Word Cup expectations high in England

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:42 PM ET

There was a time when a 3-1 victory against a team like Mexico would have satisfied virtually every England fan.

But that was then and this is now. It shows how expectations are as high as they have ever been for a World Cup win.

England and Mexico participated in a friendly Sunday. Even though England emerged to the good, scoring three goals, there was some dissatisfaction that the Three Lions didnt play a full 90 minutes.

When we play counter-attacking football, we are really dangerous but I dont just want to play on the counter. I want more, said England coach Fabio Capello.

Thats the theme for the 2010 World Cup for England, Please sir, I want some more.

Thats a good thing.

Like Oliver Twist, England has been starved when so often they expected a feast.

Its why this time around instead of glorifying Mexico as a quality side with quickness and plenty of World Cup experience, all of which is true, the focus was on what would happen if England were playing a better team.

Its why instead of focusing on the three-goals scored and the win, Capello and the team focused on what could be better.

Its why instead of worrying so much about performance, England had the chance to give players like Ledley King and the goalkeeping rotation a run out to see how things worked.

Mexico may not be Brazil or Argentina or Italy or France but they are a good test.

Thats all good because while not everything went well, England showed there is an awful lot that leads to hope in South Africa.

England played without the Chelsea trio of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.

Capello may have found a support player for Wayne Rooney up front and thats Steven Gerrard.

Gerrard has always had trouble finding a role with the national team.

Working just behind Rooney may be it.

Peter Crouch continues to score and depending on the tactics Capello employs, may partner Rooney up front or will be dangerous coming off the bench.

Defender Glen Johnson was very good and King was adequate coming off injury.

That gives Capello some depth both defending and attacking at the back.

Capello also got a glimpse at how vital it will be for his players to have pace because if there is trouble with England it will come defending pace and in the goaltending position.

Yes, there are plenty of questions England needs to answers. That doesnt make them unique. There are few nations who will come to this World Cup without some sort of question their followers believe may be fatal.

The win against Mexico provided England and Capello with a great deal of useful data before having to name their final squad.

It will benefit them in the long run.

Compare the benefit England got from their friendly to the benefit Argentina got in their 5-0 demolition of Canada.

Argentina looked the more impressive in their friendly in preparation for the World Cup but to what end?

The game was an experience of a lifetime for many of the Canadian players but an annoyance for the Argentinians. Coach Diego Maradona did not want to play the friendly but was forced into it because of Argentinas national day celebrations.

There was no pressure, no improving and nothing learned in the game (unless you happen to be Canadian and were slapped in the face by what a galactic difference there is in soccer talent).

That was the last friendly for Argentina prior to the World Cup while England has one more against Japan.

The difference in the level of angst for this World Cup for England and Argentina is striking.

There is no friendly match when you are wearing the Argentine uniform, Maradona said. The guys showed we have a great team and more. Argentines should relax.

Maybe a chorus of Dont Worry, Be Happy, is what England needs as well. England is heading into the World Cup in as good a shape as its been entering any World Cup.


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