One of the features of the national team as long as I can remember is the failure to reproduce the performance of club form internationally. Liverpool under Rodgers have been a revelation this season – a free scoring side that ‘s easy on the eye. Yet Sterling, Sturridge and Henderson were shadows of themselves in England white last night. The old argument was, it was hard to go up a level to international duty. Yet England now, were they a club side, would not qualify for the Champions League. The Danish opposition, comprising a championship keeper in Schmeichel, Kvist – who cannot make the struggling Fulham side – or Bendtner, something of a joke amongst Arsenal fans in their wish that Wenger buys another forward, were scarcely world beaters.
The sterile 1-0 victory will have one benefit. We will be spared England going gung-ho into a tournament with the military cliches and great expectations, only to fail at the quarter final stage on penalties. The realisation has finally sunken home that we are a second tier side and once we come up against a top tier one (Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany or Spain) we cannot beat them.
World Cup winners are hard to predict, but the best team (Spain) or the hosts (Brazil) do not often win it and my money is on Argentina. Any team with Messi and Aguerro is worth the Mitchell money, but in Valdez in goal, Higuain, Zabalayeta, and Colloccini, they have top level classy players in every key position. They also will avoid all the sapping venues in the qualifying stages and a South American side has always won in their own continent.