Barry offers World Cup hope
- 19 June 2010 09:24
- Posted by Chris Bailey
Gareth Barry has spent many nights recently sleeping in an Oxygen tent so the fact that England’s World Cup hopes are currently gasping for air do not faze the City star.
The midfielder, whose nocturnal habits changed as he fought an ankle injury, is the most phlegmatic of characters and refuses to write off the Three Lions chances of playing a major role in proceedings in South Africa.
Along with fellow Blues Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Hart, the stoical Barry – one of the few to emerge from the drab draw with Algeria with his reputation not besmirched – is determined that England can still progress to the latter stages of the World Cup.
The England players can justifiably point towards this week’s failings by fellow European powerhouses Germany and Spain to show that life in South Africa is not easy for any team and history is also on their side.
Sir Bobby Robson’s much feted 1990 team that reached the semi-finals also drew their opening two group games.
Barry though does readily accept that the Friday fright night performance produced against the North Africans in a 0-0 stalemate was not good enough.
"I think everyone knows we're a bit disappointed," he said after the match. "We wanted to win the game and come away with three points. But the positives are that it's (qualification) still in our own hands.
We know we need to improve to beat Slovenia in the final group game
"We'll be working hard over the next few days to do that. We'll be looking at this performance to see what we've done wrong and see where we can put it right.
"The disappointing thing is the lack of chances we created against Algeria; we didn't attack with enough purpose or enough belief going forward. We know we have to score to win the next game so that's what we'll be working on. But it's important we keep the word pressure away from us.
"It's almost like a knockout game starting early on Wednesday and we have to be right for it. We know we need to win the game and we're capable of doing that. Everyone in the dressing room believes it."
Barry played all but six minutes of the Algeria game and Wright-Phillips nearly half an hour as a substitute. Both will be hoping to feature heavily in Wednesday’s must-win contest.