Well we aren't are we? While our American cousins argue amongst themselves about whether they are or are not interested in football, we England fans have to face reality.
True England fans will this afternoon be asking themselves what went wrong. It was not being outplayed by Germany, nor was it our performances against Slovenia, nor even Algeria. The writing was on the wall after 30 minutes of our first game against USA.
That is not to take anything away from the USA who played very well and deserved their draw.
So what DID go wrong? Well the bitter truth is that right now we don’t have eleven (never mind twenty three) world class players who are anywhere near their top form. Is that so? Just consider. Rooney has been way off form even for Man Utd ever since his ankle injury 3 months ago. Gerrard has had a miserable season at Anfield trying to hold together a disintegrating club, with unhappy players, irrational manager, expensive transfer mistakes (Aquilani?) quarrelling owners, transfer speculation,etc. He has looked a beaten man before he even got on the plane. Terry has been going through a bad patch since his personal problems came to light, Lampard has rarely if ever had a good game for England, Upson plays for West Ham who barely escaped relegation this year, and Calamity James, ( who probably IS England’s best keeper ) plays for Portsmouth who did not escape relegation this season..That says it all. Glen Johnson is known to have defensive frailties, Gareth Barry cannot possibly be match fit. That is without even looking at the other squad members. Of the starting eleven today, only Ashley Cole, Milner and Defoe looked anything near the quality needed to play in a World Cup.
Capello will inevitably carry the can for all this, and with some of his more mysterious decisions he deserves criticism, especially as he never explains to us his thinking. In spite of this he has my sympathy. Even allowing for injuries did he make selection mistakes for his original squad? Who should he have taken?
Sorry, but I for one cannot name a single player he SHOULD have included that would not sound like a quibble. In many years of following England I cannot recall a squad with so few “certainties” on merit, as opposed to certainties because we have no one better.
I come back to my original point. Right now we don’t have the players. It is for the FA (and we all know what FA stands for don’t we?) to take a long hard look at the state of the game in England.