US v England thoughts

June 12, 2010

1.  If you were to tell me before the game that the US would get a tie out of this game I’d have been satisfied.

2.  I am not satisfied by the result.

3.  Pobrecito, Robert Green.   That’s not the way anyone wants to get a point, even with an unpredictable ball and a wet field.

4.  England had weaknesses, some of which I mentioned in my preview post.  We knew that coming in.   Glen Johnson is better going forward than defending, central defenders haven’t played together much and Terry is slowing down, Lampard and Gerrard don’t link well, lack of an obvious #1 goaltender, who is the second striker, etc.  One of those bit them in the backside quite painfully.  That said, they do have some phenomenal players.

5.  Capello’s starting lineup.  Emile Heskey assisted the England goal, validating Capello’s choice to start him, and surprising me.  I found it surprising, as I’d have started Peter Crouch against the Americans.   And I remarked to my wife as the game started, “I expected to see James in goal.”

6.  Us Yanks could have had a few goals in the air in the first half.

7.  We were extremely lucky to escape with a point, let’s not forget that.   Yes, there was a long stretch of the first half where we played better, as if we were the favorites and England counter-attacking underdogs.  And yes, we could have won the game.  But all in all, football is a capricious game, decided by who takes their chances, and we were significantly luckier than our elder brothers today.

8.  England will overreact, but they still have a good team.  Italy tied us in group stages in 06 and went on to win the Cup.

9.  I thought this was the worst refereed game of the World Cup to this point; fortunately, it was still a reasonable game for the ref.  I disagreed with several calls, and I think England did experience some luck not to get some red cards pulled out.  Still, given that the Brazilian ref has experienced quite a bit of controversy in the past, we are awfully lucky not to get Jorge Larrionda or Valentin Ivanov, who had the worst two refereeing performances of World Cup 2006.   Larrionda may or may not be biased against the US, but he certainly has had bad performances against them.  I like all the Uruguayans I know, but I don’t like his reffing.

10.  Findley as a starter?  I thought to myself as the game started.  Has to be a tactical move, we’re going to be sending it long alot.  And indeed we did.

11.  I’m happy with the point.  It makes us much more likely to advance.   It still wasn’t very satisfying for me though.

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That’s why you play the game

June 10, 2010

One somewhat underrated aspect of USA v England: if there is a team in the world that the US most plays like, I think you’d have to say England.

There’s little doubt that England has the better team.  Until now, Fabio Capello certainly has appeared to be the steady hand on the till that England needs.  However…

* Ledley King and John Terry don’t really have any experience together.

* Lampard and Gerrard don’t play well together.  Does this mean you move Gerrard out left?  Or as a second striker?

The US’ biggest problem is left back.  Presumably they’ll go with Carlos Bocanegra if Oguchi Onyewu is healthy enough, but he’s not really speedy enough to keep up with Shaun Wright Phillips.  He probably can come close to keeping up with Aaron Lennon though, who is the likely starter.    Theo Walcott would have blown right by him, but Capello left him in England.

It’ll be interesting to see what the US tactical plan is against England.   Will they go high-pressure and hope for an England slip that allows them to take a lead and hopefully hold on for a win or tie?  Will they park the bus and counter?   If England controls possession 100% like Spain did in the Confederations Cup, you can be confident that it could degenerate into park the bus and counter.

I actually think it’s likely to be a pretty decent game, as England will attack without playing overly cautiously.  My guess would be England 2-0 or England 2-1.  I know that’s a pretty safe pick, but what can I say?


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