England fail to score, still beat Japan 2-1

Football - Japan v England International Friendly

Two own-goals flattered an English side that found itself thwarted by Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, who managed seven saves (including one Frank Lampard penalty).  Unfortunately for Kawashima, his own teammates thwarted his efforts. Following a 7th minute Tanaka goal, the Japanese twice put the ball in their own net: former-hero Tanaka neutralized his first strike (72nd) and Yuji Nakazawa piled on the shame in the 83rd.

Wayne Rooney and Co. will certainly be disheartened, but American fans should not get excited just yet. England did dominate possession the entire match, and without Kawashima’s magical day, the score could have been five or six to one.

USMNT Implications

England’s miserable day did give Bob Bradley food for thought:

- The Three Lions are still searching for a  Gareth Barry replacement at center midfield. The currently-injured Barry does the dirty work in front of the center backs, allowing Frank Lampard to venture forward with impunity.  England manager Fabio Capello has tried a few replacements and yesterday even shuffled Steven Gerrard, who has been playing on the left for his country, into the middle of the pitch. Lampard and Gerrard, both superstars for their clubs, are infamous for struggling to coexist in the same midfield, and while they did an admirable job yesterday – Gerrard retreated into defense more often than Lampard – they did get in each others’ way on occasion.

- The World Cup ball was given a trial run during the match, and it showed a propensity to knuckleball on free kicks. Tim Howard will want to take note.

- England’s defensive spacing, playing a 4-4-2, was miles ahead of what the US has demonstrated in their two friendlies. When England’s attack moved forward, one of the CMs drifted back and the two CBs shifted wide. On Saturday, the US defense failed to shift properly and handed Turkey a goal. Bradley may want to use the tape from England’s match as a teaching tool

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. robinoz0 says:

    There’s been some negative criticism of the World Cup ball by goalkeepers like Julio Cesar and even some strikers. They’re saying it moves oddly in the air, going places it wasn’t intended to go. How much do you think the ball itself will affect games, or are these criticisms coming from players simply unused to it?

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