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This is about as positive as it gets
I know you’ll be inundated with missives on Saturday evening’s missed opportunity but I’m going to play the ‘long time listener first time caller’ card and cross my fingers…
Taking the positives from that game, England looked sharp and dynamic, and used possession well, without any sense they were holding onto the ball for the sake of it. Building play, using the full backs to good effect, always looking to exploit the spaces…we were just found wanting at the sharp end. We’re off the mark at least. It’s an interesting stat regarding Wales being the first British team to win their first game at an international tournament. What were we really expecting, eh? A point is par for the course and with a pretty low threshold to qualify (and Skrtel’s comedy defending to look forward to), like many a summer transfer target, I’m remaining calm.
Lallana looked lively but he’s not an instinctive finisher by any stretch. Kane was a bit off. I think with Sturridge on the pitch he’d have put away any one of those numerous chances we squandered. I would like to’ve seen The Hodge utilise our other attacking talents. Vardy, ideal for stretching a defence late on, Sturridge can create chances for himself out of nothing, and bringing on Rashford would at least have made me sit up a bit. But no, on comes James Thrillner (you can have that, but I nicked it myself) for Rooooney, after an admittedly rather encouraging stint in midfield from our captain. It seems to me his form will dictate how our tourney pans out since Roy will start him at every opportunity. Maybe it was with this in mind and wanting to keep him fresh for Thursday, but when do you really need his leadership and experience on the park? Maybe when you’ve got a young team tasked with seeing out the game on a 1-0 lead in a major competition. The truth is, take four points from the first two games and he could probably take it easier against Slovakia anyway; but get the job done in the first place!
Still, I’ve made my peace with our tournaments generally ending in crushing disappointment so I find it easier just to sit back, and in this case, enjoy the display. We were pretty good, and while I’ve heard a few comments along the lines of “Spursing it up”, I feel there’s more to come from this bunch as long as Roy doesn’t balls up his in-game subs and tactics too dramatically. We’re always going to need a few goals so I think we may as well go for the jugular! I’ll continue to hope for the best whilst knowing we’d be laughing in the face of fate, mooning in the disco of destiny, to squeeze past the quarters. Lose to Wales though….sheesh, it’s brown trousers time. At least make it out of the group lads and give us some good memories!
Joe Budd (we really need a new national anthem… sorry Queenie, nothing personal) Sowf Lunden.
Roy, if you’re reading, probably best to stop here.
Obviously most England fans are going to be gutted about that result. Some, like Ian Wright, may say it’s just ‘one of those things’ or ‘we were unlucky’ etc. But I disagree, we could and should of been out of sight by the time that goal went in. For me (Clive) as Russia pushed on for an equaliser, that slow and old defence of theirs crept up the field too and Harry Kane just trudged around. Looking every bit the player who has played 427 games this year. Wasn’t this exact scenario the perfect time to introduce Jamie Vardy? I mean Vardy thrives on counter attacks and we were getting them but when we broke Kane struggled to even keep up with play. Sterling broke down the left numerous times and he wasn’t even in the picture. Even we he did keep up they often broke down once he was on the ball.
Imagine being a 36-year-old center back who has never blessed with pace even as a youngster, you have been under the cosh for long periods of the game so therefore are tiring. But now you have to push up because your team is chasing the game. Who in the England squad would you least like to see enter the game? Hint: It’s not James Milner. Vardy should have came on around the time Wilshere did. I firmly believe we would have scored at least one more. That’s literally the perfect scenario to introduce him. I mean if it is not then when is it? What is the point of having him in the squad? I didn’t watch the post game interviews, but these are exactly the questions that need to be asked directly to Hodgson. Possibly accompanied with such musings as ‘Why is Harry Kane taking corners?’ ‘Why was Harry Kane allowed to take a free kick off Dier almost immediately after Dier just scored one?’ and ‘What language do people born deaf think in?’
Good performance overall but mistakes were made by the manager.
…After 72 minutes of us struggling to break down a solid, well organised, but ultimately slow defence, with Wilshere, Milner, Sturridge, Vardy and Rashford sitting on the bench, Roy STILL didn’t think it was time to freshen things up.
Finally, after we’ve scored, he took off some tired legs, but didn’t bring on Vardy? By starting him on the bench he’s given himself one of the easiest decisions he’ll make this tournament – every game, regardless of whether we’re one nil down, two down, one up, two up, drawing, BRING THE FAST BLOKE ON. It’s very sodding simple, especially when against such slow defenders, and *especially* when Kane is playing so poorly.
When Sterling flew away on the counter attack just before he got subbed, Alli and Walker were the only players even trying to support, but they didn’t have the energy to get there. If Vardy had been on for Kane, it would have been a simple square ball, and he would have been one on one with the keeper. After getting so much right last night, Roy screwed up the very, very simple.
Ollie, London, starting to fall a little bit in love with Eric Dier
…Errr… Roy? Ray? Gary?…
We actually played quite well but what on Earth were the men behind the tactics thinking in the last 15 minutes? That game became so stretched, and we had them. Well and truly had them. What then transpired was to remove Rooney (probably our best player) for Wilshere, and Sterling (our quickest player) for Milner.
Both subs baffled me. I struggle to see any thought behind either other than… Err… Let’s go a bit more defensive. These coaches need to earn their f*cking money. Seriously. Leaving a clearly exhausted Kane and Alli on the pitch, removing all pace from the team and bringing in a player who has looked flakey at best is frankly negligent. This is not a hindsight thing either… Most of the pub were calling at the time – football’s rarely so blindingly obvious, last night it was.
Milner for Rooney might’ve made a small bit of sense. Pace wise, with the Russians pushing up, we have probably the best in our country sat fresh on the bench and you didn’t turn to him. Carraghers tweet was spot on, if you don’t use Vardy then… When do you?
To concede as we did, when we did, was unlucky but footballs a game of small margins. These tactics make big material differences and I put that draw (feels like a loss) squarely at the coaching staffs door. Fortunately the players looked sharp and hungry… I just hope to god the men on the touchline give them what they need to really get somewhere this summer.
Congratulations to the England hierarchy on their Roy Hodgson call – bang on, he’s everything we expected.
From picking a team that had never played together before (in an untried shape), through to Kane taking corners, and Dier taking free-kicks (who knew ??) we got the unexpected, and the clearly unplanned after nearly two years of preparation – this Euro thing really crept up on us. Fantastic…
And then after a relatively good first half…the moment of truth…when every good manager earns his corn – the half-time talk and tweaks to drive the team to victory.
You can only imagine the underwhelming drivel that came forth, and boy did it show, with England looking like they’d consumed a sack of spuds each with their half time oranges when they came back on for the second half.
But of course, the top coaches also have a knack of making game changing substitutions – and boy, did Roy deliver…
Having picked every striker he could think of for the squad…and with Kane not working…Sturridge, maybe…or even Vardy…or Rashford…nope.
Go one ahead, and immediately take off your captain – there’s leadership for you…
Close out the game by swapping a fast, crap winger for a slow one, who then got skinned for the goal – at least Sterling was running off with the ball (before he lost it…every time).
Take a bow Roy and your team – you did exactly what was expected. I’m not sure we’ve reached peak Hodgson yet…I suspect that will come in the Quarter Final defeat.
…That was beyond pathetic.
Roy Hodgson needs to shoulder a lot of the blame for tonight’s draw, with Joe Hart also culpable.
After we scored the level of intensity dropped and England showed no desire to keep Russia pinned down. They were there for the taking and instead England chickened out.
On a plus side, Dier’s free kick was cracking, Kyle Walker shows why Clyne belongs on the bench and Lallana (briefly) showed us his ability.
Let’s hope Roy figures out the Kane is not infallible and Vardy should be put in his place for the next game.
Ben (Kane is greedy) Cheltenhamshire
…Nice to see it only took one England game highlight how a disciplined defensive midfielder who could be brought on at the end of game to help see out a win would have been useful. Hope you are enjoying your holiday Danny!
On a more positive note congratulations to Wales on great performance and a much deserved win.
…You’ll get a few of these…
I don’t have a problem with Hodgson’s team selection, which was balanced and quite bold.
My problem is his game management.
He seems to react to games rather than preempt how they are going to go. Bringing on one substitute midfielder was fine, but three?? I was crying out for an attacking outlet to replace any of the front three who worked hard. Why oh why was Vardy not brought on to give those lumbering Russian defenders something to think about? Or Sturridge to dribble past them and shoot? We invited Russia forward, and were left without an outlet.
It’s by no means a lost cause but we need to get those subs on earlier, fresh legs when there’s still time to do something.
Paul in Brussels
It pains me to say, but perhaps building the england side out of a core of spurs players was not such a great idea. That was an incredibly Spursy display.
TGWolf (I so hoped we’d banished that term to history) THFC, Ingerland
I never though I’d say “I wish James Milner was taking corners.”
Mike, LFC, Dubai
…Traditionally, we Irish like to see England fail, but those of us who are smart enough to realise that we spend our weekends watching football that takes place in England are eager to see what the national team is made of. And I was very excited about this squad’s chances in the Euros. I think the major issue lies not on the pitch but on the sidelines. An old school manager who lacks the guile, innovation and belief in his players to help them succeed.
Problem 1: The age old debate – should a manager pick his best players or the system he believes will beat a team? Tonight, Hodgson went for the system. Solid, reliable players who he believed would not lose the game. They did their job. But by picking his best players, they could have put down a marker, not thrown it away and scared the life out of other teams. I don’t envy him trying to fit Kane, Vardy and Sturridge into the team but to leave out two of them is outrageous. Spain, Germany, France are crying out for the quality of strikers England have and what does Roy do?…. he plays Sterling – a man who is so lacking in end product and Lallana – a man who wins the ball back excellently before giving it away over and over.
Problem 2: Rooney has never proven to anyone that he is an accomplished midfielder. Henderson and Wilshere in particular have proven it – for England and at club level. Rooney is the captain. if he has to play, he has to play up front. He has to. There is no debate for me here.
Problem 3: What kind of mentality do these players have? For 92 minutes I thought… they’ve done well here, they haven’t been impressive but they’ve done their jobs as Roy asked and won’t let Russia snatch anything. And then Russia scored. If you haven’t seen the England players’ reactions at the final whistle – watch again. It looks like they’ve been knocked out of the competition. Heads drop, bodies fall to the ground. It’s an opening game draw lads. A disastrous end to the game, of course. But there is plenty of football to be played. Watch Germany and Spain and see if heads drop if they lose out to a team they should beat. It’s not what you want to see. Hodgson, Neville and co need to beat this out of them ASAP.
We all know and it and Hodgson should too – England’s strength is in attack and weakness is in defence. Trying to win games 1-0 will not work. It will have to be 2-0, 3-1, 4-2. There is so much football yet to be played and I don’t doubt the ability of the England squad. I seriously doubt how far Hodgson can take them though.
Damien Ó Ceallaigh
Rating Roy’s boys
Thanks for your excellent summary of the player performances. My own tuppence worth:
Walker – what is great about his selection is that it’s not because Clyne has done anything wrong but because Walker has been excellent. Our strongest position?
Rooney – I thought he came off at the right time. He was good but was becoming less influential and more red faced.
Lallana – excellent first half but if we can predict and see his performance drop off then why can’t Roy?
Sterling – I can see why he was kept on for so long. He was an outlet and he made me think something good was about to happen. I was wrong.
Kane – what was Roy thinking? He had earned the right to start but with three quality strikers on the bench he simply had to be taken off. He was so very poor. Corners were generally rubbish and has he ever scored a free kick from 35 yards? No. So why let him take one and give the ball back to Russia?
I’m a big Sturridge fan and think he should start against Wales but after 60 minutes I’d have taken Vardy or Rashford… or anyone else.
Roy – not a conservative manager? Maybe not with his starting line up but his substitutions really let him down.
Josh (watching England is like watching a horror movie where you know exactly what’s going to happen next) LFC
Postcard from Paris
Enough has been written elsewhere, but I thought I’d give my perspective as an outsider.
I’m in France right now and was at the fan zone near the Eiffel tower for the France Romania game. You get all sorts of people there and I wasn’t really surprised to see a sizeable number of English fans.
What surprised me though is how some of the English took it upon themselves to be heard louder than the thousands of French. They started tossing beer and cups in the air and were pretty much the center of attention.
The French fans didn’t really seem to understand what they were singing (some even tried to join in) and neither did I at first. Then I distinctly heard ‘German’, ‘bombers’ and ‘The RAF’.
I will quickly point out the numerous English fans who stayed away and were quite pleasant. However, I can understand a little why the focus is on the English fans at Marseille – whether they earned the reputation or not, many Europeans seem to class all male English football fans as hooligans and any incident involving them is automatically seen as something to be expected.
What doesn’t get said though is that they’re from the only group that does it. At the same place, I saw a Romanian fan chanting ‘Allez Les Bleus’ while humping a balloon with French colors and a French fan pour beer on people he probably didn’t know (identifying both by colors they wore). I havent even started on the stuff Indians get up to back home. Idiocy is not exclusive to the English.
Some English fans may be part of the problem, but they’d be no more than any of the others.
Girish, AFC, Chennai
Andy Townsend must’ve been incredibly smug after that Wales winning goal.
“See what happens when you don’t hit it too well…”
Free agent XI
I can’t help but see some bargains in among the released list and decided to see if I could create a team that could survive next seasons league campaign. I’m not mailing about England or the euros as I’m currently in New Zealand and can only watch the games through some ‘flawed’ streams (the pubs in the town I’m in wouldn’t show football if it was the last sport on Earth). So here is a change of subject. A little frail in midfield, but a decent defense and if Adebayor turns up they might have a chance… No two players from the same club.
LB- Paul Konchesky
CB- Kolo Toure
CB- Sylvain Distin
RM- Stephane Sessegnon
LM- Steven Pienaar
CM- Mikel Arteta
CM- Gaston Ramirez
ST- Steven Fletcher
ST- Emmanuel Adebayor
Dave (love New Zealand really), Whangarei