And that’s why we they lost two consecutive games at Wembley for the first time since 1977, in the process producing NO shots on target against a third string German training session.
England have had plenty of chances to do the right thing since the Germans showed them they way, they’ve got an exceptional one coming up next year. Jettison the deadwood failures of the past go a fresh new outlook and the kids, it’s not like this would have a major impact on England winning it, is it?
The Germans took the decision after the shambles of Euro 2000, cowed into submission but the utter embarrassment of losing to a Keggy Keegle England side and finishing below their victors as both sides failed to qualify for the knock-out stages. Thirteen years later German football is riding high while of the those in white the faces have changed – bar Gerrard – but it’s the same old England.
The contrast shown perfectly by the way the two sides perceived their two friendlies over the last few days.
England saw Chile as a suitable warm up for the main event, roll over these nobodies and onto the game that really matters. The Germans saw their Friday night game against Italy as the meaningful fixture, while Wembley on Tuesday was a warm down session for the second and third stringers.
England played their debutants against Chile and brought the “big guns” back for Germany. The visitors sent a load of their top names back home after the one all draw in Milan, knowing a game against the likes of England was beneath them and there was nothing Joachim Loew could learn about the likes of Philipp Lahm, Mesut Özil and Manuel Neuer from this game that he didn’t know a long time ago.
Loew did state that this wasn’t disrespectful to England because he wanted to see how the understudies stood up to a partisan 80,000 crowd. Somehow the German mental strength needing to be tested seems wrong but I’m sure I saw some knees tremble when a lone voice rang out over Wembley. One sad piece of verbal tumble-weed rolling across a silent arena. Even the visiting fans had given up, their heroes in green were barely trying and they didn’t really have to.
Joachim couldn’t have learned much but Roy should have. Only problem being he should have learned it long ago as the same players did the same things in this game as they’ve done in the past.
Over the last game and a bit Smalling has looked lost. International footballers shouldn’t look confused. Darren bent looked confused. Smalling looks confused. At fault for the goal but not solely as it looked like those around him had no confidence in him. Previously up against Mertesacker firstly Jagielka pushes in-between the pair, then backs off the German leaving Smalling yards away and nobody on him. You have to ask what Jagielka was doing throughout, not marking a German most of the time. Then for the goal Cleverly pushes in-between Smalling and Mertesacker. Again god knows why. But while he looks shaky the goal wasn’t all down to Smalling.
That second interloper is also a case of a confused looking player. In fact he looks more confused than Smalling. Maybe he’s just utterly baffled as to why Hodgson keeps picking him, hell his club manager doesn’t. Cleverly – another of those aptly named footballers – was part of yet another England midfield that offered nothing. Lampard, Gerrard, Wilshere, Cleverly, Milner. Five players, two games, bugger all from the middle of the park. Oh a Gerrard glory shot over the bar counts as much as a Lampard free-kick over the bar.
Ninety minutes against a team that was using this game as a training session and – bar a Townsend shot off the bar – over the bar was the closest the cream of English football managed to a shot on target. Loew certainly didn’t learn anything about his 33 year debutant in goal, Weidenfeller, as he was not tested in any way, shape or form.
Completely sums England up.
But you can’t go out with kids they scream, what if they’re on the end of a stuffing the media with slaughter ‘em.
Why are we bothered what the media say about them? The media that state Cole had a good game at left-back, when the Germans ran past him at easy, that’s when he was within 20 yards of a green shirt. A media that tells you Johnson should be the right-back. That Gerrard is a leader. That Wilshere is the great hope. That Lampard is dangerous from set pieces. That when Hart makes a ricket it’s some foreign players fault. A media like ITV last night telling you that England deserved something and were unlucky.
And a media that says Roy knows what he’s doing. Ah, but he says they’ve had a good year, beating the might of Moldova and San Marino.
A clear out now and it won’t affect our chances in Brazil – you can’t get worse than nil – but who knows it might make ‘em better in 13 years time. The way it’s going when the cream of German football is playing England in 2026 it’ll be just like having the vintage of 2000 in with three lions on their chest.