Pickford, TAA, Rashford and Dier get a Mailbox rollocking

Date published: Friday 29th June 2018 8:36

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com


Good call
Southgate made the right call because if one thing was proven tonight it was that if we lose Kane, Lingard or Hendo, we are probably f*cked. Keeping them away from possible injury was essential.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC 


Bad call
Call me an idiot but I wish England had gone out all guns blazing to try and win that game.

Make a statement, continue the momentum, keep that goodwill from the fans. Get to the round of 16 and beat Japan (hopefully) – then have a red hot crack at (probably) Brazil. Lose that game to Brazil in the Quarters and the good will remains – everything stays positive. Win and England will truly believe.

Now though, lose to so called “weaker” teams Colombia, Sweden or Switzerland and all that positivity and goodwill evaporates.  Now England have to make the semis or it will be deemed a failure.  England got the “soft” side of the draw so now the pressure and expectation to win has increased. Never mind that Colombia, Sweden or Switzerland are no mugs and quite capable of handing England’s asses to them. Lose to any one of those teams and it will feel so much worse than being knocked out by one of the big boys.

England have a chance – no one team is dominating, the World Cup is up for grabs. I just hope they haven’t stalled themselves on purpose just to get and “easier” route.
John, Saudi Arabia


Dear F365,

I missed the first few minutes of the match because I had to take the dog for a walk. And during the first half, I certainly wasn’t bothered, nor was I paying much attention to my TV, safe in the knowledge that England were safe.

But about halfway through the second half I started to think this was a bad idea. We’ve definitely lost momentum and the mood of the players and manager was markedly lower after the game.

Colombia are no mugs and have won two in a row. if we get through, well, Switzerland arent exactly shit either.

A fast start in Moscow will ease some of the tension that will build in the next few days. But, if we aren’t zipping the ball around and looking dynamic, The Fear is going to creep back in.

I can’t make a judgement until England’s involvement in the competition is over, but I can reflect on what I’ve seen, and Im worrying about what is ahead.

I’ve enjoyed the atmosphere around the England team at this tournament – but – I don’t trust them yet. I’m still scarred by what has gone before, and with last night’s result, some of the negativity that followed other England sides around at previous tournaments seems to be getting uncomfortably close to returning…


It’s all a bit ‘meh’ isn’t it. If the first XI had played and we’d hammered them, I don’t think I’d feel ‘meh’.
Jonno McSchmonno 


Poor man’s Kieran Trippier
Can all those (presumably Liverpool fans) who’ve been talking up TAA for England please now get back in their box?

His delivery has been woeful all game and for some reason he’s even taking awful shots from free kicks. When you’re a poor man’s Kieran Trippier, know your place. And that’s firmly on the bench.
Gareth, Wellington (the cold southern one)


Every cloud
Impressive group stage performance by England, next stop Spain in the semi-final


Snap back to reality
Genuinely think that a loss tonight for England may help the cause I’m the long run. They’ve been crowned champions by the general public after two wins we would, realistically, expect them to get. They’ve played some scintillating football no doubt, in the Panama game particularly, but we all realise sterner tests are to come. I think a nice dose of reality after tonight will focus thoughts for what’s to come. Regardless of what side of the draw they are, or would wish to be on, no game at this World Cup is a gimme. Ask Germany…
Edward Canhands (Like the man with scissors only with cans)



Delete as applicable
We’re sh*t, they had their reserves and we still couldn’t beat them, we’re sh*t, I don’t know what we were doing there in the first place, we’re sh*t, Rashford is sh*t, my nan could’ve scored that, we’re sh*t, did you see us we were sh*t. I’m glad we didn’t win, the other side of the draw is good, it’s better we be sh*t in the sh*t side of the draw.


We dint wanna win anyway, we played that game perfect, play well & lose to a fluckey goal, it woz scored by that bloke who wasn’t very gud 4 United afterall, no one is arsed, we’re still the best team at the World cup, no contest. We’re better off with that side of the draw anyway.


WTF, just eliminate us now.


Played well, should’ve scored, not the end of the world, bring on the next round.


You choose.
Mark Danger Endicott, MUFC 


No-win situation
I’m sure that you will receive many mails saying the same thing but here’s my say.

Unless England reach the Semi Finals Southgate was in a no win situation today, I think he took the least risk option of resting players.

1) Play the first 11
a) Win the match, get knocked out before the Semi Final – should have gone for the easy half of the draw.
b) Draw the match, meh.
c) Lose the match, get knocked out before the Semi Final – momentum destroyed by not resting players and getting beat of a Belgian 2nd 11.

Rest players (4-8 doesn’t really matter)
a) Win the match, get knocked out before the Semi Final – shouldn’t have rested players against Belgium, destroyed team spirit.
b) Draw the match, meh.
c) Lose the match, get knocked out before the Semi Final – momentum destroyed by not continuing with a winning team.

Obviously if we win the thing he made the best decision ever.

Let’s all calm down, realise that we are in the Second Round in a position that everyone would have been more than happy with before the tournament.
Brian (everything is Blue and White, not Black and White) BRFC


The England ban(ne)d
Questions on the England band:

– why do they exist?
– why couldn’t they have chosen string and wind instruments instead of brass and percussion?
– could you set up the microphones recording crowd noise in a way that no-one watching on TV could hear them?
– do they wear earplugs so they don’t have to hear themselves?
– how p*ssed off would you be if you paid sh*tloads to see a game and got a seat within half a mile of that dirge?
– does anyone, apart from them, get anything positive from their performance?
– are they actually foreign spys that want everyone to hate the English?
– are they the musical equivalent of Brexit in that I’m so out off touch I can’t understand why loads of people think they’re a great idea?
Aidan, Lfc (I’d even prefer a band with bagpipes, accordian, vuvuzela and theremin)


He’s not done…
– Do they have subs?
– Who picks the next torture and who came up with that selection in the first place?
– Can musical instruments feel pain?
– If the devil plays the fiddle, what the hell are they?
– If I commit a mortal sin, are they my soundtrack to eternity?
– Will they ever stop?
Aidan, Lfc (Not their biggest fan)


An easy hat-trick
– Do they practice and, if so, what poor soul lives next door?

– If there was a nuclear holocaust and only cockroaches and the England band survived, would the cockroaches think their hardiness was a huge evolutionary mistake?

– If your child looked up at you and said “One day dad, I want to play trumpet in the England band”, would you still love them?
Aidan, Lfc (just upset because I had a nightmare about a horrorshow with Piers Morgan, Pamela Anderson, Danny Dyer and Jeremy Corbyn… crazy right?


Some more thoughts
– England really don’t know how to fit Vardy in. Theoretically, this team should be perfect for sitting deep, inviting attacks and then kicking it long for Vardy and Rashford to chase. In practice, they are way too passive and ponderous in possession, take way too long to play any kind of pass. Completely devoid of any tempo. Dier and Delph in particular need to show up.

– Rashford is woeful as a starter. The man’s best trait is to knock it past opponents and run past them. That works best against tired legs, coming off the bench. His finishing and even his final pass is *woeful* though. Should never start for England for the rest of the tournament.

– Dier’s passing is bad. Has the ability to play the right pass but needs way too much time and space to play anything more complex than a 5 yard pass. Needs way too much time to process the next pass to be the man setting the tempo. That, plus his wide turning circle and slow speed make him way too susceptible to a press. Should not be starting over Henderson.

– Delph may have an engine on him but added nothing to either end of the pitch. Constantly played it safe, ignoring runs by Vardy. And was woeful when tracking runners. Turned his back to Januzaj for the goal.

– Speaking of the goal, Rose really needed to defend that better. Particularly when Januzaj was only ever going to do one thing. Doesn’t reflect well on him when a 32 year old right footed winger defends better than him. Should have no complains being behind Young for the rest of the tournament.
Falooda in NY


Southgate showed his mettle tonight. Usually England are chasing point in the group stages but excitingly we didn’t, we could be considered and Southgate played his hand out over the 90 mins.

Unlike the suggestions on BBC’s knee jerk comments section, this we not a knock out game. We didn’t want to lose but the jeopardy of going for a win wasn’t worth the investment.

So strategy meant we could run out a second string, give these players World Cup time and see what happens. We win it’s great and we lose then so be it.

Not wishing to sound too gushy but we haven’t seen tactics and strategy from an England manager for as long as I can remember.

Onwards and upwards


For the first time in this tournament, I’m slightly worried that Pickford is going to have a decisive input in the next game. Catch the damn thing.
Chris Hardy


Come on karma
Maybe I’m being a bit ‘Wild Wild Country’ about this but I believe that in the name of poetic justice that both Belgium and England should and will get knocked out in their next game.

Yes, I take it that many English fans and general public alike would’ve expected as much, but Belgium, golden generation on board the choo choo train, maybe not so much.

I digress.

The World Cup is the ultimate momentum tournament. You win your first game and you’re almost touching the bosom of knockout ball. Win two games you’re in (fuck you sad sad individuals who prove that you can in fact get knocked out on six points (if you even can!)).

You catch my drift (last time someone ever said that?), go on, I dare ya.

England could’ve made a statement tonight, start with as strong a team as possible, are you telling me that Harry of the Kanes would not have devoured sixty minutes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Such a massive opportunity lost, show Brazil or whoever from that side of the draw that you mean business, control the narrative if you will.

Now you are the pathetic team that meatheads will consider clever for coming second, therein lies the difference between clever and smart.

Denzel (wearing a Brazil top cause I got em in the sweepstakes)


As a Scot, when a World Cup comes around involving England it’s always difficult to know what to do. When England play, who do I support? My own journey I suspect is similar to most. I was a passionate ABE in my youth, cheering wildly when England were knocked out in 1998 and 2002. Then I got older, grew up a bit and realised it’s a bit sad to be so enthusiastic about someone else losing, especially when my own country is so useless we haven’t made a tournament in 20 years. Now my feelings about England very much depends on the players. England of Terry, Rooney, Cole: Bad. England of Kane, Lingard, Stones: Good. I’m never going to cheer wildly for or against them, but I went into this World Cup wanting them to do well.

That has now changed. The sheer level of arrogance from a large portion of England fans in the last 72 hours has been staggering. People at work, friends, comments on internet articles (not the best barometer I know, but still), discussions by pundits as well as mails into the mailbox have seen fans plotting their path to the semi-finals as if the last 16 is a foregone conclusion. People saying “great result”, “Let’s face it, that’s what we wanted.” The lack of humility is unbelievable!

Before the tournament started, most fans would have seen Colombia as a seriously tricky tie. Now, after scraping by Tunisia and thrashing the worst team in the tournament, they are England’s preferred opponent because it provides an easier opponent in the quarter-final! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this Colombia team should be feared but they shouldn’t be taken lightly and they should be respected. Quarter finalists last World Cup, 3rd at the Copa America last year and 16th in the World Rankings (Japan by the way are 61st). If it weren’t for a red card in the 3rd minute of their first game, they’d probably be going into the knockout stage with 3 wins from 3. England will be favourites, especially if James doesn’t play, but I’d hardly be celebrating playing them, especially considering where England are themselves.

Let’s remind ourselves again that England’s last World Cup knockout win was 12 years ago. They’ve had 2 in the last 28 years. Everyone agreed at the start of the tournament that a quarter final would be a great result. Now England fans have their team breezing past Colombia and straight into the semi-finals. The preferred draw for England would have been play Japan, hopefully make the quarter finals and go from there. Those enthusing about the result last night are playing a dangerous game indeed.

When the match comes around on Tuesday I won’t be cheering loudly either way, but any good will I had to England is gone. If England do lose, seeing the egg being wiped off those fans faces will be ever so slightly satisfying.
Mike, LFC, Dubai


Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame
Over the last few years I have fallen out of love with international football. The interminable run of low quality opposition in the qualifiers and lack of competitiveness in the friendly games. Yawn. In such games the manager keeps the referee busy with substitutes as the second half of the game slows to the pace of an episode of midsummer murders. ]

As a result I hate the international breaks and miss the premier league. Southgate has just reminded me of this fact. I think every WC game should be cherished and live long in the memory as there are so few of them..so…

After the England game I had to explain to my 7 year old daughter (who plays in a team I coach) why Kane didn’t play and why England lost. I was lost for words. I told her it is ok losing when you try your hardest, it’s not when you don’t.


England weren’t the only ones…
Dear MC,

I’d like to ask Mailboxers to indulge me in a little quiz. Imagine you take over as the manager of national team in turmoil two months before the World Cup, and in two and a half of your three World Cup games the team is rubbish, but in the final game something starts to click. Then surprisingly you win your first group match and draw the second, so you need a win or a draw against an already-eliminated team to progress. What do you do?

a) Make no changes – the team’s doing well.
b) Make one or two changes to give some players a rest and others a chance.
c) Rest six – SIX – players, including your captain and three of your four goalscorers (the other having been on the bench for the first two games anyway), and play a right back on the right wing.

If you chose c) then you are Akira Nishino and your team selection and tactics have helped to create one of the most farcical periods of football in recent tournaments. Teams that have already qualified make six changes; teams that still need a result do not.

Credit where credit’s due, Poland’s tactics were very clever: lull Japan into a false sense of security by refusing to make even a cursory effort for the entirety of the first half, then surprise them in the second half by trying a little bit, scoring a goal, and then occasionally looking to score a second on the counter.

Make no mistake, Nishino messed that one up big time. Gotoko Sakai as right winger is an experiment that should be filed under “absolutely does not work; never try that again”. Eiji Kawashima had a good game and kept the score down with an excellent save in each half, one of them from his own defender.

Japan go through to the next round on fair play despite achieving that with the worst display of sportsmanship I’ve seen for a long time. I They were lucky that their opponent looked for the most part like they couldn’t be bothered at all. A quirk of the rules that I suppose is there to be exploited, but quite frankly I think Nishino should be embarrassed. He’ll need to hope that scraping through by the skin of their teeth will inspire the players to step up against Belgium.

James T, Ishikawa, Japan


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