No matter what we might think about a few missed chances and our general disappointment we still have a chance. We have as a nation responded to the bold selection and positive tactics of Hodgson in the opening match of the World Cup. Before the match I considered a draw as the minimum result for England in their quest to qualify from the group but it wasn’t to be. Games are of course never played on paper, decided by rankings and in the world cup fate is often the mistress of champions. Fate has in one hand been cruel but in the other kind and England can with luck win both remaining games and be in with a chance of qualification to the knockout stage.
In the first round Spain were not just humbled they were humiliated and the players scarred for life. They were shown that whilst Tiki-Taka gives you possession of the ball if you don’t do anything with it in the half that matters it is aimless and predictable. Aimless and predictable sums up Spain’s tilt on making history by defending their title in Brazil. England were dangerous going forward and looked comfortable and free, they had ideas and ran at defenders. Whatever positive vibes are being added to the cornflakes at breakfast are clearly working!
England's pass completion rate against Italy was 91 percent. It's the highest they have recorded in a World Cup game and with pass completion providing the stick that England were hit with in past tournaments they have certainly answered those criticisms with interest. Italy of course managed the highest pass completion figure by any team since 1966 with 93.2 but England never looked outclassed and asked Italy questions of their defence all evening.
England made 18 shots on goal compared to 12, 8 on target compared to 5, 9 corners compared to 2 and enjoyed only marginally less possession at 48%. They just need to pick themselves up and go again.
Rooney not for the first time has polarised opinion with some believing the striker should be left out of the remaining games of the tournament but was the provider of course of England’s goal, virtually putting the ball on a plate for the fast arriving Daniel Sturridge to bury.
Rooney did have the goal at his mercy on a couple of occasions but failed to deliver prompting even the Italian press to suggest Rooney was in decline and that they now understood why the English press were suggesting the player be dropped. Corriere dello Sport named Rooney a ‘Ghost’. Roy Hodgson certainly has some big decisions to make but has been handed a lifeline and that means they must be more ruthless when given the opportunity. For all the positives what England need more than anything against Uruguay is all three points.