England never surprise
So I'm a sad fan ladies and gentleman. England failed to even escape the group stage this World Cup and went down far easier than I had thought we would. There were some bright moments but all in all the mental blocks that happen to our players under pressure still exist. The truth is for all the talk of us needing to be careful with our young players and ensure we used the experienced men results show us that was wrong. Once again Steven Gerrard was not Steven Gerrard. While Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart and Glen Johnson were unfortunately Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart and Glen Johnson once again failing to perform for their country. Leighton Baines at 29 is no Ashely Cole and Luke Shaw may have taken his pace come 2016. The bright moments all came from the kids we were so concerned about playing. Why we do not just go with them amazes me.
Jordan Henderson is no world class player and never will be. But what he has shown is an understanding of who he is and what his strengths are. Never going to effect a game in the final third, Jordan though kept possession better than his captain and bar the odd moment gave it simple. The water carrier role is an unfair description. In addition his understanding and application of playing to his strengths saw him press the opposition and often seen communicating with his teammates. Some of the english media pointed criticism at young Jordan but here we have a player playing to the maximum of his abilities.
Raheem Sterling was electric in game one against Italy. Then in a must win game two he was predictably moved wide to allow Rooney the no10 role. Sure Roo scored but we lost our most scary player where he was pushed onto the touchline by a Uruguayan side who couldn't believe their luck. I just can't imagine many top managers moving the previous games star player out of position to accommodate a player in that role playing so poorly. In consideration Roy Hodgson did pick Sterling to starting the first place which was against the view all nearly all the so called experts who wanted Rooney at no10 and Milner wide. Thank goodness he didn't follow that plan.
Even the great lose
Finally perhaps the greatest international team of all time have been beaten. Spain always had a tough group but I knew nobody predicting an early exit for the double European and current World Champions. Some fantastic tactical plans by Holland (are you watching Roy) saw their confidence ripped to pieces. Chile ended the run with a perform of drive and passion that suggests they are indeed a dark horse.
You can point to the reasons for spanish failure but after winning three competitions in a row they were always going to fail at some point. At this stage I would prefer to review the wonderful accomplishments of a great team that will be talked about every time to watch Spain for at least, I don't know the next 50 years minimum.
Name on the Cup
Argentina have yet to play well and yet 2 wins in a row see's them in the round of 16. Messi has yet to be Messi for a whole game and yet he has two goals both winners and both pretty damm good goals to help his country progress. To win a World Cup on Brazilian soil would make this the greatest win yet and if Messi is the match winner every game?
Keep smiling France
Well it seems we have a France team that do not have any internal problems and dropping Samir Nasri seems to have been the right move despite what his girlfriend says. They have played some great football and I guess are many peoples dark horses. The test will come when the flowing football isn't there and they are under pressure.
The competition has been fantastic and may be the most wide open in years. I do not believe there is an outstanding team but there are many who on their day can be. There are goals everywhere and little sign of a team who can defend which is great. I'm hoping for a new winner this time and that the knockout game continue the entertainment.
Match of the day
Matchday two ends with
USA v Portugal
Well we all know what match of the day is, right ladies and gentlemen? With England out and the friends made on this site I will be hoping you Americans can keep upsetting the favourites (especially those damm Germans)