More England Contradictions

It seems not everyone in the England camp is singing from the same hymn sheet. On Saturday night Fabio Crapello (as he is now officially known on this website) said that the reason England struggled against Switzerland was because they were all too tired.

Since then John Terry has come out and said tiredness wasn’t the reason, and now Stuart Pearce has also come out and said he would never accept tiredness as an excuse (the very excuse his boss gave).

I’m don’t think for a minute that both men have gone out of their way to undermine Crapello, but this surely just goes to show how there is a serious lack of communication in the England camp.

This isn’t even a lost in translation issue, it’s just plain and simple talking too each other. If Crapello, his captain and one of his coaches can’t communicate with each other, then what chance have we got?

Peace breaks out in England camp

John Terry says he’s sorry, Fabio says Terry is “one of the most important players”, and then Fabio and Steven Gerrard present a united front at the evening press conference, could peace be breaking out in the England camp?

I certainly hope so, because they need to be as one on Wednesday.

I see that the pitch in Port Elizabeth is apparently a disgrace, it sounds like they have imported in Wembleys famous turf for this match. This should surely be to England’s advantage now.

The stories doing the rounds now is that Aaron Lennon and Emile Heskey are to be dropped for James Milner and Jermaine Defoe, along with Matthew Upson coming in for the suspended Jamie Carragher, they are rumoured to be Capello’s only team changes.

Did John Terry’s public calling for a place in the team for Joe Cole cost Joe a starting place? We will probably never know, but I doubt it.

If the reported team is correct then Capello clearly still sees no reason to abandon the bulk of the system that got his team to the finals in the first place, the players opinions would appear to have been ignored.

I just hope that if things aren’t going ok during the game, that this time Capello makes game changing substitutions before the 84th minute. His reluctance to change anything during the Algeria game was notable, and surely any manager worth his salt will have noticed that Capello didn’t try anything different until he brought Crouch on for Barry 6 minutes from time.

Shaun Wright-Phillips for Lennon, and Defoe for Heskey didn’t really alter the team or system, we just got a different face making the same mistakes.

Capello clearly likes something about SWP, he took him ahead of Theo, and has used him ahead of Joe Cole in both games to date. Another player he clearly likes is James Milner.

Both seem to be ahead of Joe Cole in Fabio’s pecking order, but it would appear that the majority of the public and pundits in England think that Cole deserves a chance. I would like to see him start, but clearly Capello likes his two up front, and that means no room for Cole.

I think he could fit into the 4-4-2 system though, I’m sure he could do no worse down the right hand side than Lennon has so far. Ok, so his defensive play might not be the best, but England have to gamble a bit now as they need to win.

Will England do an Italia 90 now, and salvage their world cup dream to fight another day? Or will we get a Sweden 92 scenario where we go out of the competition with a wimper along with some strange substitutions and team selections?

The time for messing around has gone now. I want to see Capello release the shackles off Steven Gerrard and make some bold tactical changes and substitutions during the match if things aren’t going well, and making these changes before the hour mark to give them time to take effect.

It’s time to ditch the Italian negative approach and get some English up-and-at-em attitude into this team.

John Terry’s Big Mistake

Was it just Fabio Capello’s pigeon English being misinterpreted? Or is Fabio laying down the law and sending John Terry a serious message not to cross him again?

After watching Capello’s TV interview myself, I am strongly of the belief that it was a serious warning to Terry. And it leaves me wondering what future Terry might have in an England team under Capello, should he remain as manager after the world cup.

All day on TV and Radio the debate has raged about Terry’s Press conference. Matt Lawton of the Daily Mail gave his take that Terry is still bitter about losing the captaincy, and that he saw this as his big chance to take revenge on Capello.

I’m no big fan of Terry, but I really can’t buy that one. But if it is true, then he should be dumped by England forever. For me the whole affair has left me with more questions than answers.

Did John Terry speak for all the players he named during his Sunday press conference? If so, has he not been badly let down by these players who have now apparently not backed him?

If he didn’t have the backing of the players to say it, then it is yet another massive misjudgement on the part of Terry.

Also why didn’t he back up what he said, later in the team meeting?

Has he now undermined captain Steven Gerrard?

If he didn’t have the players backing, as suggested by Lawton, then has he now isolated himself within the squad?

Also, is it right to slaughter Terry for what he has said? When in past tournaments certain senior players have not spoke their minds at the critical moment, only to later reveal all their misgivings in a book. At least he showed the guts to say it.

For me Terry’s biggest sin was to go public. I happen to agree with most of what he said, but he should have gone to see Capello with team captain Steven Gerarrd and said it to Fabio’s face.

There would appear to be a fine line in football between trying to cajole a manager and being a rebel, it can often be a matter of opinion as to which side of that line you can be perceived to be on. It looks fairly obvious where Capello sees Terry’s position.

At best Terry has made himself look incredibly stupid, at worse he might even be dropped for Wednesday’s game. Who knows with Capello!

World Cup Day 10 – It’s all kicking off

Sunday was a remarkable day in the world cup more for the goings on, off the pitch than what happened on it. On the pitch Brazil qualified for the last 16 with a 3-1 win over Ivory Coast, and are now 4/1 favourites with most of the bookmakers to lift the trophy.

The main talking point from that match was the pathetic play acting of Abdelkader Keita to get Kaka sent off. Keita went over clutching his head after bumping into Kaka’s shoulder off the ball, there was then the obligatory over reaction from the Ivory Coast players, and the referee issued Kaka with a second yellow, despite clearly not even seeing the incident.

Dunga thought it was a joke, whereas Sven thought Kaka got what he deserved. Sven’s excuse that Brazil scored with a handball was a pretty limp reason for backing the sending off though. Hopefully Fifa will choose not to call it violent conduct, meaning kaka will only miss the last group match.

If Fifa are to act on the incident, then surely punishing Keita for his behaviour would be seen as a more appropiate action from footballs governing body.

The French are also up to no good with the players refusing to train in support of the disgraced Nicolas Anelka, how they can back a man who said what he did to coach Raymond Domenech is beyond me. We then witnessed the extraordinary footage of Patrice Evra clashing with fitness coach Robert Duverne, the pair had to be kept apart by Domenech himself.

FFF team director Jean-Louis Valentin quit his role as a result of the team refusing to train saying “As for me, it’s over. I’m leaving the Federation. I’m sickened and disgusted.”

We then had it all, the sight of Raymond Domenech reading out a statement from the players explaining their actions. Just what is going on? The lunatics are clearly in charge of the asylum now, it’s all quite remarkable.

Then we had John Terry giving a revealing press conference during which he said “if it upsets him, so what?’’ Refering to the imminent team meeting with Fabio Capello in which Terry claims the players will be making their feelings known. This comes on the back of David James’ less than supportive comments about only finding out the team 5 minutes before boarding the bus, after Friday’s calamity.

There are also stories doing the rounds that the players want Joe Cole involved and a change in formation, it will be interesting to see what Capello does on Wednesday. Will he be told what to do by the players? Or will he be his usual self and stick to the formation that got England to South Africa so successfully?

Only time will tell, and apparently the FA are now concerned that Capello might even quit if the team fails again on Wednesday. After removing the get-out clause in hs contract just before leaving for South Africa, the FA has again left itself with a potentially large egg on it’s face.

Will England miss Rio?

I don’t think so, for me Rio’s injury could be a blessing in disguise. At times when I watched the England game with Mexico, Rio looked as stiff as a board and like he was treading water.

He didn’t look anywhere near fit, and at top level football he would have been found out eventually.

He only just managed double figures with Premier League appearance last season, due to a back problem that at the moment looks like it isn’t going to go away.

Maybe a summer of total rest is what it needed? I don’t think Alex Ferguson would disagree.

Ledley King will be an able replacement in my opinion, he may well have had a dodgy half hour against Mexico, but I wouldn’t read anything into that as King is a top class performer.

Then we have Jamie Carragher, who ironically hasn’t had his best season for Liverpool, but I’m sure he will be up to the job if called upon.

The only way I can see this hampering England is if they have a major injury crisis. I don’t fancy Matthew Upson in a potential quarter or semi-final against the likes of Spain, Holland or Brazil.

And while Michael Dawson is in great form, he lacks experience at this level, although like Carragher, I’m sure Dawson would let no one down.

King and Terry will need to get up to speed as a partnership fairly quickly, the group stages should give them the opportunity to do this. Hopefully Ledley’s knee will be up to the three games to give them the chance to mould.

It appears that Capello is happy to let King work on his own individual training programme like he does at Spurs, so he must have plenty of faith in him.

Ledley has already said he thinks he will be ok to play all the games, so we can only take his word for it.