The first half was one of the worst footballing displays I have ever seen. England didn't seem to be able to pass anything at all. Brazil didn't even look good in their domination as the inferior level of their opposition was painfully obvious. In my opinion this was largely down to a midfield trio of Phil Jones (wore number 7?!), Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard. These are three of the most immobile midfielders England have, admittedly injury has forced this upon them but it demonstrated how important Jack Wilshere is to the team as a driving force. Watching that trio slug around must have been joy for the Brazilians who could roam wherever they liked. Credit must go for introducing Oxlade-Chamberlain to add some enthusiasm and forward-going from an otherwise lackluster midfield.
With the midfield labouring and Walcott putting in a poor performance Rooney got isolated and England sunk deeper and deeper. The defense didn't even play well either, there were no great tackles or last ditch blocks, just missed tackles and wayward hoofs forward. 0-0 was a ridiculously lucky score to have at half time, due to poor Brazilian finishing and some good work from Joe Hart. But even he was not exempt from the catastrophe that was England, kicking the ball into touch more than to his players.
At the end of this I will come to the most infuriating thing about this match. Brazil were not good but England were either allergic to or afraid of the ball. When 2-1 up (it must have been a blessing from God) England tried to defend their lead by retreating into their own penalty box... I don't understand this. Brazil can't attack if England have the ball yet they happily handed it over and then ran away. There is so much potential in young and old English players to achieve great things yet it seems they just never gel. These are professionals who should be able to perform when called upon but are more accustomed to failure on the international stage than they should be.
I named this post "England Don't Deserve Optimism Yet" because on the performances they have given they have not even earned the optimism that leads to the inevitable let down. In this side that is built around not attacking and negative play you will not find the winners of the World Cup, maybe not even qualifiers. Players like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Sturridge (I know both were injured but this is to make a wider point), Jones (should be a centre back) and Milner (played in central midfield) should not be asked to play a rigid formation based on defense. Finally England have a group of players able to play fluid attacking football but it seems we now have an unwilling manager.