the euphoria of the win over Poland, which secured our place in Brazil
next year, England came back down to earth with a bump as a very good
Chile side beat them in some style at Wembley, thus repeating their win
here in 1998, and showing the home players just what problems they might
face in Rio.
played well, but
England gave one of
their poorest performances since Roy Hodgson took charge.
Hodgson had to shuffle his pack as numerous
players dropped out through injury, and he gave debuts to Adam
Lallana, Jay Rodrigues and goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
started brightly and pushed for an early goal.
On three minutes they almost got one as Phil Jones met a corner
to power a header goalwards, only for Bravo to leap and palm the ball
over. Seconds later and
there were more near misses as the ball flashed across goal from a
James Milner's cross, with no-one able to make the crucial touch.
The first serious Chile
attack came after seven minutes and they certainly showed
how to take their chance.
A quick break and England
were opened up, two good defensive blocks seemed to have cleared the
danger but as a cross came in from the left, Gary Cahill missed it and
as the ball dropped Sanchez stooped to get in front of the flailing
Leighton Baines to nod the ball wide of Forster.
It was a poor goal from an
point of view, but well taken by the in-form Alexis Sanchez.
should have been 2-0 up, but now found themselves a goal down.
It was just what the Chileans wanted as they
played their possession football, shut
down well, and looked dangerous every time they broke.
were all over the place at times, and the makeshift side looked
exactly what it was, makeshift.
Wayne Rooney ran his socks off up front for
with little support, and Milner was the pick of a poor midfield.
At the back Forster looked shell-shocked, his kicking was poor,
he was slow off his line and at times you could see the lack of
confidence the defenders had in him.
To be fair Forster did make a couple of saves, but his habit of
pushing shots back out into the danger areas will surely be punished
by the top sides. Why do
goalkeepers never want to hold on to the ball these days?
In many ways this was a typical South American
performance by Chile,
and a lesson to be learned by all the young
players. At every
opportunity the visitors fell to ground under a challenge, although it
must be said that England
played into their hands with some silly tackles.
Rodrigues just could not get into the game and although Lallana
was lively, at times he wasn't sure whether to push up or stay back
and he was often caught in between the two.
On twenty minutes Frank Lampard hit a good
free-kick that was only just tipped over by the acrobatic goalkeeper.
Milner then had a shot deflected wide, but England wasted all
their opportunities from the many corners they had, not once creating
a clear chance. On 24
minutes it was Jack Wilshere who fired in a shot following a better
move by England. Again
the keeper was equal to it, although his punched save could have gone
anywhere. There were also
chances at the other end as England's defenders still struggled.
A free header from a corner was wasted by Cardiff City's Medel,
and each time Chile came forward they created problems for the shaky
home defence. All too
often the loose ball was won by a Chilean, and England were beaten to
too many second balls.
But credit to Chile, because they shut England down brilliantly, not
always fairly, but certainly effectively.
Every time Rooney gained possession, three defenders surrounded
On 40 minutes Jones saw a flick go just wide and
then four minutes later Lallana had his one clear chance as England's
best move of the match saw him clear to the right of goal.
Unfortunately for the Southampton player he dragged his shot
wide of the far post. The
half ended with England facing many problems, too many unforced errors
made it easier for the Chile side, although it has to be said that
they didn't need any help from England to look the better team.
The second half was littered with lots of
substitutions, long passages of play where Chile kept possession and
England chased shadows, and few goalmouth incidents.
Chile were adept at taking the sting out of the game, always in
control, and yet still threatening on the break.
England just couldn't find a foothold into the half and a Chile
victory was on the cards long before the end.
Hodgson shuffled his pack again, taking off Rodrigues, Jones
and Milner, and sending on Andros Townsend, Chris Smalling and
Jermaine Defoe, but to no avail as Chile continued to do what they had
done all game. They were
quicker in the tackle, better at closing down, looked fresher and
generally seemed to want the win more.
Ross Barclay came on for Lallana and he almost
broke through with one strong burst, but goal chances by now were at a
premium as Chile settled for 1-0 and England had no real answer to
them. There were a number
of bookings as frustration set in, and it was irritating to see the
number of times the South Americans crashed to the ground, clutching
their faces after they had been hit on the legs!
But that is the Latin American way, and England will have to
learn to deal with it and not make it easy for these teams.
Three minutes into injury time Chile clinched the
match and scored again.
Cahill gave the ball away and England were totally exposed as the
break came. The ball was
threaded wide to Sanchez and he had the easy task of clipping the ball
over the advancing goalkeeper.
Even that was made easier because the goalkeeper went down too
early. Forster is a big
lad, and he should have stood tall and made it hard for him, but to be
fair Sanchez would probably still have scored from such an easy
So, a very poor performance from England, on a
night when the quality of the opposition taught them a lesson or two,
food for thought as the team moves forward to the next challenges that
Never mind, easy game next week, bring on the