world cup 2006 has ended. but the waves of discussions have yet to subside.
many have pointed their fingers at Frank Lampard, england's midfielder for his lackluster performance which, in their opinions, was the reason for england's defeat in the world cup. everybody asked, what has happened to the man who was runner-up to Ronaldinho for Fifa's footballer of the year 2005, including myself. frankly, it is hard not to feel disappointed when someone whom you admire so dearly loses the very element that you found attractive in the first place, out of a sudden with no apparent reason.
The only fault that Lampard has committed is, perhaps, allowing himself to be distracted by all the talks about him not being useful and doubts over his contribution to the team during worldcup. from the penalty he took in the quarter finals, it is obvious that he just lacked confidence on the pitch, after missing goals one after another.
I had to admit that Lampard was out of form, for the first time. but is he really to be blamed for sending england home? i doubt so. The difference between Lampard and Gerrard/Beckham is perhaps that the latter two have scored goals while the former simply "enjoyed missing goals" as some people put it. This is the sole reason why Lampard is being singled out as the problem in the england midfield. Yet take away the goals and their performances have been just as bad. What the england team lacked is the building up on strikes and a sense of assertiveness on the field. so is it fair to make Lampard the scapegoat for the team's apparent inability to gel and then attack?
in football, i believe there's no such thing as one single player making the team shine. similarly, nobody is to be accused of pulling his team down. nobody plays football alone. it's the team as a whole which should be responsible for the team's performance, whether good or bad.
after all, football is an 11-men game, with 12 more on the bench and 1 master brain behind the scene.
football, at its highest level, is a mental game. losing the touch is nowhere near losing the skills. Lampard definitely hasn't lost his skills.
have faith and one day you'll come back to show them who's the man.