Date:Sunday June 24 2012
The fact that Roy Hodgson has taken England to the Quarter finals and also won the group, is already a better than expected performance for me, and I guess three quarters of the football nation.
Sure the quality and attacking flair of the football might not be to everyone`s liking, but what should we really expect from a manager who is still learning and developing his players, but it`s already clear that those same players appear to be embracing his playing ethos and are working as a team for the first time in a very long time.
Tonight would appear to the a 50/50 call with regards to who will have the dubious honour of facing Germany in the semi final, but I am certainly more confident that we are a side that can and will improve, but what I am not convinced about is whether we will improve enough to beat an Italian side that for me, just edge us in terms of quality, but that is a very close call and one that only needs a minute change in fortunes for the roles to be reversed.
It is debatable whether Italy will stick with the 4-4-2 formation that comfortably dealt with the Republic of Ireland or go back to the 3-5-2 that faced Spain and Croatia, and I feel that they will look to the latter tonight, which will be an interesting test for Roy and his team to counter, but it could be a great opportunity to unleash our two attacking full backs in Johnson and Cole to press forward, something that haven`t had much opportunity to do in the previous three games.
It is expected that Hodgson will stick with the same starting line up that beat the Ukraine, but I would like to see him select Andy Carroll over Danny Welbeck, as it seems that Italy genuinely fear his height and physicality and though they coped reasonably well against a powerful Croatian attack, they didn`t look comfortable at times and without Giorgio Chiellini, they may find Carroll`s qualities harder to cope with than the pace and trickery of Welbeck, though that isn`t being critical of the United man.
Elsewhere, I feel that Hodgson is probably right to stick with what he has so far gone with. I`m sure he has given thought to resting both Young and Milner, but I certainly feel that Milner is a player he trusts, and tonight his work-rate and usual defensive qualities, which not only assists the team with adding capable numbers in the middle to help Gerrard and Parker, but his ability to move inside also allows Gerrard greater freedom to roam, something he wouldn`t be able to do with the same confidence if Walcott was playing on the right.
My feeling is that as long as England leave the field tonight with their pride intact, they can return home with a feeling of accomplishment. That in itself may again allow the side to play without the pressure of past competitions. This may not go down as a great Tournament or England team, but there is surely a feeling that we have developed and that there are clear signs of this becoming a good side that will get better. I`m sure we would have taken the idea of progress at the start of the competition, after all we didn`t expect to win it, whilst many thought we wouldn`t get out of the group stage. Improvement is therefore what really counts.
To win tonight, I believe that England need to be more aggressive in terms of pressing forward and taking more of a gamble at times, but also looking to play at a faster tempo than I feel the Italians won`t be comfortable with. Wayne Rooney is sure to be better for his 86 minutes against Ukraine, whilst the teams will feel an ever increasing confidence and belief after winning the group, even though they know they weren`t playing at their best. With that confidence and greater understanding, I feel that England can win tonight, but there is also that nagging doubt over whether that is my heart ruling my head...
Date:Sunday June 24 2012
Is It Really Asking Too Much!? (Sunday June 16 2013)
Has Walcott Finally Arrived? (Sunday June 16 2013)
30% Just Isn't Enough! (Saturday June 15 2013)
Is That It For Stuart Pearce? (Thursday June 13 2013)
Is Hoddle the saviour or England? (Wednesday June 12 2013)
Pearce Lets Rip (Wednesday June 12 2013)
U21's: Israel vs England. (Tuesday June 11 2013)
U-21s: England vs Norway. (Friday June 7 2013)
U-21's England vs Italy. (Wednesday June 5 2013)
Hodgson: Well Worthy Of The Draw (Monday June 3 2013)
|8.||Morph the Bull||12|
|Is It Really Asking Too Much!?
» England : 16/06/2013 17:51:00
|Has Walcott Finally Arrived?
» England : 16/06/2013 17:23:00
|30% Just Isn't Enough!
» England : 15/06/2013 19:42:00
|Is That It For Stuart Pearce?
» England : 13/06/2013 09:16:00
|Is Hoddle the saviour or England?
» England : 12/06/2013 16:36:00
|Pearce Lets Rip
» England : 12/06/2013 12:25:00
|U21's: Israel vs England.
» England : 11/06/2013 09:46:00