Why a Russian equaliser really is a clusterfuck:
England’s job last night was very simple. Beat the worst team at the tournament. Go top ahead of the games with Wales and Slovakia, setting the scene for two draws or one win from two being enough.
The starting line up made sense. The tempo was good with both full backs having a stormer and Lallana setting a great early tempo. We’ll ignore Kane on set pieces, because that’s too ridiculous to bother with, but generally a good enough start.
Anyone who has seen Liverpool play even once this season will have had a pretty good idea that around the 60 minute mark Lallana will drop in effectiveness (by about 30% if I’m being generous).
As for Sterling, I feel uneasy laying into a young man for lack of confidence and huge insecurity in his decisions, but clearly he was struggling, not with the pace of the game or quality of opposition, but with the confidence to make the right decision quickly. You can’t help but think of the contrast between Andros Townsend, who may not be quite of Sterling’s ability, but his target is always very clear - scoring or setting someone else up as quickly as possible.
When the subs came it was Rooney, who was having his best game in some time, who departed, whilst Sterling was hauled off 20 minutes (at least) too late.
We’re not going to know what would have happened had Vardy or Rashford replaced Sterling with Wilshire taking the place of Lallana and not Rooney, but I think it’s fair to say there would have been less indecision and more control in midfield during those closing minutes