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England fails again

Rashneel Kumar
Monday, June 16, 2014

SAME same but different.

That's the England football side for you.

Since winning the title for the first time in 1966 at home, the English have been trying hard to get their hands on the FIFA World Cup trophy for the second time in their history.

They came close once in 1990 where the side skippered by Manchester United legend Bryan Robson finished fourth.

That England side had the likes of the most capped English player Peter Shilton, Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne.

England did not qualify in 1994, made the quarters in 2002 and 2006 and finished 13th in the last World Cup in 2010.

Some star players in the past two World Cups in particular Wayne Rooney failed to deliver so you can imagine the expectation from the fans this year.

Rooney obviously has grown as a player as in person and with the inclusion of some exciting youngsters in Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Raheem Stirling, England looked to have finally got the team to end their winless drought.

The side has an excellent mix of experienced and young players, without doubt a bright future ahead for the team.

Despite being grouped in the 'pool of death' with four-time World Cup winners Italy, two-time winners Uruguay and Costa Rica, English football pundits rate the team highly.

When Costa Rica caused a major upset early yesterday beating Uruguay minus its star player Luis Suarez 3-1, Italy versus England mattered more than anticipated.

Italy drew first blood, a great dummy from veteran Pirlo to allow Claudio Marchisio to blast home the opener.

Two minutes later, Rooney's excellent cross found Sturridge unmarked and the Liverpool striker pushed in the equaliser.

England looked right in the game but lost focus early in the second spell allowing Mario Balotelli a free header to give Italy the 2-1 lead.

Despite numerous attempts, the score remained the same.

So what happened to England? Will they finish like they did in the previous World Cups.

England looked a better side except for Rooney who still can't find the form he is known for with Manchester United.

The Steven Gerard-skippered side despite having slightly less possession took 18 shots at goal compared to Italy's 12 and forced nine corner kicks.

Italy committed more fouls — 12, managed only two corner kicks and were caught off side seven times to none of England.

They had the statistics of the winning side.

England failed in defence, leaving an attacker like Balotelli, who knows about English football having spent two seasons with Manchester City, unmarked maybe the biggest mistake the side has made.

They face a must win against Uruguay with Suarez who should be ready for the all important match.

The Three Lions does not need to look too far for inspiration; the disastrous finish in the 2010 World Cup should be enough to get them back on track.

On the brighter side, there is no lack of quality goals in Brazil this year.

Ivory Coast's two within a minute that downed Japan 2-1 had the crowd at home on their feet.

Simply stunning!

Fixtures (today) - 4am Switzerland-Ecuador, 7am France v Honduras, 10am Argentina-Bosnia and Herzegovina





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