No Kane or Foden in England teams picked to play the Netherlands

Editor F365
England player Phil Foden and manager Gareth Southgate, forward Bukayo Saka and captain Harry Kane
England are into the European Championship semi-finals

Though it’s all largely immaterial because we know England boss Gareth Southgate will now play for penalties.

Send your mails on all subjects to


A Clash of Lions
Next Wednesday our two once world-dominating nations collide in what could also be the title of a Game of Thrones episode; the clash of Lions!

De Oranje Leeuw versus The Three Lions, and I hope it will be a spectacle, the Dutch for one will play their part to make it worthwhile.
While I suspect Southgate will try to keep it a drab and boring affair and will play for penos somewhere from the 60th minute or so.

I watched all other quarter-finals, and ENG-SUI was such a snooze fest. Almost as boring as POR-FRA, which is really astonishing with all the quality in these teams, to produce such boring games. Though to be fair, Portugal were a man down from the first whistle.

Spain vs Germany was the only other quarter final that had me invested and amused.

Prediction time, if England get their act together and start to believe in themselves and play some actual free flowing football they should probably come out on top against a somewhat toothless Netherlands. We have the quality and will come out of the gates roaring like we did against Turkey, so withstand that initial onslaught and your experience of semi-finals might pull you to the final.

However, if you make it there, you have no shot against Spain, who are better at our game then we are.. or the Master vs Apprentice battle that France will offer by being even more boring and have even more quality in their team.

Bring on Wednesday!
Stijn (wonder who the ref will be) Amsterdam

👉 16 Conclusions on England beating Switzerland: drop Foden and Kane, Southgate subs, Saka phenomenal
👉 Harry Kane is an England ‘passenger’; Gareth Southgate should ‘crash tackle’ him again
👉 Gareth Southgate ‘state of statis’ is weird way to ‘get behind’ England manager


How to beat the Dutch
Here’s my tuppence to crush the Netherlands.
England (4-5-1)

Konsa Stones Guehi Shaw
Saka Bellingham Rice Mainoo Palmer

Only one player playing slightly out of position (Palmer) but he can handle it.

Solid defensively.

What a midfield!

Four ace penalty takers on the pitch from the kickoff.

No misfiring Trippier, Walker, Gallagher, Foden, or Kane!

I really wanted to get Eze into the team, but there’s no room, so he’ll have to settle for super sub.

I don’t pick the team. Southgate does.
Bad Hamster (forgive me, I’ve just had a brainectomy), Manila


…Having seen England limp to another unconvincing result via multiple different formations thrown out there in desperation, Southgate would do well to try a diamond 4-4-2 and go for it against the Dutch.

GK: Pickford
DEF: Trent-Guehi-Konza-Shaw
DM: Stones
CM: Rice-Mainoo
AM: Bellingham
FW: Saka-Palmer

Trent has to start on the right as Walker has been a liability from matchday 1. Guehi and Konza in the middle, as they’ve both proven they belong on the big stage. A now fit Shaw has to start as Trippier has been less than useless as an outlet on the left. If Shaw can’t last the game, then surely give Gomez a chance off the bench, otherwise what was the point of bringing him.

Stones has played DM for City as much as he has in defense, plus it would make much better use of his passing range. When the fullbacks bomb forward, he can slot back in to create a solid back 3. Plus it frees up Rice to move further up the pitch, where he’s played his best for Arsenal.

Rice and Mainoo in the middle, as they’re both much more adept at carrying the ball forward and creating something for the attackers.

Bellingham at the tip of the diamond, where he’s excelled all season long for Madrid. With no Foden or Kane (both truly disappointing so far) crowding into his zone, expect him to get involved and make things happen much more frequently.

Up top, Saka and Palmer as wide forwards with license to roam and switch sides. With them (+Jude) England would have plenty of pace and guile to terrorize the opposition defense, rather than a lumbering, static and seemingly not 100% fit Kane.

Of course, we can fully expect Southgate to start a 5-4-1 formation next and play for penalties.
Sanjit (Spain will still win it though) Randhawa, Kuala Lumpur


Gareth Southgate makes England suck less
English expectations are out of balance with their team. When we drew with Slovakia they were ecstatic, we were morose.

If we were to fully realise how poor we are at the Euros maybe we’d be happier with the team and what Southgate is doing.

Here’s the finals results of the other ‘big 5’ leagues in Europe, or those with the biggest population to draw from:

Team 1st 2nd Total
GER 3 3 6
SPA 3 1 4
ITA 2 2 4
FRA 2 1 3
ENG 0 1 1

Until Southgate came along there was a big fat zero in the total column for England. It took us 60 years to get to the final.

We clearly suck at the Euros.

We should not expect to win it, we should be happy to make the quarters.

England are basically PSG in the Champions league. Got to the final once, semi-final a few times and spent a fortune getting that.

But now with Southgate we suck less.
Ian, LFC, Belgium


Fanmail for Johnny
I see John Nic is on another contrarian rant today. Apparently, we’re all wrong to expect England to play better than the absolute dross we’ve currently been served up. Indeed, we’re wrong to believe that players who have demonstrated their ability vs their peers at the upper levels of the club game to be able to do it in a different context.

And critically, we’re wrong to be frustrated that Southgate continues to be timid in his selections and changes and should just “shut up” as we’ve never had it so good.

First off then, the players. We know they can play well, we’ve seen each player doing better and against stronger teams, but it’s fair to acknowledge that they do this generally in different positions to the ones they’re being put in. One of the few players who is in his normal position is Saka, and coincidentally he’s our best performer so far. Mainoo has slotted in, in his preferred position and is doing well too.

Three of the defence are playing in theirs and the two centre-backs at least have generally been good. The rest are not really playing where or how they usually do, certainly in terms of what the players around them are doing. The answer is likely as I’ve always said: don’t pick try to pick all your best/favourite players, pick the ones that make the best team.

On to the manager, is it not ok to be frustrated that a manager blessed with an array of attacking talent that mostly matches the best in the tournament refuses to use it? We should just accept it, meekly and quietly and just be delighted that we’re somehow squeezing through against weaker teams.

To be clear, it isn’t a surprise. This is how Southgate operates. God forbid that anyone dare complain. I mean, no one mentions Brexit any more, do they John? And yes, fortune has given him the best record. So we should just sit on the sidelines, and pour on our adulation even as our eyes bleed. If you dare to show dissent, you must be “hard of thinking” and be pilloried. A desire to see our team actually play nice football is just a “precious sense of aesthetics”. Maybe we should all be more like that horse Boxer, eh John?

I’ll say it once again: we don’t watch football matches for the result, we watch it because of the reasons that make it the “beautiful game”. It sounds like you’ve drunk the Kool Aid, John. My, how things have changed. No more raging against the machine, we should instead worship it.


…Any chance Johnny N would think Southgate was rubbish if his team played exactly like they have been playing, got the same results, but Gareth voted Reform and thought Brexit was the best decision ever?

Just wondering.
G Thomas, Breda, The Netherlands (Hup Holland Hup)

👉 16 Conclusions on England beating Switzerland: drop Foden and Kane, Southgate subs, Saka phenomenal
👉 Harry Kane is an England ‘passenger’; Gareth Southgate should ‘crash tackle’ him again
👉 Gareth Southgate ‘state of statis’ is weird way to ‘get behind’ England manager


Not a fan of Lineker
Speak for yourself when saying we all listen to Lineker.

He’s only become a hippie since he split up with his wife. I see it among many people that split up with their partner, they suddenly change their lifestyle to try and get the partner they’ve always dreamed of, but fail miserably. I am lucky because I am already married to a hippie.

Again, it’s all PR with Lineker so stop listening and don’t think about agreeing or disagreeing because it’s not worth it

Gary is the most banale, boring presenter I’ve ever seen. I just ignore him until the highlights are shown and so should everyone else.

Let me ask this question: do you honestly watch the game for punditry? Do you watch the match for the presenters? Of course not, so stop pretending you listen to it because all the people I know, couldn’t give a f**k about punditry.

In fact, I think punditry should be abolished because we (licence payers) should not be paying to keep these over paid morons in a job. They’ve more money than god yet we still keep paying them for more bullshit.

Sack them all, just do a voice over.
Fat Man


The Euros format is fine, actually
There’s nothing much wrong with the format of the Euros (beyond the third place strangeness)

The reason that France are on the same side as Portugal, Germany and Spain is that they didn’t win their group. Belgium would have been on our side of the draw too, but they didn’t win their group.

We did win our group, so got to play teams that didn’t win theirs. There’s nothing wrong with the draw, just other teams’ performances.
Tom, Andover


An apology
Please accept my apologies for going in too strong and personally after suffering a rush of blood to the head. I didn’t want it published.

Don’t worry, you humiliated me, as did other readers in the comments section, with your response although I still feel abuse is abuse. Also, what’s my spelling got to do with it?
Chris, Croydon

(Please accept my apologies for criticising your spelling when really I should have stuck with your opinions – Ed)