England Euro 2016

Football is a game of opinions, bounded by hindsight and what if’s. However, England’s high pressing style yesterday (Vs Russia) was a joy to watch, the fluidity and intelligence of our team’s forward movement, was long overdue from the frustrations of previous tournaments stale unadventurous direct play.

This morning, England ‘football fans’ awoke with anger and were quick to demean our players, the failures in front of goal, whereby isolating individuals for such abuse (Including unfairly the Man of the Match -Rooney). Yet, last night, the team were tactically spot on with subjectively individual performances averaging at 7/8’s (higher if taking chances in front of goal). Although in hindsight if we would have taken our chances it would have been a very comfortable win.

However, the game changed on the decisions of Roy Hodgson, taking the lead on the 73rd minute, Roy decided his substitutions would be two creative, hard working midfield players. To ‘pack the middle’ would have most probably been his thinking, but it was evident this is not what the team needed. With an aging back line, lacking pace, Russia’s threat was always in the air, with a long ball over the top, playing off the imposing Dzyuba.

Would Milner and Wilshere stop this threat?

It was clear at the time and now, the best option would have been to ‘stretch the game’, with Vardy and Rashford on the bench, 1–0 is never a safe scoreline in any form of football, surely we should have introduced this threat to have continued the high pressing play and most likely killed off the game. Unfortunately Russia’s threat continued to remain and what played out was the first incidence of a Russian player winning a battle in the air, to the anguish of many football fans across our country.

Was this the players fault? — No. Was this Milner and Wilshere’s fault?- No. Was this our defences fault?-No. Was this a tactical error?- Yes.

The worry is after this result, Roy will revert back to ‘the diamond’. Naturally we should see off the impressive Wales and the Slovaks with this system, but our best chance would be to continue the way we played yesterday, whilst appreciating our tactical failures. If we do, we seriously have a chance of winning Euro 2016.

What are your thoughts?