The problem is Roy, not Roo


After a typical England deflating defeat, the skeptics and social media trolls were straight on the case, looking where to point the blame..most of the blame, went unfairly on Wayne Rooney.

Needs to be played as a striker, now

Needs to be played as a striker, now

Before I lay my case for Rooney let me state the facts, Wayne Rooney is not a left midfielder, he is not an attacking midfielder and he is certainly not a ‘midfielder’ in any sense. You play him in either his best position, the number 9 role, or the number 10 role, where he is lethal in both. He IS our best player, so why play our best player out of position to suit Daniel Sturridge. Ask any defender in world football who they would rather not see in the number 9 role against them, the majority would say Wayne Rooney. That says it all to me.

Last night after the game I saw a lot of tweets saying ‘Henderson and Welbeck awful’. I do not know what game these people were watching, as these two were our best two players as well as Sterling. I’ve learned that there are two types of people who watch football, the one’s that only judge players by what they do with the ball, and there’s the people like myself who judge on ALL ROUND performance, movement off the ball as well as work rate and knowing what to do without the ball. Henderson completely outshone Gerrard in the midfield yet the so called pundits gave him no credit whatsoever, and to make it worse, Hodgson subbed both Welbeck and Henderson. Ridiculous.

Tactically, the whole system was wrong. Don’t blame Rooney, blame Hodgson. All game we sat off Italy and allowed Pirlo and De Rossi to dictate the game, even when we were losing we didn’t seem to want to but any sort of pressure on the Italians, and because of that we did not deserve to win and we were punished. That’s the managers fault completely, not the players. It was so similar to two years ago at the Euro’s and for Gerrard and Hodgson to come out and say we pushed and pushed is an insult to the fans in my opinion.

I also seen a lot of praise for Ross Barkley, and yes he played well and I would start him next game, but for the whole 20 minutes he was on, he made Rooney look bad due to the fact he did not do the job of the number 10 role, the role he was playing. Barkley was too high up near the front man and didn’t drop back to get the ball, which meant Rooney had to do all the work, as usual. I like Barkley, but he needs to learn fast how to play the number 10 role, and not leave all the work to the number 9.

There were a few positives, Sterling, Henderson and Welbeck all looked good, but let’s not get carried away, changes must be made for the Uruguay game. Here is the team I’d play:

 

                                                         HART

 

JOHNSON                         CAHILL                        JAGIELKA                    SHAW

                 

                                  HENDERSON                  GERRARD

           

         STERLING                          BARKLEY               WELBECK

 

                                                       ROONEY

 

As you can see I have dropped Baines and Sturridge. Baines is not the same player as he is for Everton, for me Ashley Cole should be there no doubt about it. But I think Luke Shaw is better defensively than Baines, which is why I have him ahead of the Evertonian. The Rooney/Sturridge battle for the number 9 role will cause many arguments, but no doubt about it, Rooney is our best player, play him in his best position and he might actually be able to do something. I know this won’t be the team, Hodgson will no doubt bottle it and stick with the same 11, hopefully we can progress, but playing Rooney in that midfield 3 is asking for trouble really.

 

Brazil edge past Croatia, Referee shocker?


Brazil got the 2014 World Cup underway last night with a less than convincing 3-1 victory against a very unlucky Croatian side.

world cup

Possibly the most under pressure side since the 1950 Brazilian squad, today’s Brazil went down to an early own goal by Marcelo after Croatia took advantage of the attacking minded Brazilian full back Dani Alves. Olic crossed in low and the ball deflected off the right foot of the Real Madrid left-back, leaving Julio Cesar with no chance.

Brazil were struggling to look like the side they were a year ago in the Confederations cup and when Neymar raised his arm to Luka Modric, it looked for all the world that he would be getting a very early bath. Instead, he got yellow and instantly rubbed salt into those Croatian wounds picking up the ball and firing past a very nervy looking Croatian goalkeeper to level the game at 1-1. From that moment you felt as though the pressure on this young mans shoulders had been lifted and the team started to play a lot better, but without really threatening the Croats goal.

In the second half Croatia started the better and had a few half chances through Olic and Jelavic but did not really test Cesar. Then after 71 minutes, controversy, Fred turns in the box and goes down under a challenge from Lovren. The referee points to the spot but on replay there is little evidence of any real contact, although Lovren does have his arms on the Brazilian forward. Neymar scores the resulting penalty and go 2-1 up. Not long after Croatia have a goal disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper, again, leaving them feeling hard done by. Croatia try desperately to get the equaliser but in the 90th minutes, man of the match Oscar toe pokes home to give Brazil a 3-1 victory, which was not as easy as first expected.

Looking back at the game I don’t agree with all the criticism the referee got. Although he made a few wrong decisions from his angle it did look like Fred had been pulled back and I think a lot of referees would have made the same decision. But that’s over with now and Brazil done what was expected of them, they won the game and will look ahead to next weeks game against Mexico, where a win will more than likely see them through to the last 16. Today we have Mexico v Cameroon in the final group A match, and then at 8pm we will see a repeat of the 2010 final when Spain entertain Holland. Finally, at 11pm Chile take on Australia. Check out my predictions page to see what I think the outcome of all today’s games will be.

World Cup Countdown….1 day to go!


We’ve been waiting for four years, and now it’s finally here, just one day until we get underway in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I’m carrying on looking through the groups and today we’ll be having a look at two very interesting groups, E and F.

GROUP E                                             GROUP Fworld cup

FRANCE                                              ARGENTINA

HONDURAS                                      IRAN

ECUADOR                                          BOSNIA 

SWITZERLAND                              NIGERIA

 

OPENING FIXTURES

GROUP E- SWITZERLAND V ECUADOR   (SUNDAY 5PM)

GROUP E- FRANCE V HONDURAS   (SUNDAY 8PM)

GROUP F- ARGENTINA V BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA   (SUNDAY 11PM)

GROUP F- IRAN V NIGERIA   (MONDAY 8PM)

 

TEAMS

FRANCE- France were rocked with the news that Frank Ribery will miss the World Cup, but they have enough players on form who can help them have a successful tournament. Ribery’s replacement Remy Cabella is in the middle of a transfer saga involving Montpellier and Newcastle United, so a good World Cup for him could see his price tag shoot up. Cabaye, Remy and Benzema have all had good seasons at their clubs so will make France quite a threat for any team.

HONDURAS- Having only seen Honduras play a friendly game against England last week I don’t expect them to set the world alight at this World Cup. A very dirty team with not a lot of attacking threat. Quite solid at the back but will struggle in the group stage. I expect them to finish bottom of the group.

ECUADOR- Gave England a good game and looked quite dangerous on the counter attack. It’s a straight battle for second place in the group with Switzerland so when the two teams meet that will be a decisive game I feel.

SWITZERLAND- Switzerland somehow find themselves 6th in the official World rankings, which will not be on show when the tournament gets under way. I expect them to progress to the last 16 but if results are effected by conditions then it could be Ecuador who progress with France at their expense.

ARGENTINA- Argentina remain one of the favourites to win in Brazil, mainly down to the fact that they have a lot of in form players, Messia, Aguero, Higuain etc. They have the easiest group by far so if they score a lot of goals they will carry that confidence into the knockout rounds and will scare a lot of big team. They have a stable formation at the moment but still look a little bit weak at the back, however, it could be a case of you score one, we’ll score two. Dangerous opponents.

BOSNIA- The 21st best team in the world according to the rankings, if they can hold their nerve and make minimal mistakes, they will join Argentina in the last 16. They had a safe qualifying campaign with not many defeats. Look tight at the back and can offer decent threat going forward. Should comfortably beat Iran and Nigeria.

IRAN- Sadly just making up the numbers here. Iran will be battling with Nigeria to avoid finishing bottom in the group. The don’t offer a lot in any position and will find it difficult to stop Argentina scoring 4 or 5 past them

NIGERIA- Nigeria have some established players in their squad, John Obi Mikel, Peter Odemwingie, Joseph Yobo and of course Shola Ameobi. They had a decent qualifying campaign beating Ethiopia in the last round but have struggled in their warm up matches against Scotland and USA. They won’t offer much of a threat but I can see them beating Iran to third place in the group.

One quite open group here and the other very predictable in terms of the outcome. Argentina could be a big threat this year.. Tomorrow morning I’ll be looking at the final 2 groups and you will be able to see all my predictions for this World Cup.

World Cup Countdown…2 days to go!


Only 2 days to go until the 2014 FIFA World Cup gets underway. Today, we’ll be looking at Group C and Group D.

GROUP C                                    GROUP Dworld cup

COLUMBIA                               ENGLAND

GREECE                                      ITALY

IVORY COAST                        COSTA RICA

JAPAN                                         URUGUAY 

 

OPENING FIXTURES

GROUP C- COLUMBIA V GREECE   (SATURDAY 5PM)

GROUP C- IVORY COAST V JAPAN   (SUNDAY 2AM)

GROUP D- ENGLAND V ITALY   (SATURDAY 11PM)

GROUP D- COSTA RICA V URUGUAY   (SATURDAY 8PM)

 

TEAMS

COLUMBIA- Columbia suffered the biggest blow possible to them in the build up to the World Cup, with star player Falcao ruled out. There only chance really in having a decent tournament have surely been blown now. They will still expect to progress to the last 16 where they will face probably England or Italy, and then you would expect that to be the end of them. A player to watch though is midfielder James Rodriguez.

IVORY COAST- No doubt the strongest of the African teams represented in Brazil. They have a plethora of stars within their squad. The Toure brothers, Drogba, Tiote and Bony will all be hoping to contribute to a successful tournament for the Ivorians. They should comfortably progress to the last 16 where like their counterparts Columbia, should face either England or Italy, or indeed Uruguay depending on outcome of Group D. I expect a quarter final spot for them would be classed as a success.

JAPAN- Nobody will expect anything from Japan in this group, which could help take a bit of the pressure off them. Star player Shinji Kagawa has had a poor season at Manchester United and will not exactly be coming into this World Cup with much confidence. Unfortunately I think 3rd place in the group will be the best result for the Japanese this time out.

GREECE- Greece, the 2004 European championship winners and 12th ranked team in the world, enter this World Cup on good form having won 6 of their last 7 qualifiers only conceding 2 goals in the process. They face a battle to progress but they will certainly be hoping to cause an upset.

ITALY- The Italians are always a threat. no matter what for they are in when it comes to the major tournaments you always have to be wary. Losing Montolivo is a big blow, but they will be looking at Balotelli and De Rossi for big performances, especially in the early stages. Andrea Pirlo is obviously a big player for the 2006 winners, and teams will have to make sure they keep him quiet. What would be deemed as success for Italy? Surely they will be looking to minimum quarter finals, but anything beyond that would be a bonus in my opinion.

COSTA RICA- Costa Rica have seemed to have been forgotten about in this group. big outsiders to qualify out of the group, but you never know, an early goal against one of the big boys could cause a scare. I don’t expect this to happen though, and I can’t see anything other than 4th place in the group.

URUGUAY- Uruguay will be heavily relying on one man, Luis Suarez. If he is contained then they should not cause any major problems. Conditions will be on their side but they have a very ageing squad, and defensively they look very weak. The game against England could be a big game in terms of who will qualify and who won’t. Both sides are weak at the back so it could be a goal fest.

ENGLAND- England, the masters in failure and disappointment. Promise so much yet deliver seemingly nothing. This is a huge tournament for them, a lot of young players called into the squad, which could work, but also could not. England SHOULD progress through the group stage and if they do that will certainly be a relief to Roy Hodgson. Wayne Rooney is coming under a lot of scrutiny and a lot are questioning whether he should start against Italy on Saturday. If he does, he needs to offer a lot more than he has been recently, both for club and country. So what are their chances? as a patriotic fan you always want to win but I would be very surprised if they get past the quarter finals where they will probably meet Brazil or Spain.

So that’f Group C and D looked at. Both quite open groups, check out my predictions on Thursday afternoon where you can have a look at what I think will happen over the next couple of weeks in Brazil. Tomorrow I’ll be previewing Group E and F.