A 5-1 scoreline in favor of England flattered to deceive in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Saturday’s defeat of the World’s 131st ranked side was noteworthy for the visitors holding the hosts scoreless for more than 50 minutes, booing loud enough to be heard over the U.S. satellite feed and what The Times’ David Walsh considers a lack of chemistry between Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. The Guardian’s Rob Smyth is more harsh in his assessment : “the decision to Play-Doh a formation that had just produced a 4-1 victory in Croatia to accommodate these two charlatans was bewildering.”
It’s clear that, if Gerrard and Lampard are to work, it will be in a 4-3-3 formation, as envisaged by Jose Mourinho when he tried to buy Gerrard. But this is unlikely given their limited technical ability and incessant mediocrity at international level and, when it means compromising England’s one world-class attacking talent “ the still criminally underrated Wayne Rooney “ it is impossible to justify. And when England changed to 4-4-2 in the second half they scored five. Like, duh!
Everyone knows that, at club level, Gerrard and Lampard are very good players. We continue to wait for them to produce internationally. The story is old, I know, but it goes on. It’s also incredibly tedious. Not since the Gold Blend adverts has a nation invested so much time in a will-they-won’t-they couple. But it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. There is an overwhelming body of evidence to suggest they simply cannot deliver at international level. Lampard’s best game for England in ages was against Croatia, when Gerrard was missing. One says potato, the other says potatto. They just don’t work together. Get over it.