Joe Strange - Why England will win the World Cup
Published: 31 May 2010 - 06:06:51
After yesterday's highly unconvincing win over Japan in Austria, England will almost certainly be feeling the wrath of the national media as they wake up this morning.
But while the tabloids slate Theo Walcott and the broadsheets dissect Fabio Capello's dubious tactics, they might be wise to look at England's current predicament from a completely different angle.
The doom-mongers among us will point towards the dodgy defence and lack of creativity during recent wins over Mexico and Japan, but could they be missing the most important thing to come out of both games?
Despite putting in two of the most inept performances in recent memory, Capello's men still managed to secure two wins from two games.
Of course the performances could have been a lot better, but the World Cup isn't about the quality of the performance, it's all about winning - plain and simple.
It would be brilliant to breeze through Group C and all the way to the final playing beautiful football, beating teams with confidence and style in equal measure.
But unfortunately that's just not going to happen.
It's often said that the sign of a great team is the ability to win when not playing well, a skill which England have proven themselves to be very adept in over recent games.
Fabio picked an experimental starting 11 in Graz - choosing to play his first-choice back four along with fringe players and others playing out of their natural position.
His substitutions and tactical changes will also be heavily scrutinised over the coming days, but despite all of the problems still surrounding squad selection and formation, we still beat a side ranked only slightly below Algeria and Slovenia - two of our group opponents.
Monday saw an equally disjointed showing but again the same outcome, this time a win over a Mexico side on a good run of form and ranked as high as 17th in the world.
Although it's a little bit worrying that our manager doesn't seem to know who will start in goal, on either wing or up-front with Wayne Rooney, we should take solace from the fact that we're still winning without being at our best.
If Capello can find the right players and the right formation to get the best out of them, then going all the way in South Africa might not be as unrealistic as some people are predicting.
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- A product of Brighton University's prolific youth system, Joe Strange has boundless energy and the enviable ability to cover every blade of grass in his Monday blog. Joe has written for a variety of football websites and fanzines and is also a regular contributor to golf.co.uk. Despite being born and raised in Kent, 'Stranger' is a diehard Everton fan and counts his team's penalty shoot-out victory against Manchester United last season as his most memorable football moment. Follow Joe on Twitter @joe_strange.
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