Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back home

Poor old Rio.

There always seems to be an injury crisis whenever England is in a major tournament. This seems to affect us more than other teams. It could be the physically exacting nature of the Premiership, but I would advance another hypothesis: the lack of replacements. England does have some good players: Gerrard, Lampard, Ferdinand, Terry, Cole and most obviously Rooney. But we also have a lot of really mediocre ones, so the moment one of these players gets hurt, we're calling on players who would never get considered for stronger national teams.

For example, when Nesta got injured in the last World cup, Barzagli came in and no-one noticed the difference as Italy defended their way to the title. But Ferdinand gets injured, and suddenly we're thinking of Upson, Carragher or Dawson to line up with the unpleasant but effective Terry. Last World Cup it was Owen that was crocked, and the alternatives were so difficult to contemplate that Eriksson ended up playing Rooney on his own. We all know what happened there.

So, Capello may be the best manager England have ever had, but the same old weaknesses on the pitch remain.

Quarter finals again it is.