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Germany are better at football than England

If Germany hadn’t scored those two second half goals the sense of grievance over Lampard’s ‘goal’ would have clouded England’s multitude of inadequacies.   Instead our players many technical deficiencies  were exposed in front of the whole world.   And, as ever, the moment we face a team with genuine aspirations to win the trophy we get knocked out.  

There’s nowhere to hide anymore.  In ninety minutes against a ruthlessly efficient German team, the myths and hubris surrounding the England team were brutally blown away.  Outfought outthought outplayed and ultimately outclassed.    All over the pitch Germany left England little traps to fall into.  And, unable to change, fall into them we did.   Each time we got the ball in the attacking third our players were boxed in and isolated.   Unable to pass the ball properly, OR maybe even dribble past an opponent (outlandish suggestion though that is)  we just ran into brick walls time and time again.   Germany were happy to condense play trusting that Englands lack of skill and tactical flexibility would largely nullify any desperate lousy halfarsed  threat we might try to conjure up.    And, of course,  they were right.   All they had to do was wait for possession (and it was rarely a long wait) and play.  The third German goal came from an England free kick.  Lampard was shooting so why not leave three back?   It’s not as if we weren’t aware of Germany’s power and pace on the break.   TCUP.  Thinking Correctly Under Pressure.  So many decisions were wrong.  

The probem is everyone will revert back to the P word.  Englands exit isn’t to do with lack of passion its to do with a players lack of ability.  The passion we crave means playing at 100mph and you can’t succeed at the top level just doing that.  Sophisticated teams can absorb it with the minimum of fuss.   So why can’t the cream of English football play differently?   Because they aren’t footballingly bright enough that’s why.  In his excellent book  The Italian Job, Gianlucca Vialli refers to players being able to ‘think football’.  Thinking football leads to flexibility  and an eagerness to try different things and test different systems.  Instead we have a situation now where any alternative to the usual method leaves England players baffled and confidence visibly drains.   For example, Lampard and Gerrard, after six years and three England managers, still can’t grasp how to play together effectively.  The problem is that we hype up the Premier League, bring in foreigners to make it more tactically astute and more gifted than the qualities we breed, sell it to almost 200 countries because of its fast paced physical conflict and its relative honesty . . . and fool ourselves that this makes the rest of the world tremble.  However, it’s painfully apparent when decent teams play England, they are aware that a side that can barely string three passes together isn’t going to cause too many problems. 

So that’s the end of that.  What happens now?  To simply call for the managers dismissal is, in this case, a quick fix for the short sighted.   The inadequacies of England team lie much deeper than the thirst for a scapegoat.   For England to metamorphosise into a trophy winning team would require a huge change in approach and the philosophy of the English game would have to totally change.  Sadly, I have no faith those who hold the vested interests of the game are prepared to take altruistic action to improve the national teams chances.  This ladies and gentlemen boys and girls, could be as good as it gets. 

I’ve just listened to an interview with Frank Lampard on the 5Live website and he indicates his goal not being given was what the game turned on.  Does he really believe that?   If ever anyone wants to know the meaning of the word deluded refer back to that.     He’s probably sitting on the plane home feeling unlucky.  Unlucky after that campaign?  Amazing head in the sand.  Hasn’t he ever watched a game  of football and seen what happens?  Unbelievable.

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