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Michael Taylor 17th Jun 2010 - 11:46

Expect accomplished but not extraordinary... from England

There's never an easy game when it comes to the World Cup - or at least that's the case for England, no matter what era of players it is.

The USA game couldn't have reflected this sentiment any clearer with Capello's men pretty much dominating possession and territory yet never really threatening to make up for Rob Green's howler.

Whatever the reasons are that they couldn't push on and win the game, in my opinion, shouldn't be scrutinised in too great a detail because this is another England side that lacks the ability to make waves.

Algeria are the next ones on the list and while it's hard to see anything but an England win at 1/4 I doubt the performance will push them alongside the likes of Argentina and Germany in terms of quality attacking.

It's hard to pinpoint why the Three Lions lack impetus, I'll give it a go nevertheless...

Lampard and Gerrard, no matter how many managers try it, cannot be a great partnership unless something drastically changes and I'm not sure simply adding Gareth Barry into the equation will help matters.

It's hard to know which needs to be removed, Gerrard's do or die attitude or Lampard's smart movement and great eye for goal - but unless one does fade away England won't reach their potential in the middle of the park.

As for Shaun Wright-Phillips' surprise substitute appearance I'm not actually as against it as it seems the most of England was.

He's no world beater, far from it in fact, however he brings a little bit of pace and could still have a part to play late on in games and as far as I'm concerned he was no worse than Aaron Lennon on the other flank.

It could all come down to the English way of thinking and the Algeria game could shed more light on this.

Algeria are a very poor side on the world stage with players who aren't fit to lace the England team's boots, if you want to talk in football clichés.

Madjid Bougherra, Hassan Yebda and Nadir Belhadj are the best known of their players - one's a Charlton reject and the other two are Portsmouth men who've played a handful of decent games.

For the likes of Wayne Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole these types of player should cause no concern whatsoever, after all they rarely do on a week-to-week basis on our fair shores.

Get them into the international fold though and England starts panicking.

Glen Johnson will be getting orders to stop Belhadj at all costs; Emile Heskey will be told to draw out Bougherra and all of a sudden instead of an attacking unit focused on slick passing and moving we have workhorses carrying out their own individual chores.

As said previously this should work fine against Algeria even if they did look tight at the back against Slovenia - just don't expect a bagful of goals.

Rooney is the key (when isn't he??) and he should have enough about him, even if he can't find top gear yet, to cause no end of problems and I think he'll be so determined to give a good showing here that he should open the scoring.

The Manchester United talisman is 11/4 to score the first of the game while I fancy Jermain Defoe could also be a value bet at 6/5 to score anytime, if he manages to push in-front of Heskey.

Defoe's the type of player to exploit weak defences so if Fabio lets him loose he may actually get the confidence you need to score consistently at international level - Heskey sadly will never have this and since England don't have any natural goalscorers surely the big man has to make way.

As for what we can expect from the Algeria, the outlook is bleak.

An error of Rob Green-esque proportion by Faouzi Chaouchi cost them a point in their opener, however you could hardly say they deserved much better, setting up as negatively as possible from the get-go.

If anything you can expect an even more blatant attempt at a goalless draw with England's task being to find a way past the ten men who'll constantly be behind the ball.

It's a tactic that I fancy should last until half-time, especially given England's first half woes, but after the break, with a few tired legs about, it should open up and Capello's men should run out comfortable winners.

I'm liking the 4/1 about 2-0 while 14/5 about draw/England in the double result market is a great shout and hopefully then I can write my next England article back in the 'we can win it' spirit.


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