In this section we want to explore and analyse, from a coaching perspective, how England perform tactically in the World Cup. We will analyse the actual games that England play and use examples of situations that occur in those games to explain key coaching points. Whilst we have chosen England to focus on, the analysis is designed to give coaches a coaching insight and understanding about why and how teams play certain formations, how and why they deploy specific tactics and we explain the reasons behind the principles of their organisation at attacking and defending set pieces. We will also analyse how the opposition play against England and what they are trying to achieve.Areas that will be covered include, how and why England keep possession, the art of counter attacking, the principles of defending and attacking, both as a team and as individuals and how chances and goals were created. We also look in depth at why things went well and why things went badly.
By using coaches chalkboard, we can provide progressive graphics to visually explain the key coaching and tactical points in relation to England performances.
We also take an in depth look at the England squad and examine their strengths and weaknesses as players and why they are chosen to perform specific roles within team.
We will attempt to have the analysis of England performances in the World Cup online within 48 hours after the game has ended.
England's group games in the World Cup.
|June 10 2006||England V Paraguay||15.00|
|June 15 2006||England V Trinidad and Tobago||18.00|
|June 20 2006||England V Sweden||21.00|
Preview of England:
England are long on passion but short on actual prizes with their 1966 FIFA World Cup success on home soil is still their only major tournament triumph. They will certainly not lack support, with many thousands expected to make the trip to Germany, but can they finally deliver in a major tournament.
England will travel to Germany among the favourites despite a qualifying campaign that, while relatively easy, did provide a hiccup or two on the way. After opening with a 2-2 draw in Austria, Sven-Goran Eriksson's side won six games in succession before suffering an hugely embarrassing 1-0 loss to Northern Ireland on 7 September 2005, which exposed a number of worrying weaknesses.
England secured first place in Group 6 with a record of eight victories, one draw and just one defeat in ten matches.
England have made eleven previous FIFA World Cup finals appearances, starting with their debut at Brazil 1950. Since the glory of 1966, however, the furthest they have travelled in the competition was to the semi-finals in 1990, where they lost on penalties to West Germany. Four years ago in Korea/Japan, they were losing quarter-finalists for the fifth time, going down 2-1 to Brazil having taken the lead through a Michael Owen goal. This game also opened a number of arguments about Mr. Ericssons tactical ability, when despite playing against 10 men for much of the match, they failed completely to trouble Brazil and didn't seem to have the ability to change their game plan, experiment and force the play in a win all match.
England are in the group B with Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and Sweden. Whilst there are no givens at this level, England should qualify from this group, with the added bonus that the 3 games should improve the match sharpness of Ashley Cole and Michael Owen who have both only recently overcome injuries. With 14 days or so between the first group game and the knockout stages this may provide valuable healing time for Rooney's broken foot. Whether he would be match fit is another question.
In the pre World Cup warm up matches, it is interesting to note that Mr Ericsson has used the games to experiment tactically. Despite much criticism, he has used the games to allow the players to understand what might be required from them when various tactically situations present themselves in the World Cup. For example, whilst Jamie Carragher would not be the first choice as a holding midfield player if England need to chase the game and score goals to win a match. He may welll have a major role to play if England are winning a game, are under pressure and want to close a game down, keep possession and make it difficulut for the opponents. The first half against Hungary provided an opportunity for the team to play together, understand their roles if this scenario presents itself.
Likewise the game against Jamaica provided and opportunity for England to play a 4 - 4 - 2 formation with Crouch and Own together up front and Lamapard and Gerrard playing together in midfield. In the event that England need to chase a game and score goals, then the players had a full competitive match
England boast a number of genuine World class players. Owen is a proven goalscorer at the highest level, Rooney if fit, is a prodigious talent and the midfield trio of David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard would grace any team. In defence England are particularly strong with John Terry emerging as a genuine World class defender and Rio Ferdinand proving at the last World Cup he can raise his game to be one of the best defenders in the World at this level. . Gary Neville has been there and done it and provides a real organisational ability. They have also selected a number of players who could surprise many. Peter Crouch has his doubters, but he will certainly have a role as an impact player and if he gains his confidence could surprise and upset many international defenders with his unorthodox build and ability on the ball. If Theo Walcott and Aaaron Lennon can overcome their youth and nerves, they both have genuine pace and ability, can beat players in key areas and may well be surprise packages for many opposition players. Stuart Downing has overcome his injury problems and may have a key role to play at crucial times with his ability to play wide on the left, beat players and deliver quality crosses.
If everyone was fit, England's team would largely pick itself. But in a campaign that could last a potential 6 games, with injuries, suspensions and loss of form, England, along with the rest of the teams will have to also rely on and have faith in the whole squad. The worries for England are that Rooney may not be fit, whether Gerrard and Lampard can play effectively together in central midfield, the fitness and form of Owen, as there doesn't seem to be another proven goalscorer in the squad. Whilst David James has great natural ability as a goalkeeper, his tendency to make major mistakes is a real worry. It will be important for England's chances the Robinson plays well and stays fit. Finally, this will be a test of the tactical ability of Mr. Ericsson and his successor Steve McClaren to provide more than just a plan A when things go wrong, to provide inspiration and passion and to have the courage to take chances and to make changes to established personnel and shake things up tactically when the need dictates. There is little point in taking young impact players who offer something different if there is not a real conviction to use them when appropriate.