England beat Japan 2-1 in Austria this afternoon, but the performance in the first half was worse than pathetic.
And England even managed to miss a penalty thanks to Frank Lampard, and had to rely on Japan scoring all three goals in the game.
England’s performance in the first half was hopeless, with most of the England players seemingly sleeping though most of the first 45 minutes. Is the World Cup coming up or is the World Cup coming up – what’s wrong with these England players who seem to have no fight or spirit, and in the first half seemed at half speed in everything they did.
And Japan went ahead after just 7 minutes with a sloppy goal from England’s viewpoint following a corner.
Brazilian-born Tulio Tanaka got the ball 12 yards out from a right wing corner and hit the ball first time into the right hand corner of the net beating goalkeeper James and left back Ashley Cole, who was standing on the line.
This England defense looks far too porous at the moment, and yet another game without a clean sheet against mediocre opponents.
Spurs winger Lennon did have a good chance down the left but was unab;le to beat goalkeeper Kawashima from 10 yards out and then Sunderland forward Darren Bent could have scored when he seemed to get a free header, but he headed past the post – he probably should have scored.
Joe Hart, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips were brought on for the second half for David James, Glen Johnson, Tom Huddlestone, Theo Walcott and Darren Bent.
Aaron Lennon moved to the right flank with Wright-Phillips out on the left, and Wayne Rooney was the lone striker up front with Joe Cole playing in the hole just behind Wayne.
That has to be curtains for Darren Bent – he will not go to South Africa for sure – after again not taking the chance he was offered.
After 56 minutes and following a free kick for England, not one but two Japanese players palmed the ball away for an obvious penalty, but that didn’t stop them from still protesting the penalty.
And would you believe Lampard was the man who took it – and yes – he missed again as goalkeeper Kawashima made a great save full length to his right.
At least Lampard hit the goal this time – his miss in the FA Cup final didn’t even make the goalkeeper (David James) have to make the save.
Goalkeeper Kawashima then made a terrific save from Wayne Rooney – the goalkeeper has played well this afternoon – the Japanese goalkeeper played so well this afternoon for his country – and he’s currently 3rd choice too.
England scored after 72 minutes, and it was due to Joe Cole’s experience and probably booked his ticket to South Africa.
Cole got the ball clear done the right wing and then put in a very good cross only for Tulio Tanaka, headed into his own goal – but the ball had to be played because England players were waiting in the box.
So Tanak has scored for Japan and England in the game today.
Good play by Joe Cole.
England went ahead after 83 minutes with another own goal from Japan as the other Cole on the other (left) wing, Ashley Cole put in a good cross come shot, and Nakazawa deflected the ball into the net.
After 89 minutes Emile Heskey missed a sitter from six yards out following a great cross from Steven Gerrard – the Aston Villa reserve just doesn’t score enough goals to be anywhere near the England squad.
Then on 90 minutes Japan hit the bar following a left wing corner – the England defense does not look solid at all – and the game ended with England getting a fortunate win.
The second half was an improved performance from England, but it could hardly have been worse then the first 45 minutes.
The England final 23 squad will be announced on Tuesday.
Former Newcastle player Scott Parker hasn’t played in the warm-ups along with Villa’s Steven Warnock and we cannot see them going to the World Cup – and Sunderland’s Darren Bent has no chance. And Wallsend-born Michael Carrick will also probably miss the plane to the World Cup because of his poor performance against Mexico.
We also have to think that Manchester City’s Joe Hart has done enough and will start for England against the USA in our first game on Saturday 12th June. But if England play like they did in the first half, then the US will win that game.
Finally we have to hope that Martin Tyler is not the commentator for England’s World Cup games – is it just us – or is this guy the most boring commentator around – why does he keep rambling on and on and on …… and on?
England: David James (Joe Hart, 46), Glen Johnson (Jamie Carragher, 46), Ashley Cole, Tom Huddlestone (Steven Gerrard, 46), Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Theo Walcott (Shaun Wright-Phillips, 46), Frank Lampard, Darren Bent (Joe Cole, 46), Wayne Rooney, Aaron Lennon (Emile Heskey, 77).
Japan: Eiji Kawashima, Yuji Nakazawa, Marcus Tanaka, Yuto Nagatomo, Yusuyuki Konno, Yasuhito Endo (Keiji Tamada, 86), Makoto Hasebe, Abe Yujki, Keisuke Honda, Yoshito Okubu (Daisuke Matsui, 72), Shinji Okazaki (Takayuki Morimoto, 65).