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England look to remove shackles against Sweden

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Phil McNulty | 17:29 UK time, Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Euro 2012: In Krakov

As Roy Hodgson joined England's players in driving rain on gentle laps of the pitch at their Hutnik training base, his thoughts will have focused firmly on the next phase of their Euro 2012 campaign.

The buzzword from players and management around the England camp since the creditable 1-1 draw against France in their opening game in Donetsk has been "platform".

A point earned from arguably England's toughest Group D game in Ukraine has provided this platform - a base and solid foundation for manager Hodgson to move forward.

Invite questions on the first impressions of Hodgson's new England, however, and one query is posed with such regularity that it assumes significance.

Joleon Lescott

Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott scored England's goal against France in their opening game in Donetsk. Photo: Getty  

Can England emerge from what has been a rigid, fiercely disciplined tactical approach to remove the shackles when the occasion demands, as it will against Sweden in Kiev on Friday when a win would take them closer to the quarter-finals?

France manager Laurent Blanc joined defender Patrice Evra in providing a less than flattering analysis of England's approach when he said: "You can win games this way but over the duration of a tournament you have to show some attacking ambition."

Hodgson will not waste a second of his time worrying about Blanc's judgement shaped on the evidence of one game in Donetsk. Indeed France were hardly an advert for footballing flamboyance.

England's 64-year-old manager rightly rails against suggestions that he suffers from some form of tactical rigidity, wrapped in caution and conservatism, formed during a lifetime in coaching. To sling such a label around his neck after three undefeated games in charge is to insult his intelligence.

He trusts implicitly in his own methods and to suggest he would ditch his time-served approach to fulfil the purists' desires at Euro 2012 is plucked from the realms of fantasy.

Hodgson's late appointment as successor to Fabio Capello meant he had to work fast. He has been at pains to point out both the shortage of time at his disposal and also that friendlies won against Norway and Belgium were very much "preparatory" in nature.

They served Hodgson well as England took the organisation and resilience from those 1-0 victories into the sweltering conditions of the Donbass Arena to emerge more or less unscathed against France.

And while it may not please fans of the beautiful game, it was essential England did not leave Donetsk defeated in their first game so it was understandable that it was regarded a mission more or less accomplished.

England will undoubtedly require more against Sweden in Kiev's Olympic Stadium but the opposition and the confidence gained from the opening game may well give them the platform - there's that word again - to blossom and offer proof that they can take a game by the scruff of the neck and dominate.

Hodgson's squad have made it clear they buy into his methods. He is carrying his players with him. and captain Steven Gerrard said: "From what I've seen there is an eagerness to get out on the training pitch and take Roy's ideas on. Everyone respects the manager's ideas and everyone is excited and determined to do well at this tournament."

The circumstances Hodgson inherited have also shaped his approach. He has been without his most gifted attacking influence as Wayne Rooney serves a two-game suspension and central midfield options were removed with injuries to Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry.

Rooney - looking eager and bursting with energy as well as a savage new haircut in the Hutnik downpour - is a player who can take Hodgson's tactical plan to another dimension when he returns for the final group game against co-hosts Ukraine.

Hodgson agreed as he said: "Our real ace in the hole should be Wayne because he is very fit and raring to go. He really can't wait to get on the field and if he can play like Wayne Rooney, then we're going to be a bit more difficult to beat for some of these teams because you can only benefit from having someone of his quality in your team."

He is also working without Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, who would have provided creation in midfield, as well as with an England squad he is still getting to know in a rush because of time constraints imposed by the date of his appointment.

So Hodgson would be within his rights to claim mitigating circumstances for the approach so far and his selection of Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a hugely positive sign, even if the gifted attacker was forced to fulfil the role revealed by Jamie Carragher, who played under the manager at Liverpool, when he said of his wide men: "He doesn't want them getting chalk on their boots."

Hodgson accepts England's transition from defence to attack has, at times, been unconvincing - thus adding to the perception of a team set up by their manager as defensive counter-punchers and a view perpetuated by Blanc and Evra.

He knows more is needed in the final third as he said: "Once or twice, especially in the first half, there were some very promising counter-attacks and they broke down because we tried a one-touch pass to finish it off rather than taking that extra touch."

All the early signs under Hodgson have been promising. The much-talked about "platform" has been set and he will hoping to assemble some more of the permanent structure against Sweden on Friday.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Sweden are (one of) our bogey teams, I predict another dull draw : (

  • Comment number 2.

    I thought england played reasonably well against the french and could have got more than a draw. I think chamberlain would be better off behind the striker as he always comes in off the left wing and ashley young should play wide instead. I think milner should be rested in the next game and walcott should start on the right giving us more pace on the counter.

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes, it's a stable platform upon which to build (getting sick of hearing that already), but it's just bloody tedious to watch. I would honestly prefer England to lose 4/5-3 than to win or draw the way they've been playing. Call me crazy, but I'm sure somebody mentioned something about football being entertainment. So at least make it entertaining.

  • Comment number 4.

    Harry Hotspur, what are you talking about? 'Prefer England to lose'? Don't be daft. We're not going to progress in this championship if we lose. I think Hodgson is spot on with his tactical approach with France and, hopefully, we will up attacking our game and be a bit more expressive in midfield and the final third against Sweden and when Rooney is back get into top gear. Come on England!

  • Comment number 5.

    I watch the beautiful game to be entertained. Therefore, from my point of view, it is best if this mediocre bunch representing England is eliminated as soon as possible.

    Then the technically far superior teams can show them the way it should be done.

  • Comment number 6.

    Mediocre? We'll see. Hiding your colours Trequartista?

  • Comment number 7.

    It will be a tough game but I believe we'll just have enough to beat Sweden.

  • Comment number 8.

    Denmark 2 Portugal 3

    Game of the tournament so far? I would say so.

    Ronaldo should have scored but for some reason decided to try and place it rather than chip the 'keeper or take it round him for a tap in.

    Can't wait for the titanic clash in just over 30 minutes...

  • Comment number 9.

    I just hope we play welbeck. Playing Carroll will make us less dangerous, as we become too obvious as to who our attacks will be directed to and through. Sweden with Zlatan are similarly obvious.

  • Comment number 10.

    if it's cooler than the conditions in Donestsk, they should be able to press the ball more and get more people forward...Sweden need to win, so they'll be more open at the back and the pace of Young, Welbeck and Oxlaide-Chamberlain can prise them open if we can supply them with the right passes. GOT TO TAKE MORE CARE OF THE BALL though....

  • Comment number 11.

    Aside from giving the ball away too easily and too often England played well against a French team with superior technical ability and against teams like that (see the friendly against Spain) our best bet is to be disciplined and hard to break down and you have to say it works.

    That said we will need to score goals at some point if we are to even get out of the group and the game against Sweden should give us a better idea of where we are in terms of attacking force.

    Finally I think the comment made by #3 claiming he'd prefer to see England lose than play with discipline and get what the vast majority consider to be a good result are frankly ridiculous!

    No England fan wants to see the team lose and the realists amongst us know that we can't play the game the way some teams can because we don't have players with the same technical ability as players from Spain, France etc and the sooner we accept that the better. We should all just get behind the team and no matter what happens just enjoy what is already turning out to be a great tournament.

    Come on England!

  • Comment number 12.

    south croydon eagle @4

    I think Hodgson is spot on with his tactical approach with France and, hopefully, we will up attacking our game
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    He certainly did, with a few tweeks we may just have won that one.

    As for Sweden totally different kettle of fish to France, I do not feel the tactics will change. What will happen, is a greater freedom to play because of the Swedish style.

    We have had some tough games against them in the past but this one's entirely different, they need a win or their out. So a more adventurous Sweden will do nicely, there should be more space in midfield for us to work with.

  • Comment number 13.

    Let's be honest. England is not recognized as a team playing beautiful football and will never be. It is within their blood to play like that. Only players like Gascoigne and Rooney gave England a different face at times. The best teams these days are very balanced from defence to attack. England lacks creativeness and possession with the ball.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 16.

    If only Milner Had scored, the headlines would have been very different, still fancy England to 'Chelsea' their way through the group and 'Arsenal' their way out of the tournament in the Semis with Rooney being the main culprit for the exit.

  • Comment number 17.

    The draw against France was a good result, achieved with, let's be honest here, a moderate bunch of players. When you look at the injuries/suspension of Rooney/new manager amongst other unsettling issues largely the fault of the media, the build up to this tournament couldn't have been any worse. I for one thought France would beat us, as probably did most England fans, so a point against a team unbeaten in 22 games was definitely a good way to start the tournament.

    As for the Sweden game, I feel we must get a win in this game to progress, as the last game against the hosts, in my opinion, will be a very difficult game.

    My biggest fear here is whether Roy has the players available and tactical nouse to change from a "thou shall not pass" system to an offensive set-up. I would love to be proved wrong!!

  • Comment number 18.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the stewards at the France game for denying entry to the England Band.
    I've said it on here countless times. The monototonous melody of 'Ring of Fire' does absolutely nothing to inspire the team and how wonderful it was to watch a match without their ill wind distraction.

    Long may it continue. Take note FA.

  • Comment number 19.

    I find it incredible that week in, week out we have millions of football fans watching all sorts of teams right up and down the leagues. And lets be brutally honest, 90% of clubs can't win much and play to their strengths, i.e. many of them don't play 'beautiful' football because they don't have the players. And yet no one complains. In fact, the fans love it.

    And yet when it comes to England, all these "fans" suddenly can't support England or want them to lose because we don't play 'beautiful' football.

    The excitement for me, watching and supporting England is the hope, the expectation, the ups, the downs, the winning. In 1966, England won the World Cup with a fairly average team that did a job. And yet when talking about it, no one remembers how the team played, just the results. Similarly, when people talk about Spain winning in 2010 in years to come, no one will remember how they won it, just that they won it.

    I can only assume the people that can't / won't support England are a) Barcelona fans or b) Premier League fans. In other words, they don't know what football in England is all about.

    Whilst it does puzzle me, to be honest, these are the "fans" that we can do without, thanks.

    Come on England!

  • Comment number 20.

    Please check the attitude of a German Team playing against Holland. They are up 2-0 and still attacking. Isn't that the attitude a team should have to win tournaments ?. Fear is the emotion England should remove and Confidence the one to embrace.

  • Comment number 21.

    20.At 21:04 13th Jun 2012, multisportstech wrote:

    We would all of course love to play with the attacking guile of the Germans, but let's be realistic here.

    We don't have the same quality fo players as the Germans do, and therefore have to make best use of our limited squad.

    We tried the "throw the kitchen sink " style at the Germans during the last world cup, and were soundly beaten.

  • Comment number 22.

    What will be your excuse Phil when England doesn't progress beyond the group stage. That your boy Roy didn't pick the squad and starting team. That he didn't employ the "Park the Bus" non-football tatics. Again I ask you name the trophies that Hodgson's has on his CV. Remember his big time shot at a Big club. How did that end and now half that team at the Euros. ZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    Why does the BBC have to portray Steve Gerrard as a military "hero"? This is done subtly (in the trailers [and for heaven knows why]) with military rank and insignia faded in over his England football shirt. It's an insult to those who have served in the military, have faced life and death situations and lost friends in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflicts too numerous to mention. This is inappropriate for Euro 2012! It's cheap, ridiculous and insulting - please cease and desist.

  • Comment number 24.

    18.At 20:57 13th Jun 2012, Peter B wrote:
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the stewards at the France game for denying entry to the England Band.
    I've said it on here countless times. The monototonous melody of 'Ring of Fire' does absolutely nothing to inspire the team and how wonderful it was to watch a match without their ill wind distraction.

    Long may it continue. Take note FA.

    ___________________________________________
    Agree with you totally.

    The monotony of it drives you nuts, much as the vuvuzelas did during the last WC.

    The bad news appears to be that they will be allowed the instruments on Friday!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    For the first time in a while I think we have an England team that can be classed as playing a certain style of football and for me that is a good thing. I'm loathed to use the word again but there is a "platform" to build upon and the players look as if they understand their roles within the team - I see a lot of parallels with the England rugby team since Lancaster has been appointed and they have improved game by game.

    I don't think our approach will differ against Sweden which in my opinion is the right thing to do. This Swedish side play a more expansive, attacking game and were one of only 3 sides to score more than 30 goals in qualifying (they also need to win this game), so hopefully we can exploit the space they leave in behind.

    I think progress for England will be an improvement in the speed that we transition between defence and attack and either an attempt to retain possession or slow the game down when we are under pressure - we failed to do this in the 15 minutes before half time when France scored where it was pretty much attack vs. defence.

    Finally, I think we will win but a draw will not be the end of the world, it will just mean we have to beat the Ukrainians to qualify.

  • Comment number 26.

    If it's not Ring of Fire, it's The Great Escape. Harldy inspiring since most of them got shot in the end.

    When was the last time we had a great tournament? Euro 96. Was the band evident then? Of course not, we had Baddiel and Skinner.

  • Comment number 27.

    ingerland will get a mauling

    simples.

  • Comment number 28.

    "Can England emerge from what has been a rigid, fiercely disciplined tactical approach to remove the shackles when the occasion demands, as it will against Sweden in Kiev on Friday when a win would take them closer to the quarter-finals?"

    Certainly. Will they do it particularly well? No.

    They just don't have the players. The truth is England struggled to complete a back pass in their first game, and hardly managed to keep the ball, passing or dribbling, for more than a few seconds at a time. Long periods of French possession were only interrupted by an English player kicking it straight back to the French.

    It's a tough choice for England, now that they need to play for a win. Play to your strengths and an all-too-likely draw, or try to play more ambitiously, without the skill to do it very effectively.

    Having said all that I find this team appealing in an ugly duckling kind of way. They try hard, they're young, and maybe luck, effort and discipline will reward them with a quarterfinal match and more.

  • Comment number 29.

    England have great steel in their play. Teams like Spain benefit from those players who have picked up some of this resillience in England : Silva, Fabregas, Alonso, Pique, Torres, Reina all take it with them to tournaments to great effect.

  • Comment number 30.

    whilst ingerland are busy with all the bunny and boring the pants of everyone

    two very good games played out today.

    as predicted, correctly again, Denmark 2 Portugal 3 ( takes a bow of course )

    the Germans as ever methodical, clinical, well organised beat Holland.

    ingerland can only dream that 1stly they will get out the group and 2ndly anyone inside or outside football takes them seriously on anything.

  • Comment number 31.

    Sit on Ibrahimovic, or kick him up in the air. However you do it, make sure he doesn't get a sniff. After that, the game is won.

  • Comment number 32.

    Aside from the fact that the match promises a meeting between two of the most dull sides in the tournament, I still fancy the Swedes to put their disappointment behind them and put 3 points on the board. This will leave England with the unenviable task of beating the host nation in the last group match. If this scenario does not fill you with hope, at least we will have the cool, calm and collected Rooney back. Oh Lordy!

  • Comment number 33.

    The more I read the more I think I'm reading about Scotland...Solid platforms, safe defending, breakaway victory if only the ball hadn't hit the post....etc... Only Scotland managed to beat a better France.....twice! Puts it into perspective I hope at last!

  • Comment number 34.

    England play better against the big teams. In 1996 we only drew with Switzerland then spanked the Dutch. In 2002 we beat Argentina but could only draw with Sweden and Nigeria. In 2001 we beat Germany 5-1 and then laboured to a 2-0 win over some Eastern European minnows the next month (I forget who) and then only scraped a draw with Greece. In 2000 we beat Germany but lost to Romania. And in qualifying for the last world cup we reserved our two best games for the team who got second in the group (Croatia) whilst managing to lose to Ukraine and draw with Macedonia (from memory, but you get the point I'm making). And even when we lose in the knock-out stages, we usually play our best football of the tournament (v Argentina in 98, v Portugal in 06) and it usually takes penalties to knock us out.

    Sadly, and I mean no disrespect, Sweden and Ukraine aren't "big teams", so we may struggle.

    That said, England can beat any side here on their day. And international football is now so close that it only takes a single act, piece of luck, a split second lapse in concentration, bad call from a ref, a ball hitting a post instead of going in, a lucky bounce, etc to determine the outcome of a game or even a tournament. That's why most games so far have been decided by a single goal.

  • Comment number 35.

    Can't help thinking that if Milner had scored and England were victorious then we'd all be singing a different tune because that was a nice attacking move, more of that please. But yes overall England were too negative, too deep, didn't keep possession and didn't create enough chances. I agree that you may employ that philosophy against the likes of superpowers like Brazil or Spain but against France, come on! Have a go and beat them.

    On a different day France may have won comfortably as they had a majority of possession and chances and that illustrates the problem: regardless of the result, France was dictating the terms of that match and England shouldn't stand for that. When are England actually going to step up and beat the likes of France, Netherlands, Germany at these tournaments? France has had to completely re-build itself from the winning sides of the late 90's early 2000's via their recent implosion and yet they are already back playing at a high level expecting to go deep into tournaments.

    Regarding the comments that England "doesn't have the talent" I think it's more a case of under-developed talent or a different coaching philosophy from an early age. Plenty of raw talent, just misdirected or worse yet, blunted talent. There is no reason why the likes of Walcott, Ox, Young, Wilshere, et al can't blossom into the likes of Nasri, Rosicky, Ribery, Ozil and begin conducting the midfield and orchestrating attacks the way those players do. Also no reason why Gerrard, Milner, Parker and Young shouldn't be unleashing more shots like "Cuba" did for Poland yesterday to test the keeper at least... a whole 2 or 3 shots on target is almost shameful. It's been said before but England have plenty of talent - seem to have a systemic problem in player development or tactics that sets in from an early age.

  • Comment number 36.

    England should win this match against Sweden. Major questions will be asked at England if they fail to beat Sweden on Friday.

  • Comment number 37.

    @26 Peter B

    When was the last time we had a great tournament? Euro 96. Was the band evident then? Of course not, we had Baddiel and Skinner.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I reckon 'World In Motion' at Italia 90 takes some beating..... As for what that tuneless brass band should take, waterboarding would be a start.

    I expect England to prevail against Sweden. Making the most of what we have.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ 5 Trequartista: since when were technical teams more entertaining? Unless 800 sideways passes is what turns you on. The end-to-end action of the Premier League is far better to watch than the pedestrian (but technically superior) La Liga.

    I struggled to watch the last world cup final because it was just the Spanish doing 50 sideways passes, followed by a dive. Repeat.

    And @ Harry Hotspur, the six seconds of entertainment when Steven Gerrard lifts the trophy is all I'm after ;)

  • Comment number 39.

    @ 33

    It does put it into persepctive. My perspective currently shows that England are involved in the European Championships and Scotland didn't qualify.

    Come back when you actually manage to even get close to qualifying for a major championship!

  • Comment number 40.

    @ Scotitalia: this is the Scotland who lost 5-1 to the USA last month? England have some way to fall before reaching those depths.

    @ Haha CharadeYouAre: in one breath you're telling us that the games today were entertaining, and then you describe one as being "clinical, methodical and organised"?? I'm going to suggest that if you pick up a thesaurus, "entertaining" will not be listed as a synonym of "clinical" or "methodical".

    Methodical is what tax accountants are.

    Indeed in many sports, the most entertaining sides (thinking specifically of Pacific Islands rugby here) are the ones who don't really have a game plan and just chuck it around, showing some flair rather than acting like robots.

  • Comment number 41.

    #37 It's obvious what is required for England to get to the semis of a major tournament. Not great players, manager or tactics but a decent England song.

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    What puzzles me is that for decades Germany played a solid, defensive, structured game and everyone marvelled at what an amzing team they were. Ditto Italy. Russia did the ame and were respected. England play a defensive structured game and everyone says they are boring.
    The main difference between England and Germany was that they Germans have always had a resilience that carries them through with regularity but England have always been emotionally fragile and lost. I can say with certainty that if England had played like this and won more tournaments over the years, everyone would be saying how wonderful they are.

    Amazing what difference a trophy or two makes...

  • Comment number 44.

    @40

    i also suggest you actual watch a game or two and stop with your blabbering nonsense as is seen from your previous comments.

    the facts are the Germans were indeed clinical, methodical and very well organised
    something ingerland know little about, the games were both entertaining

    ingerland will no doubt serve up another borefest, needless to say i will be having a rather good evening out so will be spared watching such dross.

  • Comment number 45.

    A very entertaining match. The Dutch were all over the place defensively and could have easily conceded more goals.

    Ozil has been extremely influential so far and Gomez is doing what all good strikers do - make the most of their opportunities. If the Germans push on from here then it's going to take a great performance to beat them in the knockout stages.

  • Comment number 46.

    @ Druid

    The thing in France is, and I dont rate as a football superpower, fans want to be entertained. There is huge importance played on the way we play not just results. Im not going to pretend that if we win a competition we will be too bothered about how we did it, but the way youth players are trained is mainly based on technique. Football competes with a lot of successful sports in France and hence has to be more than just winning, it needs style and panache.

    I think England can qualify playing how they did in first game, though I'm not sure they can win a competition this way. Having said that the winners will not be coming from our group anyway, very unlikely.

  • Comment number 47.

    "You can win games this way but over the duration of a tournament you have to show some attacking ambition"

    - You mean like France's qualifying campaign, Mr. Blanc? France were just full of goals, weren't they?

  • Comment number 48.

    I don't understand why being an attacking side is looked down upon these days.

    I wouldn't say Real Madrid pass it sideways all day or for that matter Germany or Holland. Attacking and Entertaining does not have to mean tiki taka or similar (Not that I personally find tiki taka boring, but I appreciate some do which is the argument here).

    England could adopt an attacking style, for all the statements of 'we don't have the ability', I don't think the players are *that* bad really. It's moreso that we have this lack of confidence and aura of pessimism.

    I can agree with doing what you can to get results, but personally I just find it a bit dull. Looking back at Newcastle in the mid-late nineties, I'm not that bothered we failed to win it, we played great stuff and was really enjoyable, you won't find a back 8 team in a premier league classic games list!

  • Comment number 49.

    @41

    You are missing the point entirely.
    Have you every been to Wembley? Have you ever seen England tempo naturally changing to match the tempo of monotony?

    The sooner this is taken more seriously, the better.
    Sure, I won't catapult us to glory, but it won't hurt...

  • Comment number 50.

    885.At 12:43 13th Jun 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    Denmark 2 Portugal 4
    Holland v Germany to hard to call, so sitting on the fence.
    __________________________________________

    30.At 21:45 13th Jun 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    as predicted, correctly again, Denmark 2 Portugal 3 ( takes a bow of course )
    ____________________________________________

    Ahem !!!
    Would you care to revise your last statement as you called it incorrectly ?

  • Comment number 51.

    well we know one thing

    ingerland are incapable of holding onto a lead

    the euphoria about lescott falling over with the ball hitting his head did not last long did it

    perhaps that brass band struck up with Rule Brittania again

    and bingo the opposition scores .

    the sooner ingerland are on that plane home the better, we can then all settle down to watch some entertaining stuff , Hodgson can go back to West Brom and ingerland can go through the " rebuilding process " for the WC in 4012.

  • Comment number 52.

    - You mean like France's qualifying campaign, Mr. Blanc? France were just full of goals, weren't they?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    surely you realise that there is a different standard expected to win a competition and qualify for one no? In Blanc's defence he never considered France as potential winners because he is aware of his own team's shortcomings.

  • Comment number 53.

    22. "Remember his big time shot at a Big club..."

    Er, that would be the team that is still absolute rubbish even after spending another 80 million quid AFTER Roy left? Good point.

  • Comment number 54.

    @ 50

    :)

    that must be a mis-print ! if not then of course i will retract it, i could have sworn i predicted 3-2 to Portugal

    and thank you for correcting me.

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 42 Haha Charade You Are: that's just a superb come-back.

    I didn't argue that they weren't indeed methodical and well-organised. I said that this doesn't make them entertaining. It makes them the England rugby team.

    Your reading comprehension skills are right up there with your come-backs.

  • Comment number 56.

    bleublancrogue @46

    Spot on but it's down to culture over many years. Tennis, football played with freedom etc.

    I'm also a massive Union fan and of course love the traditional French style and approach but sadly in recent years they have adapted their game and gone against tradition. It still won't be enough because it is not just about adopting another nations style, you also have to adopt the mentality as well.

    That is exactly why i feel agitated when I hear we should play like so and so nation, it's just not enough to try and copy a style, it also has to fit a nations mentality.

    Brasil found that out when the national team adopted a European style in the past. all well and good until they realised they did not have the mental approach for it.

  • Comment number 57.

    51. well we know one thing...

    ...You certainly love to spend time trolling on England stories comments sections!

  • Comment number 58.

    And what is your team haha charade?

  • Comment number 59.

    As a German who enjoys the Premier League football it is clear that England is not able to make international play in the same style of play as the league. The champions of Europe must defend and attack in equal ability. The changes to the rules have made for this different attitude in German football. I hear people say that England has talent but is under great pressure, but no more pressure than Germany, Italy or Spain. Sweden are strong and have to win now. This game with England will show the true ability of both teams and who will progress from Grouppe D. But the final is another question.

  • Comment number 60.

    @33 scatitalia..

    At least our bus made it across Europe before we parked it...Jog on hamish..
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    @30 HaSoulHaPatchdopplegangerCharadeBuffoon

    Finished your jobs for mummy Dave? Is she letting you having a go on the computer, again? When's your imaginary friend appearing?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    it may be desperate at times, with little chance of scoring, but with a good defence I feel confidant of a result. As for the match...............

  • Comment number 61.

    @ 54 HAHA CharadeYouAre

    If it's any consolation you were closer than senor soul_patch...

  • Comment number 62.

    54.At 22:22 13th Jun 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    _________________________________________

    Aplogy accepted :)
    I thought for a minute that you had become a disciple of the "soul patch" school of predictions where near misses count as goals.

  • Comment number 63.

    Sweden is a must-win but we did beat them last time round with largely the same players available. We are also capable of doing more than grinding out results - let's see what happens.

  • Comment number 64.

    @58

    its not ingerland thats for sure

    in the case of world and international tournaments i wish to be entertained not bored to death. the same can be said in the PL although here I am more than fond of Arsenal.

    the team i am supporting in the Euros is

    Russia.

  • Comment number 65.

    By the way, of course the games today would have been more entertaining than a first-round clash. Holland basically knew that they had to win or at least draw in order to progress. If England are in a must-win situation against Ukraine, then expect some all-out attacking flair ala Arsenal v Barcelona at the Emirates (when they were 3-0 down on aggregate).

    But if both sides are simply trying to avoid defeat, where's the incentive for flair?

    By the way, if Eng v Fra was boring, and France had the ball 70% of the time, surely this is a reflection of France, not England? It would only be England's fault if they had 70% of the ball and spent the whole time passing it sideways before unleashing a shot from 20 yards.

    And let's not forget England's injry and suspension list.

  • Comment number 66.

    @62

    :)

    i was quite happy it ended 3-2 as i could once again claim bragging rights over my predictions, and how once again i have shown i do indeed know something about football.

    the fact you pointed out my error has left me with a red face, as I am sure as eggs is eggs I stated 3-2 to Portugal perhaps it was a numerical problem on my bluetooth keyboard as i really did mean to type 3-2 not 4-2.

    as it is i must accept my gaff has been exposed but will not deter me from making further predictions as the tournament progresses.

  • Comment number 67.

    Baggiosponytail @45

    Why on earth did the Dutch coach start with two defensive midfielders when the defence itself is poor. The Dutch compounded the situation because their attacking options were limited, they had two plodders in midfield, leaving RVP isolated.

    I recognise the fact that they are not the greatest team defensively but it is lunacy to think two protectors will solve their defensive frailty.

    Yes he changed it at half time but that was 45 minutes too late.

    The Germans once again looked fairly balanced, I think they are beatable but their does not appear to be anyone in their half of the draw, to do that.

  • Comment number 68.

    @65

    you were improving until ...

    " And let's not forget England's injry and suspension list. "

    it also seems your own ' thesaurus ' is missing a letter or two.

    whats is the meaning of the word " injry" ?

  • Comment number 69.

    Group B throws up some interesting permutations now.

    If Germany beat Denmark and Netherlands beat Portugal then Germany would have 9 points and the rest 3 points. It would then come down to goal difference between the teams level on points and so on.

    What is really ironic is that if Germany draw or lose against the Danes it knocks the Dutch out regardless of the result in their match against Portugal.

    I imagine the Germans would be quite happy with a draw in their last match!

  • Comment number 70.

    @ Londoner

    Dont even get me started on Rugby Union!

  • Comment number 71.

    all this talk of tactics and team selection misses the most important point - are the band having their instruments confiscated again ?

  • Comment number 72.

    52. Yes, it's clearly much harder to win a tournament than qualify which makes me wonder why France made such hard work of it!

  • Comment number 73.

    think we'll beat the swedes 3 nil or there abouts, we are getting better with each game and by the time rooney is back i think we'll be capable of taking on anybody.

    should give you trolls a few more blogs to post in

  • Comment number 74.

    Three games into Roy Hodgson's reign and three things are crystal clear:-

    1. He has a tactical vision, that you have to stop losing before you start winning, and will not let outside opinion sway him from it;

    2. He cuts his coat according the cloth, playing players in their natural positions where he gets the best from them;

    3. The players like and respect him; they understand what he wants and they give him 100%.

    These are not attributes that would necessarily apply to some of England's previous managers.

  • Comment number 75.

    i see the pundits were quick to persecute RVP as for Huntelarr ? he made a good foil for RVP thats about it.

    I imagine the Dutch will play both RVP & Huntelarr in their remaining game which they will have to and win and by some margin as well.

    i admired the Dutch spirit from the off they showed a desire to win and where undone by two moments of sheer brilliance by the Germans.

  • Comment number 76.

    England are going home early. They're as clueless as they ever were.

    They have 2 more draws in their future for a total of 3 points leaving France and Ukraine to go through.

  • Comment number 77.

    @72

    Very simple really, an almost entirely new team with a young manager, having to start after two disastrous campaigns. But he is most definitely on the right track, its all about continuous improvement, and thus far he has shown it. This competition has come a bit to early for us, but its great experience ahead of 2014.

  • Comment number 78.

    @ 67 Londoner

    They don't play to their strength which is their attacking players. As you said with 2 defensive midfielders they were unlikely to provide many chances for Van Persie - they created some scoring opportunities in the first half but not enough. I said before the match they had to play Huntelaar from the start. His goalscoring record is very impressive. They were extremely unlikely to keep a clean sheet so they had to make sure they scored at least 2 goals.

  • Comment number 79.

    baggiosponytail

    That Denmark/German game is strictly a no go area for me. I had a decent bet on the Germans tonight but wouldn't touch them in that final game.

    It all down to Low, so if anyone has a direct line, I'd be grateful.

  • Comment number 80.

    75.At 22:50 13th Jun 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    I imagine the Dutch will play both RVP & Huntelarr in their remaining game which they will have to and win and by some margin as well.
    _____________________________________

    Actually a 2-0 win will see the Dutch qualify for the next round , and of course Germany beat Denmark.

  • Comment number 81.

    ingerland supporters would do well to note;

    Hodgson is not a ' coach ' or ' manager '

    he's nothing more than a PR front man and will soon be found wanting when things start hotting up.

    did you not notice his touchline antics and body language totally out of his depth and i am afraid sucking your thumb on TV in front of thousands of viewers just about summed up how out of his depth he really is.

  • Comment number 82.

    I think Roy will start with the same 11, but we must be obviously more offensive than the France game. Gerrard will start attacks from his deeper midfield role and join Milner, Ox, Welbeck and Young who must be more fluid, changing positions....

    Tactically this is the big game for Roy, can he go out and win a game we want/need to win...

    Been some great game's so far, but my question would be would Germany have scored the 2 goals they scored against Holland against England?...I doubt it very much with the way England would be set up defensively if they played the German's....

    Like i say The interesting thing is has Roy got a plan B for Sweden....

  • Comment number 83.

    Actually a 2-0 win will see the Dutch qualify for the next round , and of course Germany beat Denmark.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    which could potentially give us another Russia vs Holland and a highly charged Poland vs Germany!

  • Comment number 84.

    Bleublancrouge

    Blanc probably inherited the ideal set up, they were so far down, the only way was up. I'll be interested to see how far he can take them.

    It may well be, that he will know what is achievable in the next four years and if it's not to his liking, it may be back to club management. Where he would certainly get a decent club to manage.

  • Comment number 85.

    @80

    are you suggesting Portugal won't score :)

  • Comment number 86.

    @ Londoner

    Absolutely, in terms of results the only way was up, but there was a lot, a lot, of PR and communication issues to sort out as you can imagine, and you know what the french press are like with their own. I think he handled all the 'mental' side very well. Helps that he was widely respected as a player on and off the pitch.
    He was being linked with Inter, his record as a club manager very short but successful. The FFF rejected an extension before tournament after the Domenech nightmares, so he is potentially free to talk to who he likes. His desire is to take France to Brazil, but depends on Euros.

    Personally i am looking forward to the selection after the Euros and the steady progression of a very talented u21 side especially Griezman and Varane

  • Comment number 87.

    which is worse

    1 : standing under an Umbrella on the touchline

    or


    2 : Sucking your Thumb and talking to yourself looking just as clueless

    ingerland are progressing thats for sure :)

  • Comment number 88.

    @ 74 Equilibro

    Some very good points. It is extremely important for the players to understand both their role in the team and at a more general level what the philisophy of the team is. It sounds simple but as you say it has not always occurred with previous England managers.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 87 HAHA CharadeYouAre

    What are you on about?

  • Comment number 90.

    One major factor in our favour, presumably our greatest asset going forward is Rooney. If we get out of this group and i see no real reason why we should not do that, if we play our normal game. Then we will have a VIP who is as fresh as a daisy.

    The reports from around Europe this morning, many centred on the Russian manager stating his team were fatigued and they did play that way in their game against Poland.

    Germany have the luxury of resting players and i think they need to, they have finished slightly weary in both games because their style requires a full shift from all their players.

  • Comment number 91.

    85.At 23:04 13th Jun 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    are you suggesting Portugal won't score :)

    ______________________________

    After watching Ronaldo tonight that is a distinct possibility :)

  • Comment number 92.

    @81

    What an ignorant comment

    Hodgson is the most travelled English manager alive in terms of nations he has managed at. You have to have guts to manage in all those countries, know the five languages he does and make relatively bad teams like Dugan and WBA prosper

    How can you accuse hodgkin of being a puppet

  • Comment number 93.

    Sorry my I pod changes some of my words with its rediculous spell check

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    Bleublancrouge

    Is Griezmann the left side midfield come winger. If it is i remember him from the under19's, he looked a handful with an eye for goal.

  • Comment number 96.

    @ 91 repo

    I think he actually played better today than in their first game. I can't understand why he tried to place a shot rather than going round the Danish goalie though.

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    @96

    I think he actually played better today than in their first game. I can't understand why he tried to place a shot rather than going round the Danish goalie though.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Because he's a show pony tart.

  • Comment number 99.

    @ 94 HAHA CharadeYouAre

    McClaren didn't just look clueless, he was clueless.

    The media will always try to find a comical/insulting caricature for English managers.

  • Comment number 100.

    We need a good win against Sweden. Then we can get together with our dear friends and hosts, Ukraine, after they've thrashed the French, and engineer a draw that will put us both through.

 

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