England vs Germany…. Again
England take on the old enemy Germany today in the World Cup second round at BlohmFontein, hoping to build on Wednesdays victory over Slovenia and get ever closer to the World Cup final in Soccer City on Jul 11th.
Questions have been asked all week on whether England have what it takes to go all the way. They went some way in answering those questions by a much improved display against a disappointing Slovenia side. Fabio Capello must have witnessed lots of positive aspects to his sides play, to take into the clash with the Germans.
Who does Capello go with now?
In any football match a key area is the centre back pairing and now that Ledley King is fit and ready it will be him who partners John Terry in the only change to the starting eleven. The other 10 players will be the same after the impressive display on Wednesday.
Why did it work on Wednesday?
Jermaine Defoe gives the defenders something to think about. His pace worries defenders and he knew that if they pushed up and tried to squeeze the play, like USA did against England they would leave space in behind for him to exploit. USA were able to employ this plan because they knew that Heskey would not run in behind them. When he did he just shot tamely in to the keepers arms. Having Defoe up front meant that Lampard and Rooney had more space to operate in. It was apparent as both Rooney and Lampard had their best games in the tournament so far, although they were still far from their influential best.
England’s problems lie when the centre backs get the ball with no pressure. At this world cup, this is a common theme. With Heskey up front it is too easy to hang the ball in the air to try to get him to hold it up. However as a centre back if you look up and have Defoe to aim for, you are encouraged to pass shorter, this meant that all attacks started with crisp passes rather than a hopeful long ball.
Another reason England looked more assured was James Milner. He made great decisions all game and his energy was first class. He was able to help out Johnson in defence and join in attacks and that is something that Lennon failed to do in the first two games.
The final reason on why Wednesday was so positive and why that should help England against Germany was the discipline of captain Steven Gerrard. He was able to join in attacks from the left, showing some lovely touches with Ashley Cole, he used his fitness to be in the box when a cross came in and was intelligent enough to cover central midfield if Lampard had been able to make the box to try to get on the end of one of Milners excellent crosses.
Can England beat Germany?
If England can just hold on to the ball for a longer period of time when they need to and if the players can show the same passion, lion hearted spirit that they showed in glimpses against Slovenia they should have enough to defeat a young inexperienced Germany side. However nobody should write them off, they are after all German.
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