Whilst France showed England how to break down Iceland with even a shit centre forward England probably would not pick competing aerially the Euros did provide another example of why knock out kick ball ain’t all that. Basically 14 teams played Rock by default and 2 played scissors. How’d that work out for England and Belgium?
England were probably the worst set up with 5 small forwards many not of the ability to trap a ball quickly (yes you Daniel) nor with the aerial combativity required nor the pace to kill. Quite how England hoped to break teams down is a mystery. In qualifying despite qualms they managed 79 shots in 3 games but against the Rock of Iceland ran out of ideas by 55 minutes. Although had they even had a replacement level keeper they might have gone through. Hart managed to concede 4 goals on 6 or 7 shots? It will be interesting if the only person in football who apparently does not know Hart cannot dive left is Roy Hodgson? Statistically England had enough on expected goals to win that game too.
In fairness to judge the state of English football off 4 games or so every 2 years is preposterous. Do we want to win like Portugal? They won one game all tournament. In the end Hodgson’s ignoring of Hart, Wilshere & Sterling’s recent form probably more than tactics bit him. Bringing Milner not Vardy on at 1-0 v Russia oddly Italian thinking. Overall Hodgson’s reign has been a positive but in the end I think he over estimated his players and was blind to their weaknesses. You don’t need super players and the bar for having 1 super player never mind deploying 4 as though they were is higher. None of his squad is World 23 or even 46, 69 or 92 even?
What the continued pimping of Wilshere, Sterling and Hart, not to mention the bizarre promotion of Rashford, did show is that like the rest of the world coming up from the right schools and flowering early is valued over being a ranker like a Vardy or Deeney. They might be more functional players but hey Robson Kanu did a Cruyff! Bare in mind none of Hodgson’s 7 forwards would have had the strength to hold the defender off get the ball under control before the Cruyff. Darwinism, a narrow range of strengths in a team is a weakness in terms of progressing.
England went out after leading again! Hodgson is a good man if nothing else and since I came to hate each England manager since Ramsey (who I was too young to have an opinion of) that is a compliment of sorts. Yes even Bobby and Terry. In fact especially Terry and Bobby.