Friday, 15 November 2013

England 0 v Chile 1 - International Match

Friday 15th November 2013, at Wembley Stadium
International Match
England (0) 0
Chile (1) 2
Alexis Sanchez 7, 90+
Attendance 62, 953
1 Forster, 2 Johnson, 3 Baines, 4 Milner (21 Defoe - 66' ), 5 Cahill, 6 Jones (12 Smalling - 57'), 7 Wilshere (18 Cleverley - 71' ),
8 Lampard (19 Henderson - 71' ), 9 Lallana (17 Barkley - 77' ),
10 Rooney, 11 Rodriguez (20 Townsend - 57' )
Unused Subs:
13 Ruddy, 14 Cole, 15 Gibbs, 16 Jagielka, 22 Hart
1 Bravo, 2 Mena, 3 Gonzalez, 4 Isla (18 Jara - 59' Booked ),
7 Sánchez, 11 Vargas (16 Muñoz - 71' ), 14 Fernández
(9 Gutierrez - 45' ), 15 Beausejour (22 Fuenzalida - 82' ),
17 Medel, 20 Aránguiz (6 Carmona - 45' ), 21 Diaz
Unused Subs:
5 Silva, 10 Valdivia, 12 Toselli, 13 Rojas,19 Fernandes da Silva Vitoria, 23 Herrera
Tip for first time Wembley Stadium visitors:
Enter thru' turnstile J.08 for a bag search, or J.09 for a blow job
All told, an attendance of 62, 953 made it to Wembley to watch Roy Hodgson's experimental England line up take on South American opposition, in this practice match, which was effectively the first of a series of 'pre-season friendly' games and get togethers in advance of the 2014 World Cup
3pm (or 5.30pm so that gates wouldn't be affected at the games that hadn't been postponed due to the international break) on a Saturday afternoon would be the ideal time for a weekend football match to kick off. 
But hey! What do I know?
Ignore the fact that not all England supporters live in London and the Home Counties and let's clog that Friday afternoon and early evening congestion up even more, by scheduling qualifying group games and friendlies at the national stadium on Friday nights.
As for the game itself.
Hmm, in the eyes of the great English public (a harsh combination of judge, jury and executioner if ever there was one); Roy Hodgson is already damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.
That is to say - stick with your tried and tested first picks and experienced players and he's going to get slated for not trying something different and bringing new players into the England set up, who need playing time under their belts, just in case they are needed to fill in at the last moment, if for some reason, one or more of the recognised England players suddenly become unavailable just before the World Cup tournament begins.
Imagine the furore if that scenario did happen (and it quite often does) and no back up plan was in place, and the potential replacement players weren't suitably prepared
But bring in 'freshers' and try out different systems and tactics that the England side will have to adapt to in Brazil during these sort of warm up games, against the kind of opposition they're going to be facing in Brazil, and he's on a hiding to nothing for not picking a settled team every game, or allegedly not even knowing what his best starting eleven is and for not going hell for leather to win each and every single time the national side step out onto the field of play.
England expects ... some fairly unrealistic results at times.
Of course, winning is a good habit to get into and there's nothing like a good run of results to get confidence soaring.
But, though there will never be such a thing as a meaningless England game in my eyes, the truth of the matter is, the results of friendly matches, though good for the morale, don't actually count for very much, if anything at all, in the grander scheme of things.
Games like tonights are where teams have the opportunity to learn from mistakes. Any flaws in the tactical game plan will hopefully going to be picked up on and ironed out, before the real competition begins in earnest next year.
For example, those short corner routines that went completely tits up tonight, are a good example of a criminal waste of possession that need abandoning with immediate effect.
Chile impressed me no end tonight, if it wasn't England they were pulling all over the place and passing off the pitch for long spells, while utilizing they entire width of the lush Wembley surface, I would probably have enjoyed and admired the aesthetics of their performance and ability a whole lot more than I did mind you.
Score wise, both teams got what they deserved from this game, but in the aftermath, Chile's quality was somewhat overlooked as the radio phone ins and social network sites went into meltdown with Mr Angry type characters venting their spleen on England's team of 'miserable failures'.
It is high time that this national psyche, whereby people get all hysterical and bursting at the seams with rage whenever the national football team fail to win a game, needs injecting with a severely large quantity of realism.
The fact of the matter is, England is a team full of international standard players, but at this present moment in time, they don't actually have any team members you could genuinely describe as outstanding or world class. Do they?
Roy Hodgson is astute enough to know that and realises that he needs to harness the strengths of what he has available to him, into a pattern that can both attain results (to a point) while stifling more technically adept opposition, in the process of doing so.
Instilling such a pragmatic approach, isn't always going to be pretty, or easy on the eye, but England are through to yet another tournament and if they are to avoid getting turned over and humiliated when (if) they reach the stage of the tournament when they face infinitely stronger and more talented sides.
Ouch! The truth hurts, but those are the facts.
I don't believe anybody is mentally unstable enough to think England can actually win the World Cup in Brazil next year, or that we can expect anything more out of the tournament than watching the national side making the best of a bad job.
But, having listened to one or two of the callers who've got through to a radio phone in I've just listened to as our coach headed away from Wembley towards the North Circular, I could be wrong.
As long term development goes, the England national side are (yet again) at the rip it up and start again stage. 
But at least the guy in the hot seat knows that he, not to put too crude a point on it, is in a position where he can only piss with the cock he's got and to that end, he'll have to set his aim accordingly. 
Please mind the carpet.
It's going to be a long time coming before England are going to be up there with the biggest hitters in world football, if indeed they ever scale such heights again. And it is mind numbing to a soul destroying level that so many indignant and genuinely angry people just don't get that and demand unattainable levels of results ... and then implode with moral outrage, when a very ordinary football team don't live up to those far fetched expectations. 
I just don't get that kind of incomprehensible mentality at all.
There are plus points to be taken from England's recent games, such as the emergence of players like Ricky Lambert, Andros Townsend and Adam Lallana, but I'm afraid we're going to have to concede that those are only crumbs of comfort as England enters yet another phase of underachievement in the shadows of the tastefully floodlit statues and reminders of a more glorious past.
I love my country and I will continue to support my national football side in the same way that I always have done, through thick and thin (and even thinner). 
But please spare me the pathological rants in the morning about 'what went wrong' and all those half baked 'where the national game must change to bring back the good times' analogies.
And if anybody tiresomely bothers me with all that "Footballs coming home" and "47 years of hurt" bollocks borne out of  *that* Euro '96 cash in song, I will punch you, twice possibly. Seriously, that is your one and only warning. Try me!
I think it was Neil Young, the Canadian singer/songwriter, not to be mistaken for the former Manchester City, Preston North End and Rochdale striker, or the current Chester manager who both share the same name, that said "You glorify the past, when the future dries up", hmm, I reckon he had a point.
So in a nutshell, what did we learn from tonight's friendly international that we didn't already know?
The floors open, because I'm buggered if I can answer that.
So while you ponder that conundrum, here's my suggestion for a song to be adopted as England's Brazil 2014 anthem:
Goodnight everybody, my fellow traveller, England fan and old mate Ian Rainsford, is now leaning heavily on me and snoring his rocks off on this northbound coach, restricting the blood flow to my right arm and rendering inert my ability to type one handed any longer.
In Roy we trust!