15 June 2012

England Ready to Prove Their Doubters Wrong

'Boring'. 'Too defensive.' 'Negative.' 'Played like Chelsea.'
They were just some of the criticisms aimed at England after their opening 1-1 draw with France. True, England did sit back after taking the lead but that was more down to the French stepping on the accelerator rather than England taking their foot off the gas. People should not forget that France are on a 22-match unbeaten run and looked in great shape in the run-in to this tournament, so a point was a good result for England. One thing is for certain, if England beat Spain by playing 'too defensively' in the final, is anyone in 'our green and pleasant land' going to care?

Tonight the 'Three Lions' will go out against Sweden in a much more attacking frame of mind. Danny Welbeck says that he expects it to be an exciting game, while skipper Steven Gerrard has called on his team-mates to perform in order to seal the three points. The Swedes desperately need a positive result after their opening 2-1 defeat to co-hosts Ukraine and will go out with a plan to frustrate England. Gerrard and co will be ready for this and will know that the Swedes only real goal threats are through star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and set-pieces. 

Going forward against France England looked dangerous but did not create many clear-cut chances. The goal came from an excellent free-kick and England's only other good opportunity was when James Milner could only find the side-netting after rounding goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Against Sweden Hodgson's men will be expecting to create a lot more and to learn from their opening contest. Hodgson looks set to name a more attack-minded side with Liverpool's big striker Andy Carroll likely to get the nod. Whether he plays alongside Welbeck or replaces him remains to be seen, but England are sure to get balls into the box and get at the Scandinavian's defence. 

England's squad seem to have renewed belief under Roy Hodgson and will be hoping to take the game by the scruff of the neck this evening. One thing is for sure; the supporters may have written England off, but the players still hold high hopes. Hodgson denied any thoughts that other teams in the tournament were under-rating England: "I would be surprised if teams were not taking England seriously. I think it is more of a question that in past tournaments we haven't been able to live up to very high expectations."

Legendary Swedish striker Henrik Larsson said he was wary of this 'disciplined' England side: "I am impressed by England because normally they go forward and sometimes play more with the heart than the head.
I think that's one of the reasons England have maybe not had the great results at the European Championships or World Cups over the years."

In the three matches since Hodgson took over England have looked very organized and difficult to beat, whereas in the disaster in South Africa they looked open to the counter-attack and all at sea. Their next two group games will be very tough; Sweden are no mugs and Ukraine will be a force as the hosts. Despite this England should progress out of Group D with at least five points if they continue to do the simple things right. What happens after that is anyone's guess; a quarter-final penalty shoot-out maybe?


  1. Your analysis is completely wrong! England look just as vulnerable as ever as soon as the game opens up,
    (Sweden scored 2, Ukraine plenty of chances and possesion) only game the had any shape was against France, where they were 100% negative, deep, 10 men behind the ball, dominated in all areas. This so called discipline is a myth if you have ever played football two banks of 4 players is the EASIEST, MOST BASIC thing to do on the pitch when you are not in possession. The group was so easy Ukraine and Sweden possibly in the bottom 4 teams of the tournament with Ireland and Greece getting out of the group would be completely expected. Gerrard has been poor he does not command or dictate midfield, he makes 1-2 hollywood passes a game, takes all set pieces so assists are customary he is in top 4 players that give AWAY possession. The only reason we are down playing England chances is because our manager is English and English people in England don’t have to be held to account or reach the same standards that we place on foreigners ..RH is doing a perfectly average job, considering he left some of our better players at home and played players that are clearly not performing such as Young and Milner.

    1. Gerrard was the best player of england. Had he not been on the team, england would already out from euro

    2. England would be nowhere in this tournament without Gerrard. It was a great decision by Hodgson to give him the captain's armband, although in my mind quite an obvious selection.

  2. This was written after the France game and yes England looked vulnerable at times against Sweden but looked very solid against the Ukraine. I said England would play with more intent against Sweden and they did; scoring three goals. Ashley Young was England's form player coming into the tournament so was an obvious choice. He played well yesterday and provided an excellent cross that Rooney should have scored from. I agree that Walcott could be played over Milner but he is under-rated. Until he was substituted he had covered more ground than any other player on the pitch against Ukraine. Gerrard is only in the top 4 players that give away possession because he is in possession so often and also as a rsult of playing decisive forward passes. When they don't come off the concedes possession but only in harmless areas of the pitch.