England to reach Euro 2024 semi-finals in knockout predictions; Walker & Kane out for Coufal & Weghorst?

Editor F365
England midfielder Phil Foden with other stars
Phil Foden, Nico Williams, Wout Weghorst and Kylian Mbappe will all compete in the last 16.

It’s prediction time in the Mailbox as the Euro 2024 knockout stages are analysed, while Vladimir Coufal and Wout Weghorst would be better options than Kyle Walker and Harry Kane on current form. Plus, boring football saves lives, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Trent Alexander-Arnold…

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com


Euros Knockout Prediction time 
As we all know predictions are nigh on impossible, but we all love making them, so here are mine for the knockout rounds:

Last 16 looks fairly straightforward on paper so I’m going for a QF lineup of:

Spain, Germany, Portugal, France, Netherlands, Austria, England, Switzerland

The Swiss being the big call of that round; this is where it gets interesting, I’m going for:

Spain to beat Germany
Portugal to beat France
Austria to beat Netherlands
England to beat Switzerland

Two of the  above on penalties (including England)

Semi Finals:
Portugal to beat Spain based on pure shithousery
Austria to beat England by pressing us into oblivion

***Southgate to be called a WIENER Schnitzel on the front page of a tabloid****

Portugal to win the final, on penalties, having not scored a goal in open play in 90 minutes of any of the knockout rounds.

It’s just what they do.

No rational basis for England getting as far as the semis but my heart could only overrule my head that far.

I can confidently predict that 25% of my predictions may come true as that is loosely based upon maths.
Brian (BRFC)

Ex and current PL players that wouldn’t get into Southgate’s England team, but are playing better than Southgate’s England team
There is a Euro football break, and being slightly disappointed with the performance of the England team in the group stages, I wondered if I could create a team from the Euros of ex and current Premier League players that are performing better for their countries than the England players selected by Gareth Southgate. But, crucially, these players wouldn’t be selected by Southgate.

4-2-3-1 Formation:

GK: Kasper Schmeichel (Anderlecht & Denmark). He now plays in Belgium and is 37 years old. Would Southgate take him? Possibly, as England are low on reliable keepers at the moment. Jordan Pickford is undoubtedly Gareth’s number 1, and so far, he has had a decent tournament. Finding another keeper who is playing better and meets the criteria is tricky. But Schmeichel is an ex-Premier League winner and has had a decent tournament so far.

RB: Vladimir Coufal (West Ham & Czech Republic). He’s a right back, so that automatically gives him a great chance of making the England squad. Got an assist against Portugal.

CB: Nathan Ake (Man City & Holland). He probably would make the England squad but strictly as a centre back and only if Lewis Dunk was missing a leg. Claimed an assist in his first game.

CB: Jannik Vestergaard (Leicester & Denmark). Played Championship football last season, so no chance of even being on Southgate’s radar. Solid for Leicester. Solid for Denmark. He’s in.

LB: Andy Robertson (Liverpool & Scotland). If he was a right back, he’d be straight in. But he’s a left back, so under Southgate, he’s got no chance. Unless he’s injured. (if, like me, the mailbox won’t accept Robertson then…) LB: Milos Kerkez (Bournemouth & Hungary). He’s played three games for Hungary. No goals, no assists. Sounds perfect for the England team.

CM: Mikel Merino (ex-Newcastle & Spain). Struggled to find midfielders, but Merino played a handful of times for Newcastle a few years ago and appears to be bang in form now for Spain. Would Southgate pick him? Not ahead of Rice. Or Bellingham. Or Gallagher, probably.

CM: N’Golo Kante (ex-Leicester, Chelsea, now Al-Ittihad & France). Now hear me out. He’s basically semi-retired and 33. I’m not sure, having picked a youthful squad, that Southgate would opt for the gamble like the French team have done. And what a player he (still) is. What a great decision by Deschamps. Gareth wouldn’t take a gamble on him, I’m sure of that.

RW: Memphis Depay (ex-Man Utd & Holland). Struggled to find a RW that was current or ex-Premier League, so went for the ex-Man Utd flop who is now the starting striker for Holland. Three games, one goal, so good enough for the right wing in this team.

CAM: Christian Eriksen (Man Utd & Denmark). Not in a million years would he get in this England team, yet he still oozes class and sophistication on the biggest stage.

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr & Portugal). Three shots, no goals, the same as Phil Foden in this tournament. Would Ronaldo accept playing second fiddle to Foden? Doubt it. So he’s in this team.

CF: Wout Weghorst (Burnley). Playing for Burnley in the Championship? Weghorst has not only scored a goal but got an assist in the tournament group stages. That record beats that fraud Harry Kane in this tournament.

I just did this for fun, so please don’t hammer me, mailbox. I’m sure I’ve missed some ballers. I’d be delighted if anyone could improve this team. The criteria are they have to have played in the Premier League, be playing better for their country than the England players, and be very unlikely to be picked by Gareth Southgate.

Matt (gooner, exiled in Essex)


Boring football saves lives
Just a reminder of how boring football saves lives and wins tournaments. Whenever I hear the Portuguese talk about winning the tournament no one seems to recall how boring and shite they were.
Euro 2016 at a glance.
Portugal 1 – Iceland 1
Portugal 3- Hungary 3
Portugal 0- Austria 0
Portugal 1 – Croatia 0
Portugal 1 – Poland 1 . Portos on penalties
Portugal 2- Wales 0
Portugal 1- France 0 AET

Not sure if it’s coming home or if I actually care anymore. Either way I’ll be getting pissed.
Jason G, Montreal, Canada


Flash in the pan
Foden and Bellingham are both players who believe their own hype. They are phenomenally gifted, of that there is little doubt, the evidence is there, but they both want to be the headline. The amount of times I’ve seen the pair of them take on some stupid shot or pass when a simpler, more effective opportunity was right in front of them (eg: Foden should have passed to Kane in the first game, tried to blaze one in instead). They want the adulation more than they want the win, and I think these players epitomise this quality.

Like those players on your 5 a side team or Sunday league who once had a trial for Southend and so take every single shot they can regardless of whether it is the right choice and blame everyone else for the loss when it happens.

We’ve media trained these players since they were kids, and so they all talk about the pride of wearing the shirt etc, but they rarely seem to mean it. I always feel what they really mean is ‘my profile will only grow from here as I’m now an international’

This isn’t a new problem, it is basically Lampard vs Gerrard or Liverpool lads vs United lads from over the past 2 decades!
John Matrix AFC

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The less you play, the better you get 
Amazing how much better Jack Grealish is when he’s not at the tournament. Let’s just look at Paul’s claim that: “Phil Foden is not good enough for international football and never has been.”

In competitive games for England:
Grealish: 28 games, 2 goals, 3 assists
Foden: 29 games, 3 goals, 7 assists

Criticise Foden if you like (and some of it is fair) but where is the evidence that Grealish would do better? Grealish is a very good player, but I highly doubt he would be ripping up trees in this England team. Let’s not forget that Foden is coming off the back of 19 goals and 8 assists in the Premier League. In his best season for City, Grealish had 5 goals and 7 assists.

Put Grealish into this team and the result would be exactly the same. I’m not defending Southgate, but he can’t win at times. Imagine if he hadn’t picked Foden off the back of this season. He would be utterly eviscerated (more than he already is).
Mike, LFC, Dubai


Dear Ed

Everyone banging on about Grealish should remember that the lad is a party boy, loves to go out, perhaps Headmaster Gareth deemed this to be the deciding factor in leaving him at home.

Against Slovenia it was quite telling, Foden pulled play to the left, passed back to Trippier. Then Trippier passed back to Foden, who was crowded off the ball. Immediately thereafter Foden was pointing to the middle, asking Trippier why he didn’t centre the ball. Just shows you, England play without tactics. Or if there are tactics, no one is really sure what they are, apart from being an eyesore.

Wik, Pretoria (so many managers in the mailbox recently), LFC


TAA the scapegoat
I’ve only been able to watch about half the England outings so far but Trent’s created more chances than any other player despite playing less than half the minutes – surely he’s not the problem? He’s literally in there to create chances. I did however see him lose the ball in a few dodgy places and some bad touches, but you can copy and paste that comment on at least 7 other starting players with golden boy Bellinghman absolutely in that list, and far more deserving of the comment than Trent.

All in all this is one of the more obvious cases of scapegoating I’ve seen in a while. Trent being out of position was the easy fall guy despite the entire team clearly not playing well.

Sometimes is just too easy to blame the manager, but sometimes its so bloody obvious. Southgate has at his disposal the premier league player of the year Foden, the La Liga player of the year Bellingham and the European golden boot winner in Kane. Not to mention a few other very clearly top class players. Could you imagine what Klopp or Pep would get out of this team?
Patricio Del Toro


Dear Ed,

I’d rather see England lose with a “were gonna score one more than you” mentality than this boring brand of creationless football losing on penalties.

Yes Arnold can do dazzling things so yes bring him in. But he’ll need support and a proper target so bring in palmer Gordon and Watkins too. What was GS thinking, “experimenting ” DURING a major finals! He’s had 2 years to get his best team together and define an attacking format. Very poor this year
Gwyn Jones-Williams frome, Somerset



Just responding to the article saying “Foden not fit for international football”..

Not far off. He couldn’t hit the floor with his hat!!!…

The team has no passion to win.


Wow, just wow. Just reading this story it is obvious that the writer is not a fan of Pep. And because of that, he takes umbrage that a young player, who has come up through the system at Man City and is performing very well may be struggling in the England setup.

Stating that Foden is not good enough to tie Grealish’s boots is very insulting (and would be to anyone) and totally uncalled for.

Also, the tone of the writer indicates he is a fan of Grealish, and is, therefore, biased in his judgement.

The truth is that Grealish is only a very good player in a system that is built around him.

He obviously does not fit the Man City/Pep Guardiola style of football.

Grealish’s style is to get the ball and challenge the opposition one on one, trying to beat them with his dribbling skill, which is counter to one touch play. It wastes time, allowing the opposing team to adjust position to prepare to pick up the inevitable loose ball or shutdown passing lanes.

I don’t understand why Grealish is playing for Man City at all.

As for Englands performances, I like many others are baffled at the lackluster play and mediocre results. Southgate must take responsibility for that. There does not appear to be a plan in place for their games that is geared towards winning. There is very little, if any, enthusiasm shown on the pitch by the players to be representing their country.

The talent that is shown week to week during the season seems to disappear for the national team. THAT is the problem.

Armchair quarterback; KB.


Scary thought
I was thinking about Haaland for no good reason and what if he made Zlatan his mentor? He could take over the world.