World Cup 2010: England 0-0 Algeria

10 By Ian  |   The Ball  |   June 19, 2010  |     17

It would appear that Wayne Rooney is of the opinion that the England football team (and, especially upon this evening, his performance in particular) is worthy of the undying support of the English people and, in particular, of those that have given up valuable holiday time and a fistful of cash that they may or may not be able to afford to travel to South Africa to watch their national team. That any of these people made actual, material sacrifices to be in Cape Town this evening has, presumably, never occurred to him. There are plenty of criticisms that can be levelled at England supporters, but to assert that they are not “football supporters” only serves to emphasise the unreality of the world in which the likes of Wayne Rooney live.

To be frank, if Wayne Rooney doesn’t want the criticism that comes with a sub-standard performance (especially when he has performed so far below his capability, and at a time during which he is earning more money in a week than most people in England earn in three years – it’s a simplistic argument, but the fact that it is simplistic doesn’t make it any less true), he should probably retire. And Manchester United supporters reading this and chuckling should probably stop laughing now – if you think that he holds you in any less than contempt than he holds England supporters, you’re fooling only yourselves. He may well care more about Manchester United than the England team. Fair enough, if that’s the case. Good riddance.

But there we go. Wayne Rooney is a moron. We already knew that, but we were willing to overlook and forgive that under the flimsy premise that he is a great footballer, and that nothing else matters. What is the excuse for the rest of the team? The only England player to emerge from this match with any dignity whatsoever has been David James. Considering the strength of the microscope under which the England goalkeeping position has been viewed over the last six days, his composure this evening was all the more remarkable. Otherwise, England this evening were a sorry tale of misplaced passes and wrong decisions, a mediocre team with delusions of grandeur. A team that, on the basis of everything that they have shown at this World Cup, deserve no more than the global ridicule that they are currently on the receiving end of.

None of this is meant as any disrespect to Algeria. After a slow opening five minutes, they played as if they were waking up to just how limited these supposed limited these so-called “superstars” are. By the end of the match, Algeria should have been cursing themselves that they didn’t take this slovenly bunch of failures to the cleaners and back. It’s not a matter of anything that has happened to the England team over the last few weeks or months or so. It’s a matter of where they have been for the last sixty years or so – treading water or moving backwards while the world has caught them up and overtaken them. One dimensional, tedious and playing this tournament for the benefit of no-one – neither that of their own supporters nor the neutrals – this team doesn’t serve any purpose whatsoever World Cup. They are yesterday’s news.

They may yet stumble through to the next round. The current system of the World Cup is fair and other results have gone England’s way, meaning that a win against Slovenia will see them fall through the door into the knockout stage of the competition. Their position as the fourth favourites to win the entire competition, however, seems even more ridiculous than ever tonight. Under what circumstances could this team get within a country mile of winning the World Cup, it is more or less impossible to imagine. Possibly after the next nuclear war they’ll have a chance, if they are competing against the cockroaches and the undead. But only if no-one has explained what the rules of the game are to the cockroaches.

It is also coming to something when the only mitigation for such a performance is that other teams have done as badly as England have. Spain, France and Italy have done as badly, some will say. It is being damned by faint praise to the highest extent to descend to that level. England’s performance this evening needs to be taken on its own and analysed in its own right. Fabio Capello may or may not have made mistakes, but you would still trust him above more or less anybody in the current team, based on this evening’s performance. It is entirely plausible that over the last few months he has looked upon the team that he is being paid to coach with increasing disdain. Capello is a perfectionist. What must he have thought this evening, as pass after pass ran straight to the opposition or dribbled pathetically into touch? What must he have thought when Steven Gerrard, apparently in all earnestness, tried a headed shot upon goal from the edge of the penalty area? How does he rationalise this? Presumably with the enormous pay cheque that he is being given. In the cold light of day, it’s difficult to argue with this.

Most England supporters could probably just about tolerate the players in the team being objectionable if they could stake a genuine claim to winning the World Cup. They would likely tolerate a decree of mediocrity from the team if the players were genuine, humble and entertaining. It is one of the less palatable trade-offs that the football supporter has to make. What we have now, though, is the worst of both worlds. A team that is singularly charmless, yet can’t justify the billing that it seems to grant itself, fuelled by a ludicrous press (consider more or less every single headline on the subject of the England team that the ludicrous shitrag The Sun has managed over the last seven months or so), which seems to think that waving a red and white flag whilst shouting “COME ON ENGLAND” at the top of one’s voice will overcome the myriad of systematic, institutional defects within English football. All that we want is a team to be proud of, but it seems that we are asking too much. This team seldom seems capable of even thinking and being on a football pitch at the same time.

So, what we need from the England team between now and Wednesday afternoon is a hell of a lot of contrition, and no excuses. If they are going to get knocked out of the World Cup finals (in the finals that they didn’t fail to qualify for) at the group stages for the first time since 1958, then to at least take a chance or two and go out in as near as they can manage to a blaze of glory. If they can’t manage this, they should take their leave and leave the World Cup to teams that actually want to have a go at winning it, rather than boring the rest of the world into the second round of the tournament.

Thanks again to Historical Football Kits for the kind use of their graphics.



Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

  • June 19, 2010 at 3:48 am

    World Cup News

    You’re a Extremely Professional Blogger, You either have got first hand knowledge of what your talking about or you did some fantastic research. Thank you for this excellent post.

  • June 19, 2010 at 3:50 am


    You admit that England and it’s players are limited, to me this was a major reason why they struggled against Algeria. Not only were Algeria able to pressure and shut down England they were able to hold the ball under pressure for sustained periods which continually broke down Englands attacking rhythm. England were frustrated that they could not attack at will and the football became worse as they struggled to work out a plan to beat the Algerians.

    How then is Rooney’s comment so ridiculous in light of the game?

    It’s not that England didn’t try hard or put in a sub-standard performance, you could see the effort and frustration of the players throughout the game. The back four continually made desperate tackles when beaten. The midfield worked hard to get the ball back, Rooney and Heskey tried to hold the ball up for the rest of the team.

    The problem had nothing to do with effort and everything to do with not knowing how to break down the Algerian team.

    If the name of the opposition team were Argentina or Germany the press would be praising the England team, yet because it’s a team that isn’t a powerhouse in international football, England are written off as not good enough.

    Wake up England the rest of the world has caught up!

  • June 19, 2010 at 7:02 am


    I watched the game England game last night, and I was shocked to see how most of the England team played without desire, passion or urgency to win the ball or string passes together. Out of all the England players David James was under the most pressure to deliver, and he gave a solid performance. I believe it’s easy to blame Capello, but if they lack the spirit and desire to win, they will never win anything with this attitude. Personally, I think the team selection is partially to blame, we are led to believe Capello is the only decision maker to select the 23 players for the England WC squad. Maybe his hands are tied and he’s just following orders. Reason being, why bring Heskey to the WC when he is not a first choice striker at Villa and he is seriously below form. Also, why pair Gerrard and Lampard in midfield, when these two have been tried and tested by several England managers and it just doesn’t work. Why leave Joe Cole on the bench for the past two games. I thought Football Manager selected players based on their current form not only on past achievements!!!
    The problem is most of the players are overrated by the media, especially the likes of Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney which just adds more pressure. Also, the problem with the EPL it is over-hyped and overrated. As England fans we need a reality check, and look at the root causes. Maybe we need more Foreign coaches at youth level to train the upcoming stars of tomorrow. Or more youth players are sent abroad to earn their apprenticeship with other european clubs so there is more adaption to the European style of play. Wake up England fans and see beyond the smoke screen.

  • June 19, 2010 at 11:54 am


    Chickens coming home to roost anyone?

    That an England IX could be out performed so emphatically by the patient passing style of Algeria showed up the faliacy of the harum scarum style of the EPL. The lack of technique shown by the England midfield was scary, and not entirly unpredictable. I have been saying for many years that Gerrard is good going forward, but i doubt whether he is capable of sitting in midfield and playing passes.

  • June 19, 2010 at 1:33 pm


    Embarrassingly dull. The standard of their detail football – like not passing the ball to the fucking linesman – has gone backwards since 2002.

  • June 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm


    Mintox – i saw plenty of lack of effort. Case in point – two attempts on goal where Heskey was stood still watching the game rather than playing it and running into the acre of space infront of him for the rebound.
    Passing was woeful, posession was given away frivolously and england just looked utterly incompetent. And the managers refusal to change the system – where was joe cole – looked just as bad.

  • June 19, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Bored Statto with free time

    Yes you can blamethe players and the manager, but sometimes greater forces are at work.

    The only ITV screened England World Cup group game that England have won since 1982 was one against Trinidad & Tobago (0-0 until 82 minutes).

    They had a record of 1 wins/8 games before this tournament and now it’s 1/10 on ITV Exclusive matches. I had no doubt we’d be in this situation after 2 games. Roll on the BBC for match 3.

    The only saving grace is that the BBC have the last 16 game so England can theoretically escape the ITV curse and get to the 1/4 or 1/2 finals.

    As a comparison England have a record of 7 wins/10 games that have been BBC exclusive World Cup matches since 1982.

    A statistical anomaly? I think it’s more than that after over 1/4 century’s worth of data.

    (Results/Broadcasters data source)

  • June 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Tim Vickerman

    The scariest thing is I have a horrible feeling we’ll scrape through. Possibly start brightly and get and early goal against Slovenia, battle and survive a second half onslaught. And then, depending on the opposition, scrape through again or be beaten narrowly with a decision going against us. This will then paper over all the cracks for the next 10 years while nothing is done about improving coaching standards and putting money into producing better young footballers. Seems the root and branch investigation amounted to ‘hire the best coach we can get on a massive salary and hope he can save us from actually spending more on creating a sustainable formula for producing world class players and coaches in the modern game’. Then again, who’s to make these decisions? The modern FA is toothless in the face of the all-powerful Greed is Good league created, let us remember for the ultimate benefit of the England national team. The core of English football at the top-level is truly rotten…

  • June 19, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Andy the Blades fan

    I was utterly appalled at the performance last night and even more so by Rooney’s comments. A wedge was driven between the players and the fans after their 2006 efforts (mediocre performances and more interested in the WAGS than beating Ecuador and T&T) and failure to make Euro 2008. Capello’s England have started to rebuild that bridge with the fans in recent months but Rooney’s comments knock it back to square one. The fans who have travelled thousands of miles to support you Mr Rooney, the fans who have spent a fortune that many probably can’t afford without serious saving and sacrifice, the fans who aren’t in a swish hotel and travelling first class, the fans have a right to boo when they have been let down by people like you. The fans are sick to death of seeing Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard performing for their clubs and not for their country, sick of seeing them taking their extortionate wages and sick of their whining the minute anything goes against them.

    World Cup referees aren’t going to let you get the decisions you get in the Premier League lads. John Terry has got away with pulling and pushing and moaning for years at Chelsea in the corrupt Premier League. Put him in a World Cup and it all goes against him. Gerrard is used to flinging his arms up whenever anyone breathes on him and getting the free kick – not here sunshine. This is the place where you have to prove you’re the best in the world and not a good player in a good side who get all the decisions in the Premier League.

    Face up to it folks. We have players who’d rather play for their clubs than their country – when do you see Rooney play like that for Man United? When do you see Lampard fail to hit the target from six long shots for Chelsea? When do you see Gerrard not shoot when he gets into the box for Liverpool? And the disease is spreading … Aaron Lennon is in the squad because of his Tottenham form where he beats the left back for fun and sets up goals. Seen him do it for England? Nope, he keeps cutting back and hitting weak efforts with his left foot.

    Start supporting another country and forget these pathetic wasters.

  • June 20, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    algeria da best

    The English players are exellent players, they have talent. They star for their clubs, but dont for their country. Why? Because when you play for your country, you need to love you country and have the desire and urge to have your flag waving high. And that what Rooney, Gerrard and the rest need. The manager makes mistakes just like us humans do, like putting Lampard and Gerrard together which doesnt suit them. Us Algerians love our country and we have a strong will to win when it comes to strong teams like England and the Ivory Coast. Our players suffer in their clubs, they dont always play even they are big players. They are less fit than other teams but they never let us down against big teams. Even we have our bad days like when we played our friendly’s. We are a team that came together in one year and have young players (between 20 and 26) so we have a bright futur. And to be fair I am half English and half Algerian, so I didnt side with a team in this comment.

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