Sunday, 24 November 2013

England losing twice in 5 days - analysis + review:

England have already qualified for next year's summer World Cup in Brazil, after a nervy finish to their qualification group seeing off the likes of Poland and Ukraine to seal their spot at the international championships next year. However, last week (and this past Tuesday) they were given two very different tests against opposition they should be challenging for wins.

The first of these international friendly tests was against South American side Chile, with the likes of Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez and Juventus powerhouse midfielder Arturo Vidal in their ranks in the starting line-up. Vidal was unavailable for the game, and Sanchez was forced to lead the line for his country in England at Wembley - lead the line he did well throughout scoring a brace against a helpless England second string with Fraser Forster being deputised as the number 1 goalkeeper ahead of under-fire Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Helpless: Sanchez scored a brace as England lost 2-0 at home to Chile last week. 
Clinical: Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez celebrates his first of two against England.
The second game was of a higher intensity and more important for England to win, against one of the best international teams in the world: Germany. 

The game was played on Tuesday, at Wembley with England taking the match more seriously than they did against Chile (because they were desperate to win in order to show the world they should be regarded as one of the best international sides in the world), meanwhile Germany brought out a second string side with only 4-5 first-team players in the starting line-up and some debutants who have not played for their country as much but have impressed at club level in the Bundesliga in recent months. 

One of these players was striker Max Kruse, who has 7 goals and 6 assists so far this season in the Bundesliga and was rewarded with a start in attack for Germany. He was playing as a lone striker as Reus and Gotze were assisting him on the flanks giving the England full-backs trouble throughout the game even though The Three Lions started the game better but did not take their chances.

Germany were soon settled into the game after 20-25 minutes, and you could instantly tell it was bad news for England, with Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker breaking the deadlock with a header past under-fire Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart after a great initial save but he failed to parry the follow-up header from the 6 foot 6 tall defender. That shows the difference between a good team and a great team - being clinical with chances. 

Unstoppable: Arsenal's Per Mertesacker scored the only goal of the game with a header.

Germany made substitutions throughout from the start of the second half, with the game opening up and Reus + Gotze easily getting past the English defence on the counter attack but were unable to take their chances. 

Tottenham winger Andros Townsend was a bright spark for England, with a spectacular 25-yard strike hitting the post beating Weidenfeller but not the woodwork as the hosts kept trying for an equaliser.  

In the end, Germany held on well for a 1-0 away win at Wembley - England's home turf. Another win. Away from home. Without going into fifth gear. With their second string side. 

Questions asked: England struggled against both Chile and a second string Germany side, which begs the question whether they'll do well at the World Cup next year.

Germany manager Joachim Low shakes hands with Roy Hodgson after the game.

Thank you for reading my blog post today as always, I apologise for any blog posts being published late but my schedule is busy and hectic at the moment which hinders me from publishing as consistently as I would like to.

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