11 Lions

11 Lions

  • 11 Lions - European Football - English Football - English National Team Blog


    11lions is all about the England Football Team and their Campaigns. We covered the terrible World Cup 2010 campaign, the mixed Euro 2012 campaign and Brazil for the World Cup in 2014.

    Link: http://www.11lions.co.uk/

    Date Added: 05/03/14

    Last Checked: 21/12/15

    Date Updated At Last Check: 21/07/15

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  • Out Of It: More Questions Than Answers

    Posted on 23 June, 2014

    To some extent, I suppose that the disappointment of being knocked out of the World Cup so early is a good thing: no excruciating penalty shootouts to sit through this time.

    On the other hand, the usual post mortems, excuses and eulogies – which are always prepared in advance – were trundled out a fortnight or so before they normally would be. I’ve dodged the worst of the finger pointing that’s been going on, but over the past few days since the defeat to Uruguay it’s been unavoidable. Harry Redknapp in particularly seems to have been experiencing some sort of Schadenfreude, but I suppose that’s to be expected from him. Would he have done any better? Who cares.

    For what it’s worth, my take on the last couple of weeks is as follows:

    Defensively England are in a very bad spot. Rooney’s appearance on the left side of the field against Italy was a tactical experiment that failed, but Rooney is an offensive player, not a defensive one. The real problem was that the defensive players were both inexperienced and not good enough: it’s now very clear that John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole will be very difficult to replace, just as Carles Puyol’s absence clearly had an impact on Spain.

    Spare a thought for Steven Caulker too – if Andre Vilas-Boas hadn’t been stupid enough to sell him to Cardiff, there’s a reasonable chance Caulker might have made enough of an impression at Spurs to have earned a place in the squad. It wasn’t his fault Cardiff were relegated.

    Offensively the two performances weren’t too bad: if you watch the highlights of the Uruguay game, it could have easily ended 4-3 to either side. Raheem Sterling lived up to expectations but the question marks about whether Wayne Rooney is a genuinely world class striker remain. He’s got one World Cup left and he needs to remember that, but the bigger problem is that neither Wellbeck nor Sturridge were that impressive and Ricky Lambert is too old to be a serious long term option.

    Despite the odd yet still cliched mixture of downbeat and optimistic statements emanating from the senior players and management following the elimination, I think we’ve got some serious problems to face over the next couple of years. I’m not sure any of the squad have been entirely realistic about their chances of continuing their international careers: there doesn’t seem to be any doubt amongst them that they are international class players, although it’s fairly clear to those of us looking on that some of them clearly aren’t.

    If anything, the two games were uniquely English performances. Shorn of their talented foreign clubmates, England looked like a mid table Championship side (and I know exactly what that looks like): a couple of decent prospects mixed in with some gnarled old pros who have had better days and a few that were promising a decade ago but never quite made it. The fact that Suarez and Balotelli were identified as the main goalscoring threats but still managed to score three goals in two games will have been a nice little earner for the punters that play the ‘anytime goalscorer’ markets between August and May.

    After the Costa Rica game, the next matches are in September. The first is a friendly against Norway and the second is the Eur0 2014 qualifier against Switzerland. If something sensational happens tomorrow, I’ll be back then: otherwise enjoy the summer.

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