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Sven-Goran Eriksson and England

John Simkin

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I find Sven-Goran Eriksson’s tactics difficult to grasp. The only explanation for Saturday’s tactics against Wales was that David Beckham picked the team. Were Wales such a threat that we had to play 4-5-1? This meant playing Rooney as a lone striker and leaving Defoe on the bench. Rooney obviously hates playing in this position and totally undermines his key strength. Playing 4-4-2 would have given us a chance to see how Rooney and Defoe could play together. In the second-half Shaun Wright-Phillips began to have an impact and so Eriksson took him off and replaced him with Defoe. Rooney was sent to play in defence and shortly afterwards Owen Hargreaves was brought on to help protect Beckham against the Welsh forwards (therefore proving that Beckham cannot be trusted to play in this position against any half-decent team).

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  • 2 months later...

What a great game last night. I suppose we were lucky that Argentina decided to play such an open game. For long periods they completely outplayed England and probably deserved at least a draw from the game. I believe Sven-Goran Eriksson’s tactics were partly to blame for this. Playing Ledley King as a holding midfield player meant sacrificing an outlet wide left. This gave the initiative to Argentina. Juan Roman Riquelme was fantastic. Probably the best individual performance I have seen this season. Apparently he could not get in the Barcelona side last year and has now been sold to Villarreal. Even with the extra defender England could not cope with him.

It has often been said that the best form of defence is attack. This proved to be correct when Joe Cole replaced King. Gerrard also looked more comfortable on the right. Without this change, Gerrard and Cole would not have been able to provide the crosses that led to Owen’s two goals.

As Rooney showed during the game, even the best defenders in the world hate forwards running at them. Even with three defenders around Cole, he was still able to put in the cross that won the game.

At least Eriksson made the right substitutions early enough for it to work. I thought that bringing on Crouch for the last few minutes even worked (although he tried to knock Owen out of the way for the winner).

However, I cannot see why he played Wayne Bridge. He clearly was not fit and has not played in the premier league all season (only allowed to play in the Carling Cup). It would have been an ideal opportunity to see if Paul Konchesky is good enough at this level.

If Eriksson gets the tactics right I still think we can do really well in the World Cup. We will not beat Argentina (if it had been a competitive match they would have wound up Rooney so much he would have been sent off before half-time).

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