There was pleny of positivity, for England, leading in to this World Cup. When the doubts of heat, and whether the players had been well-rested after a long season, were waved away by Roy Hodgson. We were all told England were as prepared as they could be.
A lot of belief was spread from fans that they would top the group, With young stars like Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley, I was inclined to agree with them. However at this World Cup anything is possible. If we look to the near future (tomorrow night) every England fan will be wishing Italy can crush Costa Rica by a comfortable goal difference. If the Italians draw or lose then England will be following Spain to the airport. However if they win then the English come to their biggest game yet (with their fate still at the feet of the Italians too). Tuesday 24th is not far away and all 4 teams of group D will play at 5pm. Italy must beat Uruguay and England have to thrash Costa Rica to stand any chance of qualifying.
This game could then produce massive problems for Roy Hodgson. Does he stick with the same starting line up that has lost both games by the same deficit. Or does he put his faith in the younger players we have not seen start? Does he dare to drop players like Gerrard, Rooney and Baines? To replace them with the fearless young stars like Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana. Perhaps Lampard will replace Henderson and we could see the infamous Gerrard/Lampard combination again. If Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is fit then maybe he should replace Wellbeck.
England’s experienced players aren’t getting any younger. This is likely to be Gerrard, Rooney and Lampards last World Cup and if it carries on the way it’s been going they won’t be there for much longer. So I believe if it comes down to this last game they don’t play both the holding midfielders. Instead maybe they should play a 4-4-2 or a 4-1-3-2 and have Rooney or Lambert alongside Sturridge. This way they won’t be constantly running the ball down the wing to cross with no success. The height of Lambert is a threat so if they are going to cross why has he only played 5 minutes in 2 games?
Blame can be put on the heat or the media pressurising players too much. But at the end of the day these players names are in our headlines all the time so they should be able to cope. However the expectation of England is set unbelievably high. England need to use all their youth now. They are direct and will run at the opponents. If it doesn’t pay off at least it is experience for the future.