Posts Tagged ‘Gareth Southgate’

EF

(England supporters strike a pose which has become all-too familiar over the last 50-odd years)

Now that the dust has settled on England’s World Cup success/failure, do we really have a team capable of winning a future tournament?

On the evidence of this one the answer has to be a pretty emphatic NO.

Even the “experts” are finally starting to come round to our way of thinking which, all along, has been that this was an average England team and they put in some very poor performances on their way to fourth place. (more…)

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After tomorrow there will probably be very few articles on the subject of the World Cup. The winner will have been decided and, hopefully, Croatia will have collected the trophy for the first time ever. The alternative is another four years of French strutting and preening which, while not unusual, would definitely be more annoying.

Today, England met Belgium in the meaningless third placed play-off game. A game into which the England manager was trying to inject some life. He was doing so by trying to convince a very dubious public and an even more dubious WSA, that the game was not meaningless. (more…)

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It doesn’t really matter whether England finish third or fourth. For them, the World Cup is over. FIFA prolonging their stay in Russia is more like a punishment rather than any prestigious ending to the competition.

On the positive side, the game on Saturday gives England’s reserves a chance for some revenge on Belgium’s reserves for the 1-0 beating they handed out in the group stage. On the negative side, nobody cares.

The result of that game, which decided who won the group and who finished second, was the biggest mistake made by the two teams. Had they contrived to let England win the group then the team would probably have lost in the quarter-final to Brazil. (more…)

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England finally reverted to type. Having beaten the team four places below them in the world rankings to reach the semi-final they then went out, quite tamely, to the team eight places below them.

In fairness, they have made massive strides forward by getting this far in a World Cup but, also in fairness, they came a cropper as soon as they met a decent team.

Forget Belgium in the group stage. That wasn’t a competitive game. It was a game between two reserve teams who had seen their senior players already qualify for the next stage. So the first real test was against Sweden and they passed with flying colours. They passed mainly because Sweden failed to work out the English system. (more…)

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After four years of waiting, not quite with bated breath, the World Cup arrived and here we are already at the semi-final stage. What is surprising about this year’s tournament is that England’s players are still there!

For the first time since 1990, (Gazza’s tears at missing the final they never made it to, and all that), England have reached those dizzy heights once again.

Whether by luck, good judgement or good play is debatable but they are there, no denying it. (more…)

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And on the 16th day they rested. Let’s face it, this football malarky is tiring. Since the tournament started on the 14th of June, the poor players have only been managing an average break of four days between games.

What kind of break is that? The selected combatants have had, occasionally, to run around on a football pitch which some of them have had to grace with their presence for a whole ninety minutes!

Now, in fairness, they have been training between matches on the days they haven’t been allowed off by their coaches. (more…)

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The afternoon matches today were from the tightest group. Going into the games Japan were top with four points, Senegal were second, also with four points, and Colombia were third with three points. By this time Poland were already eliminated having lost their two opening games.

So it was a three horse race whereby the first two would progress to the last 16. From a fan’s point of view it was extremely nail-biting stuff particularly if the flavour of those nails happened to be Colombian, Senegalese or Japanese! (more…)

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So to the day’s games and first up was Portugal against Morocco or, more realistically, Cristiano Ronaldo against Morocco. Fresh from his 3-3 draw with the entire Spanish team he set out to prove it was no fluke and, indeed, that he could take things a stage further by actually beating a team.

He managed it but it was a close-run thing. With just the one goal, a bullet header in the first half, he had to rely on his team mates at times to defend his lead. They did this heroically, albeit with a few of the stutters they showed against Spain.

So for a few short hours Cristiano was top of the group. He is, of course, far too modest to accept all the plaudits and was gracious enough to allow the team name to be used when the tables were shown. (more…)

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According to the headline of an article in The Guardian, Gareth Southgate wants “young, hungry England to dream of winning the World Cup

Well, we have news for you Gareth, they do! The problem is that dreams, particularly that one, rarely come true!

In fairness, the reporter actually quotes Southgate as saying he has no problem with the players believing they can win the World Cup, which is slightly different and just goes to show that members of the press often submit articles which then have the headline added or edited by somebody else. (more…)

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So that’s the end of the meaningless friendlies for the time being. There now follows what, for England at least, will probably be a meaningless tournament. Having beaten Nigeria and Costa Rica both by a scoreline of 2-0 England still haven’t quite grasped the point of these friendly/warm-up matches.

The Germans have them down to a fine art. They spend most of their time outside of tournaments being rubbish. Joachim Löw has drilled it into his players that they must give the impression, to every other coach, that they are now reasonably easy to beat. They must play as though the days when they used to win everything are long gone and the team is now going through a transition which they may or may not come out of positively. (more…)