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Capello’s England Continue to Stutter in Unconvincing USA Win

England 2-0 USA

Wembley Way mourned the loss of its soul last night as the fans filling its three-quarter full stadia could only muster up a mediocre atmosphere to compliment England’s dull 2-0 triumph over a woeful USA side.

Only a timely flicked header from skipper John Terry and beautiful move finished off by man-of-the-match Steven Gerrard brought any life to a game which was always destined to be a lacklustre affair.

England played well enough to deservedly and comfortably ease to victory, but their tired performance will still not be tolerated by most passionate supporters when the competitive business begins again in September.

Chances came along as often as a Britney Spears number one, and the flowing, intricate passing move which led to Gerrard’s easy finish was the only moment in which true brilliance carved open the American backline.

Smiles were also evident when Terry glanced home a trademark Beckham free-kick from the right, to at least ensure the Chelsea captain’s summer holidays will be spent a bit more relaxed after his penalty woes in Moscow last week. Most football fans across the country will be pleased for the centre-back, as his pure passion and determination to succeed was undone only by misfortune on the slippery surface of Luzniki Stadium seven days ago, and everybody would like to see England’s stars performing in the good spirits.

Wayne Rooney is another one of our goldenboys, and his enthusiastic and energetic performance can surely only be greeted with pleasure by the watching Fabio Capello, who deployed the Manchester United striker behind Portsmouth frontman Jermain Defoe in a 4-4-1-1 formation. His persistent backtracking eventually cost him a booking late in the second half, but his contribution will encourage fans nationwide that have seen his international form worsen since his prolific Euro 2004 Championships.

Capello is desperate for Rooney to save more energy though, as he appears tired when he finally gets himself into goalscoring opportunities and cutting down on how much defensive work he does is one idea that has been put forward by the Italian manager.
To succeed on the international stage, England need all of their top guns performing to their absolute maximum, and all supporters in the country will hope and prey that the man that was once so formidable in front of goal regains his midus touch very soon.

Steven Gerrard was very much on form last night though, and his passing will have impressed Capello, especially as he is so keen to see his playing staff to improve this area of their game. The Liverpool captain also tidily slotted home England’s second goal, following the most thrilling moment of the match when Gareth Barry and others worked a truly wonderful move.

And Terry is another who deserves tremendous credit for bouncing back so swiftly following such painful heartbreak in the Champions League final to Manchester United. It was only this time last week when his eyes were flowing with tears at such a tragedy, but he regained his mental state to put in a terrific defensive display, albeit against one of the least productive attacking forces to ever visit Wembley in recent times. He and Rio Ferdinand provided a tight security to their fellow, more attack-minded, colleagues, yet they severely struggled to take advantage of such a luxury.

So but for some shining lights of hope, it was extremely boring and lethargic from England yet again last night at Wembley. The team have yet to excite under strict tactician Fabio Capello, but the Italian can only be properly judged when the World Cup qualifying campaign starts in Andorra in September.

Before then the team head out on an absurd trip to Trinidad and Tobago, where another experimental friendly awaits us and England’s worn out players.

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  1. Kartik

    May 30, 2008 at 5:08 am

    Kat Kid I understand your points about Donovan but whether or not he is a wimp and is shying away from competition is immaterial right now because the US is in serious jeopardy of missing our first World Cup since 1986. He has to be on the pitch. It is that simple and the tactics need to be molded around him. We don’t have any talent otherwise. It wasn’t always this way.

    What’s even more humiliating is that we don’t have a single field player besides Donovan who would have even made the starting XI in World Cup 2002 for the United States, besides the players left over from that team. In other words every field starter that has been retired from the national team since 2002 (McBride, Stewart, Reyna, Sanneh, O’Brien, Agoos, Pope, Berhalter) are better than their replacements. The first options off the bench were all better as well: Moore, Mathis, C. Jones.

    We’re not making World Cup 2010 unless things changes substantially and quickly. Sven is likely going to Mexico. Do you think we’ll continue to beat them with him there? Honduras looks really good and Costa Rica hasn’t dipped as quickly as I thought they would. We haven’t beat Guatemala cleanly in years and our last two matches against Panama have also been extremely tight. (by cleanly I mean beaten them while not allowing them to define how the game is played tactically)

    We are in big trouble. Bragging about beating Poland and Sweden in friendlies as our fans were doing at Wembley the other day tells me how pathetic a state we really are, even if some of the English were impressed by those victories which tells you a bit about England’s state. (We did have the fun chant ” You can beat Croatia” from our section that last about five minutes early in the match.) We used to be able to brag about beating Germany and Argentina. Now holding a useless England team to a two goal victory is some sort of achievement since the scoreline could have been worse and will be worse against Spain and Argentina if Donovan doesn’t play.

    Right now we don’t have a single American field player right now other than Donovan that could make the squad of any team in the Euros.

  2. kat kid

    May 29, 2008 at 9:58 am

    “Don’t you think he would’ve liked to get his 100th cap at Wembley in a game against his Galaxy teammate?”

    Michael- To be honest, I don’t. I think he has shown an undeniable pattern of shying away from competition that he thinks he cannot best. The fact that anyone (Kartik) would shower praise on him for elevating the US without examining his penchant for becoming the invisible man at the first hint of resistance are missing the bigger picture about his impact on the team. No one should be arguing that Landon doesn’t have an enormous impact on the team. We are just arguing that the importance of Landon is both troubling tactically (this is the best talent? Really?) and mentally for the team. When the team looks up to Landon as a team leader (and he hasn’t shied away from the American press which coddles him, or the hilarious foil of the Mexican press which he plays as a fool) then we are left to examine the possible impact of such a leader. I would say, the evidence is strong that he is not an effective one.

    More about the game though:

    The service of Beasley and Adu needs to be seriously addressed. When you can’t manage to put a ball in the box over a two man wall on set
    pieces, you should be embarrassed at any level, on any stage.

    That said, the pace of Beasley was probably the best thing going and is troubling considering that he is completely out of form. Eddie Johnson missed a gaping net which could’ve evened the score and is a further indictment of him and Fulham’s strange fixation on US players (CHEAP!). Onyewu was much better than expected considering he hasn’t sniffed a pitch in months, although he still managed to plod through a Brit for a free kick just outside the box. I don’t blame the Gerrard goal on him as the pass from Barry was class. Edu was unbelievably poor and was abused on the ball and almost gave up a break that lead to a third goal in his short stint. Eddie Lewis, Hejduk were probably the best performers and they were subs. The keepers are both solid, with Guzan getting the nod in my mind, but with the Defense so lacking and the midfield and forwards so uninspiring (outside of superman Landon Donovan!!!) I think they will be tested mightily unless things get better.

  3. Kartik

    May 29, 2008 at 2:51 am

    Having attended the match I am embarrassed by the US performance in such a historic and wonderful venue and believe even more strongly than ever that this team is unlikely to qualify for the World Cup if Donovan is hurt. The whole world saw how poor the US is when he is hurt last night. No linkup play at all in the attack, nobody who can hold the ball and nobody with the skill on the ball to set things up. Landon does all of that for us and we have no one even close to being able to fill in for him. Freddy Adu maybe the next best option but for some reason Bradley feels Josh Wolff and Eddie Johnson are better options.

    The US is in big trouble if Donovan’s injury becomes more serious or nagging in any manner. Those bombastic posters and clowns like Cohen who think the US should drop Donovan simply because they don’t like his lifestyle choices can now shut up after the display of ineptitude presented last night by a Landon less US side.

    With Donovan we can play with anyone on our day. Without him we aren’t one of the best three teams in CONCACAF. Yes, he’s that good even though he plays in MLS which makes some people believe somehow that he is inferior to guys like Jonathan Spector and Benny Feilhaber because they play in Europe.

  4. timmyg

    May 29, 2008 at 1:00 am

    its nice when your nation, not club, doesn’t even bother show up for important, albeit exhibition, matches like this.

    i’m not angry. just embarrased.

  5. betsy's bolton bum baster

    May 28, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    England did well. Besides the back line of Terry, Ferdinand and Cole…as well as Stephen Gerrard I don’t think Capello should be picking any of the other players, especially at this stage. These players failed to qualify for the Euros. England really needs to look towards getting the young blood some serious international experience in these meaningless friendlies and let the “big stars” rest a bit before qualifiers begin. However, as a England hater, let’s hope they continue picking the stars and ignore new blood for the future, near and far.

  6. Ivan

    May 28, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    As a neutral, i thought Beckham besides the assist slowed England’s play down and it looked like the team were playing with two right backs. Saying that Bentley didn’t really offer the danger in set pieces that Becks did when Capello made the change. With more game time Bentley will offer a more dynamic option for England on the wings along with Ashley Young.

    England definitely started tentatively playing balls backwards and sidewards and odd hoff up the field. However they were allowed to settle and play themselves into some sort of form in the game simply because the USA team were even more impotent in attack with the horrible Clark in midfield. Quite simply the Americans couldn’t keep possession of the ball for more than a few passes . Dempsey i thought did his best even though he gave away some needless fouls. Adu gave them a bit of spark but i had to laugh when he took that joke of a set piece.

    Defoe didn’t have the best of nights when it came to finishing but the pint size striker gave to the US cbs a hell of headache with his runs. I think playing behind the striker is the best position for Rooney. When he got the ball he added quality to the team and outlet most of the time.

    Agree Gerrard had a good game playing similarly to Rooney, behind the striker and making runs to complement the forward (later he dropped deeper into midfield as the playmaker). As the game went on the trio (defoe, rooney, gerrard) developed some sort of understanding and they played some nice one touch football not a description of England in the past. BTW

    I thought Hargreaves was exceptional, he galvanized England esp early on when both teams were mediocre in possession.

  7. Michael

    May 28, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    To be fair, he was injured..

    Don’t you think he would’ve liked to get his 100th cap at Wembley in a game against his Galaxy teammate?

  8. kat kid

    May 28, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Shocking that when the stage was big, Landon was cowering under his bed.

  9. Michael

    May 28, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Gerrard was absolutely terrific in this game, Beckham played well when he was in there, and the US just looked flat and lethargic all game long.

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