of what you have written about Jozy. He is only 20, BTW, so there is a lot of time for him to mature.

        I was one person who did not want to see him go to Hull. I really would rather see him stay in Spain (he is still contracted to Villareal), or go to Holland and develop further before giving it a try in England again.

        I saw him play so many times as an 18 year old, as I hold season tickets for Red Bull NY. He has a lot of potential. But, you are right, he hasn’t proved anything yet, which he will need to do before a better team takes a chance on him.

        1. That changes things a bit. I didn’t know he was that young.

          I thought he was more like 23 or 24. You’re right – he’s got a long time to mature and become better.

  19. I will agree with you that Heskey’s career will probably be looked on as more successful, but for different reasons. Heskey does other things that lead to goals, but he doesn’t wrack up a ton himself, minus that one season at Liverpool. Altidore does have alot to prove on the club stage, but he has pace (just ask Carragher) and finishing skills (brilliant save by Green), and I think he will be ok.

    Being 32 is not an excuse for not scoring though, Drogba is 32, and he won the Golden Boot this season

    1. Stay with me here.

      When Heskey was Altidore’s age he scored 66 goals in 5 seasons. It wasn’t just “one season at Liverpool”. Heskey “doing other things” as you say is a recent revelation in his game due to his age and,thus, lack of pace.

  20. Heskey “doing other things”…….like aiming right for the goalie? 😉

    And I must have missed the part where he made everyone, especially Rooney, play so much better.

    Sorry. I digress.

  21. I’m sorry, but I don’t get what all the hype is about in regards to this game. Great teams screw up all the time, and I hardly think that a draw in the first game of WC is grounds for concern. Just take a look at the standings and see how many other teams still need to get warmed up! And quite rightly, let us not forget how many teams have drawn in their first game, only to do well later in the Cup.

    England was not their best, but even at their worst, USA could only draw – and even that shot was a total fluke! My point being that even on England’s worst day, they are better than the USA team. If USA is so much better, then why doesn’t the score board reflect this…? I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but the truth is the truth, so suck it up and focus on your own team and their progress, and stop acting like the cup is yours just because you drew with England!

    England is statisticly better and we have a reason to feel confident, even if we aren’t the best in the world and make mistakes. I get so tired of USA fans constantly going after English-this and English-that, when it has nothing to do with footie. You’ve all got some ridiculous chip on your shoulder and yap your mouths to no end, even when you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

    Take a yoga class, drink your latte, and for God’s sake shut up! It was amazing how many Europeans were avoiding standing next to any Americans at the pub. You’re all so freaking ridiculous and over-the-top it’s crazy!

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