Can England win World Cup with Rice and Phillips?

Date published: Tuesday 6th July 2021 3:54 - Editor F365

Rice-Phillips-England

England might win the Euros but what will happen in the World Cup? But first, England are free and stuff…

 

So this is freedom…they must be joking?
Well here we go again…conflating the ludicrous ‘f*** it’ attitude of this government to rapidly rising coronavirus cases with sport. Yay. Go England. We’ll show you. FREE LIONS. Because wearing a mask is really, really hard and an affront to all that is English. And you know what else is English? Football, that’s what.

Seriously, what the f*** is going on with this?

‘So now let’s Kane the Danes’? Buoyed by the decision to eradicate all measures that could control the spread of coronavirus and continue to protect the vulnerable and unvaccinated, a group of English footballers should beat Denmark? Why are these two things remotely connected? A penny for the thoughts of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, whose images are being used for this ridiculous propaganda.

And here’s the ‘story’:

‘BORIS Johnson tore up social distancing laws yesterday – insisting it was “now or never”.

‘Ahead of Three Lions stars Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling’s showdown with Denmark, he hailed July 19’s Freedom Day as an end to “government diktats’.

It might just as well have said ‘Ahead of the release of latest Marvel release Black Widow’ or ‘Ahead of Tatton Park’s Foodies Festival’ for all the relevance of England’s football team to this latest policy.

(And let’s not even start on ‘an end to government diktats’ given that this happened on the same f***ing day as the government making pretty much all protest illegal).

For all the people who will comment below saying that we should keep politics out of football, tell that to the opportunistic c***s who hijack this glorious sport to justify the hari-kari rituals of this disastrous government.

 

A dog’s life
On the inside pages of The Sun comes the big England news:

‘GREAT DANE BACKS GREAT KANE’

If you are thinking that they cannot possibly have just dressed a Great Dane dog in an England shirt and claimed that he ‘is now firmly behind Kane and Co’ then you are a naive fool because that is exactly what has happened. That is on actual page 4 (and 5) of a national newspaper.

‘He even wore an England shirt and stood proudly draped in the flag of St George to show his support for Gareth Southgate’s men.’

Has everybody lost their f***ing minds?

 

Shaw getting carried away
On the football pages of The Sun, somebody is getting a tad carried away, and it’s not a dog.

‘IF you’re wondering why Luke Shaw is performing like Roberto Carlos now, have a listen to the bloke standing alongside him.

‘Because the constant demands of Harry Maguire, Shaw’s Manchester United skipper and England team-mate, have played a major role in transforming his close friend into a rampaging left-back.’

A ‘rampaging left-back’? ‘Roberto Carlos’?

Apologies for coming along with pesky facts but ‘rampaging left-back’ Luke Shaw has helped to create six chances from open play in 335 minutes of football at this tournament. There are 58 players ahead of him on that list, including fellow full-backs/wing-backs Jordi Alba, Oleksandr Karavayev, Joakim Mæhle, Leonardo Spinazzola, Vladimír Coufal, Joshua Kimmich, Raphaël Guerreiro, Joško Gvardiol, Robin Gosens, Kamil Jóźwiak and Andrew Robertson, many of whom have played a lot less football at Euro 2020.

Shaw has been excellent but let’s not pretend that sticking a free-kick on the massive head of Maguire makes him Roberto bloody Carlos.

 

The Greal deal
When you are writing a column praising Gareth Southgate for the fact that there were ‘no tantrums, no dramas, no clamour from the terraces’ from or for Jack Grealish after or during a 4-0 victory then you know you have reached the juncture where there is nothing more to be written about this England side.

 

We are the world
Over in the Daily Mirror, Stan Collymore finally accepts that Gareth Southgate might have got things right with his safety-first approach, but he is here with a warning: We might not win the World Cup. He has a point and we are worried now too.

‘It would have been easy for Southgate to bow to calls to unleash the midfield Dream Team at the expense of one of those two, but he stuck to his guns and it has worked.’

Is he talking about Gerrard and Lampard?

‘That said, we’ve played largely against B-class opposition, with the exception of Germany and Croatia, who are A-minus.

‘And had we met Denmark or Italy before now, or Portugal, they would have tested Rice and Phillips in a way that none of those sides we have met have been able to do.’

That is how a tournament works; it’s supposed to get harder. And Portugal are out having conceded seven goals in their last three games. Let’s not eulogise them in an attempt to denigrate an England side yet to be breached.

Football is about balance and if you don’t get your balance right you will come unstuck eventually against the very best teams.

Now, that might not happen in this tournament, we might go on to win it and we might go to the World Cup in Qatar next year as European Champions.’

That sounds brilliant. We would be pretty happy with that.

But if we come up there against Argentina, Brazil or France, even South Korea, then one of those teams will test the two defensive midfielders to their absolute max in a way no one has done this time out.’

And that seems a perfectly sensible thing to worry about when England are on the verge of a European Championship semi-final.

Mediawatch will not sleep tonight for worrying about what South Korea – ranked 39th in the FIFA world rankings – might do to European champions England in 18 months’ time. After all, this is the same team that smashed Lebanon 2-1 last month.

 

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