With the World Cup in Canada getting close, England’s manager is feeling confident.
The England manager was invited to the Sportswomen show today and he declared “We feel we are a team that are difficult to play against and on our day we can beat anyone. The ambition is to go there and win the competition but we’ve got to treat every game like a final.”
We can applaud his ambition and will to win the tournament. He certainly has a good point about beating anyone . Back in 2011, England, managed by Hope Powell ,were the only team that managed to beat eventual World Champions Japan during the tournament.
He also added that “We’ve got a very compact, resolute unit and we’ve got a real togetherness in the group so we’ll certainly be a difficult opponent for anyone.”
I think this is the strongest possible indication on the tactics for the upcoming competition, those tactics actually brought some relative success to Hope Powell but also failed her. Powell reached the Euro finals in 2009 but struggled to win any knock-out game at WC2007, WC2011, Olympics 2012, while England did not get out of the group stage at Euro 2005 and 2013.
It has certainly been a worry for England or Team GB at the Olympics in previous competition (except Euro 2009), if they went one nil up you could expect them to hold on to a win due to that defensive strength. But when they went one nil down, I do not remember a knock-out game when they managed to come back from behind.
Mark Sampson has show his willingness to attack and England got caught by Germany in the friendly back in November. It looks that he has shifted the cursor back towards being defensive as seen against the USA in February. There is no doubt that against weaker teams, England will be on the attack but against the top sides in the world, the hedghehog tactic will be a bit risky if they fall behind.
There is no guarantee that England will be able to switch from a defensive mindset to an attacking one, if required during a game at a the knock-out stage. Although there is a lot more hope under Sampson that under Powell. Unless, they go via the direct route as the attacking solution, England might find it hard to implement their attacking scheme. The attacking possession based football used to sustain pressure on the opponent needs a lot of time to be worked on, especially against great side who will hit you very quickly in transition and find spaces behind the defense in one or two passes.
Can England win the World Cup 2015, it is not likely but it coud happen as 2011 outsider Japan showed in the Tournament played in Germany.