Ex-Germany captain Michael Ballack slams England for ‘parking three buses’ against France
Opinion has been very much divided on England’s performance against Les Bleus on Monday. One person who falls very much on the acutely unimpressed side of the spectrum is former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack.
Using a phrase made famous by his previous coach Jose Mourinho, Ballack accused Roy Hodsgon of “parking three coaches” to achieve their point in Donetsk.
Speaking on ESPN minutes after the final whistle, the ex-Germany captain added: “I’m really disappointed with the game. England wanted the point, they got one. But is this the way to play football in the future? They are sitting back most of the time with ten players. It’s difficult for every team to create chances.”
We can’t help but think Ballack would be singing a different tune if he had been part of Chelsea’s backs-to-the-wall Champions League glory last summer. In addition the Germans are naturally tetchy about team buses at the moment, having recently had theirs clamped by a pesky Holland fan.
Those caveats aside, statistics do help Ballack’s argument. England had one shot on target in the match, fewer than any other team in the opening round of games.
And that conservative approach didn’t necessarily negate a right royal peppering, with Laurent Blanc’s team having 15 shots on target, the most of any side in the tournament so far.
In a rather amusing piece of punditry billing, Ballack’s sombre outlook juxtaposed rather strongly against the ever so slightly obnoxious Alexi Lalas.
The former US international began his analysis with a literal round of applause for England and countered Ballack’s eloquent criticism with the phrase: “We can’t all be German.”