2010 FIFA World Cup: England Must Improve if Expectations Are To Be Met

Ed WymanCorrespondent IMay 25, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 24: James Milner of England jumps over the tackle of Cuauhtemoc Blanco of Mexico during the International Friendly match between England and Mexico at Wembley Stadium on May 24, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Last night England saw off Mexico 3-1 with goals from Ledley King, Peter Crouch, and Glen Johnson. Guillermo Franco scored Mexico's goal.

The score was flattering. Mexico had plenty of chances, hitting the post, whilst Green had to pull off some good saves.

The Chelsea cohort was missing, which undoubtedly weakened the team. However, the performance wasn't good enough.  

Lampard was missed in midfield. It is well known that Lampard and Gerrard don't play well together in central midfield. This means that Gerrard may play in a more attacking role, possibly behind Wayne Rooney, come the World Cup.

If Barry is fit he will have a position in central midfield. If he doesn't play, the likes of Carrick, Huddlestone, and Parker will be in with a shout.

Neither Huddlestone nor Carrick impressed last night, which could open the door for Scott Parker.

Milner played well once he was switched out to left midfield after contributing little at center midfield. Considering Gerrard's performance on the left, Milner should start at left midfield.

The right flank is still up for grabs, Walcott had an average evening with passes going astray. Similarly, Adam Johnson and Aaron Lennon didn't play their way into the side.

Ferdinand didn't have the best time. He has started just 12 matches this season for Man United and unsurprisingly looked rusty. When Carragher came on, the defense looked more solid.

Ledley King started at center back and scored a fairly simple header. He didn't look great, especially when he had to run at full pace. His constant knee issues combined with the unusually large amount of football he has been playing recently means that he is a risk.

Terry will start ahead of King, as will Ferdinand. Capello knows that King is a risk due to his knees and has to decide whether or not he is actually worth risking for the final 23.

Leighton Baines looked out of his league at left-back, something that could prove to be a problem if Ashley Cole were to be unable to play. He wasn't helped by the lack of protection Gerrard provided as he often drifted toward the center, but his whole performance lacked confidence.

Glen Johnson looked the best out of the defenders and scored a marvelous goal. This should confirm Johnson's position at right back; however, he is still defensively vulnerable, something that will worry Capello.

Crouch scored his 21st goal for England in 38 appearances, including 18 goals in 21 starts. With this scoring record, Crouch is in with a chance of partnering Rooney, who as per usual, had a good outing last night.

Hart and Green both played decently. Green made some good saves, including one from a Carlos Vela one-on-one. Neither of their performances have secured them a place as England's first choice but equally they haven't done their chances any harm. Overall, Green had the better night as he had more to do and is now probably slightly ahead of Hart.

David James will no doubt get his chance against Japan and Capello still has a tough decision to make as to who will start between the posts.

The Mexico match has done little to suggest that England have what it takes to win the World Cup, on another night the result could've been very different. With key players missing, the fringe players who took their places haven't done enough to steal themselves a place yet.

There is still another friendly to go and the Chelsea players missing this time will no doubt be playing. If England perform like they did last night come the World Cup, then there would be real cause for concern.

Any thoughts on how England should line up against the USA in three weeks?