I would expect Switzerland to provide a sterner test on Tuesday and perhaps we should reserve judgement until after that game, but there are a number of things that are already clear.
Firstly, this was a qualifying game. We have seen how well we qualified for the World Cup and we have also seen how abysmal we were at the actual tournament. All a decent qualifying performance does is raise unrealistic hopes of doing well at the tournament. It has been happening all my life.
Secondly, Bulgaria are not very good and they could easily have been level or ahead going into the last third of the game.
Thirdly, Glenn Johnson, Ashley Cole, Steve Gerrard, Gareth Barry, James Milner, Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney all played. They also all plated at the World Cup. They haven’t suddenly become players who are likely to win something.
Fourthly, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand are all injured. There is every chance that one, two or all three of them would have played if they had been fit. They probably would have replaced Dawson, Jagielka and Walcott. In other words, Joe Hart playing in goal, which he should have done at the World Cup anyway, is just about the only change.
I know that all sounds a little negative but I have already seen articles describing England’s performance as ‘perfect’ and commenting on all of the changes Capello has made. It will only take another win on Tuesday to see the first comments in the media about England being one of the favourites for Euro 2012!
I’m only trying to keep a little realism about the situation. At the World Cup England were terrible. A little changed team has now beaten a very poor Bulgaria side 4-0 at Wembley.
The positives were that Joe Hart played well, which says something about what could have happened in this game. James Milner looked lively, Wayne Rooney hit a couple of good passes and Jermain Defoe scored some goals.
The negatives were the injury to the unfortunate Michael Dawson and the fact that in truth we saw little new. In fact, the only new we did see was pretty much dictated by injury. England are in a very easy qualifying group and will no doubt qualify comfortably for the finals. Unless the likes of Ashley Young, Theo Walcott, Adam Johnson and other younger up and coming players are given their chance to form a new side for 2012 we know what this group of players will achieve. Nothing.
I just hope that Capello and the media are not lulled into believing that the so called ‘golden generation’ are worth giving another try.
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