England 1 – 0 Wales, International Football Match Report

September 7, 2011 - by mosesbet · Filed Under sports news Leave a Comment 

England narrowly beat Wales 1-0 at Wembely Stadium last night to record their first home win in a year and move one step closer to guaranteed qualification for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine next year.

A beautifully crafted goal from former Aston Villa team mates Stewart Downing and Ashley Young ten minutes before half time was enough to seal all 3 points for Capello’s men.

While the result was just what the manager would have wanted, the performance asked a lot of questions of an England team that have looked a class below their main European rivals in this campaign.

Spain, the Netherlands and Germany had all guaranteed qualification before tonight with a 100% record, while England had narrowly escaped embarrassment to a home game draw against Wales last night after Robert Earnshaw blasted an open-goal opportunity over the bar just minutes before the final whistle.

The good news for Capello is that he still has plenty of players to come back from injury and many of his existing squad of young players (including Downing, Walcott, Young, Jones, Hart, Smalling and Wilshere) are only going to get better over the next 10 months.  Man Utd youngster’s Smalling (20), Phil Jones (19) and Tom Cleverly (21) and Arsenal’s teenage prodigy Jack Wilshere all look set to massive improve this season as they enjoy first team action at Man Utd and Arsenal in the Premier League and Champions League.

The main bad new about last night was England’s drudging performance and obvious failure to create chances upfront.  Capello’s newly adopted 4-1-3-1 formation is a big hit on the international scene with Germany and Spain however England still look like they are trying too hard to incorporate their players around it.

I might be wrong, but Wilshere for me looks like the key to England successfully implementing a 4-1-3-1 system.  He looks far more versatile and has more technical ability and control than either Barry, Lampard or Parker (he doesn’t score a lot of goals but I’m sure this will come with his game as he gets more confidant going forward).  The type of players necessary for this new fangled 4-1-3-1 formation to work are not just those that can play anywhere on the pitch, but those who can read the game well and drop back into space to provide an outlet for their team mates.  Both Rooney and Wilshere are excellent at doing this in the Premier League (hence why we see Rooney sitting so deep so often for England and Man Utd) however I don’t think Lampard or Barry fits in to this system.  The good news for Barry and Parker is that they can both play as the anchor midfielder that sits infront of the defence in a similar role to Mikel at Chelsea, De Jong at Manchester City or Mascherano at Barcelona.

The other bad news for me is that we need replacements for Rooney upfront ASAP.  England need better strikers in their first team to had the line upfront (either as an impact sub to be brought on in the 70th minute or to play from the start of the game).  I think that Wellbeck, Caroll and Bent are the best candidates we have for this role but they crucially NEED to play more games for England.  It’s not good having strikers going in to the main tournaments with just one cap as a substitute to their name. Capello needs to be playing back-up strikers such as Bent and Wellbeck as many times as possible not just to help them understand the system and the players, but to also give them plenty of confidence with England goals to their name.

Finally, the attacking midfield throng of Young, Downing, Milner, Walcott and Johnson (the “3” part of the 4-1-3-1 formation) is good enough is my opinion.  They all have plenty of goals between them and it gives England the pace and unpredictability that they desperately need.  More or not, it’s these types of players which is where all of England’s outfield goals are going to come from.  All of these players are capable of making runs both down the wings and between the lines but Capello needs to really perfect this art very quickly if England want a serious chance of winning the tournament.  I’m also doubtful of Johnson’s impact if he fails to secure regular first team action at Manchester City, and I really hope he moves to a club like Villa, Sunderland or Newcastle where he can get regular starting XI action since I see a lot of potential in him.


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