Hapless, hopeless, outplayed and technically exposed when up against a half decent side – it does take a major side to embarrass them – and ultimately lucky. Very lucky.
All backed up by more ridiculous pronouncements by the manager.
Straight from the off you knew what was coming, as England faced Ukraine in their first home game of the 2014 qualifying campaign, as Phil Jagielka played an England player into trouble with each of his first few passes. There are so few central defenders available to Hodgson who are comfortable enough on the ball to play the possession game. Last night neither on show were. Blind panic often ensues and the ball is offloaded in a haste to someone, anyone, so the ball heads to a player who is closely marked who hasn’t the ability themselves to keep control under such pressure.
The two youngsters who performed in the previous match on Friday against Moldova were guaranteed not to perform here. With Oxlade-Chamberlain in particular you feel that the exuberance, the excitement we want to see from him was drummed out of him for this game by the management. Starting with the criticism of his defensive work. Hodgson cannot have a go at any of the forward player’s defensive inadequacies when he repeatedly picks the likes of Glen Johnson and Joleon Lescott in the back four.
The one player who could add a spark, stamped on. Hodgson compounding it all when he made his third substitution and picked took off the one decent defender he had on, Baines.
The whole game can be summed up by ITV, who at half-time told us it was a great game, when it was mediocre at best. Defoe was unlucky to be penalised when he scored a pretty good goal, when the stiff arm has never been legal in the game. Steven Gerrard was unlucky to be sent off, when he should probably have seen a straight red for his first offence. His second was a shocker. Then Andy Townsend chose his man of the match and his three choices contained three of the worst players on the aprk – only had to add Lescott and Jagielka for the full set. Gerrard, Lampard and Johnson.
Lampard getting the nod, only it seems because Gerrard was sent off. Completely oblivious to the fact Lampard did bugger all for most of the game. No tackling, no dribbling and his passing was nothing. Johnson was a liability in defence, his actual role on the park. All the Ukraine’s dangerous stuff targeted his side. Gerrard was along with Lescott at fault for the Ukraine goal, the glory
Hollywood balls were back, some came off, only because the recipient pulled something out of the bag, with an extra stretch or leap. Opponents just ran past him with ease.
Yet another waste of a cap game from him, even before his sending off. Which highlighted another major problem for England as he trudged off – to a standing ovation from the 68,102 crowd – anyone believe that figure? Wide open spaces of red seats, more than 12,000. – You applaud that rubbish then that’s what you’ll keep getting. The red card should have been greeted with cheers of relief, not admiration.
Only player who made a real positive difference on the park for England was Welbeck after he came on.
Yup I’ll admit it I wanted Roy in the job, had done for a long time. I thought he’d be better, different, but when he picks the same old failures and after a game like that comes out with the kind of crap he did…
I was very pleased with many of the aspects of the play tonight. I leave Wembley a lot more confident that we have a group of players who will take this England team to Rio..
I admit I got it wrong, it’s the same old, same old. Another Keggy, Keegle, another Svennis, another McClown, another Fabio. Hopeless.