Friday, June 15, 2012

James Lawton: Maturity, unity, planning - Germany are so far ahead of England it hurts

It is not encouraging that England, heroic, pragmatic, new inhabitants of the real football world – by all means take your pick – were too drained to train two days before tonight's pivotal group game against the Sweden they have never beaten in a competitive game.

There was, of course, also a little more of some old angst when on the same day Germany – the team whose international record has become an almost unbroken reproach to English failure – had rarely looked stronger or more willing to run an extra yard.

But then England's discomfort is hardly a gobsmacking surprise when you consider their ludicrous arrangements.

Tonight's game here for England involves a mere two-way jaunt of 694 miles but then it is also true that the Swedes, having all their group games in Kiev, took the astonishingly wise decision to set up their camp not only in the same country as the venue for their games but, wonder of wonders, in the same city.

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