England: Over And Out

It’s painful to realize that England was probably a penalty away from winning the semi-final against Italy. If Ashley Young’s penalty had gone under the crossbar, I have no doubt that England would have gone to win the shootout. The pressure would have been heaped back on Italy, who may have made another mistake. And Ashley Cole may have then gone on to score. They were that close.

Despite how close they were, many of the readers on this site (and others) want to dismantle this England team. Rip it apart, change the tactics, and bring in the youth. To make matters worse, readers are criticizing this England team, saying how poor it is. I completely disagree.

The reason I disagree is because I felt England punched above its weight, held a previous World Cup champion goalless for 120 minutes and came within a whisker of being in the final four of one of the greatest soccer tournaments in the world.

We should not be criticizing. We should be patting the players and the manager on the back for an incredible tournament where they were undefeated in regulation time.

Yes, I would have loved to see them be more adventurous when going forward. And yes they were boring to watch against Italy. But so too was Spain against France.

Changes are certainly needed when World Cup qualifying begins later this summer. But they should be small tweaks rather than major upheavals. Manager Roy Hodgson is the one to continue leading us forward. And there are plenty of options to add depth to this England squad. Seeing young footballers, such as Jack Wilshere, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and so many others, fills me with encouragement for the future.

Even as an extreme diehard soccer fan, I will be watching the rest of the Euro 2012 games with a passing interest. I’m not as excited to watch them now that England is out partly because England is out of the tournament, but also because the script is so predictable. Spain against Germany in the final once again. I hope I’m wrong. I’m pulling for a Portugal-Italy final to mix things up.

I can hold my head up high knowing that England performed better than Netherlands, Russia, Poland, Denmark and, I would argue, France – who deconstructed in their final match against Spain.

Ignore the critics and be proud of what England achieved. The team will achieve even more in 2014. I have no doubt about that.

61 thoughts on “England: Over And Out”

  1. Here is what troubles me about England:

    Arguably the top professional league in the world (certainly deeper than La Liga when you get past the top 2.)

    Top STRUCTURE of professional leagues – including the Conference you have something like ten levels there and I think the nPower Championship is at least RICHER than any other national leagues outside France, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

    INVENTED the game and has soccer in the culture at least as much as anyone else in the world.

    Third-largest nation in Europe by population (England proper, not UK) after Germany and France – technically would be fourth if you include Russia but this is very apples and oranges here, as Russia is a somewhat anomalous entity.

    ….so in light of all these factors why is England not BETTER at the international game? Seems like you have factors in place that would statistically suggest a greater amount of international silverware since 1966. Or, rather, at least some silverware at all.

    I am not trying to be negative or overly critical. I am a financial guy by profession and think in these terms all day long. And it just seems to me that the fundamentals of England as a nation and team would suggest better technical performance over the long haul.

    1. Top league in the world… true, but most of the top players in the top teams aren’t English. That’s part of the reason the hand-waving and homer-ism here after Chelsea limped their way through the Champions League was funny – “It’s a return of England to the top!” Sure, just get a Russian to pay a ton of money to bring in talent from Ivory Coast, Brazil, Spain, etc. What percentage of starters for ManU, City, or Chelsea are English? I haven’t looked, but believe it to be (well) below 50%.

      Invented the game… also true. But there are no shortage of things invented in one place a long time ago and then improved upon elsewhere in the world.

      Population… I completely agree. For its size within Europe, England ought to be performing much better than it is. Then again, look at the US national team’s place in the world rankings.

      It’s an interesting question, definitely. In my mind, it comes down to style. England holds fast to a bunker-down, defend the goal, and wait for a fast-break style of play – while the top teams elsewhere have evolved to using higher technical skill to possess the ball and wait for cracks in the defense. Who knew Italy (of all teams!) would use the possession game so well against England… was it because Italy (known for parking the bus) is so strong with possession? Or was it because they knew England *couldn’t* play that game, so it would be an effective way to get more looks at the goal? England fans defend the style with “doesn’t matter if it’s pretty, as long as we win” — but how’s that working out?

      In the longer-term, the fast-break and “boot-it-over-the-top” style comes at the expense of developing the strong midfield “general” type that sees the entire field and builds an attack that results in flooding the box with more than just a single fast-break striker. Scholes is an obvious exception to the rule for English players, but alas… call it creative play, tika-taka, boring possession — but if you have the ball, the other guy doesn’t. And possessing the ball for only a third of a game makes putting it into the net more difficult.

      (for Gaffer’s follow-up question… I’m an American who follows many of the European leagues, predicts/supports Germany for this tournament, hates penalty kick finishes, but thought yesterday’s outcome was the right one)

  2. As a transplanted Brit who still supports England and always will, I am more heartened by the team’s performance than I have been in alots of years. This team should be holding their heads high, they certainly didn’t disgrace themselves.

  3. I don’t doubt there will be thousands of thumbs-down, but… say what?!?!

    While there are positives, I don’t think it’s as sunny as you make it out to be.

  4. Given the time that he had I thought Hodgson did as well as he could. He chose a team he could cobble together cohesively in a short amount of time. However, I also feel that an England team that resembles this one in personnel as well as tactics will be lucky to get out of its group in the World Cup and certainly will have no chance to go deep in the tournament, let alone win it.

    I am hoping that now that he has time Roy will reassess what he wants to do tactically and who he wants to do it with, but I am not optimistic. He does not seem to be the adventuresome sort. So I expect to see the same old faces in the same old places with the same old results. First necessary skill in order to play for England? Backpedaling.

  5. I agree England played above their weight but how is Wayne Rooney taken out of these matches with such ease it seems by the opponents. I waited all match for him to strike or show the insane determination that he shows with United. Aside from one opportunity it really felt like Wazza was still on suspension.

    That said, well done by England overall. There can be only one winner and obviously England aren’t in the Spain, Germany class but maybe one day.

  6. England played to its level. They are probably about 6th best in Europe and 12th in the world. The manager did all that he could do with what he had and he time factor. A defensive strategy was called.

    As to the Wayne Rooney is a top player in the world. Rooney is a product of the Man U system. Take him out of the that system and he is average. That is why his international record is no where as good as his domestic one.

  7. Not getting out of the group stage would have been poor. The got out and ended up losing to a team that can very well win the Euro 2012 title. They did decently and showed there is room for improvement. Now it is time for the England Tabloids to send Hodgson into the loony bin and then ask, “What went wrong?”

    1. I like a combination of those players if your going to go that way you have to start now so those players can jell and see if they can play together.if England gets beat in regulation everyone would feel better but because it goes to penalties all the past comes rushing back.I would vote to go with youth movement.

  8. I was just frustrated that they couldn’t put 2 or 3 passes together and hold the ball for more than 15 seconds. Jack Wilshere will be seen as the savior for England in this regard but there’s only so much one guy can do. Roy will need to adjust his tactics so that the center midfielders can move quicker into attack. Too often Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney were left completely alone against 3 or 4 Italian defenders with no one to pass to. This seemed to be mostly due to Gerrard and Parker being slow to advance and help link the play. It wasn’t really their fault either. They were too busy defending in front of the backline and I think they were also struggling with tiredness. Hodgson never let those guys rest during the group stages and they looked gassed out there.

    By the way, what happened to England’s vaunted pace down the wings? I never saw a through ball to a speeding winger causing havoc for Italy. This was supposed to be England’s trump card in the tournament. Defense and blazing fast counter-attacks. It was more like fizzling counter-attacks that never went anywhere.

    In the end, I think England went out where they should. They’re good enough to get out of the group stages but not good enough to beat a top team. I don’t see enough young talent on the horizon to take this team to the next level but you never know. Worse teams have won big tournaments. If one of those chances by Johnson, Rooney, and Welbeck had gone in, anything could be possible.

  9. I grew up supporting England, only to be disappointed every single time. Not only in their early exits, but by them going out in a whimper.

    Let’s admit it. English players are just not that good. As much as I loathe the coma-inducing Spanish football or the Italians affinity to theatrics (much toned down this time, I’ll say) and their dodgy integrity, they operate on a different plane.

  10. England technically are so poor, and its hilarious watching England trying to counter attack, they can barely get that right!

          1. Of course England, but I wouldn’t want to play like England, at least we had Italy on the ropes, we didn’t show enough bravery in the final 20 minutes and then forced ourselves into a situation where we needed a result against Spain or hope for Ireland to get points off Italy. We got a tough draw, the two teams above us dominated in their quarters. I’m sure we would have escaped Group A or Group D

          2. England is benefiting from artificially high ranking that allows them to get easier draws. Croatia have been performing consistently on par or even better than England in international tournaments last 10-15 years yet they are ranked significantly lower. England would have found it much harder to qualify had they been drawn in the group with Germany, Portugal and Demark or Spain, Italy and Ireland.

            Besides, you are really grasping at straws here if you are comparing England to Croatia with their 4m population.

  11. @Matt
    Its not that England couldn’t counter-attack. Roy’s “two banks of four” at all time tactic hampered england. They sat too deep and it took them too long to counter attack. I can understand why Roy brought Carroll on beacuse it allowed the defense to bypass the midfield and get on the break quickly. But Roy ignored two simple facts:
    1)Welbeck is a superior player to carroll technically, tactically and skill wise
    2)At that point in the game Welbeck had played better than any of the attack 4 and was the only one effectively picking up Pirlo whenever he was closed to him. When he was further up the pitch, nobody else picked up Pirlo. Thus it cannot be surprising that once he came off, Italy had total control of the game with Pirlo being really to do whatever he wanted. With lack of pace to get behind the defense, italy pushed further up the field and Walcott rarely got on the ball.

    A better sub would have been to take out Ashley Young and Milner for Ox and Walcott and see how they combine with Rooney and Welbeck.

    England really missed Michael Carrick in this tournament. I don’t think i saw Parker make one correct pass in the final third during the whole tournament. Yes i understand the “Playing Pride”, “Heart”, “never give up” clichés but a midfielder who can’t make an accurate pass in the final third is just….

  12. The last really good England team? 1990 World Cup. Waddle/Gascoigne/Beardsley/Platt all gifted playmakers and a deadly striker in Lineker. That’s the type of ability needed to really compete.

    We punched well above our weight this time, however to get through and be humiliated by Germany (again) would have done this team no favours.

    We must review the youth system to examine how to produce and provide opportunity for young gifted players. We are very close to a Premiership game being played without an Englishman on the pitch.

    What is the Spanish/German/Italian even the Portuguese youth system really like? It’s time the FA took a serious look instead of making suitable noises when prodded.

    1. “We are very close to a Premiership game being played without an Englishman on the pitch” — that’s not true. Take a look at the squads for Swansea, Norwich and other Premier League clubs. There are plenty of good English footballers playing in the Premier League. The number is dwindling, but it’s not at all close to having zero.

      The Gaffer

      1. With all due respect to Swansea and Norwich and other teams of this ilk they are not considered fertile ground when picking the England team. A very good player will eventually attract attention and make his way to a “big club”. That’s where he’ll get the facilities and coaching to improve his game and the chance of getting picked for England. Regretfully its clubs of such stature who without restriction can simply buy an established foriegn player and relegate promising youngsters to the reserves or out on loan.

        Twenty years ago how many English players were first team regulars in the Man Utd/Arsenal/Liverpool/Chelsea/Spurs/ first team? Then compare with today say at Man City who have been totally financed to the league title and have just three English first team regulars in Barry, Lescott and Hart. Micah Richards and Milner play bit parts from the bench. Chelsea won the Champions League with three first team regulars born in England. These six players from City and Chelsea are in the England squad.

        Now consider if each of these two teams had seven or eight English first team regulars, wouldn’t that in theory give us a greater pool of very good experienced players to pick from? Something needs to be done because as I’ve said (and I see Roy Hodgson echoes this idea) we are approaching top flight games being played without an Englishman on the pitch. Yes Gaffer as you said, the numbers are dwindling.

          1. We don’t, but if any of the Swansea and Norwich players are class then a bigger club will come calling very quickly.

            1. And they are. We’ll do our best to hold on to those players, but whether they play for Swansea, Norwich or Manchester United, they deserve an England call-up if they’re good enough (which they are).

              The Gaffer

        1. “With all due respect to Swansea and Norwich and other teams of this ilk they are not considered fertile ground when picking the England team.”

          But they should be and that is exactly the problem. Why should Leon Britton, who seems to have six sets of eyes and is an excellent field general, not be on the team? Because he plays for Swansea? Because he doesn’t fit the English mold? Does England want midfielders who can pass or not? He was coached by Brendan Rodgers. Is that not good enough?

          The fact that you play for a “big” team guarantees absolutely nothing……other than that you may have an over inflated opinion of your value and skills and a certain sense of entitlement that is completely unwarranted.

          1. Haha…you cant expect roy to have the courage to pick players not at the bigger clubs when he hasnt got the courage to play the younger, better players from other big clubs like Man U, Spurs or Everton.

            A wasted tournament, no Baines or phill jones or Defoe, not even a look in, instead he played same old players and tired them out, what happened to all this tournament experience he is supposed to have?

            Absolute garbage, look at holt from Norwich he didn’t even get in the squad! With his season but Andy Carroll and downing and Henderson did lol

            This feels more and more like Graham Taylor’s England

          2. Well, Dust, I could expect it, but I don’t. Not from Roy. Not from any England coach, until there is some kind of revolution in the FA…….which leads us back to square one. 😉

      2. I agree, they are plenty of great English players in the EPL, I think England will have a pretty good team in 2014.

    2. Portuguese youth system is way better than the Italian to let you on that one. Italians just win tourneys on their anti-football approach. I despise Greek and Italian football for those reasons.

  13. It is tough to see England being outclassed by Italy so badly. Basically surrender the midfield after first 20 mins of the game. Why do we have to play like Greece? We have only 36% ball procession and so I feel really lucky and happy that we didn’t lose in 120mins. We can’t blame anything this time, we have our luck, we have our striker, we still loss the game, time to accept that we are just not good enough.

  14. England have the talent and technical ability to win any competition, it just so happens that most of those players aren’t even in the squad let alone starting 11. Add the inept, constraining, negative brand of football to the terrible squad selecton and you arrive at the joke that is the England euro 2012 performance.

    This is not going to get any better anytime soon with Roy at the helm. All I’m hearing are excuses, Roy didn’t have enough time to teach his ways, rubbish 5 weeks with the players at that level should be long enough. Roy picking players “because they helped us qualify” also completely rubbish. his selections were only ever for footballing reasons, also rubbish, based off that Gerrard, Henderson, Carrol, Johnson, Terry, would not be starting.

    You can all maintain the state of apparent dillusion that has gripped the nation of England supports around the world, that makes you say things like, “they were solid”, “he will do better with time”, “it was a good campaign”, i think he did well” or you can wake up and smell the manure.

    It was terrible football that didn’t win us anything, so why play it? His selections for the 23 were a joke, his tactics were a joke, his subs were a joke what happened to the mighty thunderbolt that was Walcott, oh yes, he was great against absolutely diabolicale opposition, and sank away against real defenders, just like he did in the premier league, as did carrol, and the aging Gerrard and John Terry.

    I’m re-directing the money I would have spent for the 2014 world cup that i deeply wanted to attend and see England win, However, now im going to use it for an ad campaign for billboards, online and tv with the words “what did you expect England?” when we don’t even qualify for the 2014 World cup in Brazil.

    All these people saying, he didn’t have Wiltshire too…lol he hasn’t played for a year, his injury may not get him back to any kind of reasonable form for another 6 months after he actually starts to play again, and it’s not like he was that good anyway…delusional England fans are the funniest to read and listen to, quiet entertaining.

    What a calamity, thank goodness David Bernstein can’t stay after his 70th birthday, being as he was pushing Hodgpodge, his tenure should be up in a year I think, and i hope he takes Roy with him.

    1. Someday I would like to see the FA pick a manager like Brendan Rodgers, tell him to “Go sic ’em!” and then get the hell out of the way.

      I’ll not be holding my breath on that one.

      1. Like it or not, you know Harry would have produced far better football and made better choices and better results without the pain or embarrassment when watching.

        Glen hoddle and el tel remain the recent examples of England being able to produce better football and take a chance on players, look at their squads and results.

        When those squads failed it was more about circumstance than quality of football, no one was saying England were embarrassing at all, quite the opposite.

    2. Enlighten me where are these players that have this technical ability because 3 of the best European coaches (swen, roy & capello) were too stupid to find them. Because they wanted to play worse players and look like idiots. Its fashionable to knock the managers but if there is no English Pirlo or Xavi then what do you want them to do. England just isnt good enough right now. But there is no shame in that these things go in cycles. Spain is now, France had one, there will be another team that will rule Europe in 10 yrs aswell.

        1. You said England do have the technical players who are good enough to win any competition so i would like you to tell me and the others who they are. England has had great coaches over the last decade so maybe you can inform both me and them who they should be picking.

          1. I already listed them in a previous post (see link below) do you know what the term “technical skill” means? Roy is the problem, he just is, in his statements he is hypocritical and has taken this country backwards, in-fact have you ever seen Graham Taylor and Roy in the same room?

            Anyway, to say that England don’t have players with the technical ability to play a far better more technical football flies in the face of reality and of what I watch in the Premier League on a twice or thrice weekly basis when the season is on.

            It is just ridiculous and shows that you don’t actually know or appreciate what it takes to be a proffessional footballer in the worlds most exciting domestic league.

            Click the link below to see my previous post, I’d be interested to hear what technical skills you think the players lack, and, what you think is so great about Roy and his time machine tactics.


  15. I think Roy’s tactics were too safe against Italy. There weren’t enough opportunities. That coupled with the complete lack of cohesive passing led them to their loss.

    They were lucky Italy didn’t put 3 or 4 in the back of the net before slipping into extra time.

    Milner continuing to start throughout was a mistake. He had a terrible tournament. Putting him at outside midfield stunk. I rag on Big Andy, but Carroll was having a solid tournament and needed more time on the pitch. Ox and Walcott should have been on the field more.

    These are my opinions.

  16. Let’s get one thing straight. Based on the effort (with exception for certain players) you cannot fault this England team. But was it positive performance that would instill optimism about the bright future for England national team? I don’t think so. This English side was more like Ukraine – a spirited performance with a lot of hard work with not much in terms of skill. And Ukraine were actually the better team when they played England (I guess my bias because of Ukrainian heritage shows up here).

    “To make matters worse, readers are criticizing this England team, saying how poor it is. I completely disagree. The reason I disagree is because I felt England punched above its weight…”

    So this is English side that struggled mightily against very mediocre France and Ukraine who are not a football powerhouse by any stretch of imagination. This is the team that could only hope for the penalty shootout against not the strongest Italian side and had to ride all their luck to get there. And The Gaffer is saying that they pulled above their weight. Does it mean that if they play “at their weight” you expect that England would not qualify from the group? That their actual level is “just happy to be there”?

    “I’m not as excited to watch them now that England is out partly because England is out of the tournament, but also because the script is so predictable. Spain against Germany in the final once again. I hope I’m wrong. I’m pulling for a Portugal-Italy final to mix things up.”

    Is it Spain or Germany fault that they predictably perform at the highest level? Is it their fault that England predictably fails to match that level? Would you be more excited if it was England predictably parking the bus against Germany in the semifinal?

    Finally, as for what is next for England I would be very worried about Wayne Rooney situation. He is by far the best player England has at the moment. He is supposed to be difference to take them to that next level. But he consistently or should I say “predictably” fails to show up for England in the big moments. Unlike the rest of the team his effort was definitely missing. And on Sunday he clearly lacked the fitness level which leads me to question his professionalism when it comes to playing for England. So the big question is can England build their future team around Rooney?

  17. Gaffer, did u watch the game? U do realize that Italy totally dominated England throughout the whole match, don’t you? Would u really have been happy if England did beat Italy on a penalty shootout after having been so outplayed for 120 minutes? You say that “t’s painful to realize that England was probably a penalty away from winning the semi-final against Italy.” I think it would have been painful and cruel for Italy to lose in penalties. They deserved to beat England. It would have been daylight robbery if England had beaten Italy whether through the shootout or in regular time.

  18. I have to disagree with you if you really believe that England punched above their weight playing the heavy-weights like Ukraine, Sweden and France to win that murderous group. If you can’t beat Ukrainian team with a 40yr old striker who happens to be their main threat and didn’t even play. And a renowned disfunctional French team with egos only bigger than their disunity and a Swedish team with a bunch of average players sorrounding one good player who disappears in big game. If you can’t beat these teams then why are you even in the tournament ? I think it’s time we all come to this simple conclusion: The English are COWARDS!!! And I say this as someone who wants to see England win every game they play. England footballers choose to display their cowardice every chance they get in every competition by retreating and ceding the other half of the field to any country they deem to have the slightest advantage in passing skill. In what rule book does it say you ahve to possess the best skills to win a football game ? How do you then explain the likes of Croatoa, Russia, Czech, Sweden playing with more attacking intent and imagination against bigger opponents but whenever England faces this problem, it becomes straight-jacket defensive scheme with no intent on scoring and always relying on PKs to determine their fate. To me all the teams England has lost to in major torneys on PKs are teams England could and should have beaten easily but their cowardice prevented them from doing so. It’s one thing to be solid “defense first” team like Greece was a couple years ago and even they managed to score a goal here and there in knock-outs stages. England has never been a good defensive nation! That’s right I said it, historically Italians tend to play defensive in major tournaments because they actually have had “GREAT” defensive players. I can name 5 great Italian D men from the top of my head and 0 when it comes to England. Italians defensive tactics don’t involve 11 men behind the ball and zero intent on scoring when they have teh ball, which explains why they win trophies. England’s ultra defensive tactics in major torneys is just a cowardice mechanism as oppose to utilizing their best assets like Italians normally deploy. I saw some headlines lamenting “the brave English” losing again on PKs, no bravery would have been pushing pedal to metal and going for the win by scoring and letting the chips fall where they may. For once show the world that you believe in your ability and the way the game is played in your country even if it doesn’t the passing skills of Iniesta or Messi in Spain. Taking the little you’re given and trying to achieve something great with it, that’s BRAVERY!!!

  19. The way forward in football is to have great technical ability and to keep the ball, both of which England don’t have. They have no problem in terms of kids choosing to play football, England’s biggest problem is lack of great coaches. Its no coincidence that there isn’t any top England managers at the moment!

  20. your ongoing national jingoism and blind trumpeting is discrediting your site as a site for soccer analysis. They were outplayed pure and simple- if the reverse were the fact and England dominated Italy and won you’d be crying “Just result” right- it’s not hating on the country to analyze it like it was- England played negative football and not once showed any confidence or ambition to win the game.- actually I take that back – the first 10 minutes they did that and changed it up- coach? players? Italy? who’s responsible for that change ? I don’t know but never has a team deserved defeat than that side. The coach is a poor choice for a national team. If we’re talking about keeping a sketchy team up in the Premier League then Roy’s your man- but what he did with the talent he had – was embarrassing. They might not be the most talent overall side of the tournament but there was legitimate talent that was never utilized properly.

    Same results every tournament maybe just maybe it’s time to break with tradition and look at the whole system- and quit playing the NAMES and play those who’ve earned it and give England the best chance to win.

    1. It’s an opinion, which I’m entitled to have, as you are too. Obviously we see things from different sides of the fence. I don’t think it’s discrediting me or my site, and I’m not going to change my opinion just so I go with the flow.

      If Ashley Young’s shot hadn’t hit the crossbar and England had gone on to win on penalty kicks, there’d be a ton of people here calling Roy Hodgson a genius and a tactical mastermind. I’m not going to call him a genius, but he did the best with what he had, and should be applauded. England played negative football, and it almost worked.

      The Gaffer

      1. yes it’s your opinion as the head of a site that proclaims to ANALYZE football not a fan boy site-your pieces defy honest analysis
        Your usage of alarmist language in 2 similar posts now “hating England” if someone criticizes the cowardly game plan goes beyond representing an opinion-

      2. “If Ashley Young’s shot hadn’t hit the crossbar and England had gone on to win on penalty kicks, there’d be a ton of people here calling Roy Hodgson a genius and a tactical mastermind.”

        There might be a few that are that delusional, but I think the adjective used by most would be “lucky sonofa…”

        “I’m not going to call him a genius, but he did the best with what he had, and should be applauded.”

        Serious question: do you truly believe that that was the best performance he’s capable of getting out of that caliber of players? Honestly?

        I think the point many here are trying to make is that this group should have done so much more – and the negative tactics were the letdown. Applauding the tactics and saying it “almost” worked seems to miss the point. England aren’t out simply because a penalty hit the crossbar. That squad of players playing a stronger game shouldn’t have let it get to the penalties.

  21. Geoff Shreeves to Roy Hodgosn: “Roy, what a tough way to go out of the Euros on penalties. But you do realize that had Italy taken the numerous chances they had, they would have demolished England, don’t you? Unfortunately, it still means that your team played rubbish and would have still lost on the golden goal rule.”

      1. shots on goal were what 25-7 or something? stil waiting for Hart to try and build the attack from the back once instead of just kicking it deep

      2. come on gaffer, you the same guy who said he wanted Carroll to come into the game.

        Italy was the better team and they deserve to win. now onto the WC.

        1. Italy was the better team and deserved to win. And Andy Carroll, after coming on, did far better than Danny Welbeck.

          The Gaffer

          1. haha…It’s okay if you tell yourself that. I have no problem with it. ZonalMarking came to the same conclusion I did while watching the game.

  22. One can tinker all they want with lineups and debate who should and shouldn’t be in it but the sad fact is that English players lack technical ability to win a tournament in Europe or the World Cup where there are so many countries with better footballers. Does anyone actually believe that even youngsters like Dyer and Sinclair who are good at keeping the ball are in the same league as the youngsters from Germany or Spain?

    Unless there is a change in the way the academies are run England will always struggle to win a tournament. The only way England can win with today’s talent is what Hodgson is doing which is play defensively and try to win on the break. It can be done as Greece showed in 2004. But it will not produce success that lasts.

  23. Dave, that is very well put. No, I don’t think youngsters like Dyer and Sinclair are in the same league as the youngsters from Germany or Spain, but I think they could be if they were played and given the experience. That is how Germany and Spain develop those players in the first place. The fact is that England simply don’t seem to value that type of player and so they are continually overlooked with the result that people are then always shocked when we can’t seem to pass the ball. There is a huge disconnect between English league play and world play that many English coaches/fans either don’t recognize or refuse to accept.

    I just don’t think that plodding along with the same old formula is in England’s best interest, but then, nobody asked me.

  24. Yes Italy dominated us pretty much from start to finish, but the fact is this will go down in the record books as a 0-0 draw , with Italy winning the lottery that is the PK shootout. Italy will likely be crushed by the Germans in the semis, but they already have their excuse card – lack of rest!
    As for Hodgson, the FA knew what they were getting, and he’s been as advertised so far

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