Monday, 28 June 2010

Something about England

So Apple have released their fourth generation iPhone. This a few short months after unveiling their iPad tablet thingy. At the recent E3 event, Microsoft told us about the Kinect – their brand spanking new gaming console where the the player's body acts as the controller!

Basically, the roundabout point I'm trying to make is that we live in an era where technology is king yet today we are sat here talking about the simple fact that all but two people (and ultimately, the most important two) failed to spot something as basic as a ball crossing a white line.

I think that might have been in. Can't be sure.

For the most part, sport has done well to embrace technology. We have Hawkeye in tennis, the third umpire in cricket and video refs in Rugby to assist officials when it comes to making those difficult to spot decisions.

So why in the biggest and best sport of them all, a multi-million pound business that is watched the world over and has so much at stake, have we failed to incorporate something as straight forward as a video replays to prevent the kind of glaring and embarrassing refereeing errors such as that in the England-Germany match. Of course, I'm talking about Frank Lampard's 'ghost' goal. Such farcical decisions harm the integrity of the game and for me, are a much greater injustice than something like diving.

We're no longer living in the dark ages. It's not a logistical problem. To simply have some means of determining whether a goal has been scored or not wont require any drastic change to the way the game is played. Goal line cameras and sensors have been mooted but it doesn't even need to be that complicated. Blatter the Hut reckons technology will undermine the authority of the officials so why isn't the otherwise redundant fourth official able to view such incidents on a pitchside monitor and consult their colleague in the middle when a mistake is made?

In the Europa League last season, UEFA piloted goalline officials. Really, how difficult would it be for FIFA to implement the same thing for it's flagship tournament and prevent such major mistakes being made?

Far from undermining a referee's authority, surely assistance will mean they get the big decisions right and thus garner more of their much sought after 'Respect' from players, fans, managers etc. They'll be less inclined to 'even things up' when something goes wrong.

Enough is enough and surely it is time for a change. Mistakes like that just make a mockery of the game.


England were soundly and deservedly beaten by a better German team and to use Lampard's disallowed goal as an excuse is quite simply that, an excuse!

I'm not going to sit here and use that as a reason for the pitiful, limp and at times completely pathetic showing from our 'heroes'. The overall performance from England almost deemed the goal irrelevant. People say that 4-1 flattered the Germans. Wrong. Our 'equaliser' would have flattered us given how the game had started.

Yes, at 2-2 the outcome may have turned out differently (the scoreline certainly would have) but who's to say we wouldn't have still been hammered? There's no way of ever knowing how the game would have turned out and given the humiliating manner of the defeat, I'm less inclined to believe anything other than a German win would have still been on the cards.

For arguments sake, if we are to say that the disallowed goal was the reason for the defeat, then that doesn't paint a very positive picture about English football. This is hardly a first in football. All over the world at various levels of football, teams have goals wrongly disallowed on a regular basis and you can bet your bottom dollar that they don't all wilt away and throw in the towel the same way England did. What happened to the famous English fighting spirit? A goal disallowed at 2-1 hardly signals the end of the world and there was more than enough time left in the match for the team to come back into the game. To dwell on that goal just shows a weak and defeatist mentality. We'll never achieve anything if we will forever whinge about perceived injustices. It was one mistake, if we're good enough, we get over it, win anyway and forget about it. I honestly expected better from Capello.

That's some top notch defending there lads...

England played without any hunger yesterday. It wasn't a case that they were overawed by a vastly superior Germany team but were simply outclassed in all areas of the pitch. England have a pool of talented players who simply didn't perform. Too many individual errors were made by pretty much everyone.

At the back, Glen Johnson showed that he can't defend against any attacker with even an ounce of pace and ability. The John Terry myth was ruthlessly exposed. His positioning and organisation were a shambles. Matthew Upson, despite his goal, looked like a player that had been playing for team that spent last season battling against relegation... oh, right. The ease with which Germany carved open the back four for Podolski's goal had me dumbfounded.

In midfield Gareth Barry's performance would have been funny had it not been so inept while Gerrard and Milner were almost completely anonymous.

Up top, Rooney, not for the first time this tournament was terrible and continued his goalless run for his country on the big stage. But alas, the boy wonder is untouchable yet again when it comes to criticism. It's not his fault, he has 'fitness issues' don't you know?

Fabio Capello seems to be baring the brunt of criticism. This is to expected. As manager, he picks the team, sends the players out and is ultimately responsible for the result. People have questioned both his tactics and team selection but in truth, he was let down horribly by the players he trusted. Is he accountable? Most probably but I don't see how Fabio is to blame for John Terry not being able to judge the flight of the ball to win a header before the opening goal. Nor is it Fabio's fault that Gareth Barry insisted on finding a German shirt with every single pass he made. Yes, he picks the players but it falls on them to do the job they are sent out to do.

I'm not prepared to get on the Italian's case and suggest he should be sacked. Capello is a proven winner and I don't doubt he can turn around this mess given the chance. But that's what he needs, a chance. Managerial chopping and changing is the last thing we need. Besides, who would we even bring in? I'm hearing the likes of Redknapp, Pearce and even Beckham (?) Ask yourself, are these people really better than Capello?

That said, the England football team looks to be heading into a dark period. Much has been made of the demise of the so-called 'Golden Generation'. With the likes of James, Gerrard, Terry, Cole, Lampard all soon to be the wrong side of 30, our lack of strength in depth looks like it will brutally exposed in the coming years. The players coming through are quite simply not good enough to challenge or replace the existing mob.

While Joe Hart may go on to a great keeper, in front of him, the next generation of players look set to feature the likes of Gary Cahill, Adam Johnson, Leighton Baines, Jacks Rodwell and Wilshire and Theo Walcott. Hardly names to strike fear into the hearts of our international footballing peers.

Football can be a painful game at times.

Follow me on Twitter

No comments: