crouchaldinho

Roy Crouchson - Taking England to Poland & Ukraine 2012

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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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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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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.

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.

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!

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.

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. :p

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But more importantly....

Any updates Crouchy?

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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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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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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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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.
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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Just saw the Lescott goal :) Great header!

Yes indeed! :)

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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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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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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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 :thup:

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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.

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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. :thup:

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 :thup:

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. :D

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Tidy couple of games, there. :thup:

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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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 :thup: 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 :rolleyes:) 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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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!

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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. :cool:

EnglandFixtures_Fixtures.jpg

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

| Pos   | Inf   | Team       |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
[b]| 1st   |       | England    |       | 4     | 4     | 0     | 0     | 14    | 1     | +13   | 12    | [/b]
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 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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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 :D 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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Would still need the confederations cup :D 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.

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

Me too!

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.

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.

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

Match Stats

Formation & Ratings

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 :thup:

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