Even in a World Cup where nothing was actually expected of the England national football team, they manage to hit an all-time low: Not making it out of the group stage for the first time since 1958. Just another example of the bad luck, naivety and especially tactical inferiority in the English game right now, which is personified by the ill equipped manager, Roy Hodgson.
In terms of quality and how much attacking football we’re seeing, this England side is probably better or at least tries more than the depressing version we saw in both Euro 2012 and World Cup 2010. They’re attacking with four and five players all the time instead of just two. Scoring and creating chances doesn’t seem to be a problem. Finishing might be something of an issue, as Wayne Rooney still doesn’t understand how he hit the post on that wide open header against Uruguay. Defending? Tactical positioning? Where do we start.
England are playing in a 4-4-2 formation that might even be a 4-2-4. Steven Gerrard, who needs two players around him and not just one Jordan Henderson, seems a bit ill-equipped to handle the demands from Roy Hodgson. This was a great season for Gerrard at Liverpool, but he had two midfielders around him to make up for his declining abilities, especially when it comes to his physicality. Missing challenged, getting dropped easily. A great player with vision and influence, but once the legs aren’t as strong as before, it affects everything else.
Phil Jagielka is a name Manchester United players and especially Rio Ferdinand can’t stand hearing anymore. David Moyes used the Everton centre back as the role model for everything he wanted to see from the Manchester United defenders in training. We all know how well that went for everyone involved. Jagielka is a nice player, but his tendency to lose his man while looking at the passer instead of the striker was exposed to a shaming effect against Uruguay and Luis Suarez.
There’s Hodgson and English football in general. The same back four line that does an awful job of the offside trap. Two full backs who aren’t very good at defending, without wingers who help out. Someone didn’t do his homework, and that’s surprising to see considering how Gary Neville seems to understand the game when he’s analyzing for Sky Sports. I’m guessing that as an assistant, things seem a bit more difficult to change. Manchester United players have always been known to drop in form when they’re wearing the England uniform.
Danny Welbeck, and even Wayne Rooney. This World Cup has shown us that poor league form usually translates into bad performances. Take the Spanish national team. Yet Welbeck is in the lineup for some reason. He shouldn’t be in the squad. Wayne Rooney is lost in some sort of tactical purgatory, once again wasting away his potential. Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling are actually doing a great job, but in the situation Hodgson has put them in, it really didn’t matter. England can still walk away with 3 points, but it wouldn’t matter anymore. The damage has been done.