England struggles to edge Japan, 2-1

EnglandJapan (GettyImages)

The Japanese men's national team scored all three goals in its friendly vs. England on Sunday. Unfortunately for the World Cup-bound Asian squad, two of those goals were scored for England.

The English overcame a first-half deficit, and a missed Frank Lampard penalty kick, as two own goals by Japan gave England a less-than-inspiring 2-1 exhibition win in Graz, Austria.

What did you think of England's performance? Starting to like the United States' chances of getting at least a point from their June 12th World Cup opener?

Share your thoughts below.

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113 Responses to England struggles to edge Japan, 2-1

  1. reverb says:

    If only some of England’s luck goes away, we’ll get all 3 points.

  2. Paul says:

    I watched this game and England were pretty awful, although they fielded an experimental line-up in the first half. Still, both against Mexico and Japan they’ve been seriously below par. Capello’s frustration was obvious today.

  3. Benjamin says:

    Outstanding finishing on all three goals by Japan.

  4. 'sota soccer says:

    Bring on the limey wankers!!!

  5. Big Chil says:


  6. Brandon says:

    Granted, England didn’t play their actual starting XI that they will against the USA, but if the second half USA team against Turkey shows up, no reason why they can’t expect to win. England has actually been a little shaky since their beatdown of Croatia in the qualifiers.

  7. ETJ says:

    blood in the water

  8. Brokenbil says:

    Ouch, that’s the second PK Lampard’s missed of late.

  9. jh says:

    i think we can take Robbens(?) comments after the Dutch game (“The US may not be a very talented side, but they are very tough to play against”) and our win v Turkey yesterday, and conclude that this US side has some serious moxy. While we should not necessarily expect a win, we can expect the US to play a hard 90 with a good chance to come away with a point or more

  10. Fabio Capello says:

    My plan to lull the Americanos into a false sense of security is working… Muahahaha 😉

  11. billq says:

    Was that Mike Burns on the near post on that first goal?

  12. tnnelson says:

    if we can show up and play a full 90 like the second half against Turkey, and England doesn’t get their things in order, we should expect 3 points out of this one

  13. Joel says:

    Some of you all are really delusional. One point against England in the wc would be a dream.

  14. munkyman says:

    Agreed. England, like a lot of other teams, are using some of these games (or 1/2 games) to pair down rosters, and check out fringe players or potential substitutes. This is England people. If we get a point we should be ECSTATIC.

  15. chris says:

    I wouldn’t get too cocky. If we get a point it vs. England it will be cause for major celebration.

  16. bob says:

    Joel, why is anyone delusional? yes one point would be great, but England is beatable and if all of our guys play there “A” game like they did against Spain and England playing like they are, then 3 points is more than possible. The USA has a very good chance to walk away with points.

  17. Josh says:

    I’d like to hope that England will display a similar form against the US, but I’m not holding my breath. Capello’s too good a coach, and he was also using an experimental lineup.

    That said, Bradley’s right that form matters, both for individual players and the team as a whole. I hope the Nats have their act (esp. their backline!) together by kickoff vs. England. If we go in with a good chemistry and they don’t, I like our chances of getting at least a tie, perhaps even all three points.

  18. Spectra says:

    Well England doesn’t exatcly have a B team they have a second A team
    Hopefully they feel good about this win and get overconfident

  19. Japan says:

    Our plan to make England even more of an epic fail is working

  20. Spectra says:

    Yeah i really wish my experimetnal rosters included rooney, lampard, gerrard, and the likes.

  21. BooThisMan says:

    I’ll be ecstatic just to avoid injuries and cards against England.

  22. Robb says:

    I dont think anyone is getting cocky. If we play up to our potential we can beat a lot of good teams and England is included in that list.

  23. chris says:

    You are right, Robb. We have demonstrated what you say. At our very best if a top 5 opponent isn’t having a good day we can beat them. We can also give up 3 goals in the second half and lose. But if someone thinks that if we play our A game and England doesn’t that we can “expect” 3 points, that is cocky. As an aside, I don’t even think that England necessarily “expects” three points from us; I think they have a healthy respect and feel they will get a good game from us and that they stand the majority’s chance to win, based on their superior talent and experience. As they should. We’ve flubbed too many times at the big dance for me to expect anything. Tempered optimism seems more appropriate, but that’s just me, after a lot of World Cup dismay, especially 2006 but going back 20 years.

  24. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Gee, thanks. Any other painful memories you want to give me?

  25. Mike says:

    I don’t know why we’re even bothering to show up against England. We should just forfeit to avoid injuries and cards and stay fresh for the next two games… (insert roll eye thing here)

  26. chris says:

    Between Pangloss and Eeyore there’s one point. That’s what I’m hoping for.

  27. Adam M. says:

    England should find some Brazilian to naturalize for the purpose of taking penalty kicks. The mental block that country seems to have about making them is worthy of a research grant (after the World Cup, of course).

  28. Isaac says:

    I know Asians like to copy Western Culture, but somebody needs to tell them Jeff Agoos is so 2002.

  29. jayrig5 says:

    I don’t know how they still let Lampard do it. The guy may put them away with ease against Stoke City and Birmingham, but when you combine the step up in quality of goalkeeping with the added pressure of the international stage, he folds like a cheap card table.

    Any team with Gerrard and Rooney that doesn’t let either of them take penalties is asking for wasted opportunities. (That said, when Bornstein gets torched and drags Gerrard down in the box with the US up a goal late, please, by all means, let Lampard step up.)

  30. Winston Churchill says:

    Historically England does tend to s**t themselves.

  31. Isaac says:

    On a more serious note, you can’t help but somewhat be a bit more happy with the USA’s chances against England after a couple of iffy games. I know there were some non-starters out there, but that sort of thing doesn’t exactly help a team’s confidence. Generally, the USA should look to stay organized, stay composed, work hard, attack quickly, and finish it’s chances.

  32. Shark says:

    Second A team?…not true…their depth is not that impressive (i.e if Rooney goes down they are in a world of hurt and oh and they don’t have a good replacement for Berry) and very inexperienced at the international level….lets not try and build them into what they are not….there press and media already do enough enough of that…

  33. Shark says:

    Delusional? Really? This is the same England who have not won a major trophy since 1966 and didn’t even qualify for Euro 2006 and under performed big-time in the 2006 World Cup…

    Beating England is a real possibiity…they are not as good as their press will make you think and the USA is much better than folks like you think…

    Game on….lets see who the better team is on 12 June…I’ll put my money on the USA…

  34. Shark says:

    Go tell that to the British press…don’t get to cocky…

    Difference between cocky and confident…

    Celebration will be if we get beyond the round of 16…

    Glad you are behind the USA all the way…:)

  35. Isaac says:

    Lampard, DID manage to put away a penalty against Croatia in a pretty pressure filled situation.

  36. bob says:

    Robb if we play to our potential then yes we should expect 3 points. There is nothing cocky about that. That is how athletes think. I’m in no way implying that it will be a cake walk. It should or will be a hard fought game. Plus soccer is a fickle beast, many a team have lost to lesser teams by a bad bounce or bad call. That is just part of the game. Hence we should not be cocky in expecting a win against any team. But if we continue to play well then we should expect good things (that does not mean it will happen, nor does that imply cockiness)

  37. Vik says:

    First goal was a sweet connection, and the penalty save was very good as well. The other two should have been routine, albeit difficult, clearances. Scoreline definitely flattered England.

  38. Shark says:

    Yeah and their last “friendly” is against a local side in South Africa…:)

    Plus Capello just gave them two days off to spend with their famiies before heading to South Africa on Wedensday 2 June…

    Oh to be so cocky….wink wink…:)

  39. Illmatic74 says:

    It looks like Own Goal is continuing its great form it showed with Manchester United. Own Goal works well with Rooney.

  40. bob says:

    Edit: I was suppose to reply to Chris

  41. Lil' Zeke says:

    Really? Really? Actual money? Might be a good bet if the odds are long. Though long odds would tell you something about what folks with money on the line thought was going to happen. So seriously man, really?

  42. Lil' Zeke says:

    It continues to be a glorious time to root for US, because just belonging on the same pitch with UK is cause for celebration. Still, it would be nice to give a better game than our recent friendies with them. Tie or win = ecstasy.

  43. Jeff Agoos says:

    I have one…

  44. Lil' Zeke says:

    Semantics. I think we all agree cocky would be bad.

  45. R. says:

    I’ll enhance your point by pointing out that 3/4 of the UK didn’t even make it to the tournament, yet we did. 😉

  46. Ale says:

    hahaha, you beat me to. Own goal is an exceptional English player.

  47. R. says:

    That’s the most succinct and sensible pregame analysis I think I’m likely to read on this match. Bravo. But I still want three.

  48. davidaubudavid says:

    Really? Really? are you serious?

    The game against England will be very even. If we lose i will be disappointed. I wish people would stop putting european countries on a pedestal. Winning against England is extremely doable and i would say almost as likely as them beating us.

  49. Caesar Augustus says:

    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Those were horrendous own goals.

  50. Shark says:

    Understand about England so well…my mom is English and I lived their 8 years as a kid…:)

    Heard from a close English friend, after the game,….he thought they were horrible…and we would beat them 5-0….well I don’t buy into that all at all…:) However I could see a 1-1 or 2-1 USA win…

    Yup great time to be an American fan and watch the growth in our team…

    Win or lose….I’m proud of these boys boys…:)

  51. Shark says:

    None of teh UK made it to Euro 2008….:)

  52. Shark says:

    Yeah bro really…but you knew that…now go wave your Union Jack….your in their back pocket you know…they love guys like you..:)

  53. Pete says:

    After reading some of these comments its apparent that it’s not only the mexicans who believe they are better than what they really are, i guess its an inferiority complex that one gets being part of Concacaf, and before anyone brings up Brazil and spain in the confed cup, yes those were some good games, but in the end, you didn’t win anything. A point against England would be great, but England isn’t the issue, i believe the real issue is winning against the other two teams.

  54. war says:

    Is there a story here about New Zealand’s win over an A-Serbia team?

  55. Optimist says:

    Glass half full my friend. Japan has a nose for the goal. They are converting the centerbacks to strikers as we speak.

  56. jayrig5 says:

    Okay. That’s fine. Tiger Woods also DID manage to not sleep with someone besides his wife one night.

    Body of work.

    (And his World Cup in 2006 was also filled with him attempting to knock people’s teeth out in row X behind the opposing goal. I’ve never seen so many skied long-range efforts.)


  57. chg says:

    Spectra, whoever those guys are, they evidently won’t see the field in South Africa.

  58. Lil' Zeke says:

    Wait, what happened to my Union Jack, megadittoes?

  59. jig says:

    how do you figure? evidence please…

  60. Gene says:

    I watched this game. I would not read too much into it. It was a friendly. Plus, Japan actually played pretty well; their passing out of the back and in the middle was quick, crisp and superb. So, attributing the result only to England’s supposedly poor play does injustice to the Japanese team.

    I think US team can compete against England, and getting a point isn’t out of the question. But it will be pretty much a tough game for us. As excited as I was yesterday with the US win, Japanese team today looked a lot more organized in the back and confident in possession.

  61. jig says:


  62. jig says:

    wouldnt quite call that an A-Serbia team. No Krasic, Stankovic, Jovanovic or Lukovic.

  63. jimoh8002 says:

    Does it ever stop raining in England I mean come on a dry africa pitch where the ball doesnt move as fast is going hurt these guy. Did everyone forget that we play 3 groups games to determine if we progress not one? I mean we can beat england and lose the other too games or we can be blown out of the stadium a win the other games and advance.

  64. Erik says:

    I bet if you look up some stats, the team who wins their first group game tends to get out of the group, not the other way around.

  65. Reijo Rutsailainen says:

    The US just has to keep this guy, OG, from scoring.

    What team does he play for? Man. U.?

    I didn’t notice him on the 30 man roster.

  66. Pongo says:

    In a sense the US is playing with house money against England.

    Unless we play badly and get blown out, losing confidence and maybe having some guys hurt or red carded,and I don’t believe this will happen,we have nothing to lose.

    Losing while playing well makes us more motivated against the other two, a tie would give us a point and boost our confidence and then piss off England so they will blow out the other two.

    A win would worry me because then we risk letting down against the other two ( see 2002 World Cup, Poland game).

    So my ideal result is a 3-3 tie, with Bornstein coming in for a last minute equalizing header just to piss everyone off. actually I wanted Ching to do that but BB cut him.

  67. AQK says:

    I think that’s partly why they chose Japan as a final friendly, japan, like the US has a lot more energy and teamwork than skill.

    Also i think Capello still has no idea what to do in the midfield and who to play with Rooney. Gerrand and Lampard are soft defensively without Barry, Lennon is impotent on the left, Milner and Johnson havent fully broken into the first team yet, so I think they are in as bad a mess in terms of building first team chemistry as are we.

  68. Francis Marion says:

    Bring on those Red Coats, that Cornwalis really gets my blood boiling…

  69. AQK says:


    His name is “Original Gangsta” and he sometimes comes in for Man United when Berbatov is having a bad game. His number is “187” and his main attribute is his Strength of Street Knowledge.

  70. Jeff Agoos says:

    Don’t underestimate England.

    England were crap against two pretty good teams yet won comfortably. The experts will tell you this is the sign of a very good team.

    I’ve followed England for many years and they always have trouble with unfamiliar, lower ranked, teams. Whether this is due to their inflexibility or because they are arrogant, I couldn’t tell you. You’d think Capello would have cured them of that but maybe England are finally reverting back to their normal selves. We can only hope.

    The trouble is they are familiar with our players and we play a familiar style. Still I’m hoping they are like Spain,who, even though they were very gracious publicly, thought they were playing the junior reserve team and it showed. We have a shot at getting a result because Bradley has been targeting all three teams since the brackets came out and, based on the last few games, may finally have a few pieces to put in play. Most of you think BB is a retard but the truth is he is excellent at prepping a team for a particular game and now maybe his his players have caught up with what he has been tryng to teach them.

    They are now more capable, mature and confident than they were in the Confederations Cup. I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost to England but I think we’ll do well and get out of the group.

    The US has looked pretty so-so since the end of the Confederations Cup but now it is apparent Bradleys’s new team is getting ready to emerge at just the right time.

  71. Joel says:

    I was being a bit extreme for effect. I think we can tie and god I’d love it if we were to win. I just think drawing much from these friendlies is pointless. The England that played japan won’t be the England that shows up to the wc. Let’s just hope our 1st half turkey selves don’t show up as well. Go us!

  72. Neilsen says:


    Corned beef is better. And don’t call me Shirley.

  73. Lil' Zeke says:

    Historically, it’s our team that’s put european teams on a pedestal by losing to them with regularity. We bucked that trend famously at Confeds Cup, and I’d love to see a repeat (or three or four) at The Big Show.

    But so revered is my analysis on this board that I am loath to raise fellow fans expectations unnecessarily, when like the rest of you I don’t know what the F is going to happen.

  74. Francois says:

    Japan is not a pretty good team. They got hammered 3-0 against a B Serbia Team in Japan! The fact that England played so poorly against this team is ridiculous, especially considering that Shunsuke Namkamura didn’t play.

  75. Tom Perkins says:

    Seriously, it is all because Peter Crouch wasn’t playing. I’m routing for the US and was standing with Sam’s Army when all the smoke bombs were thrown, but I also love Peter Crouch and the numbers don’t lie. If you do your research, he has the best goal/minutes played ratio in recent English soccer history (at least the last 20 years). Watch out for England if Crouch starts, especially given Demerit and Gooch and Goodson etc. who are not looking up to par, but GO USA

  76. Tom Perkins says:

    BTW if England keeps playing kick and run soccer, they will never win a world cup ever again. The US will match or beat their 1966 WC. I guarantee it. Just look no further than Altidore to realize that the next generation of US players will be unstoppable. Red Bulls academy etc. will sooon be on par with the English academy’s (already beat inter 3-1 last year u16s)

  77. wildchild says:

    and they wear red…

    USMNT fans need to stop wearing red…

    all the red in the stands during the Turkey game as stoopid…. TURKEY was wearing RED!

  78. Joseph n. says:

    They have an Italian coach, how much he can bare to share with the English is unknown, which is like being a goal up. How much the players choose to ignore the coaches instruction will benefit the U.S. a lot.

  79. cps says:

    I absolutely agree. I think Crouch is England’s most dangerous player against the US. He will give our defenders all kinds of problems.

  80. roger says:

    i wish we (the US) had some of Japan defenders as our strikers… beautiful goals

  81. Jeff Agoos says:

    Did you watch the game?

  82. Eurosnob says:

    Pete, there’s no need to bash USMNT for not winning the Confederations Cup. England did not even qualify for the Confederations Cup and the USMTN beat the team that qualified – the European Champion, Spain. England is certainly the favorite in the group, but they are beatable. You have a valid point that USMNT team could advance even if they lost to England, but people are focused upon the game against England because it is the first game the USMNT is to play.

  83. Torporindy says:

    Does anyone recommend a good English blog that covers their National Team? I wonder what their fans are saying about us.

  84. Benred says:

    US fans, don’t be over confident now. England still has a squad capable of kicking our butts.

    Speaking of butts, is Hans-Jörg Butt suppose to be Germany’s first choice goalkeeper?

  85. peter says:

    Really… ever again. You are that confident. And Alitodre is far from being unsptoppable. Just saying. Lets see what we do in this world cup and a few others before we proclaim ourselves better than england. Just saying we should be level headed.

  86. DLewis10 says:

    Japan is a very capable. Granted, England should have beaten them without trouble but Japan is not anything to sneeze at.

  87. Erik says:

    On the ball and in movement on and off the ball, Japan is still better than the US…

  88. peter says:

    Oh and by the way the next England generation just won the U17 Euro. So yeah, they are going down hill.

  89. ThaDeuce says:

    they didn’t call in bobby zamora,
    they have crouch, owen, heskey, defoe, bent and others who play top level in the premier league… if they lose rooney, they lost their super star, not the only capable player. If we lose Altidore as well as davies…… well, some would say owen and crouch are a notch above them as well… you see what I’m getting at?

  90. CA says:

    Of course England, like ALL teams, are beatable. But they’re still heavily favored-and rightfully so.

  91. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    You heard it here first:

    1. The United States will defeat England, rather badly, because England is not nearly as good as people believe.

    2. Neither is France, which won’t even make the Round of 16.

    3. Mexico might not make it out of its group, either, because many of their key offensive players are too young and inexperienced.

    4. Uruguay will advance to the quarterfinals. So will Serbia. None of the African teams will do anything special.

    5. Spain will win it all.

    6. I am not on drugs.

  92. BetaMale says:

    haha, so you have Uruguay and South Africa making out of their group? Haha, no way bro. Not gonna happen.

    My bet is France and Mexico.

  93. sir coble says:

    After watching that game I have a sneaky suspicion that we will see a lot of cards against england. I’m thinking 4 yellows and one red. Both teams play agressive and England loves to slide tackle.

  94. unternehmen says:

    History is on Joe D’s side: no host team has ever failed to escape from the group stage.

  95. unternehmen says:

    1. From your mouth to God’s ears
    2. Possibly. They collapsed in 2002 with a better team than they have now.
    3. One could hope, but I expect them to escape from their group.
    4. Uruguay maybe. Is Serbia that good? I see an African side going to the Q’s.
    5. Spain v Brazil is my guess. Love it if Spain won over Brazil.
    6. Good to know.

  96. unternehmen says:

    We tied Italy in group stage last time, 1:1. We beat Spain in the Conf Cup. Why is a positive result against England so hard to believe? A draw should be within the realm of possibility; a win just on the outside edge of it.

  97. Here’s what I see in my crystal ball

    1. Mexico will win Group A followed by Uruguay. Despite some amazing help from the refs and an emotional victory over France, the Bafana Bafana will make history by failing to advance.

    2. Only Ivory Coast will show for Africa (but lose in the 2d Round) as Cameroon and Ghana also stumble in Group play.

    3. Netherlands will eliminate Brazil and lose to Spain in the final

    4. US will beat Germany in Round 2 but lose to Argentina on a controversial call in the quarterfinals.

  98. butt says:

    Spain will win the World Cup and Villa as Top scorer with 7 goals.

    Torres, Messi, Rooney among the next top scorers with 4,5 goals.

    I’m betting on Dempsey to score 3 goals this WC.

  99. ireneisnotmygod says:

    If Dempsey scores a goal or 2 or 3 and plays well and if the USA goes to the round of 16 or hey maybe the quarters, his transfer from Fulham will be huge. Probablly 5 million or 6million pounds. Pretty huge for Fulham. Their record buy was AJ in 08 and he cost 10 million pounds and their record sale was Louis Saha and he was like 16million pounds.

    what do you guys think?

  100. John1 says:

    I like your predictions-very possible, but I can easily see Mexico not winning one single game. That’s right. They will not be playing Gambia, Senegal and Angola in their first three games. That home crowned, in the first game, might just be too much for Mexico. Remember, they will not be playing an away game in Houston.

  101. Josh says:

    Funny you should mention that; on the NY Times sports page (in the soccer section), there’s an article today about the psychology of penalty kicks: “A Few Things to Think About When Lining Up That Kick” I’m not sure if we’re allowed to post urls here, but the article is easy enough to find.

  102. Mike Lapper says:

    I hope USA wins… but if Crouch scores, I hope he does the robot. Also… i think the lineup we used vs. Turkey that was so effective in the 2nd half may not be suitable for England. That defensive presence in midfield with Edu and Bradley may be more suitable against Lampard and Gerrard due to their long range bombs.

  103. Mike Lapper says:

    What do you think was the best English team/roster from the past four world cups? Anyone have any thoughts? The best USA team?

  104. Joseph n. says:

    Bradley and edu would give lamps & gerr fits. But I agree with Dempsey, there is a need for att play from Torres, Lando, and Demps to keep Englands ‘d’ busy. Dont be too quick to think that our ‘D’

    will neutralize Eng att. It finding the right balance in mixing att and def.

  105. John1 says:

    I meant crowd

  106. England says:

    these friendlies mean very little.

  107. Ron says:

    England is still my pick to win the World Cup

  108. Sninho says:

    Absolutely, even if only because our defenders will be terrified to witness an actual skeleton playing football.

  109. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Franz, if the U.S. advances that far, they won’t lose to Argentina. Yes, Argentina has Messi, et al, but Maradona is worth at least one point for any decent opposing team in this tournament. Argentina (and Maradona) are lucky to be in such an inferior group.

  110. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Unternehmen, Serbia is that good. Serbia has an imposing defense, speedy wings and an excellent central midfielder in Dejan Stankovic who can spread the ball around. What also helps is Essien’s injuries. I expect Serbia to finish second to Germany, at the very least. With Essien out, Ghana will struggle because he’s too pivotal to that team’s hopes.

  111. Andrew says:

    Apparently Japan had little trouble picking apart England’s midfield early on. Maybe we can throw them off balance for a while.

    Also, Jeff Agoos would be proud of either own-goal. Both of them were golazos – or rather, autogolazos?!

  112. Brandon says:

    Exactly. The supporters should be wearing navy blue or in the worst case white for all of the matches. If USA’s second shirt was red, I could get wearing red as a supporter, but its not.