Friday, March 30, 2012

Jonathan Wilson: After changes, England in clueless state heading toward Euro 2012

Plucky England, fighting back from two down only to be thwarted by a deflected last-minute winner. A brave effort from Psycho's young lions. Pleasing fluency at times. The start of a bold new era for English football. ... As a response to a single game played with a youthful side under a caretaker manager, such commentary made a certain sense. But the crucial thing to remember after England's 3-2 defeat to Holland last Wednesday was context. It seems to have been all but forgotten that in the last international break, England beat the world and European champions Spain and then ended a 43-year-old hoodoo by beating Sweden. Yes, both games finished 1-0. Yes, they weren't particularly thrilling. But the system worked. England, at last, seemed to have accepted its limitations and played to the maximum of what it could achieve, defending stoutly and threatening with counter attacks and set plays. Fabio Capello had established foundations that, conceivably, could have made England challengers at the Euros in the coming summer. Nobody will admit it now, of course, but he was actually doing a good job. 

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