By Mark Vincent Lincir
Steve Gerrard and Frank Lampard cannot play on the same field together. It’s that simple. But as long as England try to force the issue, teams like the United States will gladly share points (1-1) with one of the “supposed” favorites of the tournament.
England Manager Fabio Capello needs to make a massive decision before England plays again and it has to do with his two main players in midfield. Lampard and Gerrard have never played well together in the middle of the pitch. And it’s not a case of kicking Gerrard out wide. The answer is that one of them stays in the lineup (my choice is Gerrard) and one is relegated to the bench (Lampard).
Put the goalkeeping issue aside for just a moment…if you can. But the issue of having two of the best midfielders in the game who can’t play together is something England needs to sort out quickly.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
LISTEN, England is not going to win the World Cup. Even though every time the World Cup comes around a lot of people think they will (the last time they won it was over 50 years ago!). They lack goalkeeping, outside backs, and support for Wayne Rooney up front…and a stable central midfield that compliments each other.
I don’t know why Lampard and Gerrard can’t play well together…I just know that they can’t. I’ve seen it so many times and it is mind boggling, but it is the truth and everyone knows it, but nobody will do anything about it.
GIVE CREDIT to the United States for battling hard all night and for shutting down Wayne Rooney. After a shaky start, center back Oguchi Onyewu stepped up his game and partnered with Jay DeMerit in the center of the United States defense to cut off some good England chances. Goalkeeper Tim Howard showed why he does need to be considered amongst the best in the world at his position with some great saves that kept the United States in it.
U.S. midfielder Clint Demspey did a great job of getting his shot off on Robert Green with some ingenuity that the U.S. team desperately needs…and only gets through the Fulham midfielder. But what a mistake Green made. Yes, he owned up to it…but it still shows you the massive problem that England has in goal. It’s either Green or Calamity James!? Or an inexperienced, yet very good Joe Hart?
The U.S. will have to come out strong on Friday against a confident Slovenia squad and will have to tighten its defense from the opening kickoff, something the U.S. did not do against England as Steve Gerrard was allowed to knife in for the opening goal within four minutes.
BOB BRADLEY (aka Coach Bob) still waits too long to make changes (Buddle for Findley should have come at halftime!)…and his tactical abilities will come under more scrutiny Friday when it will be much easier for him to mess things up than it will be for him to make things right.
In other action…Greece looked poor in their 2-0 loss to an exciting South Korea. Slovenia is certainly going to make things interesting in Group C and Argentina, despite Diego Maradona’s leadership, or lack thereof, has so much talent it better get to the semi-finals or the tag “underachievers” will follow them for quite some time.
Serbia were a major disappointment in their 1-0 loss to Ghana, but give credit to Ghana for capitalizing on their opportunity and for keeping Serbia at bay. Germany made Australia look silly in their 4-0 thrashing of one of the teams that definitely does not belong in the World Cup.
LUCAS NEILL anchoring your back line is the quickest way to go 0-3 that you can think of. The incredibly overrated center back needs to be on the bench if Australia has any chance of keeping their opposition to four goals or less.
PREDICTIONS – The Netherlands will beat Denmark 2-0…Cameron will share points with Japan 1-1 and Italy will squeak by Paraguay 1-0.
NOTES: If you keep up with my writing you know that I am not a Michael Bradley fan. After watching him lumber around the midfield against England basically doing nothing for 90 minutes, I am still not a fan of his. He’s slow. He gives the ball away too much and was dropping off the England midfield in our own third so much it made me wonder if he even knows how to defend zonally.
Seriously, watch him for an entire game and come back and tell me with a straight face that we don’t have 10,000 other players in the United States that can foul recklessly, give the ball to the other team anytime they are under pressure and aimlessly float around the middle of the field on defense.
We do have 10,000 players just like him in our country…they all just don’t have their dad coaching the national team. Maurice Edu is a better choice in the midfield with Clark. I’d even go so far as to say that Torres would be a better partner with Clark. The United States will need somebody to drive some offense against their next two opponents and it won’t come from either Bradley or Clark.
AND…don’t forget to check out www.90soccer.com everyday during the Cup. Associate Editor Elliot Spruell is IN SOUTH AFRICA and is blogging from there to give us a true feel of what the World Cup is like. I did it in Germany 2006 and it is an incredibly unique experience. Make sure to register at www.90soccer.com so that you too can comment on our stories, articles and opinions.
Mark Vincent Lincir is the Editor-In-Chief of 90:00 Soccer Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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