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Thread: Roy Crouchson - Taking England to Poland & Ukraine 2012

  1. #101
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    Crouchy, I went back and read your "Fabio Crouchello" story & really enjoyed it all, interesting to see your approach. I thought you were very unlucky in that save to lose those two finals, great to see you've gone one better this time. Really interested to see how you "bring the youth" in.

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    Also be interesting if any wonderkid newgens come around in time for 2014. May be a tournament too soon for that.

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    Great job at Euro 2012, some may say the draw was fortunate but you can only beat what's put in front of you, and you did that with aplomb. I bet you were going mad when the last-minute winner went in against Germany!

    Looking forward to seeing how the World Cup goes!

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    Sorry, I thought Hodgson won the Scudetto with Inter. My mistake.

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    Hodgson is a very overrated manager. However he's the most qualified English manager for the job, we'll still be lucky to get out of the groups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by williamshankley View Post
    Hodgson is a very overrated manager. However he's the most qualified English manager for the job, we'll still be lucky to get out of the groups.
    In what way is he overrated? The general perception is that he's a competent tactician who organises functional sides that can compensate for limited technical ability. Sounds perfect for England. The fact that we'll be lucky to get out of the group is neither here nor there. Only Ukraine have a weaker group of players than us, whoever is in charge won't change that. Sweden's squad is surprisingly good when you look at it - and putting Zlatan as the playmaker rather than lone striker could prove a masterstroke in getting the best out of him in a yellow shirt.

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    The problem with Hodgson at Liverpool was the club itself and the fans.

    As Snake said, he has a great track record of getting teams results with limited funds and talent. Liverpool themselves and the fans demand a certain level of talent and style of play. Look at Andy Carroll, he came from a club where he was the main target of all the crosses and the focal point of the attack. At Liverpool, he was not the main attacker, he was expected to contribute and Liverpool don't play 'pump-it-into-the-box' football. That's why he struggled so mightly. The two do not mesh. Also, Hodgson needed a season or two to change the very nature of the team and he wasn't given it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lurkingwithintent View Post
    Crouchy, I went back and read your "Fabio Crouchello" story & really enjoyed it all, interesting to see your approach. I thought you were very unlucky in that save to lose those two finals, great to see you've gone one better this time. Really interested to see how you "bring the youth" in.
    Glad you enjoyed it!

    In terms of bringing the youth in, it's always hard on FM. The AI managers at the various clubs tend to always stick with older players and rarely give younger players a chance, so it makes bringing in young players a bit of a challenge.

    So far in this save, the likes of Wellbeck and Wilshere etc., aren't getting any games at their clubs. Meanwhile, Lampard and Gerrard will probably carry on playing every game until they are 40! That's how it is in FM. Needs a tweak, in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by CityAndColour View Post
    Also be interesting if any wonderkid newgens come around in time for 2014. May be a tournament too soon for that.
    I have a feeling that 2014 might be quite a tough tournament. As I said above, the younger players aren't developing much as they aren't getting games at their clubs. Maybe the tournaments in 2016 and 2018 could be better for wonderkid newgens to come in and change things for England.

    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    Great job at Euro 2012, some may say the draw was fortunate but you can only beat what's put in front of you, and you did that with aplomb. I bet you were going mad when the last-minute winner went in against Germany!
    I went absolutely mental. Spot on.

    It was one of those FM games where you feel totally out of control of the situation, as if it's mainly down to the character of your players more than anything else. I felt pretty sure we were going to lose it. It certainly felt as if it was going that way.

    To win with a last minute winner was amazing!

    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    In what way is he overrated? The general perception is that he's a competent tactician who organises functional sides that can compensate for limited technical ability. Sounds perfect for England.
    Agreed, I think Hodgson could be a very good fit for England.

    That said, I don't think that he is just a 'mid-table side' manager as some sections of the media have suggested. He has managed big sides in Europe and won titles at those clubs.

    But even if we go along with this idea that Hodgson is more Fulham or West Brom than Liverpool, it actually goes pretty well with England's position in international football at the moment, in my opinion!

    England could have a good tournament playing in the way we have in the Norway and Belgium friendly matches.

    There seems to be plenty of criticism already from people who believe that there is only one way to play football and that England somehow need to copy the Spain/Barcelona model of possession football. Fortunately, there is more than one way to play football. England need to play to their strengths and minimise their weaknesses. What we have seen so far is that Roy is being extremely pragmatic and organising his team according to the resources he has available.

    It's not going to be pretty stuff from England this tournament but I'm not bothered about seeing pretty stuff at all. If we can grind out some 1-0s in the way we did versus Belgium or against Norway then I will be delighted.

    People seem to think that football is evolving in a certain way and that everyone needs to follow the Spain model. It's just not true and if you think carefully Spain are actually the exception rather than the rule. Most national teams going into a major tournament have recognised that, in order to go any distance in the competition, being well organised and keeping things tight is the way forward. Look at the Netherlands in WC 2010. In fact, look at the majority of successful sides in 2010, who played very rigid and compact systems and managed to grind out results. That you need to play fluid and possession-based football to be successful in modern football is a myth.

    Whenever Man Utd grind out a result with two banks of four in the Premier League, people call it the art of champions. When England do it, there is huge amounts of criticism thrown at the manager and the team! And, let's face it, Italy have been playing in this pragmatic and cautious manner since the beginning of time, and they are one of the most successful International sides in the history of the game!

    Hodgson's approach worked wonders at Fulham when they reached the Europa League final (the season he was named Manager of the Year) so clearly it can be successful in a European tournament. And let's face it, as I suggested above, England and Fulham aren't too far apart for comparisons in terms of their respective positions in international and club football in some senses!

    The defensive and well drilled side of things is looking good. Going forward, things can only get better as we get to see a settled side. But I want clean sheets first and foremost; let's build from the back and be hard to beat as a primary goal.

    I'm cautiously optimistic for the real life Euro 2012 tournament and hopeful that we can at least get some pride out of the results in the tournament. Fingers crossed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deisler26 View Post
    The problem with Hodgson at Liverpool was the club itself and the fans.
    Indeed, he paid the price for not being King Kenny and for having the wrong accent too. He wasn't the manager that the fans wanted from the very start.

    As Snake said, he has a great track record of getting teams results with limited funds and talent. Liverpool themselves and the fans demand a certain level of talent and style of play.
    Maybe historically that's true of Liverpool. But how about the Houllier era?

    Hodgson had a very tough deal at Liverpool any way you look at it and shouldn't have taken the job in the first place.

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    I find it quite funny that their hero "King" Kenny did significantly worse having spent £100m. And sold Meireles, presumably for the heinous crime of being Hodgson's best signing. Probably their best signing of the last two years all things considered! It really rankled with me the amount of rubbish I/we got from other fans and in the media when Newcastle reappointed Keegan - who actually improved our fortunes, let's not forget - and when Liverpool do exactly the same, everyone just says "yeah fair enough" even as the wheels were coming off.

    It should be said in admitting bias here that I hate Dalglish for what he did to us. Horrendous manager 20 years past his sell-by date.

    Maybe historically that's true of Liverpool. But how about the Houllier era?
    And most of the Benitez era? The season before they sold Xabi Alonso they played some fantastic football, but other than that it was fairly functional with (admittedly fairly frequent) embellishments from Torres and (less frequently) Alonso. That said I do sympathise with having to watch terrible football whilst not even getting results - any time anyone even implies that we might have been wrong to ditch Allardyce (usually when his side do something out of character like score a goal) I die a little inside. We were awful. I think you have to be fair and say Liverpool were right to get rid when they did. Hodgson is a good manager but was not a good fit for Liverpool at that time.

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    That was a little bit of a stream of consciousness! I'll blame the fact that I'm not awake yet. I think my point was (in a nutshell):
    • I'd be wary of too much revisionism of Hodgson's time at Liverpool
    • That doesn't make him a bad manager
    • Sometimes clubs and managers are just a bad fit
    • Dalglish and Allardyce are useless cretins

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    The football was a bad fit fullstop, he tried to change Reina into a more 'English keeper' and instructed Agger, the best ball playing defender we've had in years to 'just ****ing lump it'. I could go on.

    On top of that nobody wanted a manager of ours sacking up to SAF. That's the media's job.

    I know some of you are big Hodgson fans but he was hardly blameless as to why it didn't work out.

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    But more importantly....

    Any updates Crouchy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaycar View Post
    But more importantly....

    Any updates Crouchy?
    I have played a couple more games in the qualifiers. Keep getting distracted by the Euros at the moment though! Watching more IRL matches than playing FM matches! Will write them up at some point.

    Feeling nervous about England IRL today. I just want the team to restore a bit of pride for us England fans in this tournament.

    It makes me sad to see how England have fallen in recent years. I was watching some Euro 96 stuff this morning as it typically gets brought up before each new Euros when England are competing. It was making me feel a bit sad. I used to have a ton of pride in my country's football team for the passion and pride shown, plus some of the talented players we had back then.

    I was feeling a bit emotional thinking about that tournament back in 1996. Football coming home, Gazza's goal against the Scots, our fantastic performance versus the Dutch, Stuart Pearce's penalty where he went absolutely mental after scoring and all that good stuff! Great days!

    This tournament, I just want us to get a bit of pride back in the national team. I don't care if it's pretty, I don't care if it's enjoyable to watch. I don't want England to play like the Spanish anyway like some people seem to want! I want to see some bravery, some fighting spirit, some character and hopefully some talent too. And I really hope a younger player is able to emerge for England during their games at the Euros (maybe Welbeck?) so that we have some brighter signs for the future.

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    I actually don't like the way Spain/Barcelona play. I'm more of an Italy/Mourinho guy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deisler26 View Post
    I actually don't like the way Spain/Barcelona play. I'm more of an Italy/Mourinho guy
    Same for me. I get bored watching Barca play, just passing the ball at the back.

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    I don't think it's realistic for us to attempt to copy Spain, however it would be very useful for a hot summer tournament to be able to retain the ball as a controlling/almost defensive tactic. Two banks of four and hit them on the break is a much better option for us with our players and mentality, but when you're playing 3 games per week in 30+ degree heat, you need to hold the ball for a bit to give yourselves a breather sometimes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crouchaldinho View Post
    I have played a couple more games in the qualifiers. Keep getting distracted by the Euros at the moment though! Watching more IRL matches than playing FM matches! Will write them up at some point.

    Feeling nervous about England IRL today. I just want the team to restore a bit of pride for us England fans in this tournament.

    It makes me sad to see how England have fallen in recent years. I was watching some Euro 96 stuff this morning as it typically gets brought up before each new Euros when England are competing. It was making me feel a bit sad. I used to have a ton of pride in my country's football team for the passion and pride shown, plus some of the talented players we had back then.

    I was feeling a bit emotional thinking about that tournament back in 1996. Football coming home, Gazza's goal against the Scots, our fantastic performance versus the Dutch, Stuart Pearce's penalty where he went absolutely mental after scoring and all that good stuff! Great days!

    This tournament, I just want us to get a bit of pride back in the national team. I don't care if it's pretty, I don't care if it's enjoyable to watch. I don't want England to play like the Spanish anyway like some people seem to want! I want to see some bravery, some fighting spirit, some character and hopefully some talent too. And I really hope a younger player is able to emerge for England during their games at the Euros (maybe Welbeck?) so that we have some brighter signs for the future.
    Just saw the Lescott goal Great header!

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    I thought we were excellent - exactly the sort of display I hoped we could produce. If we can get something off Sweden in the next game then hopefully Rooney's return can propel us into the quarters against Ukraine.

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    A typical gritty England performance. Full of heart and determination. Sir Roy has a ring to it

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    Quote Originally Posted by williamshankley View Post
    Hodgson is a very overrated manager. However he's the most qualified English manager for the job, we'll still be lucky to get out of the groups.
    Quote Originally Posted by williamshankley View Post
    A typical gritty England performance. Full of heart and determination. Sir Roy has a ring to it
    Are you a parody?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    Are you a parody?
    No, that's 'King' Kenny.

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    Zing

    10 characters

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Just saw the Lescott goal Great header!
    Yes indeed!

    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    I thought we were excellent - exactly the sort of display I hoped we could produce. If we can get something off Sweden in the next game then hopefully Rooney's return can propel us into the quarters against Ukraine.
    Indeed. I was very happy with the performance. Had Milner put away his chance and had we closed down Nasri much more quickly for the French goal, it could have been even better, but of course a draw was a fair result.

    Yesterday's game was also a perfect example for FMers of using the counter strategy, for example, and getting your motivational team talks just right for a game against big opposition!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deisler26 View Post
    I actually don't like the way Spain/Barcelona play. I'm more of an Italy/Mourinho guy
    Same here really.

    In real life, I've always liked the Italians and generally wanted to see them do well. It was mainly to do with Roberto Baggio in the old days, of course, but also I admired their pragmatism and the way they were well organised and went into games with a certain mindset in order to keep clean sheets and to hope for a Baggio type player to make something special. I've always enjoyed watching exciting attacking players, just like anyone else, but I also enjoy watching strong defensive displays.

    I think it is something about me in that I always like to cheer for the underdog and that I've always preferred lower league football to top flight stuff. Therefore, I've kind of grown up with this admiration for the defensive basics of the game and for watching sides who are more pragmatic about the game than expansive and attacking. And counter-attacking football can be a thing of beauty just as much as possession football can be, in my opinion. A fast paced attacking move to exploit space with great team work and precise passing can be a thing of beauty, surely?

    This won't be a popular viewpoint but I find the irony about Spain is that people praise their possession based football as being creative and attacking in its nature but what strikes me from watching them is that they actually play their own style of pragmatic and 'percentages' football. Their passing is defined by low risk and best percentage of success choices. Very few of their players take risks with their passes. If we were talking about replicating their style on FM, you'd actually be talking about less through balls and lower creative freedom in my opinion, with just one or two players give that right to take a risk with a through ball or a higher risk pass. That's pragmatic in its own sense, although obviously they are more fluid with their shape than most sides that we would call pragmatic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    I don't think it's realistic for us to attempt to copy Spain, however it would be very useful for a hot summer tournament to be able to retain the ball as a controlling/almost defensive tactic. Two banks of four and hit them on the break is a much better option for us with our players and mentality, but when you're playing 3 games per week in 30+ degree heat, you need to hold the ball for a bit to give yourselves a breather sometimes.
    I actually see the idea of us trying to copy other nations (like Spain) as having been a problem for England for quite a long time now. It's not the fashionable or popular viewpoint but I'd be happy for us to bring more traditional English qualities to our football, to be honest, as trying to play like Spain is never going to work with our current player pool! Plus, we don't have the culture to play like Spain in England. There is nothing wrong with some of the big strengths of the English style so let's not be ashamed of them.

    I think you're right about the way we are approaching this tournament SnakeXe and if you have a player who can pop up and take a chance when it's presented then you've got a real chance of doing exactly what you say in your post above. I'm not an expert on Welbeck but he took his goal with finesse and in such a clinical manner against Belgium that I really hope he might emerge on the international stage this tournament. I thought his performance against France was strong but would like to have seen him provided with a few chances. Hopefully, he'll get that in the next two games. If you can keep clean sheets and have someone like that who can be clinical in front of goal then you've always got a chance of getting a result. Then you've got Rooney to come back in the third game and he can change a game by himself.

    There has been a lot of (predictable) negativity around about England after yesterday's pragmatic performance. If it was Man Utd, we'd be calling such a performance the art of a great team.

    Man Utd seemed to be perceived in a different way for some reason but they've always been good at grinding results. I went to a Liverpool v Man Utd match at Anfield some years ago with a friend who was, at the time, living in Liverpool. It was during the Benitez reign but I can't recall the season right now. Anyway, the thing that really struck me about Man Utd in that game was their professional approach. Two banks of four, compact and tight. Rigid, well drilled, disciplined. They soaked up Liverpool pressure, grabbed a goal on the break, defended well and played in such a pragmatic and professional way. They came away with a 1-0 win and I remember saying to my friend, that's why they are champions. That sort of performance is to be admired.

    Why when England do a thoroughly professional job against France like they did last night are people so critical? Hodgson made a tactical choice and it worked really well. It wasn't ever going to be scintillating but then I don't know about you but I don't care! You look at Portugal's performance a few days ago and you have to say England created more than they did in their opening game. Anyway, we're up and running in a major tournament. One point on the board against very good opposition in the first game will do quite nicely thank you very much.

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    Very much agree with all of that! To be honest it's the knuckle-draggers and fair-weather fans who are the ones complaining as far as I can tell, most sensible folks accept that that's how we have to play (and largely executed it very well) against France. I suppose some people are still stuck in the "Terry and Gerrard are World-class, they don't like it up 'em, COME AWN INGERLAAAAAND" mentality.

    We actually played some excellent football in brief spells as well - notably a period in the second half when we retained the ball for a good 30-40 passes, probing across the field and recycling it through the defence when we ran into a dead end. Great to see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    they don't like it up 'em



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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    Are you a parody?
    Just because I'm not a particularly big fan of Hodgson, doesn't mean I don't want him to do well. I think he's overrated, because he's not won a great deal. I'm still an England fan, and if I think we played fairly well then surely I'm allowed to express that opinion?
    I just worry about us beating teams. It's mostly going to be set pieces, our way of scoring. I'll hold my hands up and accept I was wrong about him, if somehow we can go and beat Sweden and the Ukraine

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    UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group 8 - England 4 Moldova 0

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    Stuck with Danny Welbeck and played him alongside Wayne Rooney for this match.

    A very straight forward win, as you've expect.

    We weren't brilliant in the first half though. I feel I might have misjudged the mood with my pre-match team talk. We finished the job properly in the second-half though.

    Wayne Rooney managed to pick up a yellow card and will now be suspended for two matches. It'll give me a chance to try something different up front.
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 12-06-2012 at 22:13.

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    UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group 8 - Poland 0 England 2

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    A solid and comfortable win away from home.

    With Rooney suspended, I switched to 4-4-1-1 and decided to deploy Gerrard behind Welbeck. In a free role with plenty of creativity, Gerrard played really well and was the driving force behind the win.

    We still see the very slow introduction of some younger players. Kyle Walker and Danny Welbeck are now starters and I'm happy with them. Wilshere was on the bench and would have been the preferred candidate to come in to play in Gerrard's normal position in a central midfield slot. In the end, I went with Carrick, as Wilshere just isn't getting games at club level.

    Unfortunately, the same is true of a lot of younger players. I'd like to have the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in but most younger players just aren't getting first team football at their clubs.

    We have to friendly matches to finish off the calendar year and in these matches I will probably give a few younger players a chance ahead of their more experienced and senior colleagues. We'll see how it goes.

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    I've just managed England to Euro 2020 glory and the lack of English youth being played meant I resigned after leading them to glory. It's criminal that Wilshere isn't getting picked. There should be an interaction, where you tell them, they're only gonna get picked if they are playing regular

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    It seems to be a problem with FM. The AI managers stick with older players due to higher reputations, I guess, and the younger players barely get a chance.

    Out of the younger players, Wilshere isn't getting a game, Phil Jones gets the odd game, Danny Welbeck wasn't getting a sniff at Man Utd but at least he is at FC Twente now and Alex Oxade-Chamberlain isn't getting a chance at Arsenal. Those are some examples.

    It sucks. In FM10, when I was Fabio Crouchello, I struggled the longer the years went by to find new youth players to come through.

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    Tidy couple of games, there.

    Quote Originally Posted by williamshankley View Post
    Just because I'm not a particularly big fan of Hodgson, doesn't mean I don't want him to do well. I think he's overrated, because he's not won a great deal. I'm still an England fan, and if I think we played fairly well then surely I'm allowed to express that opinion?
    I just worry about us beating teams. It's mostly going to be set pieces, our way of scoring. I'll hold my hands up and accept I was wrong about him, if somehow we can go and beat Sweden and the Ukraine
    It's more the bipolar comments depending on the latest result which are so typical of England fans and press coverage. Fair enough the "Sir Roy" comment was probably a bit tongue in cheek - I was half asleep when I posted.

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    International Friendly 2012 - Brazil 0 England 1

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    I actually think it's now official. This FM world is the best FM world ever. This virtual footballing reality should be the proper reality!

    To be honest, if we can bring home the World Cup in 2014 then I think this virtual world will be officially perfect. I may even think about retiring from Football Manager as there will be nothing to match such an experience!

    I mean, it's pretty wonderful to go to Brazil and win with Peter Crouch - who else? - scoring the winning goal! Does it get any better for me even if it is just a friendly!

    We had somewhat of an injury crisis and went into the game with Gerrard and Rooney - still our best two creative players - definitely missing.

    I had a difficult decision to make up front. On the one hand, I wanted to try younger players. On the other hand, Peter Crouch has been on fire for Stoke in the Premier League this season, scoring 7 in 11. He has also scored goals in Europe and in the FA Cup for the Potters. His age means that he won't be too old for World Cup 2014 although he would be an older player for that tournament.

    With Gerrard and Rooney out, it was time to reign in the creative freedom under advanced instructions and go with a cautious approach. This was very much a Roy Crouchson performance.

    We actually matched Brazil on their own turf and imagine my delight when the real 'Crouchaldinho' scored for England at the Maracana. All is well in this world. Please don't bring me back to reality.

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    Reeee-sult!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    Tidy couple of games, there.


    It's more the bipolar comments depending on the latest result which are so typical of England fans and press coverage. Fair enough the "Sir Roy" comment was probably a bit tongue in cheek - I was half asleep when I posted.
    Fair do's. I do admit i'm not his biggest fan, it's purely to do with, I wasn't keen on him being Liverpool boss. I do think he's the best qualified English Manager though

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    Quote Originally Posted by williamshankley View Post
    Fair do's. I do admit i'm not his biggest fan, it's purely to do with, I wasn't keen on him being Liverpool boss. I do think he's the best qualified English Manager though
    Agreed as soon as the criteria was decided that it was going to be an Englishman, Hodgson was the clear choice, despite what the journalists hanging out the back of Redknapp would have you believe. His trophy cabinet may not be bulging compared to Capello or Eriksson, but he's won far more than any other currently active English manager. I think his experience with Switzerland is crucial as well.

    Considering Hodgson's and Dalglish's record were so similar, it'll be interesting to see what happens with Rodgers now. Hopefully he can make you a likeable club again - Liverpool are my dad and brother's team (glory hunters ) and I've always had a soft spot for them until the last 18 months (pretty much coinciding with Dalglish coming back and you treating us as your feeder club), especially under Benitez, who I really respect and admire as a manager.

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    He put the Liverpool band is very bad
    Last edited by Neil Brock; 13-06-2012 at 19:59.

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    International Friendly 2012 - England 0 Chile 1

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    Clearly I spoke too soon in the above post. I suffered my first defeat in this match and lost my 100% record.

    We were missing both Rooney and Gerrard. It really showed that we were missing our two most technical and creative players.

    Chile got an early goal and defended resolutely. They played a three at the back formation that was basically five at the back off the ball. In front of those five were two DMs, making a solid unit of seven defensive players. It was a shape that we just could not manage to break down.

    I guess at least the first defeat came in a friendly rather than a competitive match. Maybe I should be glad to get that first defeat out of the way now.

    From the sublime to the ridiculous: beat Brazil at the Maracana then lose to Chile at Wembley!

    Chile's goalkeeper was the man of the match, as you'd expect. Oh well, onwards and hopefully upwards!
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 14-06-2012 at 19:21.

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    So that's the end of 2012. It ends in a strange way with defeat to Chile at Wembley but otherwise it has been an outstanding year for England.


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    Here is how things stand in our FIFA World Cup 2014 qualification group at the end of 2012:

    Code:
    | Pos   | Inf   | Team       |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
    | ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 1st   |       | England    |       | 4     | 4     | 0     | 0     | 14    | 1     | +13   | 12    | 
    | ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 2nd   |       | Poland     |       | 4     | 3     | 0     | 1     | 7     | 2     | +5    | 9     | 
    | ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 3rd   |       | Montenegro |       | 4     | 2     | 1     | 1     | 10    | 4     | +6    | 7     | 
    | ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 4th   |       | Moldova    |       | 4     | 1     | 1     | 2     | 4     | 8     | -4    | 4     | 
    | ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 5th   |       | Ukraine    |       | 4     | 0     | 2     | 2     | 3     | 6     | -3    | 2     | 
    | ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 6th   |       | San Marino |       | 4     | 0     | 0     | 4     | 0     | 17    | -17   | 0     | 
    | ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

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    Great job so far - no shame in losing to Chile, they're a hard-working and technically excellent side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crouchaldinho View Post
    This virtual footballing reality should be the proper reality!To be honest, if we can bring home the World Cup in 2014 then I think this virtual world will be officially perfect. I may even think about retiring from Football Manager as there will be nothing to match such an experience.
    Would still need the confederations cup which iirc eluded Fabio Crouchello.

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    Straightforward work in the WC qualfiers so far, look forward to seeing how you do in Brazil!

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    Easy road to the beaches of Rio.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrbfcrule View Post
    Would still need the confederations cup which iirc eluded Fabio Crouchello.
    Worse than eluded him, it was the end of him! The FA finally had enough of him after an extremely underwhelming group stage at the Confederations Cup.

    Quote Originally Posted by JackJCFC View Post
    Straightforward work in the WC qualfiers so far, look forward to seeing how you do in Brazil!
    Me too!

    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    Great job so far - no shame in losing to Chile, they're a hard-working and technically excellent side.
    Always disappointing to lose a game at Wembley though.

    Quote Originally Posted by deltablue View Post
    Easy road to the beaches of Rio.
    Looking that way!

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    International Friendly 2013 - England 4 Israel 0

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    We start 2013 with a comfortable win at Wembley.

    I used this match to bring in a few younger players for first team experience. The likes of Phil Jones, Jack Rodwell, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck all started for England.

    Welbeck scored a fine hat-trick and is now looking like my first choice number 9 for England.

    Out of the others, Wilshere also looks as though he might be ready to step up and start playing more first-team football for England.
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 15-06-2012 at 13:31.

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    UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group 8 - England 4 Montenegro 1

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    So it's back to more of a first-team line-up for this match as some of the regulars return. Gerrard was out though, so I brought in Wilshere, who impressed in the last friendly against Israel.

    Rooney was in the mood and both he and Welbeck linked up well. Ashley Young also put in another good performance on the left.

    Another good win to keep us going in the qualifying campaign.

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    Looking good in the World Cup Qualifiers. Although, Montenegro is a beat you should be beating anyways

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    Nicely done crouchie. Keep it up

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    Anybody who watched tonight's game must have seen the tactics didn't suit. We looked like the underdogs against an average Sweden team. I'm sorry these rigid defensive tactics cause too much pressure on the defence. Our inability to keep the ball, almost cost us tonight. Roy would be better off managing Italy. They can keep the bloody ball

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    Does anyone, apart from the English, actually think England has a squad that can match the top sides for quality?

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    Even a lot of English don't think that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by williamshankley View Post
    Anybody who watched tonight's game must have seen the tactics didn't suit. We looked like the underdogs against an average Sweden team. I'm sorry these rigid defensive tactics cause too much pressure on the defence. Our inability to keep the ball, almost cost us tonight. Roy would be better off managing Italy. They can keep the bloody ball
    How did we look like the underdogs? Apart from that rubbish 15 minutes after half-time we were by far the better side. We haven't beaten Sweden in competitive football in decades, haven't scored 3 goals in a tournament game since 2004, and haven't come back from a set-back like that in a game that mattered since Munich 2001. If you can be negative after watching that then when will you ever enjoy watching England?

    Quote Originally Posted by CityAndColour View Post
    Does anyone, apart from the English, actually think England has a squad that can match the top sides for quality?
    What db said. What we do have, though, is fitness, pace and strength. Added to that we have one or two players of true quality, along with a (usually) very solid defence. With luck that's more than enough to get deep into tournaments. Enough to win? Probably not. But Greece did it.

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    I don't get it. So many people on this forum (by that I mean SI Games in general) who live outside England seem to think that England fans are arrogant and sure of their superiority compared to the other teams in this tournament. Where does that impression come from? I really want to know.

    I've read tons of comments from non-England football fans suggesting that us England fans believe we're one of the best sides in the world and that we have Euro 2012 in the bag. I don't think anything could be further from the truth. The vast majority of England fans are well grounded, believe me, and know that we aren't world beaters by a fair distance!

    I want to find the people who are spreading this false information and punch them in the face.

    If anything, England fans have a massive inferiority complex when it comes to these competitions and playing top sides. We almost always believe we're going to lose. That's my experience anyway. It has always been that way since I've been an England fan.

    As for the teams in this competition, maybe you could say that there are three tiers. First, the top sides who are very capable of winning the competition. Next, a second rank of sides who are all of a similar level and who would all be considered outsiders (England are in this tier, in my opinion). In the second tier, there really isn't much between the teams and this would be the biggest tier. Finally, then perhaps a much smaller group of sides who are below this average.

    This tournament, more than ever, the expectations surrounding the England team are very low. It's important to note that this is far from a vintage England side. We're missing some players, of course, who would make a difference, but mainly there is a definite transitional period for England at this time. An older generation of players are being phased out and we're looking for a new generation of players to start emerging.
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 16-06-2012 at 14:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    How did we look like the underdogs? Apart from that rubbish 15 minutes after half-time we were by far the better side. We haven't beaten Sweden in competitive football in decades, haven't scored 3 goals in a tournament game since 2004, and haven't come back from a set-back like that in a game that mattered since Munich 2001. If you can be negative after watching that then when will you ever enjoy watching England?


    I agree SnakeXe!

    I don't know what on earth was going on when we came back on after half-time! Terrible defending and soft goals. As usual, England are their own worst enemy.

    We were much the better side and really ought to have tied up the victory much more convincingly but a win is a win and it was very entertaining stuff! Not that I was enjoying myself at 2-1 down though.

    Aside from the defending during that early second-half period of madness, I was most concerned by the play down both flanks. Ashley Young was anonymous down the left. Meanwhile, Milner seemed to be seeing a lot of the ball but his delivery was letting him down in a big way.

    Theo's introduction added pace and a real threat in the wide positions. His goal was somewhat fortuitous although I think the way the ball moved in the air perhaps caught out the keeper who was presumably unsighted? The third goal was down to Walcott providing a proper threat down that right and I was delighted with Welbeck opening his account at Euro 2012. I'd love to see him score some more this tournament.

    By the way, how about Carroll's header for the first goal? Yeah, he won't get that much time and space against a top quality defence but with that sort of strength and power he has he could always be an asset for England in the box.

    Some interesting decisions for Hodgson in the next game. Does Walcott deserve a starting place or will he stick with the more workmanlike Milner who you know will put in a shift? Roy seems to favour playing one out-and-out attacking wide player (e.g. Young) with another more solid wide midfielder on the other side (e.g. Milner). Even more interesting though will be to see who Rooney will come in for? If it was my choice, I'd be sticking with Welbeck and bringing in Rooney to play with him.

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    BTW, how are people enjoying the tournament generally?

    Already far more entertaining and better football on show than at World Cup 2010, in my opinion. Certainly some more thrilling games and some better quality on show. I think that damn Jabulani ball spoilt a lot of the World Cup, whereas this ball seems far more reliable and therefore we're seeing better football and better goals in this tournament.

    As for England, it's a vast improvement on 2010, isn't it? Boring Roy in charge but we've already scored more goals!

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    UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group 8 - England 0 Ukraine 0

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    Back to Roy Crouchson's world (although, I have to say quickly that we'd be happy with this result IRL, wouldn't we? )!

    Another example of a game where we didn't have the attacking quality needed to break down a side at Wembley.

    We had plenty of possession but just didn't create enough. Gerrard was particularly guilty of a poor performance.

    It's a disappointment but we're still looking fairly comfortable in the group table.

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    Next up, it's Confederations Cup time!

    We've been drawn in a group with Japan, Mexico and Uruguay.

    The expectation is that we get out of the group stages and into the semi-final.

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    FIFA Confederations Cup 2013, Group B - Japan 1 England 2

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    With Danny Welbeck unavailable for this tournament due to injury, I went with Wilshere in the middle and Gerrard behind Rooney.

    This first game saw us playing well below par. We still came away with a result but it was quite fortunate as we struggled to find our rhythm.

    We'll take the result but we'll have to get better if we're going to reach our target of a semi-final place.

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    FIFA Confederations Cup 2013, Group B - England 2 Mexico 0

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    Once again, a much closer game than I would have liked, despite what the score line suggests.

    Essentially, Mexico were wasteful whilst we were lethal in front of goal and took our chances.

    This result puts us through into the semi-finals. We've got Uruguay in our last match of the group stages.

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    FIFA Confederations Cup 2013, Group B - Uruguay 0 England 0

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    The toughest team we've played so far. A very tight and tense game.

    I dropped Wilshere and put Gerrard back into the centre of midfield. Bent came in to partner Rooney in the absence of Danny Welbeck but he was largely disappointing.

    A draw was good enough but I was concerned that the performance was far from convincing from certain players. Gerrard and Young disappointed me.

    However, we go through to the semi-finals of the competition now, so no complaints there.

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    These were the final group stage tables:



    We finished second with Uruguay qualifying in first place.

    In the other group, Brazil were unbeaten with Mali getting through ahead of Spain and Samoa.

    We will play Brazil in the semis!

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    FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 Semi Finals - England 3 Brazil 4

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    We finished up on the wrong end of this thriller!

    Once again, I restored Wilshere to the midfield and pushed Gerrard up to play behind Rooney.

    We scored two goals in the first 33 minutes to find ourselves 2-0 up! However, Brazil pulled back two through Neymar to bring it level.

    Steven Gerrard put us back in front from the penalty spot. At this point were were astonishingly 3-2 up versus the Brazilians and looking comfortable.

    We couldn't hold on. Dede pulled one back in injury time to force the game into extra-time.

    At this point, Roy's England boys were looking tired. If we're being honest, there only looked like one winner. Our best chance was to see the game out the penalties really but we kept pushing.

    Unfortunately, Maicon grabbed the winner on 106 minutes. We pushed everything forward but couldn't find an equaliser.

    Quite the roller coaster. There were some good signs here for the English too. We matched Brazil for starters and were worth the draw after 90 minutes. Also, the performance of young Jack Wilshere, who might have been man of the match, was a great sign for the future. On the negative side, this was a very poor defensive performance and we have to look at our back four after conceding four goals in this match.

    Out of the tournament but not shamed. We played out part in the best game of the tournament and will go into the third-placed play-off game with pride rather than any disappointment!

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    Here were the semi-final results:



    England knocked out to Brazil in extra-time.

    Uruguay through to the final after beating Mali.

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    FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 Third Place Playoff - England 3 Mali 0

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    An extremely straight forward victory to claim third place at the tournament.

    Now back to the much more important business of qualifying for World Cup 2014!

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    This was the final, if anyone was interested:



    Brazil securing victory in extra time.

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    UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group 8 - San Marino 0 England 6

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    Back to the serious business of qualifying for World Cup 2014.

    A dominant performance as you'd expect against San Marino.

    Rooney didn't look up for this game at all and despite winning by six goals, neither forward scored!

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    UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group 8 - Moldova 0 England 6

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    Another thrashing handed out to minnows of the international game.

    Six goals by six different players!

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    UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group 8 - Montenegro 1 England 2

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    No Gerrard and no Welbeck for this match. In came Wilshere and Bent respectively.

    It was a tense game but we just got the better of Montenegro.

    This result confirmed our qualification for World Cup 2014! We're going to Brazil!

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    UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group 8 - England 4 Poland 1

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    I had an accident with this one, accidentally holidaying past the date of the next match to the next squad selection date. Therefore, this is my assistant, Alan Shearer's, team selection rather than mine.

    Normally, I would insist on playing every single match and would never holiday. However, as this was ultimately a meaningless match in terms of the fact that we had already qualified, and more importantly as I had no save to return to, I let this one go and just took the result as it came. Unfortunately, the only save I had to revert to was before the Montenegro match, and I really didn't want to have to replay a game just so that I could take control of this last match.

    Anyway, Shearer's team did okay as you can see. We rounded off a fine qualification campaign with a solid win at Wembley.

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    UEFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group 8 - Final Standings


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    Congrats on qualification crouchie

    Unfortunate result against Brazil though.

    I just played 2 3-3 draws in my main save at Arsenal and Man City. Thrillers are truly horrible to be a part of but absolutely fantastic when you are neutral

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    Great qualification, and definitely enjoying the Euros.

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    Good job on qualification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aderow View Post
    Congrats on qualification crouchie
    Quote Originally Posted by deltablue View Post
    Great qualification, and definitely enjoying the Euros.
    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Good job on qualification.
    Thanks guys!

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    International Friendly 2013 - Serbia 0 England 0

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    No Gerrard, so I went with Wilshere in the middle. Rooney and Welbeck were partnered up front. At the back, Phil Jones came in to play alongside Shawcross.

    Not the strongest performance in a pretty tight game. A clean sheet was welcome though. Tom Huddlestone put us under some pressure late on by getting sent off.

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    International Friendly 2013 - England 2 Australia 1

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    We were well in charge, as you'd expect.

    More or less stuck with the strongest XI. Phil Jones impressed at the back whilst Danny Welbeck was poor up front.

    Regarding Welbeck's performance, it does bring up the question of whether he is clinical enough in front of goal. There is a temptation, when Gerrard returns, to switch to a 4-4-1-1 and to drop Welbeck. Perhaps that might be my plan A for the World Cup.

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    End of 2013 - Results:



    Another very good year for England.

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    Our World Cup draw looks like this:



    I'd certainly hope that we could qualify from that group.

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    International Friendly 2014 - England 3 Serbia 0

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    The FA, in their wisdom, decided that we should play Serbia again. So we did.

    No Gerrard or Rooney for this one. I went with Crouch up front, who is having another great season in the Premier League with Stoke City.

    This was a very comfortable win.
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 17-06-2012 at 11:42.

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    England's Preliminary World Cup Squad:



    The major news was the recall of Frank Lampard, now 34 or 35 (I forget which!)

    There was significant criticism from the media on this one but Lampard had just had a great season with Chelsea, who won the Premier League title. I couldn't ignore him. Plus, I figured it was worth experimenting with him in the pre-World Cup friendly matches as a tactical possibility. If I was really going to switch to 4-4-1-1 for the World Cup, it may make more sense to bring in another creative midfielder like Lampard. And, if I'm honest, England don't have great options in midfield. Lampard's technical abilities outweigh a lot of the other midfield players available. It was hard not to see this decision as a massive climbdown from Roy Crouchson, however.

    The other major issue for Crouchson to think about was whether or not to include Steven Gerrard, who is suffering with injury that could keep him out of at least two of the World Cup group matches, if not more. It was rumoured, at the time of going to press, that Crouchson would call up his captain, Gerrard, regardless of the injury and hope that a speedy recovery might see him feature later in the competition.
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 17-06-2012 at 11:32.

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    International Friendly 2014 - England 2 Ghana 2

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    A poor performance. We were dominant at times in this match but we still let Ghana score two goals from hardly anything. Worrying signs.

    I experimented with the 4-4-1-1 that I talked about previously. I brought Lampard into the middle of the park as an experiment and went with Wilshere behind Rooney.

    During the course of the game, I also got the chance to bring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain off the bench to see if he could play himself into my World Cup squad.

    Lampard was really poor in this match and this more or less confirmed in my mind that he was not an option for the final squad.

    There were positive signs from Jack Wilshere but otherwise this was not a great show from my players. I was slightly worried with Phil Jones at centre-back and in my mind I started to have doubts about starting him in that position.

    Plenty of doubts creeping in after this match. A lot for Crouchson to think about.
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 17-06-2012 at 11:42.

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    At the end of the season, Alex Ferguson retired.



    As did Harry Redknapp:


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    Final England Squad for World Cup 2014:



    No real surprises as I kept faith with the players who had done the business in qualification.

    As said above, the main concern was Steven Gerrard, who would be going into the World Cup with an injury and there was a good chance that he wouldn't play much in the group stages.

  86. #186
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    The odds for the tournament look like this:



    An outside chance for England then!

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    International Friendly 2014 - England 3 Ivory Coast 1

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    This was a chance for me to decide upon a starting XI for the first match at the World Cup.

    In the end though, I rested Rooney and went with a Crouch and Welbeck front line to see what they could do together.

    Once again, despite winning the match, I was left with some worries over certain players. Phil Jones didn't look good enough at the back for us, raising questions about his ability in the air and certainly giving me some concerns over starting him alongside Shawcross. Then there was Danny Welbeck, who had once again disappointed up front. Was he clinical enough in front of goal? Would he struggle for goals against good opposition? I was starting to feel that Welbeck didn't have the quality movement and finishing abilities of a true international striker, despite being an all round fairly talented player.

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    International Friendly 2014 - England 3 Saudi Arabia 1

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    Another very unconvincing display really as Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick of penalties to win the game.

    I brought Lescott in for Jones at the back. Up front, however, I stuck with Welbeck, bringing Rooney back to play alongside him.

    In the end, I actually decided to push Jones into a midfield position to see how he would get on there. I also experimented in various other positions giving the likes of Glen Johnson, Cole, Milner, Carrick and Adam Johnson a start.

    I'm left with quite a few questions left unanswered as we go into World Cup Brazil 2014.

  89. #189
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    One for Nobby - Stoke City were FA Cup winners in the season just finished!

  90. #190
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    Enjoying reading this thread! i for one hope you do England proud at the World Cup

    Who took over from Fergie @ Man. Utd?

  91. #191
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    I like that group.

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    Been away from the forums for awhile so decided to catch up asap, you was unlucky against Brazil but to be fair they look strong hopefully the world cup should be better for you.

    Now im back will be following from here as much as possible.

  93. #193
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    Wow I've missed a lot!

    - Good job at the Confederations Cup, always a shame to go down by the odd goal in 7 but 3rd place is a good result.

    - Very good job in qualifying so strongly for the World Cup

    - Interesting decision to recall Lampard and then ditch him again!

    - Good luck in the World Cup!

    I am similarly really enjoying the Euros - for me they're always much more fun and high-quality than the World Cup (with the possible exception of 2000).

  94. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reedy_1988 View Post
    Enjoying reading this thread! i for one hope you do England proud at the World Cup

    Who took over from Fergie @ Man. Utd?
    Thanks!

    Louis Van Gaal took the job after Fergie.

    Quote Originally Posted by deltablue View Post
    I like that group.
    Not bad, huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by JojoVillaHursty View Post
    Been away from the forums for awhile so decided to catch up asap, you was unlucky against Brazil but to be fair they look strong hopefully the world cup should be better for you.

    Now im back will be following from here as much as possible.
    Thanks!

    Fingers crossed for a good World Cup!

  95. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    Wow I've missed a lot!

    - Good job at the Confederations Cup, always a shame to go down by the odd goal in 7 but 3rd place is a good result.
    My thoughts exactly. I wasn't disappointed really as I wasn't too bothered about the competition.

    - Very good job in qualifying so strongly for the World Cup
    Yeah, we did pretty well in the end.

    - Interesting decision to recall Lampard and then ditch him again!
    I was just looking at my options really. Lampard had a quality season at Chelsea. We're really lacking the quality midfielders that I would like us to have so I really felt that I should take a look at him.

    I thought maybe Lampard would have one last hurrah as an option to take to the World Cup. However, he was terrible in that pre-World Cup friendly against Ghana.

    - Good luck in the World Cup!

    I am similarly really enjoying the Euros - for me they're always much more fun and high-quality than the World Cup (with the possible exception of 2000).
    Thanks!

    And yes, the Euros have often been better to watch than the World Cup for me too.

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    Rooney becomes England's record goalscorer:


  97. #197
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    England squad numbers for World Cup 2014:



    Perhaps gives you a firm indication of my plans for the World Cup!

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    FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, Group B - Japan 2 England 1

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    Shock and horror.

    We lose our opening game of the World Cup to Japan.

    Japan shocked us with an early goal before Wayne Rooney pulled us level. From that point onwards, we should have taken control, surely?

    However, on 36 minutes Joe Hart makes a calamitous mistake to gift Japan a goal. It was the sort of goalkeeping mistake that leads those who believe that England have some sort of curse at major tournaments hanging over them to strengthen their claims! Whether it's penalties, goalkeeping mistakes or terrible individual errors, England have seemed to be their own worst enemy in many a tournament. Add this one to the record books! Such was the enormity of the mistake that I actually decided to take Hart off at half-time.

    We just couldn't get back into the match in the second-half, despite having the better of the play. We've lost our opening game of World Cup 2014. Where do we go from here?

    Other match: Russia beat Mali 1-0
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 17-06-2012 at 18:01.

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    FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, Group B - England 3 Mali 0

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    At last, we are up and running at this tournament. A big result for us after the disappointment in the first game.

    We were by far the better side and fully deserved the win.

    Joe Hart came back in and a clean sheet will have helped his confidence although in truth he only had one effort on target to deal with!

    I kept faith with the side that lost against Japan and they repaid my faith with this solid performance and, most importantly, three points.

    Other match: Russia beat Japan 2-0

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    FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, Group B - England 0 Russia 0

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    The pressure was on in this match with us desperately needing a result in order to secure qualification.

    We didn't really play that well. It was an even match really in terms of chances but we didn't keep the ball well enough and didn't create enough. Very disappointing.

    Luckily for us, Japan lost their last match, which meant that our modest haul of 4 points was enough to see us through to the second round.

    Suddenly I'm having major doubts about Danny Welbeck up front. I've often felt that he isn't clinical enough and that his attacking movement could be better. It's three games against opposition where we should be scoring goals and Welbeck has done very little in front of goal. I have a crisis of confidence in my striking options and think about starting Darren Bent alongside Rooney in the second round match.

    Could Bent come in and solve our issues in front of goal? He's not an world beater but you can't really fault his ability to sniff out a goal. His movement and finishing ability is better than what we currently have plus he has just had a very good season in the Premier League. In fact, he was top scorer in the Premier League with 24 goals in 35 games for Aston Villa. My mind is almost made up. Could this be a defining moment of the tournament for England?

    Other match: Japan lose 5-1 to Mali

    Second round opponents for England: the hosts, Brazil, who finished top of group A having recorded three victories in the group stages

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