International Friendly: England's failed experiment

International Friendly: England's failed experiment



(Alexis Sanchez 7 min, 90+4)

Well, that didn't last long. England's feel-good factor fizzled out Saturday morning (Singapore time) as an experimental team were comfortably beaten by Chile at Wembley.

Roy Hodgson took full responsibility, acknowledging that there was always a risk that too many changes would unsettle the side, but the damage has been done.

Now the prospect of defeat by Germany on Wednesday morning, in what would be a second consecutive home humiliation, threatens to crush England's World Cup confidence in record time.

In truth, a degree of perspective is required. England lined up with a debutant goalkeeper, a new-look back line and a mix-and-match midfield.

Chile, comfortable qualifiers from a South American group so tough that even Luis Suarez's Uruguay needed the escape pod of play-offs, are hardly minnows.

Indeed, Jorge Sampaoli's side can consider themselves outside contenders to go all the way in Brazil. They've certainly got more chance than England.

Generally, English defeats can be easily blamed on either the manager or an individual player, and there were certainly opportunities here to do just that, but the most unsettling aspect of this performance was how entrenched and obvious England's shortcomings have become.

Bigger and stronger than the Chileans, they lurched after their tormenters with all the grace of medieval, armour-clad knights trying to catch frogs with their hands.

Time and time again Sampaoli's men, surrounded by defenders, simply bobbed, weaved and swirled out of trouble. The English tried in vain to impose some of their physicality on the game, but to no avail. Hodgson's success against Montenegro and Poland may have unrealistically raised expectations. This game cut them back down again.

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