Thankfully United > England



As England crashed out of the World Cup in the most humiliating fashion perhaps the best consolation for those Reds following the national side is that Manchester’s finest will always be bigger. England’s ‘Golden Generation’ has evolved since Sven Goran Eriksson’s side lost to Brazil in 2002 but the squad’s nucleus remains.

It’s a squad that has now failed five tournaments in a row. The Fool’s Golden Generation.

England’s non-performance in South Africa is perhaps the worst of any in the last decade, bar the side’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 under the hapless Steven McClaren. Poor against USA, abject in the draw against Algeria, England were little better than mediocre in the scrappy 1-0 win over the tournament’s smallest country Slovenia.

Then came today’s dénouement with Capello’s side taken to pieces by a vastly superior Germany. Out-passed, manoeuvred and thought, England resorted to bringing goal-shy forward Emile Heskey into the action at 4-1 down. If ever a substitution summed up England’s utter incompetence.

Supporters can point to Frank Lampard’s goal-that-never was, with Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda inexplicably missing the Chelsea midfielder’s shot that bounced off the crossbar and then a yard behind the line. In truth any complaints about the officials is a red herring, with John Terry and Matthew Upson performing their best Chuckle Brothers impression for the full 90.

For all Fabio Capello’s previously trophy-laden CV – in the 1990s at least – even the 64-year-old Italian failed to extract more from this group than McClaren or Eriksson before him. Indeed, Eriksson’s side made the quarter-finals of major tournaments in 2002, 2004 and 2006, which is about par for the course over England’s international history.

Indeed, something deeply troubling emerged from this tournament with the players’ almost universally down-tempo performances unveiling a deep unhappiness within the squad.

On taking the post more than two years ago Capello argued that the English played with fear. On today’s evidence they have no belief, , shape, confidence or talent either.

The perennial debate in England will now move on to why national team’s players supposedly under-perform for England when compared to their clubs. It’s a question, however, that particularly misses the point this time out. Of the starting XI against Germany only Wayne Rooney – who looked distinctly unfit in South Africa – the aforementioned Lampard and James Milner had outstanding seasons for their clubs.

Indeed, ‘keeper David James, right-back Glen Johnson and central defenders Terry and Upson each had campaigns to forget in domestic football. It showed today, with the BBC’s Alan Hansen given plenty of cause to discuss England’s ‘schoolboy’ defending post-match.

Perhaps the truth of England’s failure is closer to the quality, or lack thereof, demonstrated in the team’s performances during this tournament. It’s a poor team, with a distinctly average set of players that Capello has failed to gel into something greater than the sum of its parts. The stubborn addiction to a system that restricted too many of England’s limited pool of talent is just one of Capello’s major failings in South Africa.

Which brings us back to Sir Alex Ferguson’s United. The United manager has, with ever dwindling transfer funds, managed to squeeze every last ounce out of an ageing squad last season. The proud Scot has turned down England on three occasions but there is no doubt this England group, although limited in world terms, would have benefited from Ferguson’s continuing magic.

The Football Association, having successfully negotiated an end to Capello’s mid-contract break clause, may now live to regret that decision. It’ll cost the FA about £12 million to sack the Italian when the board holds its biannual inquest into English failure at a major tournament later this summer. His replacement certainly won’t be Ferguson this time either.

With the ineffective Rooney now off on a well-earned holiday, and Park Ji-Sung and Javier Hernandéz also knocked out in the round of 16, United now has no representative’s in South Africa. Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and Nani didn’t play a minute in the tournament, while Patrice Evra, Nemenja Vidic and Zoran Tosic left South Africa in the group stages. It bodes well for the squad’s freshness next season.

As for England – we’ll return to the same debate about the side’s failure when it is inevitably knocked out of Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine in two years time.

If Roy Hodgson’s team makes it that far of course.

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  • vannailyrooy

    For fuck’s sake, it’s only the 10 o’clock news and already we’re getting the “where was Rooney?” quotes… Small-time cunts, it’s laughable.

    • Burnsey

      Totally agree, forget what Rooney did for england. As a United fan i couldnt care less, he is a Man Utd hero and thats all that matters as far as im concerned. He is the nest talent this country has ever produced and if England cant get the best out of him then i couldnt care less. Fergie can get the best out of him and every Man Utd fan should be grateful for it.

      Also, will people now see how good a defender Rio is compared to ‘snake in the grass’ Terry? A class apart compared to that prick.

    • emelue james

      I bet if somebody gave Wayne looney a man united jersey 2 wear instead of Engerland’s,at least he would have scored a goal lol

  • lisa w

    fake fan that all you are hun, our side is one of the youngests in the league with many many kids coming up, fergie has a nice budget of £50m to splash which he has never done before, alex usually only spends £30m a year and been so for twenty years as he spends less then most, nani and rio not played due to injury and zoran have left therfor proving you know very little darling, manchester will now recruit people like sanchez and fabiano for new season bank on it.

  • Liam

    To many foreigners in the PL. Thats the problem. Youth doesn’t get a fair crack of the whip. Look back to Englands last good show in a world cup, Italia 90 and how many foreigners were dominating the top sides in the old first division? But then came 92 and the sky money and then came the foreigners suddenly wanting to play in England. I’m not English so its not my problem but I’m preety sure this is where the problems for the English national side are routed

  • eddieTheRed

    Thank God they can finally come home and get the rest they so badly need. This England team played their first 3 games in a straightjacket of Fabio Capellos’s making; evidently he is not as good a manager as he thought!

    As always, with England teams, most of the squad was burned out before they arrived in South Africa; Rooney, Barry and Aaron Lennon looked particularly tired!

    The disallowed goal for England only serves to illustrate one thing; international football is a thing of the past and on the way out; all the empty seats in South Africa are a testament to the fact that is is badly governed and badly run in every way, shape and form!

    Capello’s tactics were rubbish and England only played like England when they were 2-0 down; they reverted to instinctive football and looked terrific for 40 minutes until the Germans scored their 3rd goal.

    I for one, can’t wait to see all United’s World Cup players come back next season and prove everybody wrong; at Old Trafford they play alongside better players and are governed by a much better manager – roll on next season!

  • emelue james

    @eddieTheRed EMPTY SEATS???What part of the stadium were u at or what kind of TV did u use 4 d match.The only thing dis England team can PROBABLY win is either a beer drinking contest or a wife snatching contest lol.Just a bunch of over-paid,over-hyped bunch of loosers.The SKY NEWS led media turned an already average team into absolute mediocres.

  • bhoty IndoManUnited

    SAF for england…. now it is the time the three lions get a lesson from the real LION… so they will roarr,,, not bark.!!!

  • SKW

    Fergie will never manage England — and why would he want to?

  • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/members/jaff/ Liam

    The sooner the media in England realise that the national team is no better than a quarter finals team the sooner English people can start to actually enjoy a world cup. England won a world cup 44 years ago. Let it go, they are not in the same class as Spain or Brazil. The constant over stating of the teams chances does nothing but build up fans to be let down and then we get the usual over the top post exit nonsense.

    It’s supposed to be enjoyable to have your team to support at a world cup. Now lets just hope Rooney enjoys his holiday.

  • eddieTheRed

    @ emelue james

    For the record; capacity of Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein is 45,000; attendance Germany v England 40,510; unsold seats 4,490

    That’s just one game; most games at this World Cup have failed to sell out by substantial margins despite Fifa selling discounted tickets at the stadium on the day.