England 0 Alexis Sanchez 2: Point proven?
England were left with red faces by Chile on Friday night, mainly by star forward Alexis Sanchez.
The Barcelona front man scored two well deserved goals in a match where the Three Lions failed to recreate the kind of performances which saw them secure a place at next year's World Cup.
Chile however were almost a completely opposite team to the home side. A well drilled, well organised team that kept possession like it was second nature to them. This may have been one of the reasons why Sanchez was capable of producing the kind of performance which saw him win man of the match. La Roja at times seemingly produced the same type of play as Alexis's famous Catalonia club side. The 5 foot 7 inch goal machine was in fine form throughout the evening, beginning with a well directed header to put the visitors in front and finished off with a tidy chip past debutante keeper Fraser Forster.
But it wasn't just his performance on the pitch which saw him grab the headlines. Only a couple of days before the tie Alexis had branded England's players as "soft". He stated that it was his belief that they had been handed their careers on a silver platter, and that they lacked the magic ingredient needed to truly be considered contenders for World Cup triumph. He felt that if they had to endure the type of struggle he had experienced growing up then they might have more fight to their game.
Now, although the man may have a point, the fact that this particular opinion emanates from someone who has been blasted severely times for diving and was at one point recently considered a flop at his current club, makes you wonder if he'd ever heard of the term "the pot calling the kettle black".
To his credit, whilst maybe trying to prove his argument a little more, he produced a performance the English simply couldn't handle. Run after run, pass after pass and skill after skill. The little Chilean really did put his money where his mouth is and delivered a clear message to Roy Hodgson's men... Take nothing and no one for granted. Being beaten by Chile isn't exactly a pie in the face, especially when you consider some of the names on their team sheet. England's performance wasn't all bad either. In truth, the game was fairly even, but the home team's lack of killer instinct in front of goal was something to be concerned about.
The real major concern should be Germany on Tuesday night. Although this bitter rivalry between the two nations runs deeper than just on the pitch, the Germans are of real quality and are favoured to lift the golden trophy in Brazil alongside current champions Spain.
Aside from Sanchez and his dazzling performance as well as possibly hypocritical comments, England were celebrating prior to kick-off. Midfielder Frank Lampard Jnr received his 100th cap in a Three Lions shirt. Lampard is one of many players in the England camp that believe their playing careers maybe soon coming to an end, and will want to finish on a high when they finally do conclude.Will that be in Samba style come next year? Who knows.
Another highlight of the night was the debuts of in-form Southampton duo Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez, As well as the previously mentioned Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster. Although celebratory at the start, none of the trio truly made their mark on their first outings. The only one to really come out of the match with their head held moderately high was Lallana. Out of the two Saints players he was the only one to really try his luck against an unbreakable Chilean defense and equally resilient keeper in Claudio Bravo. Although Rodriguez hardly did anything particularly wrong, he never produced anything particularly decent either. but out of the three the one who will most want to forgot his first game in an England shirt is that of Forster. He could do nothing but watch the ball gently bounce into the net for Sanchez's classy second, but he may consider himself more to blame for the first. Would Joe Hart or maybe even John Ruddy done better under the circumstances, that is just speculation... for now.
All in all this defeat is a bitter pill to swallow for England and it's fans, especially when you consider Alexis may actually have hit the nail on the head a bit harder than first thought.
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