ANALYSIS England attacked the opposition yesterday, they gave it a go and eventually lost to an Italy team that didn’t get out of first gear because they had a striker that could make a difference between the sides – Mario Balotelli – and an ageing but very impressive man at the heart of the action, one Andrea Pirlo.
There were positives to the performance but the truth is England’s players were not the finished article when it came to the box. All the energy and hardwork came to nothing and the longer the game went on the less likely they looked like scoring.
There was a mixture of experience and youth in the England ranks, but Gerrard and Rooney compared poorly when you look at 35-year-old Pirlo and the way in which he virtually ran the game. Here, was a player whose dummy set up the second goal who was at centre of most things through out the game and who even managed to hit the bar with a spectacular free kick in the closing stages. In contrast, Gerrard and Rooney didn’t even get close to troubling the goalkeeper – most of their shots were way out, Gerrard’s freekick in the last ten minutes was poor.
Of the younger players, there were many good things but you can’t make snap judgments on fresh individuals, that can only come with time as young talent carves out a permanent place to create a great side which England are sadly not at this moment.
However, in Brazil 2014 at the present time after an energetic and fearless performance it is fair to say England will have a good chance against Uruguay and Costa Rica, and may even progress into the next round but don’t expect them to fare well if and when they come up against an opposition that can field quality opposition players like Italy were able to last night with Balotelli and Pirlo.