1. David James seems a nice guy but one terrible error was discouraging. Green did well.
2. Ashley Cole was – again – all over the place. How may times in the second haf did Sean Wright-Phillips have tio run back to cover the superb Spanish full-back Ramos with Cole nowhere to be seen and at the end Cole’s temperament let him down, not for the first time.
3. The central defense was a nightmare. Jagielka gave away the first goal with a ridiculous pass. Villa then made mincemeat of Terry and Jagielka, when the two of them couldn’t stop him. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Terry disappoint against the very best strikers (memories of Ronaldinho for Barcelona against Chelsea). The commentators and studio pundits, of course, said nothing about this part of Villa’s goal. Yes, he is top class but they made a mess of stopping him. Then the second goal resulted from a needless freekick given away by Upson, who then failed to mark the scorer.
4. Wingers. Downing did very little and Wright-Phillips ran and ran, both up front and in defense to cover for Ashley Cole. But neither penetrated up front. When Wright-Phillips did get a chance he wasted it.
5. Midfield. The Spanish midfield was superb. Experienced, used to playing together, and always in control of the ball, they overran England completely after the first 20 minutes. Barry and Carrick did well enough as defensive midfielders but didn’t do well moving forward (apart form one good header by Barry). Lampard did nothing and his passing was atrocious. The forwards got no supply at all except from the occasional superb ball by Beckham. Beckham was the only England player who looked world class – ever.
6. Strikers. They were playing against a superb defence (no goals conceded in 8 of their last 9 games) and got no service to speak of. The wingers didn’t get forward and the central midfielders were too busy being overrun and constantly outnumered and outthought. A nightmare for Heskey et al.
7. Skill. The Spaniards looked comfortable with the ball all the way through the team. They passed superbly and long periods went by when the English just couldn’t get the ball and wore themselves out chasing around for it. By contrast, when England had the ball they wasted it.
8. Attack. England rarely posed a threat. Apart from one or two chances in the first half and a couple of chances from Beckham through balls in the second half, they created nothing. Reina didn’t have a proper save to make after he came on. They could have played till 2010 and England wouldn;’t have scored. 9. Talking of which… It is horrible to think of it, but it is less than 18 months till the next World Cup Finals. Spain look ready now. Admittedly England were without a few key players — Rio Ferdinand, Rooney and Walcott, especially, some might argue Gerrard. But they looked second-rate all the way through the team. Basic skills were lacking, there was no penetration and they were outplayed everywhere. 10. One key problem is that too many of the England players are from 2nd rate clubs. The gap in the Premiership between the top five and the rest is alarming. Against Spain, England’s team and subs came from the rest. There were no players from Arsenal or Liverpool and just one from Manchester United. There were three from Chelsea (all admittedly had bad games suggesting one reason why Chelsea are not doing well at the moment). The vast majority of the team play for West Ham, Villa and Portsmouth and are not playing in the Champions League this season. They are more used to playing Wigan or Bolton than Inter Milan or Barcelona. Tonight, it showed. This was a Carling Cup performance.