Peerless Pirlo helps send England packing

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

If there is to be one enduring image of England's last throws in Euro 2012 then it would surely be that of the magnificent Andrea Pirlo brilliantly chipping home from 12 yards. This penalty helped to switch the momentum of the shoot out and the rest as we know is history...(and those who read my previous article will see I actually predicted a penalty win for the Italians, I hope you all cashed in like I did)

It was fitting that Pirlo was to have such a wonderful individual moment after his exceptional display helped ruthlessly expose the functional and rigid midfield which was set out by England.  Those who watched the game will know that Scott Parker was so knackered that he had to be substituted and whilst his partner in crime Steven Gerrard was suffering with cramp after playing only for 70 minutes.  In the meantime, 78 year old Pirlo (slight exaggeration I know) was trotting around the pitch for a full 2 hours with all the energy and gusto of a 16 year old who had just had his first shag.  Embarrassing for England?  Ever so slightly.

Italy deserved to win in my view, no doubt about it. Aside from an early 15 minute spell where England should have taken the lead (and also a couple of blatant penalty shouts) the Italians dominated from start to finish with enough chances to have finished the game off well before the final shoot out.

What was probably the most galling for England fans was the way in which Pirlo bossed the whole game in its entirerity.  In this well known average Italian side, everyone knew before kick off that by stifling him and denying him time and space, England would have had a great chance of winning the game.

However, the 4-4-2 which had served England so well so far proved to be a complete mismatch. But Italy also play 4-4-2 I hear you cry.  The difference is that over the years, when playing 4-4-2 the English players do not have the flexibility or fluidity to work this in their favour.

The Italians used a rather obvious tactic but one which worked for the whole game pretty much unopposed. With Pirlo dropping deep to win the ball (often with no one within 20 yards of him), the 2 wide Italian players would tuck in slightly, drawing in Milner (& Young with them).  With these 2 options nullified, Pirlo would simply get his head up and spray it wide to the wide full backs and the play would build from there. Simples.

With possession surrendered so easily, it was no wonder that English players were chasing shadows for the whole game.  Anyone who has played the game will know that once you have chased the ball for so long, by the time you have got it back, you are too knackered to be able to do anything with it.

If anyone dare look back at the full match then you can probably count on one hand the amount of times that Buffon kicked the ball long, whereas Hart seemed to be clobbering the ball forward at every opportunity (even before the Gypsy was on the pitch).  Is this not just basic football sense?

England's ball retention has been poor for what seems an eternity now but throughout this tournament have we ever seen them put together a concerted amount of possession football together?  No, me neither.

So where do England go from here?  To be fair to Roy, I think he did probably the best he could do in this tournament. When you know you only have Henderson on the bench as back up, you know you have problems within the squad.  As all good managers do , he concentrated on making England hard to beat, and the defence has been fairly solid.  England also won the group which was probably beyond expectations of most people.

So what does Roy need to do?  The problem of England technical ability in possession is something that wont be addressed for years to come.  Roys tactics will be interesting going forward.  As a WBA fan, I have a better knowledge than most.

To put it simply, Roy prefers 4-4-2, no one in their right mind cannot deny that. However,although WBA eventually secured a comfortable mid-table finish, there were a lot of angry fans earlier on in the season (me included). All fans knew at the time that our players were best suited to a fluid 4-5-1 formation but Roy insisted on forcing players into his favoured 4-4-2 which led to a massive shortage of goals and one of the worst home records in the Premiership.

However, as things looked bleak, a shift to 4-5-1 in our away game at Wolves resulted in a 5-1 spanking over those utter, utter c*nts.  From then on, the rest was history as we comfortably strolled to mid-table safety having reverted to the formation the fans all wanted to see.

So perhaps there is promise that Roy may perhaps become more flexible depending what players he has at his disposal. With most team in world football tending to flood the midfield this is something which would need to be experimented with sooner rather than later (a bit like Capello tried in his last few games).

Roy's also general way of thinking is that his teams rarely play on the front foot and take the initiative. In one game at home against Swansea last year we conceded 80% of possession!  Over the course of a season, Roy's pragmatism will generally pay off but will this approach suit tournament football and knockout competitions. Will he have the cojones to really go for it when it comes to crunch? That will have to remain to be seen.

I suppose fundamentally we have to ask, do England really have the players to challenge at the highest level . The current squad members would suggest not, with a transition period set to be on the horizon.  One player who continues to mystify is Wayne Rooney. Once the golden boy for England he has continued to disappoint. Whilst he continues to fire regularly for Man Utd, has he really shown enough to convince fans he can lead England to former glories?  He looked woefully out of touch in the Euros and his goal record at Man Utd has been a series of gluts and famines. Does he really have the consistency and quality to be classed a truly great player at international level?  The jury is well and truly out.

One positive thing people may argue is that the players had heart and courage throughout this tournament but that is something which slightly annoys me.  How do we measure heart and courage in football?  Is it simply running around, closing down the opposition , making goal-line clearances?  Should it not be a given that all teams try and do these things? Is courage and heart just another way of saying that a team are not very good with the ball? If thats the case, then England have it in abundance.

Or is courage having the nerve to accept the ball in tight situations, to try and beat a man, to demand possession when no else wants it,  or look the opposition in the eye, take a chipped penalty and say "I am going to dominate you in this game and whether you like it or not "(alas Pirlo). If its the latter, then England have a long, long way to go.


18 Responses to "Peerless Pirlo helps send England packing"

software for bookies Says:

It is impressive the one goal can be decisive to make the whole team go home. It is a pity that I couldn't watch the goal.

Anonymous Says:

Hi it's me, I am also visiting this website on a regular basis, this web page is genuinely nice and the people are really sharing good thoughts.
My page FinderHostel.com

Anonymous Says:

Why users still make use of to read news papers when in this technological world the whole thing is existing on
Take a look at my webpage - read more

Anonymous Says:

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how can we communicate?
Also visit my weblog hair care

Anonymous Says:

If you would like to take much from this paragraph then you have to apply such techniques to your
won webpage.
Here is my webpage - cheap wedding insurance

Anonymous Says:

I believe this is among the so much important info for me.
And i am satisfied reading your article. However wanna remark on some
basic things, The website taste is great, the articles is in reality nice :
D. Good job, cheers
Here is my weblog ; great summer vacation

Anonymous Says:

That is really fascinating, You are a very skilled blogger.
I've joined your rss feed and look ahead to searching for more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks
Feel free to surf my page - published here

Anonymous Says:

I have been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and
bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever
My page: Easiest Ways to Become a Millionaire

Anonymous Says:

The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I actually believed you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.
Feel free to visit my web-site ... klik hier

Anonymous Says:

whoah this blog is wonderful i really like reading your articles.

Stay up the good work! You understand, lots of people are looking around for this information, you can aid them greatly.
My blog post Erotic

Anonymous Says:

It's remarkable to pay a visit this web site and reading the views of all colleagues regarding this paragraph, while I am also keen of getting know-how.

Feel free to surf to my page - Miami weight loss

Anonymous Says:

bookmarked!!, I love your website!

my web blog; canon digital camera
my site - online shopping in india

Anonymous Says:

Wonderful article! We will be linking to this great content on our site.
Keep up the great writing.

My web blog :: buy youtube subscribers

Anonymous Says:

Hello, Neat post. There is an issue along with your website in web explorer, might check this?
IE still is the market chief and a good portion of people will leave out your great writing due to this problem.

Feel free to visit my web-site - cheap comupter desks

Anonymous Says:

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a
lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.

I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog.
A fantastic read. I'll certainly be back.

Check out my page; laptops under 300 dollars

Anonymous Says:

certainly like your website but you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to tell the truth however I'll definitely come back again.

Also visit my blog post jnmassage.info

Anonymous Says:

I'm impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that's equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very
happy that I found this in my search for something relating to this.

Here is my blog; xvideo

Anonymous Says:

Thanks to my father who told me concerning this webpage, this web site is in fact amazing.

my web blog: get free hardcore tube sex clips *www.i-porntube.com*