While the draw in Poland is far from disastrous, England returned home with few positives. When we tried to build an attack the forwards were too static. We struggled to keep the ball and the lack of movement led to priceless possession being given away cheaply. England need to learn to move properly and the players need to create options for each other. In the attacking third the play was ad hoc and lacking shape. Joe Hart’s flap led to the Polish equaliser but to blame the keeper alone is to willfully ignore a plethora of issues. When Montenegro beat San Marino next month they will move to the top of the group. In itself it’ll be no calamity for England but when competitive internationals resume in March there will be no more space to drop points. Hopefully in March Jack Wilshere will be able to unlock opposition defences. When fully fit it’ll certainly be time to start building the team around him. He’s showed that he can grow into the play makers role and develop into a top class international midfielder. With such a dearth of English talent his skill mustn’t be wasted. For all that I still expect England to qualify for the 2014 World Cup but Spain and Brazil have nothing to fear from us.
Brisbane Roar thrashed Melbourne Victory 5-0 on Saturday. Roar were stylish and won at a canter. At the death Roar forward Besart Berisha hit the bar, a sixth goal would only have given the scoreline a more realistic complexion. As impressive as Brisbane were it’s hard to reflect on the game without pointing out Victory’s hopelessness, and on Saturday Melbourne Victory were utterly, seriously, mind bogglingly hopeless. At best they were indifferent, for large spells of the game they were truly dreadful. Several years after his calamitous spell managing Stoke City, Chris Kamara stated that there were times after games when he’d look at his players in the dressing room knowing some of them simply hadn’t been trying. Ange Postecoglou could be forgiven for feeling the same on Saturday. For Ange’s own sake he must hope that was the problem, if that was an example of this team playing to full potential his task is insurmountable.
The issue of who is to host the 2020 European Championship remains a headache for UEFA. Michel Platini’s suggestion that the tournament be played across the continent is far from final and could be refused when the member nations vote in January. The monumental error was to expand the competition to 24 teams. As well as diluting the quality of football on offer it makes staging the tournament much more complicated and much more expensive. The problems finding bidders to host for the 2020 competition suggests UEFA’s number crunchers are oblivious to the current precarious state of the global economy.
Another kerfuffle regarding a major tournament is the ongoing discussion over which season of the year the 2022 World Cup will take place in. The debate was offered this contribution last week… “I think sometimes a change is good — it would be great to have it in the winter. Everyone will be fit, physically fit, mentally fit and I don’t see a problem with it. For the fans I think it will be great” A ringing endorsement of a winter World Cup. Who came out with such a passionate justification for winter? A manager? A player? Neither, it was ex Dutch international Ronald De Boer…. who, believe it or not, now works for the Qatari FA!! Do you think he might have an agenda by any chance?
Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri’s position looks increasingly precarious. Having only won three games all season, defeat to Inter in last weeks’ derby is hardly inspiring confidence. Last week stories circulated stating that Milan had approached Pep Guardiola to take over from Allegri. This media speculation helps nobody. If Milan want to remove the manager they should sack him, pay off his contract, and move on from there. Allowing the story to be dragged through the media is undignified and disrespectful to all involved.
In football possession is 9/10 of the law. So watching games recently it’s flabbergasting to see teams give away priceless possession by conceding so many unnecessary free kicks. Players in their own half, and going nowhere in particular, get carelessly shoved or ankles clipped. It’s utterly baffling that professionals can make these senseless decisions with such monotonous regularity. The principle is TCUP…. Thinking Correctly Under Pressure. Some players need to learn how to make the right decisions during a game.