FIFA World Cup 2010: Why Are Premier League Players Failing?

Ed WymanCorrespondent IJuly 1, 2010

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 29:  Fernando Torres of Spain looks on as he kneels on the turf during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Spain and Portugal at Green Point Stadium on June 29, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

England's 23 Premier League players have crashed out of the 2010 World Cup. However, there are still 19 Premier League players remaining in the tournament.

So far, few of these players have fared well.

So, why are the Premier League players under performing?

The reason cited by many is the rigorous Premier League season. Players can play up to 56 matches a season in English club football. The average number of matches last season for the England squad was 49.9. That is a lot of football.

That amount of football makes players incredibly tired. This problem is made worse by a lack of mid-season break over Christmas, as other major European leagues have.

This goes a long way to explaining the failure of Wayne Rooney, who looked to be suffering from fatigue and minor injuries that come from a heavy season.

Fernando Torres has been one of the biggest "failures" of the World Cup so far. He has suffered injuries this season, partly due to a big work load.

Torres has said that he "just can't imagine what state" he will be in if he continues to play here for "five or six years."

The Premier League players who have succeeded haven't played a full season. For example, Carlos Tevez took a two week holiday during the winter whilst Robin Van Persie was injured for the majority of the season.

Van Persie was able to come back in time to prepare for the World Cup without having to play a full season, something that he certainly benefited from.

The Netherlands have five England based players on their squad. Only one of these five, Dirk Kuyt, played a full season, and he's regarded to have almost otherworldly levels of stamina.

These injuries have been beneficial to the Netherlands' World Cup campaign as their players are well rested.

The Dutch league players can play a maximum of 41 matches and the season finishes within the first week of May.

This gives the Dutch players more time off before major tournaments, leaving them in a better position than their Premier League counterparts.

The difference in quantity of matches played between Premier League players and La Liga players isn't massive.

However, it is enough to mean that in England there is no winter break. Both Sven Gorran-Eriksson and Fabio Capello have campaigned for such a break.

Despite having their 23 Series A players knocked out, the Italian league still has 28 players left at the World Cup. More evidence that a lighter workload and a winter break are beneficial to players come the World Cup.

Will England's latest World Cup failure, along with many other Premier League players' failures lead to a change in the structure of the English football calender? Let's hope so.