Friday, 29 March 2013

My Thoughts #4 - England and Super Mario

Three Lions: England are 2nd in their WC Qualifying Group, behind Montenegro who they drew with on Tuesday.

Well, well, well.... My country of birth and origin. England. 
The national football team who are currently 2nd in their World Cup Qualifying Group, with Montenegro 2 points ahead in 1st.

There are many burning questions surrounding England, a national football team that I follow and support. 
Spain and Germany are obviously the two teams to beat and be of the same class however, just look at their squad and you'll know what I mean. 

Anyways, everyone is wondering whether;
  • England will qualify 1st in their group - Probable. Not certain
  • They can win the WC altogether - No chance. Spain or Germany
  • They can beat Montenegro and Poland in their next few group stage matches - Perhaps, if they play well and don't switch off
They drew with Montenegro on Tuesday night, and even though they started the match off quickly and broke the deadlock within the first 5 minutes of the match thanks to a header by Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, they (as they always do) put their foot off the gas, and at half-time, Montenegro could regroup while knowing that they still had a chance.

Standing tall: Rooney takes advantage of not being marked to head the ball at the far post to break the deadlock.

If only you knew: Rooney wheels away to celebrate his opener against Montenegro in the 5th minute

The hosts pressed England throughout the second half, and eventually got an equaliser - albeit a scrappy one.  

Scrappy: Montenegro equalise to make it 1-1 after some poor England defending.

The Three Lions tried and tried to get back into the lead after this, but it was too late as Montenegro stood tall for a draw. 

It just shows that you can never be too complacent, after England thrashed non-professionals San Marino 8-0 in their last group stage match last Friday. 

Tale of two emotions: England look disappointed after conceding against Montenegro to make it 1-1.
Complacent: Rooney, Baines, Chamberlain and Defoe all celebrate their 8-0 win over San Marino last Friday.
Goals galore: Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe made it 3-0 to England against San Marino last Friday.

Young prospect: Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores his 2nd senior goal for England against San Marino

Clinical: Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney also gets on the scoresheet for England with a curling drive

Consistent or what? Chelsea's midfield talisman Lampard slots the ball past the defence to score for England.

YNWA: Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge scores a header against San Marino - his 1st senior goal for England

Great strike: Manchester United winger Ashley Young scored a screamer from 30 yards out against the non-pros.

Enough of the bad news for England.... here are 5 Young Lions who will be world-class in the next few years:

Jack Wilshere - Arsenal
An exciting midfield-maestro already who still has a lot of potential to fill, Jack Wilshere in one of the world's hottest prospects and is an England regular at such a young age. 
He is bound to become the next England captain in a few years, and it will be interesting to see whether The Gunners can keep him for much longer.

Club and country: Arsenal midfield maestro Jack Wilshere is one of the most exciting prospects in world football today.

Electric: Jack Wilshere played extremely well for England against Brazil in his last match.
  
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - Arsenal
Signed for £15million pounds from Southampton two years ago, most Arsenal fans were very skeptical about the deal. 
Now however, he is an exciting, pacy but strong winger who can play in a forward or midfield role and is starting to cement his place in the England squad. 
Needs to start more games for The Gunners though, as he is normally on the bench for "rest" to ensure that he does not get burnout unlike many Gunners over the years.  

Well spent: Despite critisicm of the transfer fee, Chamberlain has lived up to his hype, and is beginning to fulfil his potential.

Electric: Chamberlain (left) has already played 52 matches for The Gunners within his first two seasons.
Potential: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has played 10 matches for the England senior team, scoring twice

Wilfried Zaha - Crystal Palace
One of the fastest and skillful players in his league, Zaha has impressed with consistent performances over the past few months. Sir Alex Ferguson is starting to look to the future with his United squad, hence having a £15million bid accepted in January, and he will join up with the squad in the summer, after he tries to help Crystal Palace get back into the EPL. 
He HAS made his senior England debut, but is currently playing for the U-21s. As soon as he starts playing well for United, that will surely change. 

Promising: Wilfried Zaha is one to watch over the next few years, having completed a summer move to United

Startlet: Zaha has made 10 appearances for England, at U-19, U-21 and senior level.

Raheem Sterling - Liverpool
Pace, skills, intelligence, awareness. All atributes of Liverpool's young winger Raheem Sterling. Rarely ever has a bad game, always excites the Liverpool faithful every week with his blistering pace and assists.
The next step on his road to greatness is becoming a regular for England. Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott are injury-prone, while Ashley Young is inconsistent. This is the chance for Sterling to step up and be counted.

Impressive: Sterling (right) is an exciting prospect who uses his blistering pace and skills to get past defenders.

Capped for country: Sterling has been capped 28 times for England, at U-16, U-17, U-19, U-21 and senior level.

Jack Butland - Birmingham City
Birmingham's startlet, Jack Butland has impressed as a young goalkeeper over the last year and matured well for country and club. He played in the London 2012 Olympics for Team GB, and has had a great season n the Championship for Birmingham.

Interest: Jack Butland's good showing for Team GB during the London 2012 Olympics made him a wanted man.

FACT: Butland has made history by becoming the youngest goalkeeper to play for the England senior team.

Done deal: Butland signed a four-and-a-half deal with Stoke City for a transfer fee of £4million pounds.
This is attracted a lot of interest from various clubs in England, including Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. However, he made a very mature decision to join Stoke City for £3.5million pounds in January, with him joining the squad at the end of the season. 

His reasoning for this, was that he did not want to be on the bench for a top club, and would rather be playing first-team football every week. This just shows how hungry he is to play football, and is highly-regarded as the man to replace Joe Hart in a couple of years as England No.1.

Super Mario - Mario Balotelli: 

Since his £20million pound move back to Italy, Balotelli has been electric in front of goal, and a completely changed man - on and off the pitch.
So much so that Manchester City will be kicking themselves that they were not able to keep hold of him enough to fulfil his potential.

Balotelli has scored 9 goals in 9 matches, with 6 for AC Milan ad 3 in 2 matches for Italy (against Brazil and Malta)

On fire: Balotelli has scored 6 goals in 7 matches on his return to the Serie A.

They all count: Balotelli has scored 2 of his 9 since moving from City - from the penalty spot.

At the double: Balotelli scored twice against Palermo for AC Milan in his 3rd match back in Italy.
Double again: Balotelli scored twice against Malta in Italy's World Cup Qualifying Group Stage Match.

Untouchable: City will be wondering what happened - Balotelli is in the form of his life and is content in Italy.
Class act: Balotelli shows City what they are missing with a curling strike from 25 yards out against Brazil.

Thank you for reading my EPL Blog, and hopefully you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did making it. I apologise in advance if any of my posts are published late in the future, but seeing as it is Easter now I am pumped for a LOT of EPL action. :)
Spread the word to your friends who are interested in football (or soccer) and don't be afraid to comment on your EPL opinions and views. I'll speak to you all later, stay safe.