Football would be home by now if Mancini managed England…

Date published: Tuesday 13th July 2021 8:51 - Editor F365

The fall-out to England;s final defeat continues. Get your thoughts in to theeditor@football365.com

 

Credit where it’s due
Italy were astonishing, from qualification right up until the Donnarumma save. 34 games unbeaten and with some beautiful football along the way. Goes to show you can have substance with style.

That said, they were largely more experienced and had a clear let understanding of how to take it to Rome.

Their midfield where fantastic. They really know how to play between the lines and I just loved how easy they take their first touch in a pivot & turn towards the English goal. Veratti is a player I find highly underrated in Europe. Probably because of playing for PSG but he is such a maestro with the ball.

Insigne’s first touch and control were a thing of wonder. What an outlet to have out wide. Chiesa on the other hand was a different beast altogether. Such power and pace in such a direct style, it was sad to see him go off injured.

The defense though was the true thing of marvel. Both offensively and defensively. Other than the odd set piece they were not worried as many of us thought they would be. Going forward was a thing of beauty- Chiellini would pull out wild left and Di Lorenzo wide right with Bonucci in the center as some sort of Italian quarterback. Rarely being pressed this gave their left full back and midfield the time to move around.

All in all, very satisfying to watch. Even the two ‘dark moments’ were not even that dark. Jorginho’s tackle with Grealish was a 50/50- Grealish leapt into the challenge first, Jorginho got to the ball first. Him staying on his feet is the reason he was not sent off. The hilarious pull back on Saka look more WWE than UEFA but as nobody mentioned- he had handled the ball controlling it- so had Chiellini resisted, there would be a foul for Italy.

Mancini has shown the world that a team can be cohesive and play with a defined style in short periods of time. He showed the nations of the world what a high quality coach can achieve with very good players. Mancini has shown us time and time again that he is a winner.

Beating England, Belgium, Spain as well as potential underdogs Turkey, Wales, Switzerland and Austria is no easy feat and should duly be praised.

Victory favors the brave and the stats and my eyes confirm to me what I had money on all along- That this Italian team is very special.

Had England had Mancini in charge I find that ‘it’s coming home’ would have been ‘it’s home. Not that that was an option, but nobody watching last night can say they wouldn’t have wanted to play the Italian way. Oddly enough, for some of us, we are perplexed as to why England don’t play that way.

None of the big teams in England play in a back 3 with regularity. They all play for teams who are used to the ball, who probe for openings and who may on occasion play on the back foot.

To watch a final, in Wembley, in front of 60 thousand( or 75 thousand of you believe your eyes) of your own fans, to witness only two shots on target, and to be honest, a very weak display offensively must have been tough.

All the more tough given the age and yellow cards of their centrebacks. Couple that with their highline, a marauding fullback and it makes you really wonder why England didn’t go for a 4-3-3 with quick wide attackers.

People are saying Ole gets abuse for this kind of football and they are right in that he does get abuse for poor football but wrong in that he doesn’t play football this bad. Ole would- and Liverpool and Man City fans can attest, that even when United sit deep, they would still ping a long pass to Marcus Rashford out wide to have a go at the defense. Sterling looked like he had a free role, but no idea where to be free in. Ole too, would not have had Kane dropping so deep. There was no focal point and no one person you knew was going to be where they were meant to be, until Saka came on.

Imagine England set up like a United. You even get to keep the Phillips-Rice double pivot, Walker as the defensive right back but you’d have a front four with a Shaw supplement. Kane would be tasked with movement instead of passing , Mount/Grealish the playmaker and Sancho filling in the James role. With Rashford and Shaw down the left you would have a lot of one touch give and goes.

But that’s neither here nor there. England will learn from this and I and many others hope Gareth goes for it when his team and himself, are a little more older and a little more wiser.
Calvino (Huge congrats to the referee. He was having none of the play acting and dare I say it, but that went against the English tactics. That also said, much of the tournaments referees were like this and it was refreshing)

 


The top ten reasons for England optimism after Euro 2020


 

National treasure
I just read Marcus Rashford’s letter and was reduced to tears. This man is a leader in the same mould as, dare I say it, Ali. Sometimes a man (or woman) Comes along and just betters the world around them. I am so, so proud of Marcus the Man. What he does on a football pitch is simply something that he does, he is so much more than that.

Everything that can be said about what’s happened over the last 24 hours has been said already, and it will take greater men than me to add something worthwhile to it all. All I can really say is that I am filled with a sense of joy and pride that my sons will grow in the time of Rashford, what a role model to inspire the next generation into building a better world.

That’s it, I have nothing more to say. Sometimes it is best to simply pause football talk, and take a moment to breathe something in that’s far more important.
Tommy Vincent

 

Saint Gareth screwed up
If somebody other than Saint Gareth had lost that final they’d have been justifiably crucified.

Look beyond the waistcoats and memes and you have a manager with no record of success in coaching, who delivered conservative and reactive football to scrape through games England should have won far more comfortably and in much better style.

It’s not arrogant to suggest that, with the talent at his disposal, Southgate should have won more convincingly throughout throughout the Euros. It’s just a considered assessment of the abilities of a very talented squad.

He had 88 minutes of being able to play on the break against an Italy team with centre backs with a collective age over 70. And had Rashford, Sancho, Grealish and Bellingham to do it, most of whom are leading players in teams who play in counter-attacking teams.

So it’s not heroic failure or an inspiring story. Just an overpromoted coach failing to get the best out of a talented squad.
Chris MUFC


England trio make F365’s XI of Euro 2020


 

England’s attack
I’m not sure how we get back to a happy place after that but the one thing we can all take some comfort in is that we have a lot of very talented players in and around the England squad.

We have learned that Rice and Philips are bloody amazing and need to be the core of any future team. And that goes for the entire defence really.

The issue was always going to be in attack. And the problem there isn’t the players, it’s how they’re used by a manager who is seemingly scared of the risk that comes with players who aren’t just about recycling possession.

In Foden, Rashford, Sancho, Greenwood and Saka we have some truly incredible attacking talent. Kane is an excellent finisher and Sterling can offer a great dribbling threat (down the right wing, not the centre) but the latter cannot shoot (tap ins don’t count, valuable though they are) and the former is pointless if he’s not in position to actually shoot. No shots from either in 120 minutes and no chance in approach? Incredible.

Can Southgate learn to be less cautious? I think we all probably have a view there but the final shows he either doesn’t trust the defenders (so needs 7) or doesn’t trust the attackers. Or both.

Can he learn to better evaluate opposition? Or at least have someone on his team who will? Sterling was never going to get anything from dribbles at those two Italian centre backs. But they lack pace that we had in abundance… on the bench.

A semi final awaits for England in Qatar, but I can’t see this manager taking them any further, because in his current form he is too tactically naïve. And the greater issue there is that nothing between now and that semi final will provide challenge enough to show he’s learned. He certainly hasn’t since 2018.

Just one final one. Playing a defender because he’s ok at set pieces is dumb. Sorry Trippier. Especially when it means players with far more attacking threat don’t get more than a few minutes across an entire tournament.

Ok one more, the racists should be shot. Apart from blaming the wrong people for the dismal failure, it’s just extraordinarily retarded behaviour that has no place in our culture. Can we ship them to Antarctica?
BadWolf

 

…First of all, I think England and their fans should be happy with this tournament. The idea that Southgate was too defensive is so stupid. If England had won that game, nobody would care. Stop being so fickle. England have underperformed for years. The work Southgate has done to get you lot into a WC semi final and the Euro final should not be forgotten. It’s the best England have performed in most people’s life time. It would be brilliant if he walked away and somebody else came in and did shite, just like England are used to. Any other manager would have just tried and play all the best players in an incoherent system. This team was well drilled and everyone quite clearly gave 100%. I’m Irish but I kinda wanted England to win just for the players sake. I really like them. But the fans are just brutal. I don’t know why you can’t enjoy yourself or behave properly. Everything seems to be done in anger and pure hatred. I seen videos of lads I know from England during the Ukraine and Germany game and they were just roaring awful abuse at the big screen towards the opposition instead of being happy for their own players. It’s so weird. I don’t hate England or anything like that but you lot don’t help yourself. I actually find it quite embarrassing how much Irish fans celebrated the defeat last night. You would have thought we won the Euros. It’s such a small time mentality.

Moving on anyways and to England’s actual performance in the Euros. I thought all the players were fine. I don’t think any of them did badly and a lot were very good. I found it very strange that F365 had Kane so low down in the ratings. He was your top scorer for starters. That first goal vs Denmark came through his pass too. I love Saka as I’m Arsenal fan but there’s no way he had a better tournament than Kane. I don’t agree with this idea that Grealish should been preferred to Mount either. England’s best qualities were their defensive solidity and how well they pressed the opposition. Grealish does not offer this to any extent while Mount is brilliant at it. In addition to this, Mount is good going forward despite not showing much of it sadly this tournament. If your argument is that Southgate was too defensive and that he should have gone with all his best attackers, then England would have been out much earlier, as is the case every year. Southgate used a formula would get England wins and I don’t think he should change that. And let’s not act like they scraped out all these victories. They had a better xG than all the opposition they played. The England vs Italy game was similar to that of Spain vs Italy. Spain were the better team and created the better chances. Italy didn’t care as they knew this was the case and played to their own strengths. Italy won on penalties, England didnt.

One final thing I’d like to mention is the penalties. No matter what Southgate did here, he would have got abuse for it. If Sterling took one, it would be that he’s shown us before he’s crap at penalties and that his legs were gone and he should have been subbed. If Henderson stayed on and took one people would moan that he’s not good at penalties. Grealish has never taken a penalty before and Southgate watches these players and makes them practice pens in training. It was obvious to him that Saka was more suitable to take one than Grealish. That’s fine. There was going to be a problem with nearly every player hitting one. Even Rashford has been dodgy at them in the past. What is Southgate meant to do in this situation? If it’s been proven in training that Saka is better at pens than Grealish, why would he change the order? Everyone is captain hindsight today on social media and behaving like they would have managed them to do any better. Without Southgate, I can guarantee that England would not have done any better.
Dion, Donegal.

 

Midfield was the problem
Now that the dust has settled and people have had time to reflect it’s time to address the elephant in the room, which is that England’s midfield simply wasn’t good enough. Everyone has got completely carried away with Rice and Phillips, who have done certain parts of their job very well (generally the defensive bits) and others not so well (the attacking bits). Hilariously, you even had Mason Mount above Harry Kane in your tournament rankings, when the very reason that Kane didn’t have a shot against Italy was the absolute paucity of service he was receiving. In that formation, mount simply has to provide the link between defence and attack and he just wasn’t able to do so, and for all their merits Philips and Rice can’t play through the press and were outclassed completely in the final. The only guy in the whole game who could play a progressive pass from midfield for England was… Harry Kane, and good as he is he isn’t yet able to pass to himself.

Southgate has done a marvellous job of creating a good environment for the players and reconnecting them with the country, but he is an extremely cautious manager and his in game decision making is weak. How you rate him depends on your view of the quality of the England team – if you think they were punching above their weight to get to a penalty shoot out his caution was merited (even if it largely sacrificed Kane and Sterling), if you think we could have done more (as I do) his abundance of caution was frustrating in the extreme. He is essentially, a (much) nicer mourinho, which isn’t necessarily meant as the insult it appears. His England set up was basically the same as I watched all year with spurs (albeit executed better) – try to reinforce your defensive weaknesses with conservative modified selections, rely on Kane and one pacy talented partner for all your attacking inspiration, and pick your 3rd attacker on their defensive merits not their attacking ones (mount is bergwijn in this scenario). Having essentially repeated his tactical errors from the semi against Croatia last night (get an early lead and then gradually stop playing, another leaf from the J Mourinho playbook) let’s hope he learns this time and it’s 3rd time lucky
Phil, London


Football365’s pre-Euro 2020 predictions revisited


 

England’s next step
Semi-final (2018), Final (2021)…Winners in 2022. How do we make that next step?

Strengths include a phenomenally strong (and improving) squad and a genuinely nice manager. Issues are predominantly tactics, in-game management, and substitutions.

Southgate clearly needs better help. Steve Holland has a good reputation, but either his advice is poor, or Southgate isn’t taking it. Either way, England have lost the big games when it really mattered, and the support team has been found wanting.

Is it possible to co-opt some expert help for tournaments – a “Brains Trust” to take England to the next level? For instance, not much of a Jose fan, but his experience in setting up and holding a lead in a big game, and not succumbing would have been useful. Bielsa’s advice on fast transitions, and Tutchel on how to use the 3-4-2-1 more effectively would have been amazing.

Wishful thinking I know (and why would they help England), but we have a really special team coming together. Surely, we can get a support staff to match?
Matthew (ITFC)

 

…England did a great job this tournament given how far they progressed, the passion they played with and the togetherness they showed on and off the pitch. But as one Tim Sutton in one mail box alludes to, if Gareth wants to win anything there needs to be a mindset change. Many mailboxers got slated for saying Gareth needs bigger balls and show more adventure – the were labelled as The Clamour, Woke (no idea) and wanting us to return to the Sven days of packing in every super talented player at the the expense of the system. This last point really rankled as it was very black and white – not recognising that no one was actually saying this and that there were many shades in between 2000s England and the set up of this version. Sure a mix of a very kind draw (not their fault) and setting up as Pulis or Bruce would (albeit with better players) would see this team with a great collective spirit deep into the tournament, which is great for the nation. But as per 2018 stick them in front of a proper class team and the approach Gareth took was always going to run into problems. The setup on Sunday had logic but when the time came to try and win the game in the second half the team and Gareth more importantly retreated into the old school ways we’ve seen for countless years. Italy’s mind set was light years ahead of ours and that was enabled by having players that could actually use the ball and keep possession. I’m 42 and have never really seen an England team that can keep possession for both defensive and attacking purposes. This is a very very important point. The people (inc 365) shouting mailboxers down who had the nerve to say Southgate could be doing this better missed that many were basically saying instead of playing 7 defensive outfield players etc why not use e.g. a Jude and Jack or Foden in this team. Guys who know how to work hard but also crucially great technicians who can help a team keep the ball and then do something progressive with it (other than run fast). As some pundit said at the start of the tournament when seeing England’s team against Croatia – keeping the ball is a more effective defensive tool than setting up mostly defensive players. Spain showed this perfectly in the semis – if they had a decent striker like Kane they’d have dispatched Italy for sure. It’s not wholesale personell changes those who were criticising Gareth were after, just a more progressive mindset recognising the defensive and offensive benefits that a couple of tweaks would have made. That’S the next challenge for Gareth – every top class nation would have worked England out as set up last night, but only a few tweaks are needed to turn a good set up into a great one.
Duck (the same goes for Ole at United)

 

Worst of the worst
I have been an England fan since the last 15+ years, since the good old days of David Beckham. The England players are a gift to society and must be protected at all costs. But the England fans……

They are some of the most horrific, stupid and disgusting people i have seen in my life. Obviously I am not painting the English people as such, but specifically the hooligans. It’s all good and fun for the memes, but in real life they are a bunch of degenerates that are a stain on humanity.

1) Obscene nudity in front of women & children.

2) Beating up helpless Italian fans in the city

3) A culture of getting drunk and smashing shit

4) A violent mindset and disgusting attitude towards others

5) Zero kindness tolerance or respect for cultures or people

6) Regular racist abuse of their very own players.

I am sorry that i have to say this, but the mailbox has to start realising that English fans (NOT ALL, a very small minority) are genuinely just horrible people. I have been around 1-2 such situations in Europe & would be terrified to bring a family or kids to the streets of England during such fierce times. I saw multiple videos of Italians getting beat up, have myself seen some unwanted penis’s on show during Euro 2016 & have not met a single English LAD who has some basic common decency. Not one person who would stop or help. The entire country is a bad joke & an embarrassment.

It broke my heart to see England lose, but the English fans honestly do not deserve any success or even a team full of such bright young people. They are hooligans and need to be reprimanded. I myself as a lifelong England fan detest the way some fans behave & pity the people who find such clownish behavior funny/tolerable. It’s time to stand up and speak up.

Regards,
Aman (Time for the English to learn some basic f*ckin manners)

 

Can’t we just ignore them?
I have what’s probably a silly question based on my experience in the U.S. with vocal minorities of people dominating the airwaves and general debate. When people talk about the impact of cable news like Fox and MSNBC and CNN, it’s sometimes good to remember that the three networks combined don’t even get 3 million viewers per day in a county of over 300 million people. But, how many nitwits are there really racially abusing the England players who missed? It seems like the little group of racist assholes love that the big group of sanctimonious pricks pays attention to them and thinks every utterance of a small group needs fixing. In a strong society, the masses don’t pay attention to the fringes, and when they are forced to, they do so forcefully with more than virtuous words. Not everything needs to be a culture war. Sometimes it’s just one group with no power trying to get attention so let’s laugh at how silly they are before they take off their shirts as well as after.
Niall, Denver

 

…I wanted to write in to talk about the game and the fact I was proud of this team for overcoming so much baggage but the air was taken out of my sail far more by the racist abuse handed out to our young players. If there was ever an example of why this team was kneeling, surely this had to be it.

It is even sadder to reflect on the fact that England is streets ahead of many other countries in terms of racism, which shows we have hardly moved forwards at all. Consider that few teams knelt with a England (kudos to Italy) and none other than in England games. UEFA completely ignored what was happening just as they avoided controversy over the rainbow lights in support of gay people. We continue to see the abuse black players get when playing in other countries, especially Eastern Europe and UEFA pays scant attention with minuscule fines and perhaps a no fan game. They essentially pay lip service to the issue. Letting England kneel was okay as long as they didn’t have to do more.

Mailboxers have used this racial abuse to berate ALL English people as racist, handily ignoring the fact that the bulk of the abuse came from outside England. (We have seen the very open abuse of black players in games played in Eastern Europe and let’s not give a western counties a bye, as ‘fans’ have shown abuse in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.)

So far the ‘kick it out’ campaigns seem to be having minimal impact. You can see why players have taken it on themselves to highlight the constant abuse they face just for being black.

Racists love to give themselves an excuse. Recently that this is all the result of some Leninist-Marxist revolution – totally ignoring the fact that Marx was himself a racist and that we live in a social society. We didn’t get decent healthcare, education and living conditions out of the kindness of right wing governments. I dare say that many racists are benefiting from such a society.

Rio Ferdinand said it so much better and he was right. Most racists are cowards and bullies. Not only that but they are envious of black people who have done better than them by taking advantage of what opportunities befall them, no matter how much harder they have to work to get them.

Social media, government and organizations like UEFA and FIFA really need to step up and stop making excuses for racists. Racism is hate. It has no place in our society. Our government needs to bring out stricter regulations governing hate on social media aimed at both the platforms and the users. Not just for racism but what a great place to start.
Paul McDevitt

 

Not just an English disease
Hi Stijn, There are times when behaviour by some in this country really embarrasses me. Plenty there in your mail that you dug up that I won’t dispute. It wasn’t long after the final whistle last night that I heard at least 4 police sirens going off and could only imagine the kind of behaviour that came out of angry fans being sore losers. Domestic abuse statistics when England lose are scary.

Call this ‘whataboutery’ if you like but I would be interested to know what prompted the comment ‘I’m glad football went to Rome.’ Italy too has a shocking record for racism and it just seems that ignoring this reality for the sake of having a pop at a disliked country is a bit odd.

Ballotelli, one of the first black players to play for Italy was regularly subject to racist abuse. Moise Kean and many others have been badly abused too. According to Bonucci, Kean was half to blame for his abuse. He is still in their national team. Youth player, Sead Vasin abandoned a career in football aged 19 and eventually took his own life due to racism inherent in Italian football. Then of course there is the political Neo-fascist Ultra groups that are very present in Italian football today, attacks on Liverpool fans etc.

What I am ultimately getting at though is not a tit-for-tat comparison but an acknowledgement that both countries, like many others in Europe have a lot of reason to be ashamed when it comes to violence, extremism and racism in their footballing institutions.

Italy like England is a divided country when it comes to these issues. There has been a great deal of division about whether to take the knee which has resulted in a mixed message during the Euros. (sounds familiar). There is change, but there is opposition to change.

Coming back to England, we are a messy divided country. There is some desire for unity and there are many that would truly like to see our efforts in the Euros bring us together as a country. Unsurprisingly, the actions of the violent thugs that seem to be an ever-present disease following our national team around and using them as a conduit/excuse for disgusting behaviour have once again undermined this effort.

A real shame.
Nick

 

Southgate’s mentality
Got to say, the last two points of Roberto’s email echo what I’d said to my wife as we watched the final last night.

Mentality:

England really do lack the mentality to go and win tournaments – the Premier League, its academies and our school systems don’t breed the mentality for success. Add to that a manager who doesn’t instil that mentality, and we have no chance.

And like Roberto says – everything is geared towards not leaving people out, letting people know they’ve done a good job when they lose. Trophies for all positions. How does instil a national mentality for success? It doesn’t.

I look at Chiellini & Bonucci, and regardless of their employment of the dark arts there is a will and drive to succeed at all costs. Look at Chiesa and Insigne’s driving runs last night – driven to get to the goal and unleash an effort when they could and compare that to England’s holding onto the ball for an eternity just so they make a mistake and lose possession – trying to be intricate when just having a f*****g shot once in a while would rattle the opposition.

We are not going to win anything with a nice guys tag. We need to be a bit more bastard. This leads into my next point.

Players:

We are constantly told that the Premier League is the best league in the world – it may well be, but it doesn’t create the best players in the world – When it does create talented players like Sancho, Grealish, Sterling, there is usually a flaw to their game – for example – Sterling? His ability to know when to release the ball. We call these players “quality” “world class” but they don’t have the necessary attributes to be truly quality. When was the last time we created players who were deemed worthy of a ballon d’or? The only two players who came out of the tournament who looked like they had anything close to a drive to win was Philips & Rice.

Manager:

Spain? Team of winners. Managed by a winner. Italy? Team of winners. Managed by a winner. France? Team of winners. Managed by a winner. Germany. Team of winners. Managed by a rookie who turned them into winners. England? Not a chance. Southgate. Nice guy, sure. Plays the media well, sure. Man management? Pretty good at it. Instilling a winning mentality? Not a chance.

A winning mentality for a club/country has to come from both the players and the manager – some clubs/nations manage it when they have an exception like C Ronaldo, but generally it’s a combination of the two. Look at Tuchel/Chelsea this season in the CL, look at Inter Milan/Conte in Italy. Now look at Mancini & Italy. Now look at PSG/Pochettino – Look at OGS/Man Utd. Clubs lacking managers with winning mentalities/players.

Southgate deserves until Qatar; we can’t hold him responsible for our national psyche – but we can hold him responsible for not putting the sh*ts up the players and demanding victory.
Mat, Sore, Liverpool.

 

Why ignore Sancho?
Can someone in the press please ask why Southgate refused to pick Sancho?

Just been looking at the stats for the season and it’s pretty ridiculous. Picking Saka (and Sterling) over Sancho (who even had a poor first half of the season), Rashford and Grealish just looks increasingly dumb. Not because he’s not good as he is and will be amazing. But in key games, turning to the worst option on paper and ignoring the best… just makes it hard to comprehend, and harder to accept.

Goals
Rashford – 11
Sterling – 10
Foden – 9
Sancho – 8
Mount – 6
Grealish – 6
Saka – 5

Assists
Sancho – 11
Grealish – 10
Rashford – 9
Sterling – 7
Mount – 5
Foden – 5
Saka – 3

Minutes per goal or assist
Sancho – 108
Foden – 115
Grealish – 136
Rashford – 146
Sterling – 149
Mount – 262
Saka – 320

Chances created per 90 minutes
Grealish – 3.3
Sancho – 2.9
Mount – 2.7
Foden – 2.0
Sterling – 1.4
Rashford – 1.3
Saka – 1.3

If Southgate is going to carry on and we’re expected to believe he will learn in 18 months what he hasn’t learned in 3 years, it’s reasonable to challenge some of his decisions.

At least (with any luck) the Henderson issue will have resolved itself.
BadWolf

Gareth Southgate Jadon Sancho England

Stuttering on the spot
Silvio Dante – I’m fairly sure Bruno Fernandes and Jorginho have decent conversation rates with “stutter run-ups”.

As a criticism of technique it’s not far off thinking trying to keep the ball is “tippy-tappy”.

There’s clear and quantifiable evidence it works – hence why penalty takers with elite conversion rates persist with it.
Chris MUFC

 

Glorious shoot-outs
Since Italy’s victory over England in the Euro’s final, I’ve seen various comments from people arguing that penalty shootouts aren’t a fair way to determine the winner of a football match. Right now I imagine that this is most likely coming from sore English fans trying to process their loss, but it’s not a new idea.

…Sorry, but I think penalty shootouts are the best thing about tournament football! Honestly, I absolutely fu*king love it when a match goes to pens. The atmosphere and excitement that is generated is off the scale. The highs for the winner are like riding a unicorn through Valhalla, and the lows for the loser are soul crushingly painful. Nobody ever forgets a proper good penalty shootout whether winner or loser, and I can’t think of a better way to end 120 minutes of two teams who can’t beat each in open play.

Would love to know if there are any others out there who feel the same way as me!

Cheers,
Tainshy (Scotland supporter delighted to have just made a finals tournament, no matter how sh*te we were)

 

Penalties coach
Maybe going forward, England needs to hire a manager specialist who is in charge of the penalty kicks. This specialist manager could recommend to the Manager who should take the crucial kicks and in which order they should kick.

A specialist manager could have been both an advocate for signing one or two experienced kicking specialists to the squad (such as Vardy, Ward-Prowse, etc.) while also improving the form and preparation of all the kickers. A specialist might have an idea what players can come in cold to take a penalty and which players need to play for a portion of the game first.

If it’s a full-time role, such a specialist could travel to all the grounds during the season to meet with, assess and coach the players.
Steve D, Toronto

 

Damned if you do
I wonder if those criticising Southgate for bringing Rashford and Sancho on to take a penalty are also those who criticised Solskjaer for not bringing Henderson on against Villarreal?
Andrew, Banbury

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