England coach Swen Goran Erickson must not be a Power Line reader. Despite my demonstration that the way to score goals is to play with two center forwards, Erickson, who had been using two, took a step backwards in today’s match against Ecuador and elected to play Wayne Rooney alone up front. To make matters worse, he apparently told the team to bypass his talented five-man midfield and send high balls in the general direction of Rooney, who usually had two center backs draped over him.
The result was an hour of very ugly football. Only after David Beckham’s right foot produced another goal did the pressure on Rooney lighten up, as Ecuador was forced to push forward a little. At that point, Rooney began to dazzle. But with no one in the box with him, no second goal was forthcoming.
England prevailed 1-0, but for the fourth straight match did not play anywhere close to the level required to challenge for the Cup. Things may improve. Rooney is nearing top form. And Frank Lampard can’t keep missing goal-scoring opportunities much longer, can he? But England needs to get another man in the box with Rooney. They should either pair him up with towering Peter Crouch or, my preference, play Joe Cole as a forward.