Hodgson - Same Old Story
England's third and final group game against Costa Rica earlier tonight was pretty much a carbon copy of our last two encounters save for two key things.
One, we made nine changes, and the performance was a bit more lively and more akin to the Italy showing, where we played some very good stuff and looked inventive even if it wasn't always coming off.
Two, we didn't lose this one.
The overriding feeling through is it again becomes the third game that with better finishing we would've won.
Speaking to theFA.com following the game with England's return flight home already long booked, our inability to convert the chances that we have created all World Cup long, as epitomised by this match despite the changed line up, wasn't lost on manager Roy Hodgson.
'We showed today what a good team we can be - we are so disappointed not to finish with a victory but I don't think I could ask for a much better performance. Apart from the first 10 or 12 minutes of the game I thought we dominated it but unfortunately we didn't take our goal chances. If we had have taken them it would have been a comfortable victory.'
As was the story of the games against Italy and Uruguay.
With plenty of positives to be taken from the showing, especially those like Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana starting for the first time, the manager said.
'They all did very well and the whole back four was absolutely excellent too. We restricted a team that beat Italy, Uruguay and topped the group, to almost no chances and Ben was very good behind them. We created the chances, which is important, and Daniel is usually so clinical. I'm not that concerned as I know he will take the chances in the future, the important thing is to keep giving him the opportunity.'
Sturridge looked like he knew every chance counted and he wasn't quite as free flowing as he was against Italy in terms of just hitting them, he seemed to hold on a little longer, but that's something he has to learn and deal with mentality as he continues to develop because the pressure is different at international level compared to club football, and we've seen many a good club player not rise and deal with it. Hopefully with a bit more experience and confidence, that belief will shine through like it does at Liverpool.
There were things in the game that will grate on fans again though. We are looking for a goal, and no Rickie Lambert as the big outlet. We turn again to Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney as substitutes, and whislt yes many would agree with the further experience given to Raheem Sterling...why take Lallana off just as the game was opening up, and he was really starting to find his feet in terms of opening up gaps and finding dangerous runs?
It's no doubt all going to be poured over for the next few days, if not longer.
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