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England v Brazil - Questions Still To Be Answered

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Post by owen10ozzy Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:23 am

‘A game of two half’s’, a phrase often associated with football but one which would have served as an over compliment on England’s behalf upon the final whistle at Maracana. For Roy Hodgson it ended a post season set of friendlies which have left more questions than answers heading towards the pivotal fixtures which will determine whether England will be on a plane heading back in 2014.

Before kick off the England manager had chosen to use statistics in an effort to defend himself and the team from the criticism aimed at them following last weeks performance against Republic of Ireland. As he disappears into the summer break he may well be advised to go back to following his own previous advise that ‘numbers don’t always tell the full story’.

If anyone had hoped that the friendly would serve as an opportunity for England to try out some new things, namely tactics and balance within the team, they found there answer very shortly after the referees whistle got the game underway. The formation resembled the 4-5-1 formation which can act as a 4-3-3 but quickly took the shape of 4-6-0 with Walcott and Milner forced to come deep and defend and Rooney left to wander and drop in 20 yards just to get a look in. For those in attendance it was a case of the same old story as England toiled away chasing shadows throughout the first 60 minutes. When Fred struck a beautiful half volley into the net after 57 minutes, England fans and players were only thankful that it had taken so long for the Brazilians to go ahead such was there dominance up to that point.

Yet just 6 minutes later the game suddenly changed thanks to a youngster by the name of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Shortly after his introduction England enjoyed there best period of possession as they began to move the ball about in the Midfield. With the Arsenal prospect driving forward and willing to pass in minimal space England quickly carved out a couple of chances, first from Milner who saw a shot deflected wide and then from the resulting corner Rooney headed wide having been left free in the box.

Just moments later Chamberlain produced a moment he will long remember. As he once again ran at the Brazilian defence he played a short one-two with Rooney on the edge of the 18 yard box, before drilling the ball low past an outstretched Cesar. In just 7 short minutes he had an impacted the game in a way which no one else in a 3 lions shirt had seemed capable of.

What followed was a sudden improvement across the park as the shackles were seemingly lifted and the team began to perform with more freedom. England began to carve out more chances and kept possession and before long the seemingly unthinkable just 15 minutes previous happened as Rooney delightfully curled the ball into the top corner of goal and gave England a 2-1 lead. Again young Chamberlain played a part, this time picking up a loose pass from Marcelo as Brazil looked to attack. With Hodgson’s men breaking Oxlade found Milner, whose persistence got him past his marker before feeding it into Rooney who then cut inside before shaping it into the far corner.

It didn’t take long for the famous men in yellow jerseys to draw level though as England were perhaps guilty of switching off following there 2nd. This time it was Paulinho’s turn to show off some acrobatic skills as he superbly volleyed past Hart following a deflected cross into the box. Whilst there was nothing that could be done about the finish questions had to be asked as to the marking given the amount of room & time the Corinthians star was allowed.

It was nothing more than Brazil deserved if truth be told and upon the final whistle Hodgson and his men should be thankful they got away with yet another draw, for on a different day the game could have been over before they came out for the 2nd half.
The rigid shape played for 60 minutes provided nothing but dour football from England and the same old groans from the stands. Having seen the team loosen the shackles upon going behind and following Chamberlains introduction, Hodgson now needs to take notice that England are much more of a force when they can play with some freedom and away from the dated 2 banks of 4 that he consistently enforces against the better international teams.

Questions will once again be raised as to just how best to move forward and with the team sitting 2nd in their World Cup Qualifying, they are ones which will need to be answered quickly. One such question may well be whether the time has come to just put complete trust in the youth. Chamberlain showed no fear upon his arrival amongst the global superstars already on the pitch, with his enthusiasm and willingness to run at the Brazilians only serving to highlight the lack of imagination and creativity amongst the older guard of Lampard, Milner & Carrick.

As England edge ever closer to the vital run of games which will determine whether they head to the 2014 World Cup, Hodgson must do away with his safety first approach and attempt to put teams to the sword. For as much as it may make England hard to beat it also blunts the impact of those players who have the capability of putting in World Class performances…case in point Wayne Rooney. Disjointed, Isolated and lacking interest whilst England sat deep and defended, he came alive once he had support and showed just what he was capable of.

In a moment befitting the overall mood at the conclusion of these 2 friendlies for the England national team a slight chance fell to Rodwell in the dying moments of the game. With a whipped ball from Ashley Cole across Cesar’s 6 yard box just begging to have a toe on the end of it, the former Everton prospect failed to gamble….much like Roy Hodgson who could have rolled the dice tonight against a Brazil team facing many questions themselves….sadly he chose not

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Post by Adam D Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:26 pm

published OK

http://v2journal.com/20/post/2013/06/england-v-brazil-questions-still-to-be-answered.html


Last edited by Adam D on Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:20 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by VDT Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:19 pm

Very good read
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Post by Duty281 Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:56 pm

Cracking read. clap

For me, Hodgson got it spot on tactically. Limited players at his disposal, so attempted to stifle Brazil and hit them on the counter through the wings. When we went 1 down, Hodgson brought on the Ox for Johnson - a fantastic attacking change - and the game was turned on its head.. England hit back well, and Rooney scored a thunderbolt. If we learnt one thing from yesterday, and only thing, it is that Rooney cannot play as a lone striker - he is best used as someone playing behind a target man.

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Post by VDT Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:12 pm

My main problem with Rooney as a lone striker is he doesn't stay upfront! He's too busy chasing back trying to win the ball back that when we do win the ball there is no one upfront to pass it to! I would have Rooney playing on the left of a 3 upfront with Walcott on the Right and Sturridge in the centre! This way Rooney can be chasing the ball round to his hearts content and someone will be upfront to recieve a pass!
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:04 am

The problem last night was not so much the defensiveness of the tactics, because although The Ox came on, he really slotted in centrally but a little more advanced, the problem was that we passed the ball like a bunch of 5 year olds for the first 60 minutes, then suddenly we remembered we actually can pass, and we played better
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Post by Guest Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:12 am

The only question is why do we still persist with Theo Walcott? He was absolutely hopeless (and quite often, not even that good). For someone with his pace, his failure to try and go past players was almost indefensible. The only time he showed his pace this lat week was chasing a long ball down to the corner flag against Ireland in the 87th minute. His decision to show a turn of speed at that stage in the game was bafflingand a bit of an insult to those who'd paid money to watch him.

Yesterday, his passing was dreadful, his ball control was dreadful, his tackling...you get the idea. How the hell does Hodgson justify keeping that clown on for 85 minutes?

Adam Johnson must be wondering who he's got to blow to get a game....maybe that's why Theo gets getting picked!

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:15 am

DAVE667 wrote:
Adam Johnson must be wondering who he's got to blow to get a game....maybe that's why Theo gets getting picked!

You have seen Adam Johnson play this season right?
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Post by Duty281 Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:23 am

Adam Johnson has never impressed me. Walcott on the other hand has shown glimpses of his quality and potential. He's not the finished article yet, he's only 24, but will be a very very good footballer in a few years time. The same can perhaps be said of many more England players - Sturridge, Cleverley, Welbeck, Oxlade, Rodwell, and even Wilshere. Promising team developing for next summer!

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Post by Crimey Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:39 am

Walcott and Lennon are probably the two best wingers England have, Ashley Young would have had a shout if he'd not taken such a huge downturn in form. If he can't get his place back at United this season, he needs to move on if he wants to be selected for England.

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Post by Nakatomi Plaza Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:01 am

I want to echo everyone else's compliements Owen, this is a really good article.

Looking back over the season, England's better performances have come in friendlies (Brazil at Wembley, Italy in Switzerland). In both games we played with a freedom, and our movement off the ball was more fluid.

I think that the arguments about formations mask the fact that at times our movement off the ball is too passive. Last night for example, I thought Carrick could have helped the defenders by moving off his man quicker in order to receive the ball. When he didn't we were forced into hitting hopeful balls for Rooney to battle for.

I'm concerned about the defence as well. We've only kept two clean sheets in competitive games, and I'm not sure who our best back four is. I don't think anyone along the backline should be assured of a starting berth at the minute.

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Post by Crimey Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:08 am

I think there was an element of being in awe of the opposition last night as well. It was the prospect of facing Brazil in Brazil, they're not the force they once were but are having a rejuvenation of sorts with players like Neymar, Thiago Silva growing in stature in the football world and I think it got to the players a little and from the get go the team sat very deep and was very nervous on the ball.

It was only as the game went on that England seemed to realise that they were actually quite vulnerable and we could attack them on the counter that the confidence came out of the players.

The issue is that in a competitive game, we can't afford to have that lack of confidence, teams will be more clinical than Brazil were and punish us early on and then we're left chasing the game. I think Hodgson has to promote a positive play, it's not about 4-4-2 or 4-4-3, it's just about the little bit of extra confidence, little bit extra quality in the final third and the drive to score goals.

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Post by Duty281 Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:10 am

For all his faults and flaws, if John Terry came back into the England fold, our cause would be helped immensely. #bornleader

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Post by dummy_half Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:13 am

Nakatomi Plaza wrote:I want to echo everyone else's compliements Owen, this is a really good article.

Looking back over the season, England's better performances have come in friendlies (Brazil at Wembley, Italy in Switzerland). In both games we played with a freedom, and our movement off the ball was more fluid.

I think that the arguments about formations mask the fact that at times our movement off the ball is too passive. Last night for example, I thought Carrick could have helped the defenders by moving off his man quicker in order to receive the ball. When he didn't we were forced into hitting hopeful balls for Rooney to battle for.

I'm concerned about the defence as well. We've only kept two clean sheets in competitive games, and I'm not sure who our best back four is. I don't think anyone along the backline should be assured of a starting berth at the minute.

That's been the problem that England managers have failed to address since Venables - we've had a few games where movement had been good, but the default is that we are lazy when we have the ball, don't trust our defenders to pass accurately into midfield and far too often just play the ball the way we're facing. I know we'll never be as good at pass and move as Spain and Barca, but we should be learning a thing ot two from them about how to make angles for the pass and how to give a sympathetic pass so that the guy receiving it has options both for a one-touch pass and to control and move the ball past his marker.

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