Futile England Team Selection Exercise (World Cup Braindump #7)

by Steve

It’s not going to be good is it? I can feel it in my water. D-Day for a lacklustre England team has arrived. A win and they stay in, anything else and they are packing their bags (barring unlikely mathematical permutations).

Slovenia are not to be underestimated, despite being the smallest country at the World Cup. They deserve to be top of the group. They are organised, disciplined and have one of Serie A’s best stoppers in goal. I can’t see today’s game being particularly goaltastic.

England, meanwhile, look hopeless. But it can’t get any worse than Friday. Can it?

In times of imminent footballing peril, it is always nice to try and pick the team yourself. Here is my effort.

  • Goalkeeper – David James. He equitted himself well against Algeria, and of the candidates is the least likely to suffer stagefright.
  • Defence – Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole as full-backs, encouraged to push forward. Matthew Upson and Michael Dawson as centre-halfs, to teach Revolutionary John Terry a lesson. This is, of course, where I fall into the realms of complete fantasy. Note I only chose 4-4-2 to annoy him also.
  • Midfield – Joe Cole on the left, Aaron Lennon on the right, both with the instructions to terrorise the full-backs early on, but tuck in where necessary after that. In the centre, Gareth Barry and Stevie Gerrard. I’m tired of Lampard shooting from 30 yards out at every opportunity.
  • Up front – Peter Crouch and Wayne Rooney. Crouch scares defences and would unsettle even the most organised back four. Rooney needs to play further forward and not drift into the midfield where his threat is nullified.
  • The US pushed Slovenia when they played an up-tempo game. This suits England. I’d want a frantic first 20-30 minutes, get a goal or two and then settle down more as the game goes on. No stupid shots from way out. No attempts at goal from free-kicks. Play with the limitations of the ball – get it in the area and create bedlam with the two strikers and Gerrard pushing on.
  • None of this, of course, will happen.

I may put a bet on Slovenia to win. At 7-1 they are outrageously overpriced. And  I can write it off as some form of disappointment insurance.

I’ll be watching the game at work. Booze free. It is going to be a weird, and quite possibly harrowing, experience.