A month ago I would have said that England would walk their way through to the last 16.
Wales would buckle against the three lions, whilst Slovakia and Russia wouldn’t pose too much of a threat.
Virtually there then…
England have been a frustrating side to watch so far this tournament. Loads of possession, loads of chances but only five points.
They kicked off their tournament by dominating the Russians throughout he 90 minutes only to concede a late goal in the 92nd minute.
But that result was to be avenged by clinching a victory against Wales in the 92nd minute through substitute Daniel Sturridge.
So, going into tonight’s game many felt that it was a foregone conclusion that England would win the group. Oh how we were wrong…
Roy made some changes, a host of chances went begging and a 0-0 draw to allow Wales to clinch the group sums up our tournament to date.
What’s going wrong
Many are applauding England for their dominance and possession against teams that hypothetically they should be beating. In fact in all three matches, England’s opponents seemed happy to allow England keep possession. Meaning that instead of England being dominant it was actually a game plan to allow them to be.
As many Manchester United fans will tell you after two seasons under Van Gaal, possession isn’t everything if you can’t get the job done.
The biggest issue with England for me is that we are playing too slow. Everytime England have gained the ball they have slowed the pace of the game down by playing the ball sideways or back to the centre halves. The midfielders need to play with pace and drive the team onwards, not delaying the ball so that the opposition can get back and defend.
England are making it more difficult for themselves everytime they get the ball, they are trying to breakdown a parked bus.
And what about Roy’s selections?
Sterling and Kane shouldn’t have even played the second game for me, whilst I’d much rather see Clyne than walker on the right flank.
Rashford was exciting when he came on, even Jack Wilshere has looked on form.
Rooney has looked brilliant in midfield, whilst Vardy and Sturridge have saved Kane’s blushes (for now).
Roy now needs to pick a side and stick to it, and use his tactical awareness during the game to make the key changes that are needed. Not like when he substituted Wayne Rooney against Russia or when he brought Sturridge off against Slovakia tonight.
How far can England go?
Honestly I think England will do better when they face stronger opposition as the game will be more evenly spread rather than clustered around the opposition box.
Second in the group might not be that bad, although I may be eating my words should Portugal be our next opponents, after all we haven’t exactly got the best record against them in tournaments to date.
The suspense lingers on, whilst England continue to make things difficult for themselves. We will await patiently to see who our fate lies with in the next round.
Sources: The Mirror.