England 5-1 Kazakhstan. Now on to Belarus.

England 5-1 Kazakhstan. Now on to Belarus.


It was all set up. Six points out of six, a crowd of 90,000 passionate and expectant fans and coming off the back of a fabulous 4-1 win in Croatia. The opponents? Kazakhstan, who have never qualified for anything and were at Wembley to just play a bit part as England showed the world that they are back in the game.

Perfectly to plan

Well, if you look at the result, it all went perfectly to plan. England win 5-1 and move on to Belarus with nine points out of nine, eleven goals in three games and everything looking exciting and promising for the future. Or is it?

Wayne Rooney scored two goals and won the man of the match award. He looked every inch a world class striker and looked like the player we all thought he would be for England when he first burst onto the scene. Rio Ferdinand didn’t put a foot wrong and looked every inch a world class centre half and skipper and got the opening goal. Emile Heskey held the ball up, brought other players into the game and helped them score goals. Wouldn’t he be the best striker in the world if he could just score goals?


There were so many good things about England’s performance that I feel disloyal and a bit of a traitor to paint a less than rosy picture. The fact is that Ashley Cole made a terrible schoolboy error, Wes Brown and Matthew Upson will never be international class players, Gerrard and Lampard CAN NOT PLAY TOGETHER and Shaun Wright-Phillips is not a left winger!

Apart from that, I fancy England to win the world cup!!

Sterner test

So now England move on to Belarus on Wednesday evening and they will provide a much sterner test for Fabio Capello’s men than the hard working but limited players from Kazakhstan did.

Belarus have had a weekend off and they will be trying desperately to get Barcelona’s Alexander Hleb fit for the game. Draws with Germany, Finland and Argentina in their last three games before the qualifiers put them in a great frame of mind but a 1-0 defeat in Ukraine took the wind out of their sails a little. Having said that, Ukraine are a decent side and it took a ninety-fifth minute penalty to beat them.

Supremely confident

Belarus bounced back from that defeat with a 3-1 win in Andorra and what they saw at Wembley in England’s game against Kazakhstan won’t have frightened them too much. There is no doubt that they will fancy their chances, but why should England be anything other than supremely confident after 4-1 and 5-1 wins?

Is it an English disease that we feel slightly pessimistic and worried after a 5-1 win? I think it must be. The first fifty-one minutes when we looked a little clueless and the sloppiness of the goal we gave away are the things that stay in the memory. Not the five goals and the good aspects of the performance that I discussed earlier.

We are top of the group for goodness sake and we should be celebrating. So why aren’t I?

Never won a thing

Maybe it is because I have been an England supporter for forty one years and I have never seen us win a thing. Maybe I just don’t allow myself to get excited or optimistic. Maybe I know we are not as good as the best teams in the world. Maybe I’m just a miserable bastard. I don’t know.

There are so many nationalities who should feel less excited than us English. The Austrians only managed a 1-1 draw in the Faroe Islands, Scotland failed to beat Norway, Sweden and Portugal failed to beat each other when they would both have been hopeful of a win. A 5-1 win isn’t a disaster is it?


There is no doubt that England can win in Belarus and there is also no doubt that a draw would be a satisfactory result. England are more than capable of getting the desired result on Wednesday and in fact, all English fans should be confident of doing so. So why aren’t we?

I’m not really sure why we are not optimistic. We have some of the best players in the world. Would Ferdinand, Cole, Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney get into most international sides? Yes they would. Would David James and Joe Cole be close to getting into most international sides? Yes they would.

Exciting options?

Would Shaun Wright-Philips and Theo Walcott be regarded as exciting options in most countries? Yes. OK, Matthew Upson might not challenge for a place in many national sides but John Terry sure would!

In other words, England have nine fine players to be in their first eleven. Wes Brown might not be everyone’s choice as right back but he did win the Premier League and Champions League double playing there last season. As previously discussed, if he could only score goals, Emile Heskey would be an automatic choice for any country.

If England lined up as James, Brown, Terry, Ferdinand, Cole, Walcott, Gerrard, Lampard, Wright-Phillips, Heskey, Rooney, would anyone bet against them winning something? OK, everyone would because England don’t win things. Would any country pick too many of their own players against these individuals? No, they wouldn’t.


So, to Belarus. Are we confident and pretty sure of a victory? No we’re not. We should be but we aren’t. I can’t explain why, but we’re not.

Come on England, get a professional win in Belarus and I’ll believe that the Fabio Capello revolution has truly arrived and the Italian can take us to where we haven’t been since 1966.

Win the world cup?

England to win the world cup? Two decent wins and it is possible. I have thought England would be there or thereabouts ten times so far in my life and the closest we have got is the 1990 tournament where we lost the semi-final on penalties to Germany.

Can we go one better this time? We’ll know a little more after Wednesday.

Come on England! Engerland, Engerland, Engerland…

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Graham is a 46 year old freelance football writer from Salisbury in England. He has a passion for football, in particular, Watford and the team he coaches, Wilton Town. Graham writes opinions and observations for various online sites, www.4sportsake.com, www.soccernews.com, www.sportingo.com and www.soccer-weblog.com. Visit his football club's website at www.wiltontownfc.co.uk


  1. have’nt read the article yet…saw the author and wanted to ask one question..just one
    Where have ya been?….surely seeing watford cant be as entertaining or satisfying as writing in a blog and being appreciated.
    glad you are back sir

  2. Three goals in the last 14 minutes made it look like a landslide win for England, but even though England dominated, credit should be given to Kazakhstan,for actually coming out to play instead of putting all their men behind the ball. They even nearly took the lead at the start of the second half but due to poor finishing England was let off big time. If the Kazakhs have scored it might have changed the whole tempo to the game.But Rooney crushed them and its now on to Belarus. England cannot afford to play like they did in the first half when they face Belarus who were only unlucky to lose against Ukrain.In a way its better England are playing away as they can do without the booing of their own fans which will only demoralize a tired England team who has so far managed to score an amazing 11 goals in the 3 games they played so far letting in only 2 goals. The Kazakh goal maybe sloppy defending but A.Cole is a world class player and you dont expect him to make this kind of mistakes often and that goes to the other England players too. I expect a confident 2-0 victory for England and 12 points to set them on the way to become the first country to qualify for the World Cup in Europe. What a confident booster that will be and Capello can use the opportunity to test his other England players in the remaining dead rubber matches to choose the best 23 players for England 2010 World Cup squad.

  3. My point is not about the game. It is about the boo-boys. I know the top 4 teams n teams from the EPL and upper division get a lot of stick from fans of ‘lesser’ teams. But their fans r models.. do they boo their players..at times-but not for 1 mistake. Manchester UTD, Arsenal,Chelsea , LFC fans almost never boo their own players… After such an awful act, we can see why some people prefer club 2 England. The reason I’m so angry is that I’m not just a LFC fan, but also a fan of the beautiful game. Booing has nothing 2 do with beauty. Instead, it just shows the mentality of English fans now ( I’m pretty sure the majority was youngsters, that’s a shame cause I’m myself 19). Nonetheless, if anything England should never win titles again…if only 2 disgust such Disguting so-called fans…who can pay 2 attend a game but cannot educate their children morally. END OF RANT.

  4. What a jackass performance. Except for Rooney and Rio. I remember thinking after the owngoal “the only solace would be if Ashley Cole f#$*s up royally and England does win this pathetic game” and it actually happened. I mean Lampard was good with his two free kicks, but other than that, what were the others playing for??? Even James looked shaky and that too when leading by 2 to nil……………

  5. Only reason why england won was because the kazhaks began to wore down after first half due to their low stamina. If not it would have been a whoop in the a** for england.

    Walcott is one time wonder and then screws up for the remaning season, replace him with SWP.
    But Barry back to defensive mid.
    Gerarrd and lampard, Just Play one of them.. they kinda screwed up again.
    for heavens sake.. BRING ASHLEY YOUNG to the england squad!!!
    david james has begun his erratic displays once again..

    belarus will be the team to watch and i hope they dont end up playing with 10 men like what happened in croatia..

    to all ppl.. england beat croatia by 4-1.. but dont forget it was against 10men croatia..

  6. So what if it was 10 men Croatia? England was already leading 1-0 and Croatia was not even threatening, in fact they were struggling to contain the attacking wave of England till the Croats had to result to elbowing to stop one of the English counter-attacks. England earned this victory and full credit should be given to them instead of giving lame 10 men excuses. Croatia was heaped with praises galore when they won in Wembley knocking England out of the Euro08. England returned the favor in Zagreb and the same praises should be given to them too.Why are you being unfair valleesh and qnadirshah? 4-1 and 5-1!!! What must England do to prove you guys they are a force to be reckon with under Capello?

  7. the english are pathetic, why are u looking for respect and penalty for insults and abuses heckey gets in crotia albeit untolerable only to do the same thing to your players yourselves. support and respect your players first b 4 u go looking for it else where.
    well ashley brought this on himself when he made some silly remarks about arsenal after he moved on to chelsea. i won’t be suprise if among those booing him, one find a great deal of arsenal supporters. many of whom still feel betrayed/insulted by his rantings.

  8. “why are u looking for respect and penalty for insults and abuses heckey gets in crotia albeit untolerable only to do the same thing to your players yourselves. support and respect your players first b 4 u go looking for it else where.”
    Really dont understand what you are trying to say here No8(duduabego). I think you typed too fast. Can you be a bit more clearer?

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