Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
As the weekend approaches we can all start getting excited about domestic football again and the increase in stories and transfer speculation.
A very topical issue at this time of the year is player burnout. With all to play for managers must exercise caution when choosing their teams but also risk the wrath of the fans if they do not pick their ‘best’ side. Do you pick your strongest 11 regardless?
Spring is here and love should be in the air, but instead all we’re left with is bickering managers.
Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho are no strangers to controversy, so it’s no surprise to see them at it again, though the timing is odd. Mourinho still has it all to prove at Real Madrid over the next two months, while Capello has yet to truly inspire confidence in England fans.
Last week, when Chelsea held a news conference to preview their Champions League match against FC Copenhagen, manager Carlo Ancelotti spent the first 20 minutes fielding questions about John Terry’s re-instatement as England captain.
The Chelsea press officer finally stepped in in an attempt to steer the subject back to club football by asking if there were any questions about the forthcoming match or for fellow guest, defender Branislav Ivanovic.
Scrunching up the eyes a bit, and using just a touch of imagination, watching Jack Wilshere on the ball for England against Denmark was almost like watching Xavi. It was quite a shock, in fact, to see a player in an England shirt pause, look up and think before picking out a team mate with a precise, considered pass.
Comparing Wilshere to the peerless Barcelona midfielder Xavi will be stretching it for some. I was pretty surprised, I must say, to read match reports on Thursday suggesting Wilshere had been a bit disappointing.
So Fabio Capello’s masterstroke in revitalising Wayne Rooney and turning England from World Cup no-hopers to instant Euro 2012 favourites was….to tell the Manchester United striker to hang back a bit.
That sage advice, if most of the English press is to be believed, transformed England’s formation from a prehistoric 4-4-2 to the liquid 4-5-1 that all the modern young bucks were using in South Africa.
Fabio Capello’s impromptu announcement that David Beckham was too old to play for England has divided opinion across the blogosphere.
Some have said it was typical of Capello’s hard-nosed, no-nonsense style. Why should he have informed the 35-year-old? Why should he have made the announcement in a more official way? As coach he has the right to do as he wants and Beckham should have had the know-how to quit the international scene long ago.
People can and will talk about Frank Lampard’s wrongly-disallowed goal all day long but to concentrate on that would miss the much bigger problems that contributed to one of England’s worst-ever World Cup performances.
Claims that their players play too many games, suffer from not having a winter break and that the national team is hurt by the number of foreign players in key positions at the Premier League’s major clubs are all valid.
England coach Fabio Capello would do well to take a transcript copy of Germany coach Joachim Loew’s post-match press conference – because in it he would find all the simple reasons why his side were trounced 4-1 and sent packing from the World Cup on Sunday.
In it, Loew rather clinically explained to the international press sat before him that his side were instructed to target John Terry, pull him out of position and pretty much walk into the huge gaps created in England’s snail-paced central rearguard.
After struggling earlier in his round he has fought back to be level with his opponent but the best finisher will play Paul Lawrie and then Tony Jacklin in the next two rounds while the loser will take on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
After England treated their fans to a second excruciatingly dull World Cup performance in South Africa on Friday, those wanting answers were left with a bemused looking Fabio Capello and an irate Wayne Rooney rant to television cameras.
England 0 Algeria 0 was not what anyone had in mind for Friday’s Group C showdown in Cape Town and Three Lions’ fans certainly were not expecting to wake up to British tabloid headlines such as ‘Roo-boo-zela’ and ‘Cape Clowns’ the next morning.