English Angle: Five Reasons England Will Conquer Spain
Yesterday, Goal.com‘s Ewan Macdonald offered five compelling reasons as to why Spain will defeat England
1) England Are Criminally Under-Rated
All too often one hears cries of
‘s lack of home grownMoscow last season had 10 Anglican starters so talent has never been an issue, it’s the organisation of it that has been of question. Under Fabio Capello though the national side have continued to grind out results, have lost only once – in a friendly, against France (1-0) – and are slowly beginning to look the polished article. The most recent fixture, the 2-1 win over the Germans, was a greater triumph than the 4-1 destruction of Croatia as the team possessed balance despite the selection of fringe players. England
are again without a number of their stars but the depth is often overlooked. Under-rate them if you wish, but the Lions will continue to roar.
2) The Scion Of Paul Scholes Is Coming Of Age
It is true. England have sorely missed the playmaking capabilities of the audacious passer; Paul Scholes. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are individually outstanding midfielders and indeed assured passers of the football, but a descendant from the school of Scholes they are not. Michael Carrick on the other hand, is. If one were to assess the key positions from Manchester United’s success this season – that sees them still battling on four fronts – then defence and Nemanja Vidic would be all too often spoken of, neglecting the contributions of Carrick. He sits well, can pass accurately all day, make play after play, and could prove to be a good partner for disciplined shield (and sound passer himself) Gareth Barry, while one of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard is employed further forward. Carrick’s last game in an England shirt was against Germany
3) Translating Club Form To The International Arena
Goal.com‘s Ewan Macdonald pointed out that Gabriel Agbonlahor could be too green for a game of this stature and, in the absence of Jermain Defoe, Michael Owen, and Wayne Rooney, is likely to get the nod to start the game, especially considering he was found the favourable option for the Germany game. Fabio Capello even stated that the electric pace of Agbonlahor would be the perfect tonic to Carrick’s deep-lying passing. Gabriel is the top-ranked Englishman in the goal-scoring charts, and fourth overall in the Premier League table of goals tallied. An all Aston Villa forward line with Emile Heskey though is now an unlikelihood as the latter has pulled up injured, but this provides an opportune moment for an in-form Carlton Cole – five goals in seven games – to shine. Cole may be sneered at by some for his failure to establish himself in a Chelsea team, but since Gianfranco Zola took charge of West Ham the 25-year-old has displayed hot form. His confidence is high, his strength on and off the ball has improved, and he could prove to be just as big a nuisance as Heskey would have been. Both Agbonlahor and Cole should take solace and self-assurance from the fact that Spain
4) Defensive Rigidity
In nine Fabio Capello instructed internationals, England have conceded seven times. However, when facing teams of a high standard (France, Croatia, Germany
The team have had questions fired their way during press conferences and before, about how the team will react if England‘s black players are subjected to racial abuse like the vile monkey chants that were aired at Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole in 2004 in Madrid. Vice-captain Rio Ferdinand replied that they would concentrate on the pitch. A point, and perhaps a statement of intent, could be made by out-performing the European Champions on their own yard.*
*Fabio Capello was quick to point out that as a former resident of Spain he knew that the people – as a whole – were not racist.