Posted by Barrie on Sunday, 13 June 2010

England: Is It 2006 All Over Again?

Less than 4 minutes into England's first 2010 World Cup match, all was going well. Emile Heskey played in Steven Gerrard and all of a sudden the nation was ecstatic.

After that, England were anything but convincing and it was the USA who were getting closer and closer, notably beating England's defence in the air several times. And what happened 5 minutes before half time will be remembered and replayed for eternity. Rob Green's horrendous error gifting Fulham's Clint Dempsey and USA an equaliser.

Emile Heskey and Shuan Wright-Phillips had one-on-one's in the second half, but other than that, Tim Howard was not tested. Rob Green was fortunate to deny Jozy Altidore in the second half as the USA came the closest to stealing al 3 points. It was a flat, dismal performance from England, who playing like this aren't going very far at all in 2010. But we will improve, right?

Back in 2006

A David Beckham free kick flicked into his own net by Carlos Gamarra after just 3 minutes lead England to a 1-0 victory over Paraguay in their opening game. That was followed up by a second poor performance, struggling to beat the weak Trinidad and Tobago. Qualification was already assured before England conceded their first goals of the tournament in a 2-2 draw with Sweden to top Group B.

A favourable draw matched England with Ecuador in the second round and a David Beckham free kick that no one connected with was the only game. England through to the quarter finals despite not impressing once. Progressing further than Spain, the Netherlands, Mexico and several other countries who must have been kicking themselves. England were then eliminated on penalties to Portugal in the quarter finals.

On paper, 2006 looked good. Not a single defeat, and only Sweden scoring against England. But the team's performance was terrible and we were very lucky to get as far as we did.

Based on the opening game, I can see the same thing happening again. And as soon as we come up against a good nation, we're going out of the tournament. England don't do victories over the big nations.

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