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England’s Downfall

by Josh Powell | June 28, 2010

England 'Goal'
No, it hasn’t been photoshopped.
 
End Of The Line For Capello?
Mark Lawrenson complaining about a constant whiny drone throughout the matches.
Thierry Henry appealing for handball.
The Germans coming out on the right side of a very wrong goal-line decision.
The football hasn’t been great, but this has hands down been the best ever World Cup in terms of irony. Still to come – Portugal getting knocked out by a penalty won from a blatant dive and Robbie Earle not getting a ticket for the final.
 
England are on the way home and the post-mortem was of the more surreal ilk €“ a mood of exasperation mixed with deep rooted acceptance. Yes, the time has come for the use of video technology to adjudge goal-line decisions, but no, England didn’t deserve to make further progress in the tournament and Germany were simply reversing over an animal that was injured beyond recovery in the second game of the tournament.
 
On the first point, Sepp Blatter’s obstinate refusal to countenance the idea of using video replays to decide key moments is bizarre. We don’t care if you make a cushy arrangement with one of your friend’s companies to supply the equipment, but make it happen one way or the other. Mr. Blatter’s case is based around the not very scientific argument of ‘ah sure, at least if there’s a bad decision, you can talk about it in the pub with your friends.’ We can Sepp,i but if we constantly want to talk about ongoing farce, there’s always politcs. Blatter also points out he wants humans to be arbiters of the sport and that point is far enough, but what’s better than a man who's equipped with a bit of technology €“ we’ve all seen Ironman. Imagine a 18th century surgeon with such a steadfast refusal to embrace progress.
“Hi Mr. 18th Century Doctor. I know you're fond of that rusty hacksaw for your operations, but how about trying this new hygienic scalpel thing we've been working on?”
“No, no. It’s not for me. I might make a few mistakes and people might lose limbs over it, but at least its human error rather than new-fangled technology getting it right.”
In general, we’d be living in a far more limpy society. Stopping the game every couple of seconds to see if Cristiano Ronaldo was indeed fouled or brought down by a vicious untied lace would be excessive, but referring to a video replay for goal-line decisions is a must at least.
 
And keeping with the theme of the post-match punditry, with that off our chests we turn to some extensive Capello bashing. Added to the irony that is the Festival Of Irony 2010 was the fact that England's performance in defeat was their best at this World Cup. There are no other contenders on that barren shortlist, but certainly at the time of the ‘goal’ England looked rampant and the German defence on the verge of collapse.
 
It wasn’t the worst performance and individual errors were punished ruthlessly. David James left a gap between his legs big enough to slot the team bus through for the first two goals and followed it up with the type of evasion skills that would make Osama Bin Laden proud for the third. But that’s just David James doing what David James does and in reality the blame has to fall at Capello's door. With Robert Green no longer a viable option, he was essentially forced into playing James and for all his positives, he is too untidy a keeper for the highest level of football. Throwing Joe Hart in for a game of such importance would be borderline psychological torture, but what was the point of taking him along if he was considered too inexperienced to play?
 
Although questioning the competence of a manager is the standard knee-jerk reaction of our time, Capello does have some questions to answer. When England needed three goals, why was Defoe hauled off in place of Heskey? For that matter why was Heskey even there? And why was Peter Crouch brought along? Was it just to take stuff down off high shelves and make sure the players left nothing on top of the wardrobes in the team hotel? It took the better part of four games for England to string a few passes together and you have to wonder what type of atmosphere was fostered in the camp to elicit such a paralysing fear in his players. His future in the job shouldn't be dependent on winning the World Cup, but such was the ineptitude of the overall performance, it's hard to see what he's going to bring to the team for Euro 2012. After years of clambering for a foreign manager with a stellar CV to bring refinement and nous to the team, appointing an Englishman to inspire more passion in some undoubtedly capable players now seems appropriate. Now wouldn't that be ironic?
 
WORLD CUP BETTING €“ VIDEO TECHNOLOGY IN FOOTBALL BETTING

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