England should think back to Munich before getting too excited

September 11, 2008

Theo Walcott celebrates

A clinical hat-trick in Zagreb on Wednesday and suddenly Theo Walcott is the answer to all England’s ills and Fabio Capello is worth every penny of the millions the FA pay him for his services as national coach.

At least that’s the line trotted out in most of the daily newspapers as talk of new era and new wonder kid dominated the back pages.

The 19-year-old Walcott certainly took his chances brilliantly against Croatia’s lumbering defence and Capello should be praised for opting to start the Arsenal player instead of David Beckham.

But amid all the euphoria there needs to be some caution. Croatia were rubbish, a mere shadow of the team that beat England twice in qualifying for Euro 2008. The hype appeared to have gone to their heads.

And England, castigated for a lame performance against the massed ranks of Andorra’s defence last Saturday, are far from the finished article with question marks over central midfield and goalkeeping still unanswered. They are also desperately short of quality cover for central defensive duo John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.

One great performance doesn’t make a great team. In 2001 Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England team thrashed Germany 5-1 in Munich. Yet they only scrambled in to the 2002 World Cup finals thanks to a last-minute equaliser by David Beckham against Greece at Wembley a few weeks later.

Real proof of an England renaissance will come in the matches against Kazakhstan and Belarus. Thumping victories over teams who will be set up to defend are by no means guaranteed and yet that is what the fans will be calling for.

Walcott, who ludicrously made the 2006 World Cup squad despite never having played  a Premier league match, has pretty much pencilled his name on the next few starting line-ups, banishing David Beckham to the sidelines.

The pressure now, however, will be to maintain the level of performance in the months ahead and prove he is no flash in the pan. As he will learn, there is no middle ground as England player. One minute a hero, the next an overpaid flop.

8 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

[...] Go to Source Last 5 posts in Premier LeagueLosing for your country should hurt more, shouldn’t it? – September 10th, 2008The Dark Side Of Anfield That No One Wants You To See – September 10th, 2008Ray Hudson Interview – September 10th, 2008Roy Keane’s Selfish Act Threatens Trinidad’s World Cup Future – September 9th, 2008Too Bad They Can’t Play a 4-4-3 – September 9th, 2008Popularity: unranked [?] Share and Enjoy: [...]

The real test is not in qualifiers against rubbish. The real test comes at the World Cup. They should make it easily from another average group and the target is to prove they can go past the q-finals. That’s been the real test all along.

Posted by Jade | Report as abusive

And that’s when you should see a difference between Capello and Steve mclaren. Capello is a great professional who should bring the best out of an admittedly mediocre squad. whether that’s enough to win it is anyone’s gess.

Posted by Jade | Report as abusive

That was a great display and any one who say’s it wasn’t are kidding themselves. The great task is consistency and that will be ultimately what the fans are after. But after the recent run of poor performances, to score four goals against the 5th best side in the world whether playing badly (which they wern’t) or not is exceptional. Take into consideration the injury worries in midfield also and it looks even better.
While England are not quite the ‘finished article’ last nights performance elevated the boy’s in white from perennial bottlers to roaring lions.

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive

Sure one swallow doesm’t make a summer. But at least they played well. Dropping the ill-disciplined pondorous Beckham means England play with 11 men not 10.

Notice England always perform better in a 442 when Lampard or Gerrard are missing and (we have a decent defensive screen (Barry or Hargreaves) and decent wide players with a standard ‘Big man Little man’ twin stiker type show up-front.

[...] Another suggestion for cautious optimism in England. (Reuters Soccer Blogs) [...]

The biggest problem for England is that they still not have digested the fact that either one of Gerrard or Lampard can play in an eleven. They do play somewhat same style and position, so once the fans gets ready to accept that they might see more positive results.

Qualifing is over really now as i belive they were the only oppostion.

I think we have to look to players like wallcott becuase they are the future.

at least fabio has had the guts to introduce players like hesky and wallcott somthing the others were scared to do.

Carra is the most honest player in the game.

We all dream of a team of carraghers

Gregg Scott

http://www.carlingcupodds.co.uk
http://www.facupodds.co.ukhttp://www.facupodds.com
http://www.championshipodds.co.uk
http://www.fapremierleaguebetting.co.uk

One moment were terrible and perfomances are abismal because steven gerrard isn’t being used properly.

Suddenly Walcott has one good game and he is hailed as the saviour of the national game!

How can the team expect to be consistent if every manager who doesn’t get it right in 3 games is shopped!

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

good blog this is . i think u r good in blogging .keep it up.
visit ma blog
http://www.netfandu.blogspot.com
wanna blog link exchange contect me at eck.naresh@gmail.com