Another horrible performance by England today against Algeria, and suddenly a team that some pundits had reaching the semi-finals could not make it out of the group stages.
In order to progress in the World Cup England need to beat Slovenia next Wednesday. With only one goal in 180 minutes of World Cup play, it is not a sure thing that England will win.
So what is going wrong?
In order to win these types of tournaments, a team needs it big stars to step up and lead from the front. For England that is Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney.
As England captain Steven Gerrard has step up in England’s two games. He is the only England goalscorer and when he plays through the middle capable of creating opportunities for England. Frank Lampard I believe has been a major disappointment. He is a world-class player for Chelsea, but he has not stamped his influence on this World Cup. Other than the good save he forced the Algerian goalkeeper to make today, can you name another memorable play that Lampard has made in the World Cup? I can’t.
That brings me to Wayne Rooney, who was non-existence for the second game in the row. This World Cup was supposed to be the showground for Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney. Rooney must have missed that memo as he has been terrible. He looked lethargic tonight and I don’t know if he is still carrying an injury, but England’s talisman does not look fit.
So Fabio Capello has some tough decisions to make before England’s last game and there is no margin for error. England have to win. Will he keep faith with Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney or will he try to jump-start his team with some changes.
Here is how I would like to see England line up against Slovenia next week. James in goal. Back four of Johnson, Terry, Dawson and Cole (Carragher is suspended from the game. In midfield I would play Lennon, Barry, Gerrard and Cole. Lampard has not been impressive and this is not the time to pick players on reputation. It needs to be on form. Up front I would go with the Spurs pair of Crouch and Defoe. Rooney has simply not been effective, he has not scored in his last seven games for England and has not looked like scoring in this World Cup.
Unfortunately I don’t think that Capello will make this tough decisions. I expect him to stick with Lampard and Rooney. Would you?