Wayne and blame
Wrong tactics, wrong subs, too much fear and woeful Wayne... Paul Merson takes apart England's draw.
Last Updated: 19/06/10 4:46pm
That was the worst performance I can remember from an England team.
We were playing Algeria, a team who were slaughtered by the Republic of Ireland just three weeks ago, and yet England could barely even muster a shot. I didn't get off my seat once in 90 minutes.
If somebody had said to me before the game that it would be a 0-0 draw and we wouldn't look like scoring a goal then I'd have laughed at them. Sometimes you have an unlucky 0-0 when you have 30 shots and don't score - that happens in football - but the Algeria goalkeeper hardly had a thing to do.
You've got to look at everybody after a game like that. The players have got to look at their performances, but I do think the manager made some very, very strange decisions:
1. The wrong substitute
Shaun Wright-Phillips was very poor against the USA, so how did he get on the pitch again? How can you look beyond Joe Cole? International football's not all about sheer pace, you need to have some guile and someone who can put the ball through the eye of a needle. England were a much better team when he came on against Japan - why can't Capello see it?
2. Defensive approach
Italian football is very different to English football, it's more defensive and that's why he why he left it so late to put Peter Crouch on. In the end I think Fabio Capello was more worried about Algeria scoring. It's almost as if Capello thought: 'We can't get any worse on Wednesday. Let's take the draw and hope to go through by beating Slovenia'.
3. Leaving it late
Apparently David James was told he was playing five minutes before he got on the coach. That's just rubbish. You want to know the day before. You want to think about it in bed the night before and be able to prepare yourself properly. We were told well in advance when I was at the World Cup in 1998.
Also, if Capello came out on Monday morning and announced his team for Wednesday, that would send a message to the other team. That would put the fear through them. I just can't understand why he wants to keep it top secret.
4. The wrong formation
People are keeping the ball too easily against us. We've got to go to a 4-5-1 with Steven Gerrard behind Wayne Rooney and Joe Cole on the left. Our best two players - Gerrard and Rooney - both played out of position on the left wing at some point against Algeria. How can that happen? We've got to put them in their best position.
5. Too much fear
Not once did I see an England player having a go at another player on Friday night. They look absolutely petrified. I watched them in training on Sky Sports News World Cup Report and I didn't see anybody smiling. That's got to come down to Capello.
Also, Wayne Rooney will wake up on Saturday morning and wonder what he was doing criticising the England fans in front of the cameras.
He must realise these fans pay a lot of money to go and watch the World Cup - and they can expect more than they got against Algeria.
If you don't perform, then the time comes when you're going to get booed. If the fans cheer them off then the players will think they're not doing too badly.
I'd be shocked if he doesn't apologise for that very quickly.
I'm a big fan of Rooney, but we need to remember that his purple patch came a long time ago now. It was more than two months ago when all those goals were flying in - and two months is a long time in football.
He doesn't look fit to me. I've not seen him play as badly as he has in the last two games and he's 100 times better than he's been showing.
But of course I'd still start him in the next game because we have to score to stay in the World Cup.
What happens next?
The only good thing that happened on Friday was that the USA drew with Slovenia. That means if we win on Wednesday we'll probably end up winning the group - and if we win our group, it looks like quite a comfortable passage to the semis.
I'm Mr Positive. Last week I was tipping England to win 3-0, but I can't sit here and tell you we're going to win on Wednesday.
I know football and you can't turn it on and off like a tap. Capello has to change the formation and we have to score early. If we don't score in the first 20 minutes I'll really start worrying.
When your confidence is low it's hard to perform. I still think we'll qualify... but it won't be a walk in the park.
|He didn't do anything wrong. There was one dodgy punch, but apart from that he did well, held onto everything and kept a clean sheet. He has to start in the next game, but he needs to be careful with some of his comments about the manager in the press.||7|
|Everybody will target him because he's not a great defender, but I think he did alright against Algeria. He was steady and I don't think you can criticise the defenders too much because they did their job.||6|
|I still think he's the best left-back in the world and I've got no worries about him. Steven Gerrard didn't give him a lot of protection, but he didn't exactly get roasted.||7|
|Despite a couple of dodgy back-passes I think he did well. He gave the ball simple every time he got it and I think he did his job, quietly and without any fuss. That's what he's there for.||7|
|England didn't look like letting in a goal, but Jamie got booked and now we've got to play Matthew Upson in the next game. I'll give him a slightly lower mark for getting that yellow card.||6|
|It was his first game back after injury and it's hard to play as a holding man in a 4-4-2. That position only really works in a 4-5-1. But he didn't do anything wrong and he'll play again on Wednesday.||6|
|I think he's the best player England have got, better than Rooney, so I think he needs to be played in his best position. He naturally comes inside because he doesn't want to play on the left, but he didn't reach his standards. He had two opportunities to shoot and passed both times. He's better than that.||5|
|He had one good shot and made the goalkeeper make the only good save of the match. But I think Frank's been very poor in the last two games for his standard of football. I barely heard his name on the commentary.||4|
|I didn't know he was playing. I can't recall him beating the defender too many times and I wonder how many more chances he'll get. If David Beckham - the best crosser in the world - had been fit then we'd be through by now.||5|
|I thought he was one of the better players against the USA, but I he was poor against Algeria. He didn't hold the ball up and did the best of his work on the edge of our own box. What was he going back there for?||5|
|I've got to give him a low mark because he is nowhere near the high standards he has set. We're relying on him and we can't win the World Cup if he plays like that. I can't understand how he's played two such bad games in succession. I don't know if he's fit - he wasn't even chasing back at the end of the game.||3||SUBSTITUTES|
|For me, he didn't do anything. I look back on the game and I cannot remember him doing anything. We should have put Joe Cole on instead.||3|
|He made a couple of good runs and had shot over the bar. His movement was good so I'll give him five.||5|
|He just wasn't on long enough. He didn't have time on the pitch and he should have come on earlier.||4|
Do you agree with Merse? Let us know by filling in the feedback form below...