Sunday, 12 October 2008
The score line will show England 5, Kazakhstan 1, but this was no victory to be proud of. Hold the champagne, Kazakhstan is ranked 131st in the world by FIFA and any championship team, let alone a premiership team, should have dispatched them off with ease. Instead, the all-star England team pottered around for almost an hour before opening their scoring account and even then gave off the impression of a lack of confidence.
England Fans expect their team not to just qualify for the World Cup but to win it. This was not a performance to base much hope on though. The attack was toothless for the first hour but even the defense was shaky and to allow Kazakhstan not only to score but to take as many shots on goal as they did was not promising. Brazil or Portugal or Holland would have carved up the England defense with ease today.
But Capello is a competent manager and will surely look to remedy the situation. This was an important game in terms of qualification but sometimes it is hard to gee yourselves up before weak opponents. We'll give them the benefit of doubt but there continue to be persistent problems that need to be addressed: playing Gerrard and Lampard together, finding a stable strike partner for Rooney, and (as mentioned before) keeping the well paid stars focused on their jobs.