England have come through their first game in the group and picked up a point against USA. The post match analysis consisted of examining and re-examining Robert Green’s error which lead to the USA’s equaliser. It was a very poor mistake from a keeper who always looks shaky and was a surprise inclusion in the squad, let alone a starter.
England’s tactics are entirely based around a pressing game and forcing the opposition to make mistakes. The problem they will encounter is that at altitude maintaining this will prove tricky. In the 2nd half yesterday the USA showed far more capability in retaining possession and does not bode well for England’s campaign. Against the better teams England will be punished if they cannot keep the ball. The fact that Heskey and then Crouch were playing up front does not help as it gives the defenders and midfielders a get out ball every time.
Capello made some mistakes in selection yesterday which meant that he made changes after 30 minutes and then again at half-time when Ledley King could not continue. One wonders whether James Milner will feature again in the group stages after being so over zealous in the initial minutes of the game yesterday. England were clearly pumped up as demonstrated by Gerrard when he scored the opener but getting the correct balance is what he must ensure for the remainder of the group games.
England needs Gareth Barry back in the team if they are to progress further in this competition. The Lampard-Gerrard central midfield partnership did not work yet again. Lampard was played too deep and Gerrard yet again did his best impression of a headless chicken for 90 minutes. Rooney was completely isolated as everything was being played in the air to Heskey, he was dropping so deep in the 2nd half that his effectiveness was completely lost. They need to ensure he is given the ball in areas of the pitch where he can hurt the opposition.
Capello’s England will qualify from the group but they will need to learn valuable lessons quickly if they have any aspirations of going further in the tournament.