England have failed again and, as far as I’m concerned, there is only one man to blame and that is Sven Goran Eriksson.
A very wise blogger once said:-
“How will England do this time? Well, my opinion is that we have a better group of players in this squad than we have had for many years but that the manager’s tactical inability and bizarre substitutions will, yet again, undo us at some stage”
and, it turns out, he was right.
At least once in every England performance in this World Cup, Eriksson made a substitution which left the entire nation baffled and confused – just think how the poor players must have felt! When he brought on Stewart Downing for Michael Owen in the first game against Paraguay, when we were 1-0 up, you could see the England players looking at each other, bewildered and lost, trying to figure out which of Sven’s 99 formations they were now supposed to be playing and who was playing where.
That set the tone for the rest of the tournament, with Sven trying out an array of baffling formations that he hadn’t thought of before, and experimenting with various players playing out of position to ensure total and utter chaos ensued on the pitch.
During this tournament, England played 3 different right backs and 3 different holding midfielders, despite the fact that we only played 5 games in the entire tournament! Why was this? Injuries? No. Two of the 3 players to be forced to miss games due to injury were strikers. Suspensions? No. No England player missed a game in this tournament due to a suspension.
However, after all this tinkering and messing about, at no point did England play any differently to the way they played in the first 45 minutes of the opening game! How do they do that?!?! How can you play so many ways with so many different players, and still look EXACTLY the same?!!
Eriksson has made world class individuals like Lampard and Gerrard look like 2nd division players who scraped into the squad of a struggling nation, whilst his insistence on playing David Beckham, regardless of his poor performances just shows what a gutless man he really is.
When Sven took over amid much controversy over the fact that he wasn’t English, 6 years ago, I was one of the ones who thought he was a good choice – I don’t see how you have to be English to be a good England manager. But what you DO have to be to be a good England manager is to be able to manage a football team and it is this aspect which he appears to struggle with.
He will not be sadly missed – as far as I’m concerned he will always be remembered as the man who wasted the huge talent of a nation’s footballers when they were at their peak.