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Saturday, June 03, 2006

What we received from England v Jamaica

The preference of 4-4-2 became clear with Michael Owen not too comfortable being the lone striker, despite support from Steven Gerrard, Peter Crouch joined Owen upfront. Gerrard and Frank Lampard decided to swap the forward/holding positions, Jamie Carragher in place of Gary Neville. From the start England came at Jamaica and Jamaica returned the gesture, beginning to look a side with more intent than just showing up for the match. A clear intention to outmuscle Owen from his marker was apparent and the Reggae Boyz looked keen to shut down the England players. However, the breakthrough emerged after 10mins from a Paul Robinson goal kick that reached into the box for Crouch to head down towards Owen, who kicked the ball overhead, Lampard unmarked coming into the box to put it away.

Joe Cole was fouled on the left by Omar Daley which resulted in a freekick on 16mins. David Beckham delivered the ball with a trademark bend into the box and amongst the number of those challenging was Jermaine Taylor over Lampard, inadvertently heading the ball down towards goal and in, over the outstretched hands of keeper and skipper Donovan Ricketts. Yet one scare that occurred at the England rearguard was a loose bouncing ball which John Terry tried to reach but couldn't, leaving the opportunity for Jason Euell to break in and fire at Robinson, the Spurs man producing a good stop that was cleared by Carragher.

Yet England continued to add good pressure when they went on the attack, which went on to pay dividends again. On 27 mins, a Beckham corner was missed by all except Crouch, who stole across his marker with his right foot to direct the ball towards goal. Now, a difference of opinion here. The ball was seen on replay to have been kicked at by Daley, and his effort deflected the ball into the goal. Contrary opinion says the goal was goal-bound and counted for Crouch despite Daley's contact. For me, the ball was going wide and clearly changed direction from Daley's contact, and very simply is an own goal. It matters little, England went 3-0 up and then made it four past the half hour when Rio Ferdinand came forward and delivered a ball over the defence for Owen, who was played onside by Daley. Owen simply ran on and touched the ball past the advancing Ricketts, who came out towards Owen like a defender rather than a goalkeeper and last man of defence. Owen touched away into the empty net.

England made a number of advancements in the first half and could have made them count on more than four occasions, looking comfortable and organised at the back with little pressure. Ashley Cole and Terry came off as a precaution on 33 and 35mins respectively. Cole had a tight thigh, Terry a tight hamstring, replaced by Wayne Bridge and Sol Campbell. Another substitution at half time swapped Robinson for David James, who went on to have practically one save to make of little effort and an otherwise comfortable afternoon. Jamaica found gaps in the second half amongst the flanks as Ricardo Fuller and Deon Burton went close on goal, yet it was Crouch upfront mostly who was the target man, chesting the ball neatly in the path of Cole, who fired wide. On 66mins, England on the attack found the ball wide towards Beckham on the right, who then played a sublime ball between two players for the overlapping Carragher to meet first time across goal, Crouch on hand to bury England's fifth. Cue ensuing robotics, which had me in stitches.

Sven Goran-Eriksson made more changes with Spurs duo Michael Carrick and Aaron Lennon coming on for Lampard and Beckham, and on 77mins Stuart Downing was introduced for Gerrard, moving Cole over to central midfield from the left flank. As the match closed in towards the end of normal time England were yet again on the attack. Lennon raced down the right to pull back a sweet ball to Owen, who I expected to hit first time but he took one touch and miskicked, immediately shut down by three players. He still had the ball and managed to twist away, only to be impeded through contact on his heel by the slipping Khari Stephenson.

Man-of-the-moment Crouch was allowed to take the spot kick instead of Owen, Alan Shearer on the BBC panel stated Owen should have taken it by virtue of holding the armband, which for me was insignificant, but Owen is more proven form the spot. But as the moment came, Crouch looked confident and looked to do no wrong but instead, as he fooled Ricketts, chipped the ball over the bar. It was a killing moment that slightly blotted his efforts of the week, much less of the game, but he came back to redeem. Minutes later, Downing ran down the left and knocked the ball over to Owen by the edge of the box, Owen touched it first time to Crouch and Crouch hit it first time to curl the ball into the bottom corner. Understandably, it was a clenched fist and no robotics this time.

This was Eriksson's last warm-up match, his last England match on home soil and it was a sentimental occasion. The players stayed on and walked a lap of honour with Eriksson and the management team. Terry and Ashley Cole are expected to be fit for Saturday and therefore not a worry, which keeps the side intact and ready. If we can play like this, albeit Jamaica left spaces often, we can do well to start with. A number of link-up plays, quick passes, runs, and little of giving away possession added to the industrious way we passed around in their third towards goal. I expect the Paraguayans wont chase us while we are in possession but will aim to come at us quickly when they get hold of the ball, and that could open up for us on the counterattack. Looking forward to the match.


RedsMan.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Nturtle said...

4-4-2 and no surprises...except that Crouch has got a pretty good touch sometimes...and I stress sometimes. His penalty was very poor...and maybe he was just thinking he could whack the ball over to the moon and do his Robot/Star Wars 3CP0 impersonation!

Nevertheless, a respectable scoreline...but it also highlighted the difficulties England have when muscled off the ball. The Gerrard, Lampard pairing to me did not gel that well...and England just attacked with long balls and down the sides. Beckham was a greater threat than Lennon, and but conversely, Downing seemed much more a winger than Joe Cole...although Cole got forward more...and I almost always mistook him for Owen!

Now onto our leading striker...he made a few intelligent runs...and looked ok..not sharp...but getting there. Good to see him getting 90 mins...as well as Crouch..but surely they were lacking in the final 20 mins...it's going to be interesting. I expected Sven to try a defensive formation just as a test to contain ANY Jamaican attacks...just in case there is a need for that....but it never turned into a 4-5-1...

The defence looked shakey...but Carragher impressed with the intelligent runs down the side...and Ashley cole was good until he went off...Sol gave away too many needless fouls...which is frustrating...and could be potentially fatal against good opposition.

The good thing...Paraguay first up...then T&T...so hopefully by then...the Sweden game will be moot...and less pressure.

Rooney is still a huge driving force of Man U and England...but he's not the only person who can help the team. As long as Gerrard and Lampard figure out who is forward and back...they should do ok.

Game on England...after the minnows of Jamaica...let's see how nervey the start of the tournament is!

6/04/2006 7:28 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly mate its C3PO I mean COME ONE!

Anyway. Campbell was bloody awful and I really hope we dont have to bring him on, in my opinion he should never have made the squad as he is well and truly past it. Crouch was impressive although he is a one trick pony in that the element of surprise is only going to work in his favour for a short while. Once teams realise hes crap in the air and not bad with the ball at his feet he will stop getting goals....

Owen looked...ok...improving with each performance would be the positive spin! Becks looks on form which is great. Lampard was better than in the last match and Gerrard still fails to have the Liverpool impact but then unless we play our game through him (which I kind of think we should) we wont use his full potential.

Terry-Solid. Same for the whole back four except Cole. He is definitely one of the worlds best left backs but is not at his best at the mo...I wouldnt be surprised if he costs us a goal in Germany but we have no alternative and it is condition rather than talent that is the problem....

Downing is slow and one-sided. Bridge looked decent I thought.

Onwards to Germany!!

6/05/2006 12:24 pm

 
Anonymous Nturtle said...

LOL anon! C3PO...I stand correctly...but for a sticky keyboard...it's low-tech that defeats high tech all the time!

RE: the game...well...don't know if it really proved anything at the end of the day...except that the ROBOT move might become as good as the Blanco "hop" in the last world cup! Outrageous! Or was that the World Cup before?!?

Anyway...I watched the Metherlands Australia match...and here are my comments:

Netherlands looked dangerous...and against a lesser GK than Middlesborough's Schwarzer...they should have scored more against Australia's leaky defence. Some would argue the Aussies were TOUGH...having brought 3 injuries to the Dutch in a friendly..but they really were a little slow...and went to greound too easily against Robben (the flying Dutchman...in the being fouled sense) and Van Nisterooy.

Intricate link up play was evident in the Holland side...but it just could do much against a resolute Australian team. I'm proud of how the Aussies came up with a tough match...but I hope they are less foolhardy in their tackles...missed handballs by the ref...and general naievity against better opponents. Having said that...1-1 was a fair score...with Australia have one or two real chances as well.

The only worry for me is the firepower of the Aussies...where Viduka might easily be outmuscled...and who else takes up that attacking role? Maybe Kewell didn't get a chance...and Aloisi had to make do with no service after Wilkshire was sent off for a silly tackle against Van Bronckhorst...it could all change.

What rang out was a clear challenge of the Dutch...with a bit more luck...Van Persie would have scored 2 against lesser keepers... For the Aussies...it's looking interesting..and surely Japan is quaking...after only winning 1-0 against Malta...

Croatia just lost to Poland...which isn't surprising...but it will surely be a key match to decide probably second place. However, my money would be on Australia getting a draw with Brazil...and that might keep things wide open!

Not as good or impartial as Redsman's reports...but a flavour of how I saw the game! Come on Socceroos!

6/05/2006 3:02 pm

 
Blogger T said...

Excellent effort Nturtle… great to have an insight on the Australia/Netherlands international! Funnily enough I've already told my brother that my predicted shock result of the first round will be the Socceroos gaining a draw against Brazil… simply because your nation always seems to rise to a massive sporting challenge. This is one of the first round matches I'm most looking forward too, and if it ends up that a draw is the result that'll be quite a prediction by the both of us!

Redsman, there is not a word out of place in your commentary. I share your opinion that Crouch's shot was going wide so technically should count as an OG. Couldn't help being amused by Crouch's cheeky penalty- but good to see that he erased any possible nightmares about that miss by converting his next chance to complete a hat-trick. The world will be laughing if Robo-Crouch scores in the World Cup as they would never have seen anything like his celebration… and as you say Nturtle, the Blanco-bounce (1998 WC) has met its match!

Finally, its good to see that England have adapted well in the last week alternating the 4-5-1 and 4-4-2. It looks as if Sven has decided on the 4-4-2 to start against Paraguay… and injuries permitting England will line-up as: Robinson; Neville, A Cole, Ferdinand, Terry; Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard, J Cole; Crouch, Owen. This is a team that has excellent talent from back to front, and as long as they keep their cool and play with cohesion I have high hopes they can kick-off the tournament with a win this Saturday.

6/05/2006 7:48 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete says....I may be a killjoy, but I saw nothing to make me optimistic, sorry. Take away the Bekham crosses & freekicks, and we were not that dangerous. Joe Cole is starting to revert back to his 'one trick to many' and Owen a strong player beside him , like Rooney. I for one was not impressed with Terry, again, and Sol is too slow. As a Gunner,im pleased to see A.Cole back, but would prefer him in front of Bridge, with Joe Cole as a sub. If Joe Cole loses the ball in such dangerous positions against quality, we may be crucified. Ia slo feel that Carrick has been given a raw deal. He showed a lot of class this year, and in the Engalnd games. He should have started both games, releasing Gerrard to play directly behind the fron two (whoever they are). Again its only my opinion, but my first team for the last few games and the cup would have been:-

Robinson, Carragher, Ferdinand, Terry, Bridge,

Bekham Lampard Carrick, A.Cole,

Gerrard

Owen / Rooney / Crouch ( Rooney to start if possible).

Yes I know how good Owen is, and how many goals Crouch has scored recently, but I would have gone for strength and drive, and used Owen + Crouch as super subs, until Michael is 100% fit or Rooney is 100% fit.

I think my preffered team has strength,power & skill in abundance, and would not be muscled out of games.

My subs = J.Cole, Crouch, James,Neville, Walcott, Hargreaves.

Yes I know its too late to pick my team, but I would have loved to see my formation play together for about six games, then go to the world cup, but all us supporters can do now is speculate.

6/07/2006 10:28 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

Ditto those thanks to nturtle, as I scanned the channels up and down looking for that match and found nothing! I was eager because I expected both sides would compete hard despite their participation next week. Holland would wish to look good and Australia would wish to show the world too their prowess.

For me, Australia have a number if infleuntial players, notably Kewell, Viduka, Schwarzer, Emerton, Cahill and the veteran Aloisi off my head. Gus Hiddink is something of a miracle man after guiding the South Koreans up to the quarter finals last time, and could be cajoling the Aussies much further than anticipated, their weakness is their defence, whom I feel are not pacy enough to keep up with a number of forwards in the tournament.

As for the Dutch, their old look of De Boer x2, Reiziger, Bergkamp, Davids, Zenden, Numan, and such have moved onto the emergence of Sneijder, Van der Vaart, VNR, RVP, Kuyt, one of my favourites in Boulahrouz of Hamburg, Robben, keeping veterans Cocu and Van Der Sar. This is a new look Dutch side under Van Basten, which is yet, for me, to have moved significantly into the strong mold of previous. Best team not to have won it indeed, I sense they are one to watch, slightly dependent on recovery of Sneijder and Van der Vaart, who I hear are currently joining in training.

Additional to this I sense an upset from the likes of Costa Rica, Ivory Coast, Ghana winning games others wouldn't think, or at least making matches very difficult for their better opponenets. Teams like these who are regarded as not regularly playing well can very much pop up and surprise us. South Korea and Senegal spring to mind for references. The usual suspects in the quarts comes from a group of nine: England, Portugal, France, Germany, Holland, Brazil, Spain, Italy, and Argentina. Out of that group I think Italy may struggle along the way, at the moment their concerns include Zambrotta, Nesta and Totti, while Gattuso is out with a quadricep strain, the severity of which could see him out for a short time or a while. We'll see.

Germany, IMO, is not a clear favourite to win their group, which adds on to my belief Costa Rica could surprise their opponents in Group A. Also I heard it mentioned on the radio that we need to win our group as Germany will win their's, therefore we'd avoid them. I feel we can beat Germany so it's immaterial about 2nd round opponents, we have to go through first. Nonetheless, here's a round up of who I feel will go through to the 2nd round:

Group A: Germany, Costa Rica
Group B: England, Sweden
Group C: Holland, Argentina
Group D: Portugal, Mexico
Group E: Czech Republic, Italy
Group F: Brazil, Australia
Group G: France, Switzerland
Group H: Spain, Ukraine


RedsMan.

6/07/2006 12:57 pm

 
Anonymous Nturtle said...

Many thanks for giving me some feedback. I'll definitely have to try a little harder to get to the next level...sometimes a little hard when you are carrying National Pride when writing about your WC team!

The WC England squad is surely boosted by Rooney's "OK"...but I am not sure it is enough to get through the group stages. As Gunnerpete has mentioned...it's not a given and Rooney will probably only play in the second rounds...

Redsman has been brave enough to predict the group stage qualifiers...I'm not so sure it's that straightforward for any of the teams...given the number of own goals and close matches in the friendlies! Lady Luck is running the biggest show in the world! To go all the way...I'm putting my money on...

Holland!

Their second round opponents will be weaker (Mexico, Portugal, Iran, Angola) and if they successfully negotiate Argentina...I think they'll then face the best from the top half...England etc. They had good movement and firepower...let's see what happens!

I'm banking on Serbia & Montenegro to surprise...and possibly the Ivory Coast as long as they don't self-destruct...not sure about Costa Rica Redsman, but definitley agree on Germany...Ballack appears to be out for the opener! Could spell trouble!

Can't wait until Friday!

6/08/2006 10:33 am

 

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