Match Of The (Mid)Week: England 2-2 Czech Republic

Friendly internationals, we are told, are not about the result. They’re about the performance, and about preparing the team for competitive matches to come. What, then, are we to make of a match when more or less the only thing to come from a friendly match that can so much as remotely be regarded as positive is the result? What are we to make of a match in which even the result isn’t that positive and comes about thanks to a goal that wouldn’t have looked out of place in “The Keystone Kops Go Sokker”? Ultimately, to say that there are causes for concern over the prognosis for England’s World Cup qualifying campaign would be a massive understatement. In the past, it was easy to identify where the problems came from with England. Now, there seem to be so many that it’s difficult to know where to start. Defensively, they still seem curiously afraid to commit to tackle when the ball is clearly in a dangerous area. At the front, the one genuinely world class player lacks a foil and fins himself having to run into deeper and deeper positions just to get a touch of the ball. At one point in the first half, Wayne Rooney won the ball and looked up for someone to pass to. He was, however, barely twenty-five yards from his own goal. There...

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