In years to come they’ll show that game to young English children to teach them what to expect as a fan of the English football team. Frustrating doesn’t do it justice.
A lot will be written about the changes Hodgson made, but I don’t know that it was particularly to blame. Of the players dropped only Walker and Rooney had played well before now, and Clyne more than covered what Walker would have done.
Im sure many will point to Wilshere playing instead of Alli, but in theory the perma-crocked Arsenal man should be perfect for those kind of games. It’s his ingenuity and touch that should help unpick a deep defensive line. It’s not Uncle Roy’s fault Wilshere was so thoroughly sh*te for most of the game, and Alli hasn’t exactly set the tournament on fire so far.
This felt like the Wales game in a lot of ways. Hodgson will get the blame, as he did against Russia, as he passively aggressively did against Wales, but there’s only so much he can do. It’s not like Germany, France et al have performed all that well either so far.
Tactically I don’t know what I’d have done differently. I suspect I wouldn’t have played Vardy up top on his own, simply because that isn’t where he is at his best. People were raving about his performance against Wales but aside from the goal (which was lucky given if it hadn’t come off the defender he would have been offside) he didn’t do much. I said before the tournament he’s an impact sub and I stand by that.
I’d have played Rashford I think. Possibly out wide with Sturridge in the middle. But that’s not the point.
The point is this kind of game was never going to be our type of game. We don’t have the players to pick off a team with ease like Spain. Anyone who thinks we can is delusional. We always said our best style of play will be on the counter and hopefully that’ll prove as such in the knock outs.
People will compare Wales’ performances, but it’s not the same. The style of play that suits us we haven’t been able to play, but Wales have. Had Russia and Slovakia thrown 10 men behind the ball they’d have probably struggled to break them down too.
I don’t know what more there is to say really. After the Wales game I was absolutely buzzing. Today I just feel deflated. So deflated I’m certain we are going to draw Portugal in the next round, Ronaldo will hit form and we’ll get knocked out in the final 16 where it’s almost impossible not to make the final 8.
I don’t know if I’m most deflated knowing the barrage of abuse is going to come. The performances have been good but as I said against Wales it’s the goals that matter.
And in that regard it felt like the most England performance I can imagine.
Click below for links to the reviews of England’s other games in Euro 2016:
This was a special Euro 2016 review. Check back in next Monday for the next standard larnerholt.com review. You can follow me on Twitter here.