I THOUGHT England played all right against the Italians on Saturday and were a little bit unfortunate not to get a result.
England had a lot of the game and just needed to be a little bit more composed in and around the goal in the last third and the finishing wasn’t great. That’s something you have to do if you are to compete among the big boys.
The manner of Mario Baloletti’s winner, at the back post, was disappointing. But you had to give them credit as well; it was a great ball in.
England had opportunities to knock balls like that into the box and throw balls across goal and put defenders under pressure. But when they got in those areas, they didn’t really get the delivery right. That was the problem.
A lot of people are having their say about Wayne Rooney and I do think he’s better when he is involved centrally. On the left, he did a job, but the thing about Rooney is that if he is not scoring goals and dominating games, people are always going to have a go at him because of the talent he has got.
He has to live with that and carry it on his shoulders if he is to be considered one of the top players in the world.
He is meant to be the top player in the England squad and is expected to produce.
Of the others, I thought Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge did well and you expect that bit more from Wayne because of his talent.
Looking at their group, England are still in it. Uruguay were disappointing and I have got to say I was very impressed with Costa Rica – I thought they played really well against Uruguay and that will not be an easy game for England.
Everyone will just talk about the Uruguay game, but Costa Rica will think they have as good a chance as anyone to qualify. I am sure they will be thinking they can give the Italians a game next up.
There’s still all to play for. It will be interesting to see if Luis Suarez does play for Uruguay; if he does, it’s certainly going to make it more difficult for England as he is their talisman – a bit like people talk about Rooney with England.
Through cicrumstances, Suarez had a bad start to the season, but came out at the top of the scoring charts and was named Footballer of the Year. He turned it around and if he’s fit enough, he will be really looking forward to playing against England. He will make it really tough for the English defenders.
Like Balotelli, Suarez’s movement is just so good.
Looking at the Italy game, Baloletti did not do a lot, but what he did do, he did with a purpose.
He hit a great chip that Jagielka cleared off the line and he took his header well.
England did put on pressure, but you have to say Pirlo was good for the Italians in slowing the game down and stepping things up at the right time and he was unlucky with his free-kick which hit the bar.
England also struggled containing the Italian right-back from a defensive point of view. He was bombing forward all night.
England now have to go into the Uruguay game with all guns blazing and have a right go.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Roy went with a few more younger players. I felt Barkley looked quite sharp when he came on and linked up with Sterling and Sturridge, while I also thought Danny Welbeck did okay as well. There’s also Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to possibly come in as well. He could play in midfield and run at people.
The most impressive team so far have obviously been Holland. Looking at Robben, he is so direct and puts defenders under pressure and can run by them and take them on. He drags defenders out of position and the Spanish back four just couldn’t handle him.
Holland really took the game to Spain, although in the first half, Spain looked in control before that great header from Van Persie.
In the second half, Spain just did not have any answers and it will be interesting to see how they perform in the next game against Chile.
Looking at the others, I have also been quite impressed by Colombia in beating Greece 3-0. They look strong and powerful, while in terms of Brazil, I wasn’t too impressed with them.