Is it the end of the road for Hope Powell ?

After the heroics of the Group stage, yesterday’s defeat and the lack of reaction from the manager at half time and in the second half, questions must be asked.

There is absolutely no doubt the girls gave everything they had and were superb throughout the tournament. But the problem was obviously somewhere else.

Let’s go back to the game : 2 goals conceded due to defensive individual mistakes. We all make mistake it happens, all was needed was a quick reaction to going 1 then 2 nil down. I certainly believe the England/Team GB mentality is well suited to a team level on score or even better with a lead to defend. We have seen it many times, taking the lead nearly guarantees a win every time for England. But what about going behind ? How many times did England manage to come back from 2-0 down ? Twice against Spain and Russia. How many times in a knock out game at a tournament since 2005 ?

So back to the quarter final. You are 2-0 down, it is half time. You want to energise a team that is chasing the game, get a more attacking set up to have a more attacking creative platform as Canada are defending well. Feeding off second ball scrap and chasing diagonal ball down the wing does not work at top top level, where the opposition rarely makes silly mistakes.

So how about sending Fishlock or Chapman to press higher in midfield, put Beattie, Sanderson or Dowie up front to add a physical presence to disturb Canada’s defence or send a flying winger like Davison ? Well none of them got selected for reasons no one knows about. Fail.
Strange squad choices will come back to haunt you.

White and Little being substituted, Yankey and Rachel Williams introduced too late. Need I say more ? Was it a recipe to make a fighting comeback ? Granted the referee didn’t help and forgot a penalty and it could have changed everything but…

We know that the England staff is at the top of the class in term of sport science and investment. Players fitness is well monitored, defensive work is an important feature in training. The basics are right and well taken care of. It is all good to be able to work hard and do everything right when you don’t have the ball but what about when players are on the ball ?

Where is the work on creativity ? Offensive play, off the ball movement, technical skill. I read that quote : “hard work beat talents when talent doesn’t work hard.” So when talent works hard, hard work needs to reach a new level ? Where is that new level ?
Why does the decision making process seem to be blurred when in ball possession ? Why can’t players express themselves and seem to have stifled creativity ?

If you look at the gameplans developped by teams like Japan or France, they seem to think it is easier to win games with ball possession same with Barcelona or Spain in men’s football. I undersand Chelsea won the champions league this season with defensive football and Mourinho won many trophy with a defensive mentality. But that defensive mentality has not served England right through the years alongside picking players who failed in important games on regular basis. So time to ditch the defensive football and philosophy surely ?

So what do I know, being just a fan I don’t have much credibility for sure 😉 except from those who value my judgement lol I am sure if those question were put to her, the usual “who are you” trademark would come out.

Anyway, no one should blame the girls, they have done their best. The FA should really get their act together now. Keith Boanas or Emma Hayes would be good candidates for England.

Published by Sylvain

women's football fan since 1998

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