For 45 minutes yesterday it looked as if England may actually not be quite as bad as I feared. They passed the ball reasonably well but still created very few clear cut chances. They were quicker and the Rooney effect was obvious. Joe Cole scored a screamer and all seemed right in the world again. Bring on Ecuador I thought!
They went off at halftime comfortably in front with the lion's share of possession and with Sweden denied any meaningful attempts on goal. Sven Goran Ericsson is seemingly incapable of inspiring his team during the half time break as when England came back out they were a different team. It was back to the standard of their 'performances' against Paraguay and T&T - passing was woeful, gave the ball away too much, long balls were being sprayed around here, there and nowhere. Even the area that has looked the strongest thus far, the defence, comically collapsed and in the end England were very lucky to get a draw against an average Sweden side.
Maybe, just maybe, the gods of football are smiling on England. I mean they have played abysmally but still finished top of the (poor) group and their opponents in the second round are the mighty Ecuador. That gets us to the Quarters without having to play a decent team. By the time we get there Rooney will be approaching full fitness and due to Owen's injury Ericsson will be forced to drop his, IT CLEARLY DOESN"T WORK YOU CUNT, rigid 4-4-2 formation. I reckon a 4-5-1 with Hargreaves the holding player and Lampard & Gerrard playing behind Rooney will be the best option.
Who knows with this formation England might actually start to play well. But let's be clear about this, if it does happen then it's in spite of Sven not because of him. Everyone knows that these players are more than capable of winning the World Cup (just as they were capable of winning Euro 2004 and WC 2002) but Sven simply cannot manage them, is too loyal to players out of form (David Beckham anyone?) and does not have the courage to embrace any other system than long ball when England come up against a resolute defence.
The crying shame is that this is the most talented English team in a generation and the potential is being squandered by a man who has collected £20million in wages so far but clearly does not know what the fuck he is doing. His replacement, Steve cunthead McClaren is a chip off the Ericsson block so don't expect things to get better. The FA should be ashamed of itself.