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England must build on platform from France draw

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Phil McNulty | 08:32 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2012

In Donetsk

Roy Hodgson will have felt an inner surge of satisfaction as Patrice Evra stood in the alleyways of Donetsk's Donbass Arena and damned England with faint praise.

Evra confessed to a night of French frustration as England assembled the first foundations for their Euro 2012 campaign with a 1-1 draw built around the template new manager Hodgson has swiftly put in place.

Hodgson called it a platform. Evra - in a nice sort of way - called it dull. What this was, on a night of searing heat and clammy humidity in Ukraine, was a very creditable draw. A good point.

Evra moved with great reluctance towards offering England praise, likening their approach to Chelsea's successful rearguard action in victory when they met Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final.

It did not sound like a message designed to flatter England. It certainly flattered France as the side overseen by Laurent Blanc, now unbeaten in 22 games, hardly prompts comparisons to the Catalan artists from the Nou Camp.

England were not dazzling and most would say this was the least eventful match so far in Poland and Ukraine - but it was a graphic illustration of where they currently stand and how Hodgson wishes to move things forward.

Samir Nasri cancelled out Joleon Lescott's 30th-minute header in the 1-1 draw. Photo: Getty

Hodgson shed what some regard as his default position of conservatism by preferring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a most mature and assured figure at just 18, to Stewart Downing on the left flank. Arsenal's youngster may have only shown fleeting glimpses of what he can do as good service was sparse, but his selection alone was an optimistic signpost of how Hodgson is prepared to make the bold call when the time is right.

Taken in total, however, this was a draw that simply mirrored much of what we had seen in the 1-0 friendly victories against Norway and Belgium since Hodgson replaced Fabio Capello. It was organised and tactically solid but also with similar flaws which he will have to address as Euro 2012 moves along.

It was a tough night for England. For all the talk about how they would be able to cope with the switch in climate from cool Krakow in Poland to baking-hot Donetsk in Ukraine, the heat clearly had an impact.

England's players have even been troubled by the local insect population, who have made the sweeping, impressive Donbass Arena their home and were out in force again on Monday.

The more irritating pests were Manchester City's Samir Nasri, who was a threat throughout and scored a superb equaliser after Joleon Lescott's header had put England ahead, and the wonderful Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy, who was by some margin the game's most accomplished performer.

England will take heart from a result they probably would have settled for ahead of the game. Captain Steven Gerrard certainly seemed satisfied as his statement about "a good point" was met with almost unanimous agreement as he walked to the team coach.

France held sway in possession to a ratio of 60-40 and Evra was on stronger ground when he suggested they were the better team. England, though, have a system that currently suits them and it is obvious Hodgson has been subjecting them to his intensive training drills and repetitions on the training ground to knock them into shape in the little time available.

Manchester United youngster Danny Welbeck gave a mature performance alongside Ashley Young up front while Gerrard and Scott Parker - who looked close to exhaustion when he was taken off - blocked up central midfield.

Hodgson does not always take kindly to suggestions he brings simply meticulous organisation and discipline to the tactics table. He will know, then, that while the manner of this match has suited this style, new and more expansive tests await.

England still look less than confident as they try to make the transition from defence to attack and a period of real sloppiness in possession resulted in a build-up of French momentum that brought their equaliser.

They occasionally fell too deep, especially when they visibly tired late on, and England failed to make the most of the vulnerability of France central defenders Philippe Mexes and Adil Rami, exposed by the pace and movement of Welbeck and Young early on.


Ukraine's win against Sweden has upped the ante in Group D.
England need to beat the Swedes in Kiev's Olympic Stadium on Friday, so they will require more than being fiendishly hard to beat.

The way the group is shaped after the opening games raises the prospect of the stage being set for Wayne Rooney's return from suspension for the final match against the co-hosts in Donetsk, which may just have England's whole show riding on it. Just how Rooney might like it.

And one thing is certain - the atmosphere will have an edge of fierce hostility that was nowhere to be seen or heard in the same stadium on Monday. After deafening pre-match entertainment, the actual match was played out in passages of virtual silence.

It occasionally gave the game an unreal air as players could be heard clearly shouting instructions. If this revealed anything of significance, it was that deposed former captain John Terry has no intention of going quietly as he vocally urged his England colleagues to greater efforts.

As a starting point this was perfectly acceptable, a result England and Hodgson might just have shaken hands on before the game. It was indeed a platform, an exercise in putting down foundations.

Now Hodgson and England must take the next step and build something of substance on this early groundwork.

Comments

Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    Manchester United youngster Danny Welbeck gave a mature performance alongside Ashley Cole up front

    Since when was Ashley Cole up front???

  • Comment number 2.

    Im guessing you meant ashley young phil ;)

    Good preformance last night, i must say i was suprised how well england held it together.

  • Comment number 3.

    thought england looked ok,

    ox looked good along with welbeck,

    thought gerrard was poor to many stray passes, same with parker but i just like the crazy face dives he does to block the ball

    france were the better team overrall but couldnt create any real chances

    on the whole decent point for both

  • Comment number 4.

    We should have buried France last night, but the conservatism and the lack of flair made sure that was not going to happen.

    Does anyone else yearn for the sight of a Gascoigne, Hoddle, Le Tissier. Where have all the ball players gone?

  • Comment number 5.

    Too many Ashleys eh?

    Thought it was a good performance which contained France for the most part. Evra's 'praise' was nice but France were worried about what England could do, otherwise why did they concede really very cynical fouls when on occasion England's midfield had stolen the ball and were looking to break?

  • Comment number 6.

    France were pretty disappointing I thought.

    Anyway, a draw against them is a good result, would have taken it before the match, so I cant grumble now.

    I thought the team looked good as a whole too, very disciplined in what they had to do.

    The ref seemed very inconsistent though, but of course I accept I am bias with that one.

    Still a draw, good result and a fair result.

  • Comment number 7.

    feel now we need to look more attacking in the next games a 4-2-3-1 will be the best formation to go with

    hart
    johnson lescott terry cole
    milner/jones parker
    young gerrard ox
    Welbeck

  • Comment number 8.

    a few early flaps from Hart and the almost totally failure of Parker and Gerrard to keep possession, set up attacks or to produce anything remotely resembling controlling the tempo of the match were England's only real problems. Hart settled into it and the other two did plenty of donkey work as you'd expect, but it's not a platform to play from, obviously.

    Nasri seems to be attracting a lot of praise for very little, as does Chamberlain. England's best player was Danny Welbeck, of course. Milner did ok, and looked the only player capable of actually giving Welbeck any support. Young seemed to freeze and Ox doesn't know when to pass.

    i expect Carrol will come in for Ox against Sweden, with Young on the left. unfortunately we'll still be stuck with the same pairing in midfield. the Sweden game was always likely to be the worst of the entire competition anyway, so Hodgson's tactics and the personnel available (in central midfield) don't exactly hold out any hope that that won't be the case.

  • Comment number 9.

    Parker played his part, his blocks alone has earned him a place for the next game, the french goal was gerrards fault, he was in the box as a defender when there was no one to mark, by the time he realised he was out of position it was too late.

  • Comment number 10.

    Ox was not getting the chance to move, he had a bad game. to much praise for him on here today, he did nothing

  • Comment number 11.

    Good result for England, we need to beat sweden next . Ukraine getting 3 points makes the group more interesting.

    Thought our defence sat too deep , our midfield hassled and closed down. But compared to the French our attack had too few ideas , and very little came off.

  • Comment number 12.

    all in all if it wasnt england playing i would have probably fell asleep as they like chelsea in the champions league played a formation of 8-1-1 and made the match into a snoozefest unlike the french who were willing to play the game of ' football '

  • Comment number 13.

    On the subject of ingerland:

    Winning friendlies 1-0 and drawing 1-1 in competitive games is not a sign of progress
    it is conclusive Stalemate.

    Whilst ingerland were plodding for the draw, the host country, with much more to loose, and allegedly, far less " gifted " players were setting out to get 3 points by
    playing positively , entertaining their supporters.

    the Marks and Spencer shirts in the BBC studio in unison were keen to remark, with their usual arrogance that ingerland have nothing to " fear " from either Ukraine or Sweden.

    As bad as Sweden were I can see them beating england quite convincingly .

  • Comment number 14.

    10.At 09:32 12th Jun 2012, King Red wrote:
    Ox was not getting the chance to move, he had a bad game. to much praise for him on here today, he did nothing
    ________________________________

    The press are definately going over the top on Ox and Wellbeck , they actually did not do a lot. Did either of them have a shot on goal ?
    Young played well in the first half and had a few good passes but faded later in the game.

  • Comment number 15.

    Well, all things considered, that will do won't it?

    1) England with injuries and suspensions to first choice players.
    2) Hodgson been in the job for a short period of time.
    3) France a solid unit and on a long unbeaten run.
    4) First game of the tournament.
    5) The heat!

    Sure, we can pick holes and hope for better things to come but, to get us off the mark, let's accept it for what it is.

    (p.s. nice couple of headers for Sheva as well!)

  • Comment number 16.

    13.At 09:40 12th Jun 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    As bad as Sweden were I can see them beating england quite convincingly .
    _______________________________________

    Like your France to win by 4-1 prediction for last night ?

  • Comment number 17.

    another bad point

    as for the blog the other day as joe hart been the ' best in the world ' he more then made a case for it last night :rollseyes:

  • Comment number 18.

    8.At 09:31 12th Jun 2012, The Trawler wrote:
    Nasri seems to be attracting a lot of praise for very little, as does Chamberlain. England's best player was Danny Welbeck, of course.
    ___________________________________________

    Nasri very little ?
    Nasri was dangerous throughout and always involved, far better than any of out attackers. But not man of the match.

    European pundits had the right backs down for the best players on each team, Johnson for England and Debuchy for France, with the French guy as man of the match.

  • Comment number 19.

    #18 repo

    Yeah, I thought Johnson was pretty safe yesterday. There was one time when he'd made a run forward though and his return to his position could barely have been a slower stroll if he tried! Very frustrating, and it wasn't at all late in the game either so you couldn't blame fatigue.

    The defence as a whole did pretty well. The goal was really the midfield's fault (despite some 'spin' from Carragher on last nights highlights programme) and France were mainly restricted to long range efforts.

  • Comment number 20.

    #19

    i think i remember when, and he left gerrard covering at right back and ribery just ran past him like he wasnt there, i couldnt believe how long he was taking to get back

  • Comment number 21.

    @15

    only Five excuses ?

    come come, even you can do better than that there are so many in fact you could pen a whole book on them all.

    :)

  • Comment number 22.

    19.At 10:05 12th Jun 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    __________________________________

    I think the goal was nobody´s fault , just a cracking shot for a good goal.

    Johnson got a lot of praise for containing Ribery while still offering an attacking threat , plus Johnson made an excellent saving tackle on Benzema.

  • Comment number 23.

    21.At 10:09 12th Jun 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    Troll_patch please use your real account and not this one to hide under, Saddo!

  • Comment number 24.

    russia and the czechs to win tonight :)

  • Comment number 25.

    #21 HAHA CharadeYouAre

    Five circumstances (which I think are perfectly valid) to put the result into context and to avoid the 'wonderful result' or 'rubbish result' type views coming out of the woodwork.

    (Anyway, you're just still in a narky mood because of no Emirates Cup this year.)

  • Comment number 26.

    Indeed...too many Ashleys!! All changed now.

    So what do England fans think of that performance? My view is that it represented a solid start and exactly as Roy Hodgson said "a platform".

    My other view is that England will need to show a little more going forward now against Sweden. This is a game they need to win.

    Let's debate all the points here.

  • Comment number 27.

    I thought that it was a 'solid' start from the England lads, and like Roy says a platform to build from and move forward.
    We will need to beat the Sweeds to hold us in good stead to qualify from the group and with a little belief we can achive that.

    COMON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    @24

    morning Titus :)

    I will go for 3-1 for the Czechs


    and 2-2 for Russia vs Poland

    adopting my selective viewing i will skip the the 1st game but watch Russia.

  • Comment number 29.

    The goal was obviously someone's fault, probably whoever was supposed to be commanding the backline and failed to keep it out of the box. Don't think you can blame a keeper for getting beat low down in the corner from there, it was a good hit and he needed a block.

    I think Johnson was generally proficient and showed exactly why Richards can't get in the team. He got outwitted a couple of times but then I doubt he's giving much away in that department to Richards, now is he?

  • Comment number 30.

    Excellent performance. Parker, Gerrard, Johnson and Cole were brilliant.

    Successful teams always grow in tournaments, and we have the foundations to do that.

    Disappointed the ref didn't act on the rotation fouling on Chamberlain - really basic stuff.

    May I take this opportunity to LOL at all the trollers who predicted a pasting for England.

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    The day people start listening to Evra will be a day to regret. Hes an awful individual. However, it was pedestrian, it was dour and it was uninspiring. Sadly, i doubt England can improve much on that, whereas France possibly can (a bit). Both teams are humdrum and have nil to little chance of winning it.

  • Comment number 33.

    Morning haha

    i will be going 3-1 Czechs also, rosicky on the score sheet

    Russia 2-1 Poland - arshavin double :)

  • Comment number 34.

    Now that Ray Clemence is injured, surely the only option left for Roy is to call up Rio Ferdinand as a replacement keeper coach?!

  • Comment number 35.

    The possession was more like 65%-35% according to the statistics. Ashley Young failed to do the job he was given. A player in his position needs to draw the defenders out, play between the lines and give Gerrard and Parker an option by occasionally coming deep.

  • Comment number 36.

    Whilst ingerland were plodding for the draw, the host country, with much more to loose, and allegedly, far less " gifted " players were setting out to get 3 points by
    playing positively , entertaining their supporters.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    thought you were an arsenal fan? so why the loathing of england? Oh yeah, thats right.

  • Comment number 37.

    30.
    At 10:23 12th Jun 2012, dogeared wrote:

    Excellent performance. Parker, Gerrard, Johnson and Cole were brilliant.
    ==================================
    johnson and parker played well, cole done what he always does but gerrard was not up to it, his passing was scrappy at best and he was at fault for the french goal

  • Comment number 38.

    At some point England will have to take the game to the opposition and may have to score 2 goals in a match to progress. With a back line of 7 and without a six-yard box finisher, I can't see England getting out of the group. At the outset, I have said they will get a point a piece against France and Sweden and then crumble against the Ukrainians in the final game when needing a decent result. When and if this happens, the criticism of Hodgson will start, and rightly so. Who in their right mind thought Uncle Roy was a better manager than Fabio?

  • Comment number 39.

    King Red - Gerrard was not solely at fault for the French goal. Just because he got out quickest from a deep position and was closest to the strike doesn't make him liable. What was Parker doing? He was sitting even deeper than Gerrard and I am sure he was in the starting 11 to stop shots like Nasri's,

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi

    The general feeling i had yesterday was that England, with a pretty defensive line up , will be a hard team to beat......but the question remains ....will they be able to create enough chances to win?
    Based on yesterdays performance when they only had 4 shots at goal i think that this will be the main problem and it would not surprise me if England has more problems with Sweden and The Ukraine, were they actually have to make the game, than they had last night.

  • Comment number 41.

    @9. King Red....if you watch the replay for Nasri's goal, Parker slips and is out of position which means Gerrard had to cover him. Parker would have got out and blocked if he stayed on his feet.

    Going forward i think the group has shaped up nicely. Sweden realistically have to beat us which works in our favour (Ox, Young and Wellbeck to feature heavily on the counter as Sweden push) and a pumped up Ukraine could nick a point of the French.

  • Comment number 42.

    I enjoyed watching England last night. At times during the first half we looked like the better side. The second half was much more backs to the wall though. Can't help thinking anyone other than Milner would have buried that open goal, but then again maybe anyone other than Milner wouldn't have made that run...

    Thought Benzema, Nasri and particularly Ribery were very snide last night. Diving, aggressive, almost thuggish at time. Unsavoury characters.
    The Ox did well enough and will do better in a more attacking mindset against weaker Swedish and Ukrainians.
    Couldn't fault the centre backs.
    Johnson is frankly a liability but no less so than Jones.

    Sweden is a must win I'd have thought. Greatly encouraged by last night, let's kick on. Roy, you're doing great. Keep it up.

  • Comment number 43.

    with all teams now already played a game

    teams who looked good - russia, italy

    teams who will come good - germany, spain

    between these four for the win

  • Comment number 44.

    A dour game, had it not been England pundits, bloggers and your fair weather football fans would have been panning it. The three lions need to show more than they did against France. Basing a tournament plan on the Greece 2004/ Chelsea CL Campaign is not what football is about.

    Also we are still waiting for the hot prospects to really step up. With the Czechs and Dutch struggling surely its time for Narsingh or Necid??

    http://wp.me/1qHQT

  • Comment number 45.

    I think we definitely need to have a more attacking mindset against Sweden.

    Having watched them against Ukraine I would say their defence looks pretty weak. Their right back looked out of his depth and Mellberg has never been quick and is even slower now.

    Welbeck, Young and Chamberlain should cause them problems with their pace. We do need to be wary of Ibrahimovic as he showed last night that he can be dangerous.

  • Comment number 46.

    I agree with your comments Phil. I think however that there are certain players who are uncomfortable with the ball at their feet and when we need to play assured football this will be a hinderance. With regards to Rooney I don't see him walking straight back into the team, Welbeck is far better at holding the ball and should be our main striker with Rooney on the bench. Lescott is a reasonable defender but is so nervous and uncomfortable on the ball that he spent the entire game passing sideway to Terry or hoofing it down the pitch, Jagealka should be given the nod.

  • Comment number 47.

    @37

    lol, never expected anything different from you. The whole defence and midfield were to blame for the goal - they all went way too deep after we scored and it was only a matter of time before something happened.

    I thought the whole team played well, fair criticism of Gerrard, Young and Chamberlain for not doing enough to link up, but this was down to the conservative tactics.

  • Comment number 48.

    I think the French made lots of cynical fouls that the ref just ignored! Deliberate clips on most of our midfield players during the game ensured that England could not break away as intended.Im sure a better ref would have seen what the French were doing.So the French were worried as their defense is very poor but we were worried about their attack if we had tried to play an open game we would have been taken a part as they have technically better attacking players with lots of experience in big games.I think against Sweden & Ukraine we should go in with confidence Roy knows what hes doing & is using the players available to him well. Not always pretty but its been a long time since we had a team that could play pretty just need to support the team & hope that we can get supply to the forwards on the break.We wont be a posession team playing fancy football we just dont have it in us but as long as we play tough & get results then thats all we can ask for

  • Comment number 49.

    The main thing is that we didn't get beat like the above comment we will be very hard to beat and to break down. If you don't conceed goals you always have a chance to win.

    Apart from the goal France never really caused us much problems and I don't think they will get anywhere near to winning the tournament like pundits have said.

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm amazed how little praise Johnson's been getting in England - thought he did his defensive job excellently last night - certainly better than the overhyped Cole on the other side, who spent most of the match watching Nasri go past him.

    And that's not even to mention the number of times he went past Evra going forwards as well. I said at the time it's between him and Nasri for MOTM and really can't understand why he's being ignored.

  • Comment number 51.

    Milner should not start the next game, not only because of the miss, as that can happen even to the best, but because because being solid and unspectacular as a right winger is not sufficient. Furthermore, he was partially at fault for the French goal as he was too slow getting out to Malouda, which allowed Malouda to turn and play a simple ball in to Ribery. Milner almost conceded a goal by selling Joe Hart short. His contributions yesterday were generally negative, and don't give me the tripe that he worked hard and helped Johnson. I work hard too. Big deal.

  • Comment number 52.

    OH COME ON. THIS IS SO DEPRESSING.

    We managed a draw against a decent French team. Good result. We had to defend deep and reduce the space so that Ribery, Nasri and Benzema couldn't tear us apart like Germany did at the world cup.

    The defence were solid but Ashley Cole struggled against Debauchy at times.

    Parker and Gerrard looked ok though i dont think Gerrard has the Finesse or touch to be able to keep posession when under pressure. Neither does Parker really.

    Milner wasnt anything spectacular but managed to keep Ribery silent for most of the match. Young looked dangerous on the counter as did Welbeck.

    Why is everyone bashing the Ox. Apart from looking a bit suspect defensively he made some good runs and looked comfortable on the ball. I was pleased with his performance. Something to look forward to in the future.

    People who are criticising the performance, please remember back to the world cup where even against teams like the USA and Algeria we looked hopeless going forward even against teams we were easily supposed to beat.

    I think that against a weaker team we will have more posession and will be playing higher up the pitch and hopefully the glimmers that we saw against france will happen more often and we should be able to score a few.

    Same team for me but maybe consider changing Milner. With the wingers pushing forward more there will be more support for the forwards and we should be able to hold on to our position further up the pitch.

    Looking promising.

    ENGERLUND!!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    #38 Tadees & 40 daysgoneby

    Both Greece in 2004 and Spain in 2008 pretty much won the tournament on the back of 1-0 win's, didn't they? (Whatever the merit's of their approach.)

  • Comment number 54.

    Phil 'solid start' a good way of putting it.

    I'd say England have progressed more as a unit in under 2 months than they had in over 5 years.

    We have changed from Capello's use of pressing in the opponents half [which takes far more energy] to having the confidence to press well inside our own half. It may not seem a great difference but it is important in the terms of how England play.

    Every side with pretentions of challenging, needs to be balanced between defence and attack [that does not mean equality in amount of time spent attacking or defending] The balance comes from turning defence where we do look strong into an attack where we look dangerous. Maybe Rooney will be the link for that.

    For those who want a brand of football other than the way we play, forget it, it won't happen. The team that wins this tournament will be the team that makes the least number of errors.

    Germany and perhaps Italy have decent balance, we are not far short of that standard.

  • Comment number 55.

    england should be on the lookout for a fouling coach. the number of times france got away with sly fouls was unbelievable. a very effective way to break up your opponents possession and attacking build up.

  • Comment number 56.

    A very good result considering we have nothing more than an average team. The people who are criticising us for being too rigid have very short memories - remember 2 years ago against Germany! We have to be rigid and hard to beat beacuase that's how you utilise the players we have.
    I think there's much more to come from Young, and Rooney will change the team when he's back.
    On a negative note, Gerrard doesn't seem to be half the player he was and Milner is nothing more than an engine - you might as well have a lawn mower on the right wing.

  • Comment number 57.

    even tho i think andy carroll is terrible and should not be nowere near the team,

    after watching the french defenders you could see they werent to good in the air and with about fifteen minutes left instead of bringing on defoe would have brought on carrol and tryed to win a free kick/corner and put some balls in the box and we could have sneaked a win.

  • Comment number 58.

    I've already posted this elsewhere on the beeb but here it is again to increase the chances of the sad individuals involved reading it..

    Highlight of the match for me was the lack of that awful band, I was able to enjoy the game without a constant barrage of talentless drum beating and completely random recitals of "god save the queen" and "the great escape". I hope the instruments were confiscated and have been destroyed as a deterrent to others, any chance Wembley could follow suit?

    On topic it was pretty good for an England game, the team gave the impression that they wanted to win and for large periods we gave the French a torrid time. It is a shame that the squad isn't great but if this is a sign of the future then I'm happy to keep watching.

  • Comment number 59.

    A lot of praise has been heaped on Johnson. In fact, I think he was poor. France persisted with attacks on that side, because Johnson didn't know whether to back off or close down Ribery. Watch the game again and you will see that in the first half Johnson chose the easy option of retreating in to the penalty area when Ribery ran at him, which is always dangerous.

  • Comment number 60.

    Typical first round game with England's 8 1 1 against a French 4 6 0.

    The French could easily lose goals to both Sweden and Ukraine as they did not cope very convincingly in defence with a very negative approach from England.

    Now Roy has to prove he can set up a team to win games.

  • Comment number 61.

    #58

    best comment so far 126% agreement

  • Comment number 62.

    Mr BlueBurns - Every match in this tournament has had at least a goal. Based on that very fact, it seems quite feasible England may, at some point, need to score twice. If one shot on target is anything to go by, I can't see that happening.

  • Comment number 63.

    gibbon is great @52

    The defence were solid but Ashley Cole struggled against Debauchy at times.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There is a simple reason for that, he was exposed. There was not an English player in front of Cole on the left side, therefore Debauchy had a clear run at Cole. It may be a weakness because all backs need protection from their wide midfielders.

    OX, maybe one for the future but that is one area where he must improve quickly.

  • Comment number 64.

    @50

    It's unfashionable to praise players like Johnson and indeed Gerrard, because it's easier to criticise.

    Just take #57 for example - a call to bring on Carroll, yet apparently he should be nowhere near the team. lol.

  • Comment number 65.

    tadees @62
    Mr BlueBurns - Every match in this tournament has had at least a goal. Based on that very fact, it seems quite feasible England may, at some point, need to score twice. If one shot on target is anything to go by, I can't see that happening.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That is rather unfair on England. The clearest chance created by both teams in open play was created by England. Perhaps it fell to the wrong man in Milner but the French defence was carved open.

  • Comment number 66.

    @59

    Johnson was wise to back off Ribery, who fell down screaming at the slightest of feather-like touches.

    France set the standard of cheating at a new low for the tournament last night, but the ref was really poor not to control them.

  • Comment number 67.

    #64

    he shouldnt be nowere near the team because he doesnt deserve to be there,

    but as he has been chosen, when level and your oppositions defenders are weak in the air, the most logical thing to do is bring on ' the big show ' instead of ' rey mysterio ' you get my gist?

  • Comment number 68.

    Trying to be objective, I felt that this was the least watchable game of the tournament so far, and neither team did anything to frighten any watching Germans, Spaniards or Russians.

    These look like two teams which are in the early stages of rebuilding - both could do well in the future, but have a long way to go.

    All praise to Roy Hodgson, however. A team missing several first choice players through injury limited France to long-range efforts, and carried a counter-attack threat.

    After seeing Sweden last night, England should beat them. Ukraine might be a tougher proposition on home ground. Still, though, prospects for qualification look good.

  • Comment number 69.

    Phil,

    I was just looking at the Sweden game preview and was astounded to find that the writer had written, '"They're major weapon is Ibrahimovic". I agree that Ibrahimovic is a great player, but is it too much to ask for a bit of respect for English grammar?!
    I guess I'm from another generation of writers!

  • Comment number 70.

    ingerland to go one better than engelburt humpydinky and finish bottom of the pile.

  • Comment number 71.

    I really can't believe I watched the same game as some people, eye tests all round.

    That was one of the worst games I've ever seen England play. The passing was shocking, really shocking, I've seen better at Sunday league level. I can't remember the French keeper making a save. Apart from the goal I can't remember an England shot of note. Johnson's Bobby Zamora effort hardly counts!

    Parking the bus and trying to nick a set piece goal is not the way forward, three draws will not be enough.

    I've said this at every major tournament, they can't do the basics, pass the ball and move, pass and move. If you can't pass you will never win anything.

    Yes they got a point more than my beloved Ireland, but at least we tried to play the game!

    I'd be gutted if I travelled all that way to watch that rubbish..

  • Comment number 72.

    @64

    Spot on. So much hypocrisy on here.

    Any minute now someone will say Downing should have started and would have finished Milner's chance.

    Please.

  • Comment number 73.

    Apologies if this has been raised above, but, was i the only one to think Parker had a poor game?

    When we were defending deep, he was making very few runs out to break up play and harass the French. Perhaps this was tactical (though our defence was reinforced by other players), or fatigue (he partly admitted this himself) but i fear we were carrying him at times.

    ALSO I fear what would happen to England if we concede first, do we have the tactical nous to turn an entire setup from defence to offence if needs be?!?

  • Comment number 74.

    @72

    Good name!

    Surely the one thing we can all agree on is that Downing shouldn't even be making the tea for the team..

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

    Gerrard put in a real captain's performance last night.

    The rest of it was just embarrassing.

    And the two up front looked utterly out of their depth.

  • Comment number 77.

    im happy with that performance, i thought everyone played pretty good, Ox was eager to run right at the French defence everytime he got the ball, bit more composure now and again would have helped but that will come

    young, wellbeck and Ox linked up well, shame they couldnt conjure up more shots on target but again its a start, our attacking deffo needs some improvement but hopefully Rooney will help there

    midfield and defence played well, very organised, dropped too deep on occassion but did press up the field well too,

    overall im happy but worried about our midfield when parker and gerrard get exhuasted which they will, henderson is no cover at this level (god what id give for Wilshere to be fit!) and more threat on goal please

  • Comment number 78.

    I think its more or less universally accepted that England was good enough last night. If we were any fans of any one country we would always see postives and negatives on each game. Thats football. Spain are the best in the world at the moment but still most people could see how they need to improve, like taking shots for example....

    England were solid and maybe at some points espcially for the goal concede we stood off a bit to much, i am not sure if anyone has ever played football in the heat, but let me tell you its no joke and very very tiring, so both teams did well and gave us a good game.

    England started superb and perhaps should have had the game won at half time, second half was more France but even mid way through second half they seemed to accept the draw, so all in all i cant say who was the better team and a draw was the right result.

    I think its also clear and agreed by most people what England should be doing and if we consider the friendlies against Spain and Sweden then hopefully we can play a more open game against Sweden, but we should not be to open, i still think step by step we can improve.

    Anyway the main thing is that everyone that i saw spoke to about England yesterday had a positive feeling, the players also seem to be positive and have more belief after the game, because lets not forget every man and his dog was expecting France to walk over us, but for me apart from the front 3 France really are not anything to be afraid of but may possibly have the best attack in the tournament.

    Well done England i think the played sensible, compact and are becoming more hard to beat. The real tests now come from Sweden and Ukraine who cant be under estiimated but they should be games where we go for a bit more attack but not to much to spoil the discipline that has been installed.

    Fine balances

  • Comment number 79.

    Aww troll_patch, your WUMing is like something I'd expect from a young child. Remind me how your "expert" predictions for the games yesterday worked out?

  • Comment number 80.

    hau5fly @73
    ALSO I fear what would happen to England if we concede first, do we have the tactical nous to turn an entire setup from defence to offence if needs be?!?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We won't know until it happens.

    The one thing that should not be done is change an entire way of playing because a goal is conceded.

  • Comment number 81.

    Last night the team did the job that Uncle Roy asked, but what I saw was a French team that was there for the taking!! The French were 'clever' with their fouls when The Ox or others broke through, and the card the Ox got should be over-turned. A little more belief, and a lot less fear, and we'd be top of the group.

    The Sweden game is now virtually a knock-out contest as losing will defo knock out the Swedes, and almost certainly knock out England. If we draw then we have to hope the Ukrainians beat the French.

  • Comment number 82.

    I thought it was a fairly solid if unspectacular performance. I think most England fans would have settled for that result before the match. We've still got a massive task though especially in view of the other result last night - can't help thinking we'll need something against Ukraine - step up Mr Rooney, lets hope he can reproduce the form of 2004.

    One other thing that hasn't really been mentioned was the poor performance of the ref - how many deliberate fouls did he let go...Cabaye should have had at least one yellow if not two! A few times when we did try to take the French on (especially Chamberlain) we were cynically tripped or blocked.

    Roll on Friday...a must win game me thinks...

  • Comment number 83.

    Londoner in exile returns

    Makes ALOT of sense, very in-depth, well thought out, wise comments. agree with every comment that you have made.

  • Comment number 84.

    "the prospect of the stage being set for Wayne Rooney's return from suspension for the final match "

    Yes, because we play so much better when he's involved. Remember Algeria and Slovenia in the WC 2010? That coupled with the facts that he's twice been sent off for lashing out during competative matches and that England actualy win more games when he's not playing that when he does means we really need him.

    Good grief. Rooney is a fantastic club player, he doesn't bring it to tournaments. no goals in 2006, no goals in 2010 and two red cards.

  • Comment number 85.

    Defensively, considering his tactics, Hodgson should be pleased with the discipline showed for most of the game. One or two moments of PL tackling stupidity from Oxlade and Gerrard and how deep Gerrard-Parker ended up for the goal aside , that part of England's game was good.

    Young was too isolated from the midfield. It was basically Rami-Diarra-Mexes against Welbeck-Young for most of the game, which was always going to be hard work for them two. One of the wide players (less so Gerrard but still) needed to gamble more and help Young to give Diarra more on his plate to deal with. The rare two moments when Oxlade dared to come forward and inside, the French central midfield looked uncomfortable. As Italy showed with Pirlo link up play with the front two (and that last bit of foray from the industrious Marchisio), you need a third man in the mix centrally from time to time to give the opposition holding midfielder a headache.

    I think too much respect given to the French full backs by the England wingers, in relation to the defensive responsibility of the England wingers. Because France were only playing with one striker and even then, that one striker was dropping deep a fair bit, so it wasn't as if the French were going to rely on crosses from the full backs.

    Parker and Gerrard, predictably I know, need to show a bit more brains with they shift the ball around on the international stage, instead of rushing and panicking. I think this is where they (and the wide players themselves) failed to get the wide players into the game more, even on the counter.

    Quite a bit of work to do in terms of the attacking part of this counter attacking set up but defensively, not much wrong.

  • Comment number 86.

    47.
    At 10:39 12th Jun 2012, dogeared wrote:

    @37

    lol, never expected anything different from you.
    ===========================================================
    I take it you mean the critism of stevie G. look all in all in im not bitter towards the man, its the usual defence, you slate rooney i slate gerrard you slate young i slate suarez.

  • Comment number 87.

    @68 has it spot on I reckon.

    @44 - 'Basing a tournament plan on the Greece 2004/ Chelsea CL Campaign is not what football is about.'

    Ummm...except that both of those sides WON their respective tournaments. Football competitions are about WINNING. If that wasn't the case we'd just have a panel of judges on the side of the pitch holding up cards for how lovely and skillful a team's passing is, and how many goals they score (irrespective of how many they concede) and whoever gets the highest score wins regardless of the actual goals scored...rant over, but you get my jist.

    I want to see attractive football as much as the next guy, but one thing to enjoy about football is that there's various different ways to play and win it. However (and this is true in most sport, particularly rugby), spectacular pyrotechnics rarely win tournaments - they may feature, but more often than not they are not enough to win tournaments. England were tedious yesterday, but we saw what happened when we tried to be 'attacking' 2 years ago - we were hopeless and got slaughtered. Yesterday we at least looked cohesive and like we were playing to a gameplan, you could see who was marking who, who was making runs where, and while some people had worse games than others, the blueprint was there on show and it will only get more effective the more games this team plays to that blueprint. I just fear that the hyperbolic meedja still bitter about darling Redknapp being overlooked just won't give Hodgson the time, and will build 'em up, and knock 'em down as they always do. Hence why we've been stuck at a base level of mediocrity for some years.

    On an aside, Oxlade-Chamberlain didn't look too bad yesterday, not bad at all. Does this mean now he'll get hyped up ridiculously, knocked down again, he'll start being heaped with the pressure of a nation, then made to look stupid by less skilful team-mates who aren't on his wavelength, and in the end get dropped after too few caps into the international wilderness? Or am I being cynical?

  • Comment number 88.

    @76

    behave yourself

    he had a pass completion of about 30% and was at fault for the goal

  • Comment number 89.

    Typical England - boring.
    Milner typifies all that is wrong with English football at all levels - selected because of workrate and fitness; rather than skill, ability or technique.

  • Comment number 90.

    @ 63 Londoner

    I think picking Chamberlain from the start was a risk. He clearly has talent and I think will he pose problems for teams such as Sweden and Ukraine with his pace and dribbling ability.

    However, from a tactical perspective he is naïve. This is not really surprising given that he is only 18 but against more clinical attacks it could leave us exposed.

    Owen and Rooney both made a big impact in their first tournaments at the same age but I think there is less risk with a striker as they did not need to be as tactically aware.

  • Comment number 91.

    Yes. England gave a solid performance last night. But I think they played better before
    they score the first goal. Milner waste a couple of chances and the French defence
    is a bit weak. But it's the first game and they treat it very cautiously. I think they
    respect France a bit too much. Let's hope they would built from there. Maybe in the second game they will be more attacking.

  • Comment number 92.

    And one other point, quite a few talk about we did not attack enough, and while not trying to find excuses because it is true that we should attack a bit more or at least bring Young more into the game, but lets also not forget that France were chopping England down every time we was setting up attacks. Ox was tripped pushed and knocked off the ball and we got nothing from the ref, wellbeck was blocked right in front of the ref and he was about to link onto a through ball and could have ended up one on one with the keeper, but the ref done nothing, Gerrard and Milner both took out in the edge of the box, there were at least 5 chances took away from us by the French fouling us when we attacked and that would have balanced the stats up.

    Not complaining about the Ref or saying it was a dirty game but the French knew what they was doing and somehow got away with it.

  • Comment number 93.

    Good defensively. Slightly annoyed at the lack of pressure on Nasri as he scored and Hart conceding at near post (tbf he was probably unsighted).

    Nicked a goal at a set piece. Zero threat otherwise aside from the Milner chance.

    Hardly threatened by this supposedly immense French team aside from a few Ribery bursts and Benzema shots. Nasri did ok.

    All in all can't complain too much - it's what I expected with the added bonus of a point!

    That said, watching Sweden last night, I'm starting to believe we may actually get a result.

  • Comment number 94.

    shadow warrior

    I have always been of the opinion that the real test in this group would be Sweden.

    I do not believe they are the team they once were but their style of play, more or less cancels out Englands style. It will be more of an English style game and therefore touch and go as far as the result is concerned.

    If people think we were drained at the end of last nights match, by the end of the swedish game, we will be gasping for air.

  • Comment number 95.

    84.
    At 11:05 12th Jun 2012, SwissColony wrote:
    ==================================================
    completely agrre with that, rooney needs to grow up a bit and play as he does when he's getting paid. that could be the difference of him going down as one of the best or one that could have been the best

  • Comment number 96.

    I actually enjoyed watching England yesterday for a change. I thought we never really looked in much trouble, although for the goal we switched off totally.

    Hart - Shaky start, fabulous save steadied him and he had to bail out a few dreadful back passes. Looked in command after the first 10 minutes.

    Johnson - I feared it was going to be the usual Johnson, positionally inept etc etc. Second half he improved and looked solid enough. Good going forward.

    Cole - Looked superb throughout for me. Only beaten once, positionally excellent. Always an option in attack.

    Terry - Never really had that much to do. Cleared his lines well.

    Lescott - This lad has improved so much, he looks the part now. Bossed the defence at set pieces, bullet header for the goal.

    Gerrard - Not his best game by far. Too many hollywood passes. Tackled and blocked well is about all you can say. Delivery for the goal was world class however.

    Parker - Hustled and bustled to very little effect really. Not good enough for this level.

    Milner - Some people on here thought he played well, but I though he was a big let down. His delivery from wide positions was dreadful. Doesn't look fully fit to me, and actually looked a few pounds overweight.

    Young - Actually thought he played well, used his brain, was constantly looking for the passes through the French defence.

    The Ox - Did exactly what he should be tasked with doing, get the ball and run at defence. Needs to look a bit more for an outlet at the end of it. He was battered by Cabaye and Ribery and got no protection at all from the ref.

    Welbeck - England's best player for me by a mile. So intelligent for a young lad. You could tell he enjoyed playing with Young. If they are allowed to grow together he won't half get some goals.

  • Comment number 97.

    England fan here.

    From an objective point of view.

    Parker was poor in possession but decent otherwise. Why Carrick can't get a game is beyond me.

    Diarra gave an absolute lesson in playing the anchor role.

    Hart once again showed why he's not yet the best in the world. Try Gigi or Iker for now.

    Not a bad team performance though. France will do well.

    Up the England.

  • Comment number 98.

    i realised my first post was a little negative:

    Gerrard was excellent, and some of the link up play between the united lads up front was promising. The Ox will get rewards sooner rather than later IMO, and Joe Hart showed his class - a few early blunders but other than the goal he really was a presence between the sticks.

    Thats better.

  • Comment number 99.

    I can't believe the amount of negative rubbish on here. So everyone knows better do they? France are one of the strongest teams in the tournament. They were well contained and over all we played quite well.

    For once, we have a manager who gets it. The idiot that said he's seen better passing in a Sunday League game wasn't watching the same game. Of course there were periods when we were second best and the passing was sloppy, but we're not good enough to dominate games, few teams are. There will always be parts of a game where we're stretched.

    Gerrard and Parker looked a good solid midfield, Chamberlain showed a lot of promise in his fleeting glimpses, remember this kid is 18 and has 3 caps. Milner did a job. We set up to be hard to beat. This game was all about NOT losing. I suspect Hodgson will change things for Sweden as this is a must win game now.

    I'm sick of reading so much negativity from people who don't know what they're talking about. Get behind the team and stop all trying to predict our downfall in the hope you can all say how you predicted it.

  • Comment number 100.

    @86

    lol, I'm prepared to call a club truce for the sake of England :o)

    After watching Ukraine and Sweden I thought both teams were poor - we will need a much faster tempo, but both of them look very beatable.

    We need to top this group!

 

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