Favourite Team?

Finally, someone asks the right question (or so I think) - which is your favourite team - instead of asking which team you think will win. As we have seen so far, on their day, anyone can beat anyone. So while you can have a favourite team, but you can't say which team you think will win.

Cases in point are below-par performances from Brazil, England, The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden and several other 'big' teams, and excellent performances from T&T, Ghana, Ecuador and Australia.

My favourite team is England; I've been a ManU supporter for four years now, and it is particularly because I'm familiar with most of their players that I am supporting England. It is easier for me to form an opinion on who should play and the formations that the team employs, so while I'm more likely to criticise them, I'm also supporting them (if that makes any sense).

England, I believe, are a middle centered team - they've got great players in the midfield and in defence, but lack in quality up front and in goal. This explains the difficulty they've had in scoring recently since Sven has surprisingly held the midfield back. Rooney isn't a striker in my book and works best in a poaching role, ala Van Nistelrooy and Paul Scholes. I've never rated Owen highly either, and you just have to compare his performance with that of a Drogba, Henry, Crespo, Forlan or even a Ronaldo to see that he just isn't up to the mark.

Before the World Cup began, I'd jokingly suggested to Aishwarya that England should play a 4-6-0 formation, given how strong their midfield is. Now, I think it would help for them to put their best 11 on the field, and maybe dispense with Crouch and Owen (sacriligious as that sounds). I can crib that a Sean Wright Phillips or a Darren Bent should have made it to the squad, but that's pointless. That said, I think Crouch has been excellent as a supporting striker, but he just doesn't have the finishing touch. Walcott, unfortunately, has been a spectator. Joe Cole has been showboating, and Mourinho would have taken him off for all the useless display of skill, and lack of result. England, unfortunately, isn't playing well as a team and I'd rather have a John Terry or a Gerrard as a captain because if you can't have a manager who can fire the team up, you should at least have a captain who can.

I have a slightly unusual game plan in mind:

Formation:
4-3-2-1

My starting 11:

Paul Robinson (GK)

Gary Neville (LB)
Rio Ferdinand (CB)
John Terry (c) (CB)
Jaime Carragher (RB)

Joe Cole (LW)
Owen Hargreaves (CDM)
Frank Lampard (CAM)
Steven Gerrard (CAM)
David Beckham (RW)

Peter Crouch (A)

Subs:
Wayne Bridge
Wayne Rooney
David James (GK)
Aaron Lennon
Theo Walcott

The Explanation:

Crouch as a striker is there to win the ball, and to set up a scoring opportunity for either Gerrard, Lampard or Joe Cole who'll play in a floating role - one of the three will fall back when the other two strive forward to support Crouch, so you switch to a 4-3-3 in attack from a 4-3-2-1 in defence. Beckham will flit between RW and CDM depending on the situation. Lampard and Gerrard are the key players while attacking and Terry and Ferdinand in defence.

In case of an attacking substitution, Lennon replaces Beckham or Rooney replaces Crouch, and Gerrard drops back.

About 'the favourites to win':

Here's something you've probably not heard elsewhere: the team that gets through the second round with minimum yellow cards are the favourites to win.

Otherwise, on current form, Argentina look the best team on the field. But a few days ago, the Czech's looked just as good, if not better, so form isn't permanent and almost all teams are brimming with class. Still, keep an eye out for the Portuguese and the Spanish. Particularly the Spanish.

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2 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no michael owen, hargreaves is no makelele, gerrard and lampard both keep hitting long shots and make linear runs instead of passing to each other or playing one-twos. nahi kaam karega.

i would rather bench lampard or gerrad, move becks inside and bring on lennon and ask him and cole to tickle the opposition at the sides. becks can be the quarterback a la riquelme if he doesn't lose possession of the ball and then commit a foul in a bid to win it back. if you want to play it steady, carrick would be a better option than hargreaves and no lennon.

this would be too risky but it is obvious stevie and frankie don't make a couple sorry.

all things said, i hope rooney takes over from crouch and gary neville from carragher and hallelujah.

- kunal.

I hate harsha bhogle. and the bald redneck too!

June 19, 2006 2:03 AM  
Blogger Bhavesh said...

That's quite an interesting idea, and it could work, but don't you think you'd be better off with Lennon playing as a right-winger rather than Beckham? If anything, Beckham's only in the side these days because he can tackle a bit and tracks back. He will be wasted as an auxiliary forward.

You're also taking a gamble by playing Peter Crouch as your lone striker. His finishing leaves a lot to be desired, so you'll have to hope that Gerrard and Lampard have their shooting boots on them.

Now Michael Owen's injured, so England's attack looks worse than ever. The problem with the team really lies in the squad selection. Eriksson has left himself with few options up front, instead choosing to fill his squad with some fairly useless central midfielders.

June 22, 2006 10:30 AM  

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