Fabio Capello looks to immediate salvation against Algeria after USA debacle.
Whilst its true that England were not at their very best it is worth noting that Fabio Capello’s men did fashion enough opportunities to win this game four times over. There is a very real danger that people, and more likely the media, will go over the top in their disdain for both the players on show and the manager who in hindsight appears to have made some tactical errors.
Like many others I queried the selection of Robert Green but the error he made was a one in a million fumble that David James certainly is capable of making and perhaps in the heat of the battle an error that Joe Hart could well have committed.
The player who impressed me the most was another player who I would not have picked from the outset but pleasantly surprised me with his top notch display. That man is Emile Heskey. Much maligned, and rightly so, the Aston Villa man really gave a wholehearted performance that had everything. He had some nice touches, including setting up Gerrard’s goal, was always involved and put in a committed showing that only ended when Fabio Capello decided to take him off towards the end, a decision that must surely have only been made due to Heskey’s apparent exhaustion.
James Milner never got involved and was clearly not fully fit and Capello was right to haul off the Manchester City bound man early on. One thing England failed to do was boss the game. They handed far too much possession to a United States side who were far from the mediocre side many had hoped England would face.
Bob Bradley’s side pushed the ball about nicely and were not put under enough pressure after the opening goal. Then disaster struck when they equalised late on in the first half. Robert Green did of course pull off a blinder of a save from Altidore in the second half but it still seems highly likely the Hammers keeper will be dropped for the Algeria game. Make no mistake about it though. The Americans fully deserved a draw and proved that they are no whipping boys.
There were other plus points. Gerrard was quite effective and showed touches of the quality player he undoubtedly is. Rooney and Heskey worked well as a pair and created a host of good chances that were either wasted or prevented from finding the back of the net due to Tim Howard’s heroics.
On the minus side Jamie Carragher didn’t look up to the task and could well have been sent off due to being a yard off the pace. Neither full back got far enough forward to wreak havoc. But this is just the first game of the World Cup. England should still have enough about them to beat their remaining opponents. Fabio will have read the players the riot act but would have done so whilst being mindful of not effecting morale too badly.
Fabio Capello hasn’t become a bad manager overnight and his side are still capable of winning the World Cup. Keep the faith.
G Johnson 6
A Cole 6