Monday, October 13, 2008

England 5 - Kahakhstan 1

I watched the game on Saturday. And again, as so often, I watched a different game to the commentators and many of the fans.

We knew little, despite the expertise able to be called upon, about our opponents. So many young, inexperienced debutants. Some quite skillful.

What should out tactics be? Well don't get caught for starters. If they do set off at a ridiculous pace and try to (gasp) score early we would look silly. And they might find huge depths of strength with which to defend that lead. So play a relatively safe line-up to begin with.

Second, as Capello said in his sensible pre-match interview, our best scouting would be the first ten minutes of the game. And in that ten minutes we observed a brilliant effort at closing down by an enthusiastic opposition. The size of the ground, the possibility of turning the fans against the home side. They all motivated. These guys gave their all for 45 minutes.

But an experienced international manager knew they couldn't keep it up for 90. At half time he turned the screw and changed to a more attacking line up. An early and simple goal at about the same time as the full-back Theo Walcott had taunted showed the first signs of cramp.

Things go wrong with tactics. Always do. Our delivery of the final ball was disappointing. When we got it right we scored. Beckham fixed that but he can't do 90 minutes these days. Ashley Cole made a costly mistake (but booing him for this? Appalling) and the opponents capitalised with an unexpectedly good, and cool, finish.

As they became more and more tired we scored three more goals. In international football there is enough tactical nous around for even the worst teams to stop themselves being totally dominated for 90 minutes and conceding a goal every 10. Few 4-0 half-time leads turn to 9-0 final scores. We won. We won well. Job done. Played 3. Won 3. Goal difference 11-2.

I am the only person who should be allowed to watch England football. We are not as good as people think we should be but we are doing OK right now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't that be "different from....."