Joe Cole, England’s goalscorer and playmaker
The Brits have so focused themselves on the Rooney- Owen- Crouch equation in attack because the English defence was not the problem. After all what problems would you encounter with Paul Robinson, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Jamie Carragher. Solid men.
But this game showed that the defence has a few question marks that the Swedes were able to exploit. The cross by Kallstrom was a beauty but someone forgot to mark Allback who flicked the ball in with his head. Just when England looked like it would get away with a victory through a Gerrard goal, the Swedes came back from a throw in which eluded the legs of the English defenders and the goalie Paul Robinson, giving Henrik Larsson far too much space, to knee the ball in. The lapse occurred in stoppage time.
The best part, England avoids playing Germany, but it has to find answers to if it has to go further..
1) Owen is out: It looked bad for Michael Owen whose knee just buckled under him in the 4th minute
2) Crouch can come in, but then as it has happened before, as soon as Rooney was substituted, the English attack went aerial, one dimensional.
3) Rooney’s brought a lot of energy but he just did not look sharp in his passing and connections. It showed as he disappeared in the second half. England went to Crouch.
4) The right flank of Jamie Carragher and David Beckham have disappeared in all their matches. Edman put a clinic on Beckham, never the quickest of athletes, and shut him down. Carragher does not really move up front and so the right flank is pretty static, producing very little in attack.
5) The mobility in the left flank in Joe Cole and Ashley Cole brings about the bulk of attacks but it also leaves Joe Cole holding onto the ball far too long, waiting for other players to move upfront.
6) Rio Ferdinand is not a physical player, does not tackle very much, and in this match he was shoved around quite a bit. He also muffed marking Allbeck. Sol Campbell came on as a substitute and made a difference.
Sven has to bring in Theo Walcott and get some movement going on the right side. If Beckham is off his set pieces and crosses, he is more a liability, as he can’t defend, does not move quickly, and can’t shoot with his left foot. As this game showed England can play without him.