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The future must start now for Hodgson's England

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Phil McNulty | 18:51 UK time, Monday, 25 June 2012

Euro 2012: Krakow

Roy Hodgson will have used England's flight home from their Euro 2012 base in Krakow to take a breath for almost the first time since his appointment as manager.

Hodgson had 40 days and 40 nights to prepare England for action in Poland and Ukraine while also fulfilling the final formalities of his duties as head coach of West Bromwich Albion.

Parachuted in as Fabio Capello's successor last month, the 64-year-old was thrown into a whirlwind of activity that soon acquainted him with a feeling familiar to his predecessors - the pain of defeat on penalties in a major tournament.

Hodgson, to his credit, made no attempt to hide behind any perceived misfortune. He accepted Italy's obvious superiority in a game that was goalless over 120 minutes and agreed it would have been England's lucky day had they emerged with the prize of a semi-final against Germany in Warsaw.

It was not to be, but Hodgson's parting words were in keeping with the dignified manner in which he has conducted himself in Poland and the way in which England's players have become popular tourists here.

Roy Hodgson and Steven Gerrard at an England press conference

Roy Hodgson has seen Steven Gerrard blossom in the role of captain. Photo: Getty

England's squad embraced the history with a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp and enjoyed the bustle and scenic surroundings of Krakow. In turn, Krakow enjoyed them.

Local Polish third division side Hutnik will also feel the benefit of their stay thanks to a state-of-the-art 100,000 Euros playing surface laid down by the Football Association at the venue used as England's training base.

And as Hodgson assembled his thoughts and took stock of the past and future on the plane into Luton, he and the FA can reflect on a Euro 2012 that was an unqualified success off the field and a qualified one on it.

The new manager used his limited time to shape England and work in a way that ensured a united dressing room - but this was not a shield against the technical superiority and tactical flexibility of the Italians in Kiev on Sunday.

Hodgson may have had a free hit at Euro 2012 given time restrictions on his planning but he and his team emerged with credit and credibility after topping their group. And the honest, resilient approach aided and abetted by the inspiration of the older guard such as captain Steven Gerrard and John Terry earned them the respect of most observers.

England's manager has been a past member of Uefa's technical study group. So what would he file in his report on his own team's efforts at Euro 2012? The reply is an honest one.

"I would have flagged up that the team was very hard working, very disciplined and that they defended well ," said Hodgson. "Then I probably would have flagged up, like all of you have flagged up, that we were a bit wasteful in our counter-attacking positions. When we had the chance to move it out and do something with the ball we didn't always take that opportunity.

"Especially against Italy, we gave the ball away far too often for our own good in areas where we didn't expect to."

He added: "I don't think we've done badly in the tournament. I think we can take some credit from the fact that we topped our group. We held Italy to a 0-0 draw after extra time but we didn't do enough to cause them problems. We would have had to have been lucky to have won the game in 120 minutes."

Hodgson also pointed out that the situation might have been slightly different if injuries had not denied him several talented players, particularly in midfield.

"We haven't made excuses in this tournament and I'm not going to start making excuses now but there were quite a few players left at home who were quality footballers and very good technical footballers who may have actually helped us out had they been here," said the England boss.

"If Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard had been available on Sunday it may have given me a bit more of a chance to help out some of the others. There are players like Jack Wilshere in central midfield who were not available to us. There are a lot of players around who, had they been available, might have improved the technical level of our performance."

Having dealt with the issues of the immediate past, Hodgson has been around long enough to know scrutiny and focus will soon switch to the future, starting with a friendly against Sunday's victors Italy in Berne on 15 August.

And that spotlight is sure to be fixed on whether Hodgson will adopt a more progressive style than the one utilised, understandably given the short preparation period, at Euro 2012 and whether he will introduce new faces.

Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker would have been a contender to play here had he been fit while Hodgson will fervently hope Arsenal midfielder Wilshere can put a year of injuries behind him to decorate England's midfield with some of the creativity missing against Italy.

Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also be looking to increase his impact and Hodgson prepared the ground for an experimental England line-up in Switzerland.
He said: "I'm trying to be as honest as I can and the first thing I've got to do is evaluate some of these other players, some of these players who have not been here, players I have not lived with for the past five weeks.

"With regard to the 15 August friendly with Italy I think we will definitely see some revolution there because I think that game is going to be an ideal opportunity for me to look at some players who weren't with us here and maybe feel they should have been - or feel that they can add to the quality of our team. It will be an ideal opportunity for me to look at them. After that we come to the September World Cup qualifiers and I have to mix the two together."

But Hodgson has seen qualities he wishes to carry forward, qualities acknowledged by most who have witnessed England's games in Ukraine at close quarters.

"I think we have got to retain two elements. which we all seem to be in agreement on, that this tournament has given us," said Hodgson.

"We have got to retain our defensive discipline, organisation and team work and we have got to make certain we retain the desire to be part of an England team, to really go the extra mile to be able to wear the shirt. They're the two things that we have got to try and keep at all costs.

"Now the next question is can we improve the quality within our team? That is something we have got to work at, look very carefully at, and I'm rather hoping a few players will knock so hard on my door and prove to be the right ones."

Hodgson arrived home to perhaps allow himself his first period of relaxation in months - but the task of marrying England's past to England's future will soon be high on his agenda after the disappointment of Euro 2012 fades.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Hmm... Whilst we were getting results, I didn't mind, but the style of football we played v Italy was dire. From the second half onwards we had no interest in scoring. If this is the future of the English national team, it is very worrying.

  • Comment number 2.

    Much as I like Roy as a person, I can't buy into the methods he employs. It might do a job, but there is something unaspirational about it. England has a population of almost 50 million. The pool is adequet to deliver a good team. A team that doesn't have to hug it's 18 yard line and quake at a few well groomed itallians. Where was the team that put up an honourable display againt the Dutch a few months ago. The Netherlands are arguably a better team than Italy, yet we held the ball, crafted chances and scored two decent goals. We may have lost, but there was no shame in it. Not like last night, where I was embarrassed at the spectacle. If you want to win a game you have to have a go.

    Norway, Belgium, France, Sweden, Ukraine, Italy. Win, Win, Draw, Win, Win, Lose. Maybe those results justify the ends, but England should aspire to win with verve.

  • Comment number 3.

    Every year England get knocked out, every year we get the same story. Learn form the mistakes move forward...then nothing changes.

    Englands performances never improved at all this tournament, if anything they got worse. A backs to the wall draw against a hopeless French side who were brushed aside with ease by the Spanish followed by 2 narrow fortuitous wins against distinctly average teams. Followed by a complete lesson by one of the worst Italian sides for a generation.

    England played 2 half decent teams in this tournament and were comprehensively out played in each match, they were lucky that they never faced one of the genuine contenders in Germany or Spain. It would have been a similar or worse embarrassment than South Africa.

    The issue is the players, they simply aren't good enough. Parker and Gerard couldn't get close to an ageing Pirlo. What an Ozil or Xavi would have done to England doesn't bear thinking about. Rooney will never be and has never been a world class player. He's a trier and decent in the Premier League, technically however, he's hopeless and this is exposed in tournament after tournament.

    England players play in the Premier League. They are the runners and diggers and the piano carriers in one of the most entertaining leagues in the world. 99% of the technical ability on show in the EPL is not shown by the English players. This is why the national team is so cruelly exposed on the world stage every 2 years, having a team of runners and triers isn't good enough when you are playing against technically gifted teams.

    That's why Pirlo hardly broke sweat yesterday as he controlled the game. Whereas Gerard had cramp after 70 minutes just trying to get near his shadow. He's simply not in the same class of player, just like the whole England squad.

  • Comment number 4.

    When we have some of the highest paid players in the world on the field I expect a lot more. It is not that we 'had some bad luck'. And if 'anyone can miss a penalty' why do we consistently have more 'missers' than other teams?

    The Italians played the same number of minutes so why are the English players always tired. And if they couldn't go the distance, why were they holding out for extra time?

    Hodgson has so many excuses for this debacle but the bottom line is we have world class players who don't put the effort in. I feel sorry for the fans who wasted so much to go and watch this.

    The Italian manager was pacing the line and offering encouragement from the start. Hodgson sat and watched then later, just looked at the ground.

    There is an old saying, 'a fish rots from the head'.

  • Comment number 5.

    There may be a few positives here and there. The manager has come across well and the team made an effort but were shown up as being one dimensional and fairly limited. So-called stars players are, in fact fairly ordinary.

    It will take years to improve in any meaningful sense. The extra money coming in must be used wisely and not for overpaid superstars. Youth academies in every region with skilled coaches are a must. Kids need to start small-game fun and skills with less competitive stuff egged on by parents gaining vicarious pleasure. A whole culture change is needed ... can a highly charged and overpaid Premiership co-exist with a 10-15 year programme of skills development?

    Whenever the media lionise fairly good but not great players we all lose little.

  • Comment number 6.

    Ditch the 4-4-2 formation, ditch most of the players like Rooney who live off their club reputation and work on building a team for the future with players like Sturridge, Wilshere, AOC etc. the main focus. We're pretty much just the national team version of West Brom currently- tactically it wasn't good enough; sure we got better and Roy didn't have much time but there were fundamental errors; settling for minimal possession contributing to the lack of energy against Italy. Not a great deal of imagination or finesse going forward. Too deep a line, central midfield completely gifted to the opposition, we were lucky that Sweden and Ukraine played the same formation as us. Sure Italy arguably did as well but they were flexible. We were not.

  • Comment number 7.

    ... a good point about Pirlo above ... ageing yet hardly broke sweat as he controlled the game ... whereas his English counterpart had cramp at 70 minutes. That's not forgetting that the commentator mentioned that Rooney's 'legs had gone' ... and he'd been rested through disciplinary problems.

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree Roy handled himself superbly in the weeks of the tournament and also in defeat to the Italians. It is also very pleasing and rare to find a well received and behaved England side.

    However, I don't think the tournament has been a 'qualified success' on the pitch in any respect. We became a park the bus and hope nation, not what I would want or expect from players who on average will be earning £100k per week. Roy may make us difficult to beat but we also find it difficult to beat teams playing that way. I asked this a few blogs back, what will be the legacy if we continue down this negative road?

    I keep reading pundits and journalists stating that anything better than group elimination would be a huge bonus, well if that is the case why did we not appoint a forward thinking manager (English or foreign) and also a group of people who are able to provide a structural change to help our players deal with the demands of international football?? I heard Gareth Southgate attempting to sound positive in his role with the FA but he has no chance. Do we really think that with the power the Premier League holds over the FA anyone will be able to work with Utd, City etc and get them to work in a different way which may benefit our country in the long run? No chance at all.

    The FA has allowed the Premier League to be too powerful, the tail is wagging the dog. Hodgson's negativity working in tandem with the lack of technical ability our players adopt by playing kick n rush league football means we will be having the same blogs in 2014, 16, 18 etc until the penny starts to drop.

  • Comment number 9.

    Before I comment I will say I am Scottish so I know a bad football team when I see one. England are not bad, in fact they are very good. I think you English people underestimate how good some of your players are. Hart, Cole, Terry, Gerrard, Young, Rooney - these are all top class players. I would take Terry over any of Italy's defenders.

    It's not a question of England players being unable to keep the ball - they just choose not to. Gerrard is a world class player who can land a 60 yard ball on a sixpence. Are you telling me he can't pass five yards to the guy next to him? Of course he can - he just chooses the long forward pass instead. The most used pass for England yesterday was Hart to Carroll - again, it is a choice. Terry is a good passer and can play out of defence if he wants.

    It's been said before but look at Swansea last season. They kept the ball. Are they packed with world class talent? No, they just chose to keep their passes short.

    England have no movement off the ball. This is easily solved. I really don't see how making space for yourself can be so hard. Every player just makes sure he doesn't stand next to an opponent. Is it really impossible to not stand next to someone?

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    I think the press (and this article) are being very very kind to the England team and manager. The performance was dire, really dire and the tactics negative, depressing and dull. We have the highest paid players in the world and yet they couldn't keep the ball or string 3 passes together, shoot with any accuracy or composure or take penalties and yet people (press) pour sympathy on them like they were some poor undeveloped underdog nation that should be excited about getting to the quarter finals with talk of promise. That game against Italy showed zero promise to me and everyone I know. To me the root of the problem is the FA getting an uninspirational manager with no great record and allowing the premier league to dictate over the players 'they' own to the extent that England is clearly of secondary importance and has to fit around the clubs. The players peaked for their clubs and play for England tired, unfamiliar with each other and, sadly, clueless tactically.

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    Post no9. You miss the point, most players can pass the ball, the problem is we don't have players who then move into position to receive it again. Until we pass and move (Liverpool mantra of old) we won't solve any of our problems. Keeping possession for any length of time would have tired out Pirlo and company, as it did to us, and allow our team to start to dictate the tempo and flow of the game. We either can't or won't do this, we as a national side have not had a good 90 minutes since the Germany 5-1 in 2001, for whatever reason it seems to be getting worse not better.

  • Comment number 14.

    @7, Rooney wasn't match fit. He'd played one 90mins since the end of the Prem season so couldn't be expected to be on top form for 120 minutes, it's just not realistic.

    I think everyone's being too negative. In the space of 6 weeks, Hodgson's united a squad of average players and managed to get them as far as any other manger in the past 10 years. If the Italy game had been a group stage game, we'd be congratulating ourselves on a draw. To be fair to Roy, we don't really have the players to break down a top team so trying not to conceed and then catching them on the break or via a set-piece isn't a bad plan.

    The problem is that Gerrard, for all he works hard and often does good stuff, is nothing like as good as Pirlo who's only a year older, and Parker has been carrying an injury while trying to control an area of the pitch where he and Stevie G were comprehensively outnumbered.

    With fresher, younger players I reckon that Roy will adopt a more positive approach- Walcott, tho not a teenager, is finally showing the form we've waited 6 years for, and with him, Oxlade-C, Sturridge, Welbeck, Rodwell, Walker, Smalling, Phil Jones, Wilshere, Cleverley.. Plus Lennon, Defoe (quick with a good shot, will play well if given opportunities), Bent, the experience of Terry as much as I don't like the man, Lescott's recent form... that's not a world-beating team yet but in two years' time they might just improve on previous showings.

    We're England fans... Chins up, keep on with the probably vain hope of success ing the future! :D

  • Comment number 15.

    There's no great shame in being beaten by Italy, not sure what all the fuss is about, critics underestimate them.

  • Comment number 16.

    There is one simple fact that is starting to make realise what went wrong re fitness.

    Fitness becomes less relevant if you know how to use the ball correctly. There is such a thing as making the ball do the work, but that has a pre-requisite that you need to get players into position before you pass to them. Something which we did'nt do any of, never mind enough of.

    We're constantly static. so that when teams like italy use the ball well, they tire us out from chasing it. If you dont give the ball away in the first place then you dont need to chase the opposition.

    These are all basic things.....basic things we did'nt do. I'm trying to be pragmatic and say that Mr Hodgson has'nt had enough time to change the basics into a culture, but its hard, because things like off the ball movement, and using the ball to tire the opposition out - these are things the players shouldnt need a new manager in order to know.

  • Comment number 17.

    The Premier League and Sky are to blame the PL is the only thing pushed by Sky.
    the young english players are playing in the lower leagues but there is such a void between the leagues we are not developing our young players.
    The FA has to promote the lower leagues to develop our youth make the PL help out the lower leagues instead of stealing from them.

  • Comment number 18.

    Re 14:

    I remember a certain game in Istanbul where Gerrard ran rings around Pirlo. Difference was last night that Pirlo had tonnes of space to play in and Gerrard had none.

  • Comment number 19.

    In six weeks Roy has taken a team torn apart by scandal (Rooney, Terry, Captaincy issue, World Cup debacle, Capello etc) made them hard to beat (unlike the 4-1 thrashing to the Germans in Blomfontein) given them a togetherness and a team ethic.

    He is in the job long term and has built a good base to move forward on. He wasnt going to risk his credibility on trying to win the euros when we know it wouldnt have happened anyway. He limited the damage done, got the media on his side and gave us nothing to complain about. England gave it their best but it wasnt quite as good as the Italians.

    We dont have the players to dominate posession over 90 minutes but what we can do is prevent the other team scoring.

    We played well in the first 20 minutes showing that under Hodgson we are capable of playing well. The problem with Terry and the rest of the defenders who, lets face it arent too pacyis that they have to drop deep to stop players running in behind them. This means the midfield have to drop to cover the space therfore isolating teh forwards. There is nothing we can do about it. We reached our limit and couldnt go further.

    All in all we got a no thrills performance but they can go home with their heads held high. No one let themselves down beaviourwise. Some played poorly but what do you expect if you dont have the ball and are feeding off scraps.

    We are in a much better position to push on now and make progress. there is no witch hunt to be had, not manager or captain issues to resolve. Roy is an intelligent man and has managed through many years to see how football has developed. Hes made some errors (liverpool) and im sure that he is intelligent enough to see where the problems are and address them. He is working closely with the FA to develop the England team and this means bringing in youth players.

    There is no point saying ditch this ditch that after one tournament. Knee jerk reactions get you no where. Lets see what Roy comes up with in these coming qualifiers and then we can judge.

  • Comment number 20.

    There were positives for England in the competition such as having a English manager who actually seemed to care for the team, topping our group; albeit by a bit of fortune and by being hard to beat, possessing a good team spirit.
    However, frankly a lot of mistakes were made as well. For starters, 4 4 2 is a flawed system exposed constantly by today's modern game. The team choice, without the likes of Holt, Richards etc.. and the inclusion of Henderson and Kelly was slightly worrying, though could be worse. Our main problem was we didn't attack enough- Walcott may be a good impact substitute but surely is too good to not start. Instead, Milner was chosen, who works hard but is highly ineffective, to aid Johnson's defensive frailties- though he defended well apart from the Sweden goals. Moreover, although this will never happen why can't a manager ever pluck up the guts to not play Rooney- a player who's failed since his first international tournament worse than anyone else. For me a threatening pacy attack would be Gerrard, Young or Lennon, Walcott, Welbeck, and the Ox. Adam Johnson and Lennon also didn't feature which confused me, Maybe injured? The fact is we should have been hammered 4-0 by an aging Italien team who will not win anymore games and are the worst recent generation of Italian footballers. Therefore, keep your hopes low for the near future.
    Finally, why play for penalties? In what 50/50 lottery do you lose 8 times for every win?
    Time for the old guard- Terry, Rooney, Lampard, Ferdinand, Johnson, Milner to leave
    New team for future qualifiers should be
    GK Hart
    DR Richards/ Walker
    DC Jagielka/Cahill/Jones
    DC Lescott
    DL Cole
    AMR Walcott
    AMC Wilshere
    MC Parker
    MC Gerrard
    AMLOxlade Chamberline
    FC Welbeck

  • Comment number 21.

    Each time i say i`m not going to bother and each time i watch hoping for
    some signs of improvement.I`m invariably disappointed.
    Can someone please explain why when our team have possession they will look
    for a pass back, from any position,to our goalkeeper who will punt the ball
    upfield. 90% of these go to an opponent .Why don`t they save time and give it to them in the first place.

  • Comment number 22.

    As anyone who’s played the game will tell you, when you play against a team who keep the ball it’s very tiring. And when you finally do get the ball you’re not as composed as normal. This was England all tournament.

    England were poor to watch but let’s hope Hodgson is just building the foundations, make the team hard to beat, then move on from there. As Mourinho does with all his teams.

  • Comment number 23.

    A predictable exit. The only surprise was that England made it this far and nobody will lament their demise, nor Hodgson's poor attempt at instilling an odious brand of 'anti-football' last seen during the stone age at the Otto Rehhagel School of Football management.

    As others have pointed out, it is laughable that the mind numbingly tedious English media have completely whitewashed this whole fiasco as nothing but a glorified team building exercise, whilst half heartedly speculating that the future might be bright because they're are finally playing with "team spirit". I've got news for you, no one's buying it. This lot are the most technically inept bunch of English footballers for a generation, or perhaps two.

  • Comment number 24.

    England dont need to play like spain. We dont need to hold the ball for the full 90 minutes that is not the English style. Try telling a pro Golfer to play with a different grip or telling a racing driver to drive a different car. They wont feel comfortable, they are not used to it and wont perform as well as they can.

    What we need to do is to find a style of play that suits the players. One with balance between attack and defence. Once the style is honed the players can be drilled and as the players get used to playing that system.

    I see a formation with two central midfield players who are able to keep posession as the centre point. Their job is to dictate the play and provide cover to the defenders. Then we have a player in the NO.10 position, like Rooney who will drop deep to provide the extra man in midfield and link up play, like he does for United. Then we have two wide men who's job it is to stretch the play. They should be pacy and skillfull. Then of course we need a striker up top who is going to be able to put away chances.

    This is the England way. Fast and furious but sometimes we need to be patient. Im not talking about keeping the ball for the full 90 minutes but enough to give players a breather, to release the pressure on the defenders and to make the opposition run. Its all about balance. Germany are the best. They are efficient with the ball and can retain possession but that is not their whole game plan. Some may say that spain are an example of being too meticulous.

    Once everyone is used to playing together we will see improvements. Im sure that i the qualifiers with a fit Rooney, hopefully in form for United, and the other promising young players like Wilshire, Richards/Walker Jones Smalling Cleverly Rodwell Gibbs we will see a progression or transformation of the England team.

    Hopefully it will be one that plays with modern principles like keeping the ball at feet and on the floor and retain possession when you have the ball but also being orderly and structured and disciplined when you dont.

    I wont give my team because there is no point. No one is going to read it and tell Roy.

    I do firmly believe that we have a manager who is prepared to implement the necessary requirements and who will move the team forward. We will not be defensive but it will be a balanced team like all the best are.

  • Comment number 25.

    It shouldnt be a shock.Why do you all think that England have a God given right to make it to the final and win. Its frankly ridiculous.

    Get some sense of realism and grow up. Someone has to loose and its invariably the team who isnt as good. Give mourinho a bucket of earth and even he couldn't transform it into a championship wining team in six weeks.

    Do you not understand that as a team we are not the best. Yes we have good individuals but as a team we are not as good. Nothing you can do about it in the short term. No magic trick.

    The sooner people realise that this team are not world beater the better. I thought that was the whole point in low expectations.

    NO we are not the best


    YES with a bit of time and some new players coming through we can IMPROVE.

    Please think before you type. Your stupidity baffles me.

    I do think that this reactively moderated business is nonsense as half of these comments should break the house rules for embarrassing the rest of society with their inane drivel.

  • Comment number 26.

    24. At 00:48 26th Jun 2012, gibsonisgreat wrote:

    I do firmly believe that we have a manager who is prepared to implement the necessary requirements and who will move the team forward. We will not be defensive but it will be a balanced team like all the best are.

    What England has is a manager with a proven track record of getting the very best out of average players- hence his success with Halmstads, Switzerland, Finland and Fulham.

    As England's squad is full to the brim with mediocrity, he was exactly the right man for the job, and in reaching the QF of this tournament has certainly exceeded allexpectations. But don't get your hopes up, he could only do this by trying (and failing) to re-enact the cynical tactics of Greece a la 2004 when faced with obviously superior opposition. This is England's future, but it's hardly Roy's fault, a QF here and there isn't bad with what he has to work with, and don't forget England have only ever reached beyond a QF 3 times in their history.

  • Comment number 27.

    21. At 00:33 26th Jun 2012, peterlh wrote:

    Completely agree, however this is curable and hopefully hodgson addresses this.

    Pass back to the keeper is fine as it draws the opposition out creating space but dont hoof it down to andy. Play it to the full backs. this all comes with coaching though as it is not how most players play the game at their club level.

  • Comment number 28.


    Im pleased with what Roy has done so far. There is no point in having Pep Guardiola because if be tried to play like Barcelona we would get shredded. I think we need to be realistic.

    I agree that the squad is average with very limited talent. Rooney in particular who i am a great fan of in a United shirt but hopeless for England. I think the difference being that one is a decent team he is playing in and the other is average.

    I do thik though that Roy is a realist and will play to a teams strengths. As long as Roy allows us to be competitive by playing balanced football the i don't mind. For me Getting to a quarter final is good. Its no final but lets be realistic, at least Roy got us into a position to progress.

  • Comment number 29.

    Ok as ex-pat I watched the game with a pub full Italian-americans who all predicted penalties from the start. England played ok in first half it was only in the second half that Pirlo really started to have a real effect on the game. Rooney was patently unfit
    and should have been replaced by Chamberlain after 60 minutes. Carroll's introduction was probably a mistake as he seemed to be playing on the wing or in midfield half the time. In the end the best team won and we shouldn't feel to downhearted because Hodgeson did everything right with the pool of players that he had available. And to the nea-sayers I'm a great believer in that you create your own luck.... it doesn't just occur we deserved our place in the quarter finals!

  • Comment number 30.

    24. Just to add that i agree with you on the point that until we can match these other countries for talent we will always be outclassed and therfore playing a defensive game. What i mean by "moving forward" is that i hope that his system becomes a little more polished and that when playing againt teams of similar quality, we are able to put them away more convincingly than 3-2 and 1-0. Of course We cant think of matching italy, germany and spain for quality and this is what angers me. Why do we always think that we should be in the final. We are no where near as good as those teams and quarter finals seems like the limit for now.

  • Comment number 31.

    Oh gawd here we go again, the post-mortem part 2. And I've only just finished wading through the 17 pages of the last one...
    And here's what we're going to get.
    A bunch of people slating the players. A bunch of people slating the manager. A bunch of people slating this blog and a bunch of people slating the media generally. A bunch of people slating the FA and the PL. A bunch of LFC fans slating a bunch of Man U fans. A bunch of Man U fans slating a bunch of LFC fans. Patch slating everything English, and a whole bunch of England fans slating him. It's all been said before, from the most ludicrous drivel to the sharpest insight. And it's been said every two years since 1970. And it'll be said again after Brazil, and again after Euro 2016 and again and again and again. And when we've popped our clogs our kids will carry on where we left off. And when the dust has settled and everyone has said their piece, what's going to happen? What is going to be done? The same that's happened every other time we've bowed out of a major tournament. The same that's been done before. Nothing much. Hell's bells.

  • Comment number 32.


    I personally think Rooney should have been replaced before the final squad was announced.

  • Comment number 33.

    Fundamental errors in selection were made in my opinion which may not count for much but quite a few of these were raised in the build up to the tournament and as such many people could be vindicated from that point of view. I was never a fan of the Hodgson appointment but he is the coach and isn't going anywhere. I really think leaving Lennon and Johnson out considering the seasons they had was questionable, G. Johnson @ right back as well I wasn't a fan of although he did perform admirably last night. I bet Roy really wished he could've tempted a certain Mr Scholes out of retirement on the evidence of what Pirlo did last night. Was this option even explored? Does anyone know? Good luck with the future in any case... ;)

  • Comment number 34.

    31. Love it.

  • Comment number 35.

    England and Hodgson have very little available to work on what they've already done. England were a largely effective defensive outfit with little threat in attack but with an overall disciplined outlook.

    What can Hodgson do to improve that? You can't make English players able to pass the ball more accurately and with better touch, movement and insight.

    The English players are simply not good enough to play the type of football that's required at international level now. Where once you could throw on the big man, Jan Koller, Karsten Jancker, Peter Crouch or Andy Carroll, it no longer works. Teams adjust to whoever the play, and they surely don't play a rigid 4-4-2.

    Some things can be changed to be more effective but the vast majority of England's 'best' players are coming to the twilight of their careers- Terry, Cole, Lampard, Gerrard, Parker... Other than Wilshere and Hart there isn't much to be excited about- Rooney and Young were found to be utterly wanting at this level.

    English footballers are made to look more capable than they are by the quality that surrounds them in the Premier League. That's great for watching on a Saturday, but not every second summer.

    If you fancy, check out my blog at and let me know what you think.

  • Comment number 36.


    What is this national obsession with Paul Scholes? Hardly a major tournament goes by without people wondering, starry-eyed, whether his mere presence alone could have turned England into world-beaters.

    He isn't in the same class as Pirlo and has clearly been past his best for 6 years.

  • Comment number 37.

    It's no coincidence that England as a team have been in decline over the last 20 years, and this in no uncertain terms was due to the FA not being fit for purpose and essentially allowing the domestic league to be sold to the highest bidder through the chairmen of the old 1st division clubs forming the English Premier League. In '96, on home soil, we probably saw the last cohesive and balanced team that we may possibly see wearing an England shirt for the next 20 years... at least!

    In short, all this talk of 'cultural change', 'football academies', 'developing home grown talent' et al, is pure poppycock, pie-in-the-sky talk, little more than a desperate attempt to suggest that there may be hope somewhere down the line for future England teams... utter tosh!

    All the time you have a Premier League that has to produce the world's leading domestic product, I'm afraid clubs will not be putting youngsters on the park at the highest level to nurture a broad enough base of quality youngsters to form a strong and developed unit that has the potential to break into the world's top four international sides.

    Get real, England are destined to remain a second-tier international outfit, as the EPL is by and large run on a "quick fix" culture that buys talent nurtured from abroad to supplement a backbone of British players that manage to form a solid base on which flair is bought and added from the continent.

    All the while the national team will be treated by all and sundry as a side-show that will do well to qualify for tournaments on a consistent basis.

    That is the current nature of English football in short, as it appears as though we have been left with no choice in the matter, the EPL and the club's best interests are not coalescent with the national team's objectives, end of story.

    There are no answers to England's football team and their lack of success, as the question cannot be asked by any one organisation or individual able to affect change, as the EPL is holding all the aces!

    We may see a special talent emerge, and that individual may lift the whole team to a semi final, maybe even a final? But we will never see a consistently world class international side in my life time unfortunately. The whole ideology of the English domestic league has changed to make the clubs at the top so overwhelmingly self-infatuated (Chelsea fan here! lol), it will take a major financial melt-down of the EPL to redress the balance, and even then, will we have a Football Association fit to pick up the mantle... I doubt it!


  • Comment number 38.

    Also the Scholes point is entirely irrelevant. Yes- he is a phenomenal passer of the ball, but if Pirlo had played for England last night not much would have changed.

    The English players do not have the dexterity and technical skill to pass around highly skilled opponents for much time. The 'average' Spaniard/Italian or German is far far far more capable than the average Englishman- for evidence look no further than Man Utd's drubbing over two legs by the 7th best team in Spain. They gave (the then Premier League Champions) a lesson in football- Italy have handed another one down, but to England as a whole.

    Will England learn? Of course not, nothing has changed, nothing will change.

  • Comment number 39.

    It is very funny to read all these comments. If you read these blogs after England was eliminated in South Africa, they are essentially the same. I remember as well, the same arguments from press, manager, players and FA to look into the future generations and for those reasons, Capello started to incorporate younger players to his squad, like Phil Jones, Wilshere, Welbeck, etc..But suddenly, The FA decided no more Capello and made him resign to appoint a loyal servant in Hodgson saving big money from it. Then, Hodgson picked almost the same players that failed in South Africa. In my opinion he did all these, including his tactics to preserve his job with a highly conservative approach. Whether it's a valid approach or not, England failed again from any angle you want to look at it and will continue to fail unless they make paradigmatic changes in many aspects of their game, starting with team selection, formations, tactis, attitude, etc..
    I have stated it before and will write it again, England was a better team before (EURO 96) than it is now, with players that were not as over rated than the current ones. In the end, it's England's story and seems it will continue to be for years to come.

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 31 - AttilaTheCat

    I wished I hadn't wrote what I wrote now! lol

    Spot on!


  • Comment number 41.

    Re Richard @37

    Lots of people here whinging that things should change, without saying exactly what. Fact is, most of the changes needed to produce English talent would have a negative impact on both the premier league and the smaller clubs.

    Some think getting 8 year olds to play 5/8 a side and shouting 'technique!' will solve all our problems. This is deluded.

  • Comment number 42.


    It's not so much an obsession as a realisation that apart from the little master England haven't really produced any midfielders of his ilk and by that I mean someone who can hold onto the ball long enough to release it to the best possible option. I'm not saying his mere presence would turn England into the top footballing nation in world football, but watching Pirlo yesterday and any other time the national team comes up against opposition with a well polished creative force you have to wonder if Scholes couldn't do the same for England. All the stats on him and his return to Man U have been exhausted and are there for all to see, lest we forget that just a season ago Pirlo was deemed surplus to requirements at Milan and only just came off the back of a decent season with Juve... There's no way we can't bring the consistent Scholes into the equation.

  • Comment number 43.

    So much for 'progress'. Also, the media | pundits turning a blind-eye doesn't help much either...

    1) About the only positive has been the team ethic and team spirit. Technically, pretty awful against Italy by giving the ball away cheaply when in possession.

    2) Tactically, the 4-4-2 formation - compounded by inflexibility - doesn't make logical sense for a team structured defensively hoping to catch opposition on the counter; a 4-5-1 set-up would seem more appropriate.

    3) Defensively, Italy exposed the hype about us being hard to break down - they easily could have scored 3 (possibly more) goals. Sweden did expose us, and Ukraine came close too. The France match is about the only one in which the ploy worked.

    We have Italy in a couple months time - would like to see what the gaffer will have worked on to address obvious deficiencies by then!

  • Comment number 44.

    GK - Hart
    CB - Jagielka
    CB - Lescott
    RM - Chamberlain
    CM - Gerrard
    CDM - Parker
    CM - Lampard
    LM - Young
    ST - Carroll
    ST - Rooney
    ST - Welbeck


    If you can't attack, you can't defend. This formation would teach the England players how to keep the ball like their lives depended on it while maintaining quality. :)

  • Comment number 45.

    The dutch got to a world cup final playing the most defensive football I have ever seen from a dutch side. This tournament they were more expansive and didn't win a point in the group stage.

    International football and the champions league comes down to minute details. Chances have to be taken when they arise, the teams that are successful always have a good finisher who takes the cahnces presented. Germany haven't played expansive football all tournament, they have only created 3 or 4 chances each game. The difference is they have practically taken them all.

    Shouldn't have stuck with Rooney. He wasted all but the unmissable against Ukraine and was ineffective against Italy. Club form should be irrelevant if you never produce for your country. Wonder if in the future we would be brave enough to drop him and give youth like Wellbeck and Carroll the chance? I actually think with an Alan shearer leading the line in this tournament we could have gone further playing exactly the same system.

  • Comment number 46.

    Why is the media so in love with Roy Hodgson? This "strong foundation" line is a nonsense. England were absolutely dreadful and lucky to escape with the results they did. (And thank goodness they lost! It would have been a travesty if they'd knocked Italy out playing the way they did.)

    He doesn't have too much to work with, but I'm still disappointed with Hodgson so far. Not just the performances either - the Liverpool club bias is unacceptable.

  • Comment number 47.


    German's creating 3-4 chances a game? Are you kidding me?

    Ozil alone has created 18 chances for Germany in their four games- incidentally 12 more than England's best creator Steven Gerrard who set up 3 of England's 5 goals in those 6 chances created.

    England didn't score many goals (asides from a bit of luck against Sweden and Ukraine) because they didn't create chances and didn't get many shots- they created less chances than the other side in all 4 games, conceding 88 shots to those teams while creating less than half of that!!!

    In fact, England's 29 shots at goal all tournament were less than Ronaldo managed on his own in 30 minutes less of football. Of the 29 crosses put in the box by Milner and Young, only 4 reached a team mate.

    I could go on, but I think you get the picture. If you want a more in-depth look at stats then check out the Guardian or the blog at

    Either way you'll get an understanding of just how poor England were in comparison to (and I quote all 3 BBC pundits) "very average teams".

  • Comment number 48.

    OK my view, Goal Keeper sound , hopefully he will be fit and ready to play in Brazil , just hope he doesn't get injured.

    In defence I think Terry, Lescott, Cole and Johnson did ok, and in fact we have more players to bring in to these positions Jaielka, Cahill, Jones , Richards , so we can I think match the defensive play in Brazil. Actually see no real problem in the defence going forward to Brazil.

    Now the problems start though soon as we move into mid field. Parker did break things up a fair bit, but clearly the guy has very little offensive talent , can't pass, can't run with the ball , who do we have to replace him if we are lucky Cleverly maybe if he develops. Gerard played well can do a job in midfield but will he still be fit and effective in 2 years time I'm not so sure , If we lucky Wiltshire will develop and take over from Gerard.

    So maybe just maybe we will also have a back 6 in Brazil,

    wingers though here we really start running into difficulties all our winger options far as i see it sparkle for 5 mins in a game then are pants for the next 5 games, Downing , Young , Milner, Walcott, Lennon, Adam Johnson they all, the whole bunch of them flatter to decieve , with the possible exception Oxlaide Chamberlain, I've not heard of any potential young players who could replace the fore mentioned donkey divas and the real point is when you listen to all those suggesting Ferdinand or Richards or Carrick etc, should have gone , not sure it would have made a difference cos they played in positions where the players who went didn't perform so badly. Can anyone think of a reliable winger we should have sent instead of the the fore mentioned donkey divas? Damn I'm nearly tempted to start the chorus and sing bring back Beckham the choice of wingers is so poor.

    Then upfront , i wasn't totally surprised to be honest that Rooney performed badly , thought his return was well over hyped , firstly as he was clearly not going to be match fit having not played a 90 minute game for 5 weeks, well and secondly cos he was hardly thrilling in South Africa was he , in both tournaments his first touch was very poor.

    So then we got to the forwards , I dunno maybe if we lucky , Welbeck will have developed by the time we get to Brazil , heck there is even a remote chance that Caroll will also mature into a good international striker if we very very lucky.

    So am I optimistic about England in Brazil , No !

    I guess if we don't discover a good winger through the Olympic under 23 squad , I may as well give up already , and oh yeah Gareth Bale who is Welsh will play on one of the wings , not much hope there then. Damn just a thought maybe Beckham will play so have no chance of discovering a new winger there then. Oh dear just another thought imagine if he plays well , we probably will bring back Beckham for Brazil

  • Comment number 49.

    I love how all of England was extremely happy with the side after the group stages, but now weve lost 1 game on penalties were suddenly an awful side that needs drastic change. This is the problem with the the english press and all of you commenting, you're all bandwagon jumpers. You all need to realise that we are not an amazing side and Hodgson is doing the best he can, with limited players. Stop landing on your high horse as none of you are football experts. If England gave the manager and the team a chance for once we might actually get somewhere.

  • Comment number 50.

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

  • Comment number 51.

    All 23 England players play in the premier league. Don't see this as a good thing. Personally I believe this speaks volumes of how the talent or lack of it, is seen in the other main european leagues such as the bundesliga and liga bbva. Spanish, german, italian and French players are seen all over the world, while English ones are stuck an island without ever being though of by their mainland european rival clubs and managers.

  • Comment number 52.

    We had two wingers...I didn't see them during the match....even though they were on the pitch from the start.

  • Comment number 53.

    Well said 49. No doubt had we won on penalties a lot of the same posters on here would be saying how we can go on to win it......

    Fickle bunch :)

  • Comment number 54.


    What Liverpool club bias? Shall I give you a list of all the players who refused to play or injured? Only two players from Liverpool regulary started. Both performed well. If anything, a Manchester club bias. How Young and Milner started every game is beyond me. Downing is very average and doesn't create much, but at least he doesn't give the ball away all the time like those two.

  • Comment number 55.


    Its about time you took notice of some of your press buddies. See below from Richard Williams in todays Guardian

    "Rooney's status is probably too great for him to be discarded at the age of 27, but since 2004 he has done nothing to warrant special consideration and it is time to start looking at him not as a special case but as a player to be picked or dropped as form and tactics dictate. The elimination on Sunday offers England the perfect pretext for a big clearout, and if he is to be involved in the future then he should be invited to leave the party he has been attending for the past nine years and join the new one, on rather different terms".

    Thank goodness the penny is dropping in the press room, next the MOTD studio?

    I have been stating this very approach for quite a few years on this blog, good to see I am no longer a lone voice.

  • Comment number 56.

    Fourty six yrars of complacency and ineptitude has lead to England at international football no longer able to compete with other countriess like ltaly, Spain, Germany Portugal Euro 2012 semi-finalists whose associations have invested in coaching and youth development.

    With the World Cup qualifiers starting next season, will Roy Hodgson to find enough talented youngsters capable of competing at global level in razil in 2014.

    I do agree with earlier comments by other contributorsd who have voiced their concerns about by our obsession with club football which papers over the cracks that exist in the sport concerning the power that the big clubs have on the English game. Their underserved control is underminining the English national team because of their pursuit of commercial interests to the detriment of the entire structure of the footballing family in this country.

    Unless there is a fundamental shift in the powee structure regarding the natinal associations having a greater say in youth development and academics which benefits the Englisgh national team in the future then I am afraid that England will continue at major tournaments.

  • Comment number 57.

    See whos laughing now..... FABIO....!

  • Comment number 58.

    Post 31 sums everything up perfectly. It's too much dejavu for me; I'm tired of all of this bizarre warped distorted system. It is, I suspect, a huge deception.

  • Comment number 59.

    Few things England could do to compete against superior footballing nations;

    1. Find a goal scorer. (from some where- atleast buy them), England needs a guy like Klose, Gomez, Ronaldo, Aguero, Van Persie, Ibra, Etoo etc. a player with a striker's instinct to score goals and with quality. Dont think Welbeck, Carrol, Sturridge, Defore Or even Rooney can do that regular basis

    2. Get rid of old guard (likes of Terry, Lamps, Gerrard etc.) at all cost and give opportunity to yougsters who posses quality (likes of Wilshire, Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, Micah Richards, Alex Ox, Phil Jones and build the team around them. England need some quality and quick legs too. Experience will come with more opportunities they get

    3. Develop youngsters with bit more technical skills and teach them how to keep the ball, but also stick to English style of playing footy. England can never be Spain, Brazil or Argies... but they can be like Germans or Dutch, so try that...

    4. Bring on a rule that every premier league team should play a minimum of 5 English players in the starting XI, having bench warmers not good enough, it can only down your confidence. I think this is so vital to improve quality of English players and to give them exposure

    5. Identify the main strength England has over other nations = SET- PIECES... England are probably the best at it. So make the best use of it to score goals when playing against other nations.

    6. MEDIA- should stop talking rubbish before and after a tournament. They over hype English footballers and put so much expectations on them. They always mis the vital points. We always hear the same old noncense and that need to be stopped. Have to accept what English team produced in past few tournaments is all what they are capable of.. Nothing more, nothing less. They simply lose to a better football team every time. I could imagine how media would critisize the team and the management if it was Fabio who lead the English team. Because Roy has been so nice to media throughout the media has decided to play nice too. This double standards never helps the development of English team or the mentality of fans, as we all know media plays a powerful role in this country to influence how people thinks

    There are few more things worth mentioning, but I simply dont have time now, got to get ready to go to work...

  • Comment number 60.

    I bet this England team can't win a CAF cup or Asian Cup. It can't even win the England Championship. It is assembled in a way not to lose games. Winning a game wasn't in the agenda. The team wasn't short of creative players. Ashley young, Milner, Welbeck and Chamberlain were gifted players who can give rival teams a nightmare. But they didn't give a chance to express themselves as other young players of other other teams did. They were defenders in practice. England's philosophy was to win the tournament at any cost. But England didn't know other teams came with the same philosophy. The team did need to adapt. Adapt like the way Manchester United adapt to situations. Rigidity doesn't work. If we look at Sir Alex Ferguson's teams, they were champions multiple times because they adapted to situations, and changed their technique to suit opponents. Team England should throw its pride, admit its shortcomings and work to solve the problems.

  • Comment number 61.

    'Blessing in disguise...not getting to the semi's...thereby avoiding another humiliating blitzkrieg-ing onslaught from ze Germans.

    The truth unfolded as usual...England are just plain flattered to deceive, when they get a fifa ranking above 8...Difference this time, our not so talented team did the best they could, as opposed to teams of the recent past tournaments, where England were purported to be one of the best teams in that given tournament, and of course, duly reward us with gross underachiement, and in essence, revealing their very overrated existence.

    In both cases though, the upshoot is, England are a mile away from winning a major tournament.

    But we as England fans, can't help but get duped...get hypnotised...we start to dare to dream...and's all over, yes, it's all over again.

  • Comment number 62.

    Think about how Germany blooded their youngsters at the last World Cup. They had nothing to lose and did well. Now they are world beaters.
    Does Roy have the nous to do that same? Probably not.
    Have the FA the sense to appoint someone who will? Definitely not!

    In 2 years time, after another disappointing WC will we still be reading the same blogs?
    Probably will.

    Of course now qualifying for Brazil will be the priority and I doubt if much will change. An astute manager should be able to bring in the new talent and still get the results.
    Now are we are 'obliged ' to stick with RH because of his reasonable ( considering the circumstances) performance in Ukraine? I hope not.

  • Comment number 63.


    What Liverpool club bias?"

    Selecting Henderson was dubious at best. Selecting Kelly was ridiculous. And those selections then make me question how honest he is being and will be in the future in his assessment of the likes of Johnson, Downing and Carroll.

  • Comment number 64.

    First up you need to choose the right players with the right attributes and the right form. To choose Carroll over Crouch was a sin. Crouch is proven at that level and had good form Carroll looked like the donkey he is. To over look Adam Johnson who had a great season at City and to take Downing instead is a joke even if you use AJ as an impact sub. Glen Johnson had an Ok time but Micha Richards had a great season at city and gives you a different option. Rooney had another stinker of a BIG tournament and took up a place of another striker, did Rooney make that much difference? I don't think so. We always hear about getting the basic right, the first step should be to pick the players who can do that, the fact we couldnt string 3 passes together speaks volumes. If Hart Lescott Milner Johnson Richards Barry can all do the biz and play the right way for their club and that's half the England team the others from the other clubs can surely come up to speed. But first you have to pick the right players and Roy did not.

  • Comment number 65.

    I agree with the point made @ 17. The focus on tactics or Rooney's fitness fails to address the main issue. The lack of development of English talent into the PL. I am a Chelsea fan and know there are 3/4 players that have come through the youth team, are loaned out but must be given the chance. I strongly believe the FA should offer significant and meaningful benefits to teams that play young English players for a minimum number of first team games in all domestic competitions. I am really excited to hear my team has signed Hazard but would be equally happy to hear that Josh Mceachran is going to be regularly used. When the top 6 clubs together have 20+ young players who are used to CL football then I think we are moving in the right direction as a football nation. If not we will have the biggest discrepancy between English PL and quality of national team of any European country. This will not be solved for thew next World Cup but it might start to bear fruit for the next Euro's.

  • Comment number 66.

    I have followed England for since the 1982 world cup. England have had many talented players and have been unlucky in many a tournament usually leaving me with a hard done by feeling as we go home early. However this recent performance was so bad that I sat watching games in the early hours each morning (Oz) completely unemotional or detached from the team I love. The results have completely masked the truth that the British form of the game cannot win tournaments. The fantastic and world wide popularity of the premier league and probably the best second Tier competion will dominate are thoughts and attention for nine months a year. A league that is unpredictable, honest and extremely rich is not going to play second fiddle to the national team. Therefore playing for England can be a drop down when compared to the multi national club sides. What should we do? I suggest a club England. A team made up of professional footballers that play for England only. They can come from the premier league but the FA would buy them and put on contracts much like the cricket
    team. Club England could play countless friendlies, practice tactics, skills, and not be caught up with the club vs country issue. The FA can sell footballers back to clubs when their contracts are over. I may have not thought though everything but the concept is to separate club from country. While the domestic league dominates with foreign players, over paid average English players, hit and hope , flick on football tactics there will no progress made with England. As for me, I would like to see England win something before I die.

  • Comment number 67.

    I think that Roy Hodgson is honest and has made the largest progress that any England manager has to date. Roy is not a great match coach or tactical genius. But he is a great manager - managing both the team to get the most out of them, and also managing football England in general.
    What Roy has done is tell England is that "England is not better than this". You may like it or not, but get up from you derams and get real. At Euro 2012, the England played to its maximum potential, were united and up for it, thanks to Roy. Unfortunately England are not better than this, and the pipeline is dry. In other words, England will not be better than this for at least another generation.
    If Fabio Capello could not realise the potential that the England players sat on then there is no potential. Fabio was the last bus, and it is a pity England shredded his reputaion. Roy has walked in and kept it real - there is no potential, no golden generation, nothing. It is 'let's know our place in world football and play with pride and determination - noble qulities that we have in plenty.

  • Comment number 68.

    Build on what good foundations?

    Not being able to keep the ball?
    Not being able to have any other formation than 442?
    Being 'Hard to beat'? (but only against mediocre teams).
    Indetifying a threat (Pirlo) and then allowing him the freedom of the parK?
    Picking players who constantly under deliver?

    This is a house built on sand. Continuing to gloss ovet these cracks is not helpful.
    I note journalists did this while Hodgson was failing at Milan. They did it again, defending him at Liverpool. Now England.


  • Comment number 69.

    So our new optimism is built on Roy not having much time and 11 men defending for 90 minutes. That's like building your house on sand. Huddle, Venables, Robson all quickly figured out that at International football your best defense is keeping the ball. They also knew the English game does not produce the type of players to play a two man midfield. Some of the big names are also not as good as we thought but play in good teams e.g. Wayne Rooney. If Hodgson is to succeed he has to shake up the team and get them to keep the ball. You can't clear the ball long from defense all the time against quality teams and Terry, Hart did it every time.

  • Comment number 70.

    All these so-called "positives" that we are being told to take from the tournament are almost true; or at least they might have been until game 3. We played a decent game, if a little tentative, against France. Better and more confidently against Sweden - then Roy lost the plot. Carroll and Walcott (along with Gerard) were two of the strongest players and he dropped them both to get an overweight and out of condition Rooney back (and mysteriously Ashley Young kept his spot, after dismal performances in every game). Against Ukraine, Rooney missed a sitter and managed a tap in that my old Aunty Ivy would have scored, but did nothing apart from that to worry the Ukraine defence or inspire confidence. Thought for sure Carroll would be back for the Italy game but when I saw the selection I just knew it was a foregone conclusion. It might take courage, but leave Rooney on the bench, Young at the airport and put the workers on the field.

  • Comment number 71.

    The fact that Hodgson took control of the squad recently is irrelevant to me. Think realistically, even if he had been instated in January even, against the technically superior Italian side he would have parked the bus anyway. When have England not played the bland style they did throughout the tournament? I have no doubt that if Hodgson had had 1 month or 6, England would be playing exactly the same regardless.

  • Comment number 72.

    As others have asked already.....What foundations?

    A bunch of has beens and a bunch of never will bes, the worst England squad in the history of the game (that is not an exaggeration). A manager who brought nothing to the equation except poor squad selection, naive tactics and a truckload of luck.

    Watching England v Italy was an embarassment. England just don't have the players and the future looks grim right now. Those so called foundations resemble a pit .....hopefully not bottomless.

  • Comment number 73.

    Obviously outclassed on Sunday, we have to now build for the future. The key is that Hodgson does not now go back to the tried and failed veterans such as Lampard, Barry and Ferdinand. I'd like to see Terry put out to pasture now as he won't make it through the court case.

    Bring on the Under 21's and meld them with this group of squad members.

  • Comment number 74.

    Hard work, discipline, passion thats all we got in this tournament but we've had that in every tournament i've seen us play in over the last 35 years. Footballing wise i'd say this was the worst i've ever seen, i think even worse than the last world cup, i don't blame Hodgson for that the players just aren't good enough.

    The only difference is Hodgson and the hacks golden boy Stevie G have played a blinder keeping the press on board. Fabio Capello couldn't give a monkeys what the press thought so they were after him from virtually the beginning.

    The same lessons as always need to be learnt but won't be, i have no doubt in 10 years we'll still be saying 'can't pass, can't dribble, can't trap a ball but hey look how much they run around!!!'

  • Comment number 75.

    Rooney was so poor it was unbelievable. It's a mystery how he gets into the team with performances like that. His fitness levels seemed way off - yes he got crowded out by large numbers of the opposition but only because he took so long on the ball to make up his mind what he was doing. When England needed him most he let them down. If I'd been manager he would have been off straight away.

    Welbeck isn't international class yet unfortunately. He just doesn't quite have the top attributes to warrant playing for a supposed top international team. All things being equal I would have played Defoe in the matches as he has been one of the best English strikers in the premiership and has been lightly used. He seems to have something extra in the box that you need against top defenders. I see Welbeck by contrast as one paced and clumsy, Defoe seems dynamic.

    Carroll couldn't be dangerous enough as England defended too deep. Basically playing JT in defence means that the defence can't play a high line and eventually drags back the midfield. This really was the biggest source of England woes because defending so deep meant that they had to surrunder possesion and with it, were always going to be more jaded than the opposition and it showed throughout all games.

    Difficult to rate Ashley Young and Milner as they were deployed as very defensively minded wingers, almost wingbacks with little licence to get forward. I think the obsession this tournament was not getting beat or ripped to pieces. I think we needed to take on the opposition more (easier said after the event admittedly) but going out in a tame way, like the French, can only be described as disappointing. Because of our repeated failings in tournaments a semi final appearance was a must, and so was avoiding penalties at all costs - we know we're no good at them so why do we play for them?

    It's a bit disappointing that Ox didn't play more. He was one of the few players that showed a high enough energy level to get forward.

    I know many people won't agree with this, but I think the centre of midfield was our weakest part of the team. We were constantly overrun (blame numbers) so that our two holding midfielders basically got pushed into the defence. I think Gerrard and Parker weren't upto the challenge and with two different midfielders with Gerrard deployed elsewhere England would have done better. This isn't to fault their efforts but neither are good enough to play that role. I didn't see another midfield so overrun in the tournament - how often did I shout hold your position..only for them to retreat into the penalty area and hide behind the centre backs! This was poor, but based on ability, Parker shouldn't really get near the team. You can put someone in who screens the midfield, but this player needs to have a range of passing otherwise it's pointless. Parker doesn't have enough of a presence to come out of the midfield with posession and start attacks..

    Lescott played well but seemed one paced. Terry was average to poor. Ashley Cole had an average tournament, even poor tournament for his high standards. I agree with the comments about Johnson being caught out of position but it was bizarre to deploy him in such a flat back 4 when his only ability is getting forward.. in the way he was played, you might as well have had someone like Phil Jones. He wouldn't have needed a left foot as he rarely went beyond the halfway line!

    I actually thought that England should have made big changes for the quarter final and even for the group games. It's a bit weird that you have a whole squad to choose from and only keep picking the same players when the games are in such a short space of time. More confusing when you consider that there isn't much ability difference between our second string and first string players IMHO.

    In the end it was a good tactical performance and I think Gary Neville will have given good input to Roy... I just get the feeling that Roy would have ignored most of it. Because there's no way GN wouldn't have spotted the many problems England had and not suggested a solution. His analysis on TV has been outstanding and as a previous Neville hater, gotta say his input was unquestionably the best any pundit has contributed in the past 10/15 years. It's only a shame he isn't the actual manager because then we would have reform... instead we have England playing like they're West Brom, which is about the right level... QF for West Brom.. fairly impressive.

    I think unfortunately the Germans are 10/15 years ahead of us. They realised at the turn of the century that the old, tired, slow defensive German team cannot play that same way and succeed. So they based their team on getting the ball forward quickly early on and dominating the attacking half of the pitch. I really do watch them and see parallels tactically with Manchester United and Chelsea. Their team is based on the premier league style and it shows. We really need to be following their lead. Admittedly they have some amazing players coming through the ranks while we do not, but their attitude towards play is the right way - players being tactically aware and especially knowing positionally what to do in the final third. Too often it seemed our players were just not sure on what to do.

  • Comment number 76.

    I don't buy into the 'lack of technical ability' argument. The poor play is down to tactics combined with players switching off mentally. Scott Parker is a prime example. He had a storming first 20 minutes against Italy - winning the ball, driving forward with urgency, passing well and timing his passes well. But then he went back to being the Parker of the previous games - slow and ponderous, out of position, holding on to the ball too long, ignoring simple opportunities to pass to his team-mates and instead turning into a blind alley... So frustrating to watch!

    No, the problem is psychological. Our players weren't fitter or had had shorter premier league seasons in '90 or '96 compared to other years. They were just up for it!

    The press, the public, even past England managers claiming we don't have the technical ability is not helpful - say something often enough and it starts to become true. I still remember Graham Taylor when England manager saying English players weren't as strong as continental European players. What an idiotic thing to say! I'm sure Spain could make the same excuse and start losing games, if they wanted!

  • Comment number 77.

    While he is always diplomatic if you listen carefully to Hodgson it is clear that he knows England need to get the basics right before we have any hope of going further in these tournaments. Apart from the obvious things like not passing to the opposition this includes getting the players to use common sense. Just two examples are for forwards to stay onside and goalkeepers not to dive in penalty competitions until they see where the ball is going seeing as a large percentage of players put their shot in or very close to the centre of the goal.

  • Comment number 78.

    I think there are positives to take away, such as increased unity, playing for the shirt and some semblance of organisation. The failures were familiar, but I think the positives did not exist in 2010, soRoy derves credit. There was weaknesses in the squad due to injuries and withdrawals. Why do players withdraw themselves from selection? Is it a sens e of entitlement or something to do with the FA? I think Carrick should have been persuaded to come and should have started. He would have maintained possession and allowed us to push Gerrard forward behind a striker. Gerrard could have been on top of Pirlo in the final game.

    As for the future, I think Gerrardshould stay, but Lampard, Terry and Ferdinand should not be picked again. Especially Terry, since he is such a divisive figure.i am not convincedhe is the kind of player England should have in defence. If Emgland do not want to fall deeper and deeper in matches, they need pace in central defence.

    We have potential ball players such as Wilshire and Cleverley, but will they return as good as before? Their lengthy injuries are concerning. I expect us to get to Brazil 2014 with ease, but, lets be honest, expectations should remain low for that tournament. Our aim should be France 2016.

    Ther is also the Rooney conundrum. He ha not transferred his club form to England for years. There is little evidence that he will in the future. His attitude on the pitch on Sunday was surly and transmitted to the rest of the team. He lost the ball far too easily and was culpable in allowing Pirlo to roam free, clearly against Roy's instructions. He may be our most talented player, but this tournament should end the indulgement.

    Finally, and most importantly, I want England to have a definable style of play. Traditionally, we have playedwith wingers and strong centre forwards. We should ally that with possession in central midfield. We need to promote to England players to avoid the long hoof up the pitch and play from the back. Carroll received more passes from Hart on Sunday then Gerrad received from any English player all match on Sunday. That has to change.

  • Comment number 79.

    whoozonfirst @70

    Better and more confidently against Sweden - then Roy lost the plot. Carroll and Walcott (along with Gerard) were two of the strongest players and he dropped them both to get an overweight and out of condition Rooney back (and mysteriously Ashley Young kept his spot, after dismal performances in every game).

    Yes that was one of the problems. Personally I always thought the idea of taking a player who could not play in the first two games, was rather like taking a player who is injured or only just recovering from an injury. England have done that several times at recent tournaments.

    But once the decision to take Rooney had been made, he then had to be played otherwise it was pointless taking him.

    Still that is not the reason we did not play the style we would like to see.

    I've never been a Roy fan, for me, he is incapable of innovation which is what we need, there is never going to be a suprise from him but he will be steady and for just once, maybe that is what we need right now. Therefore i feel he has to be backed.

    I said all the time we were there, his biggest success will be off the pitch and no one can argue, that we have not achieved some progress in that direction. Gone are the stories of in fighting and lack of spirit, we no longer have every player adding his twopennies worth. Maybe that will change after such a bad performance because at times like this, we generally see the finger pointing blame culture but I certainly hope we don't.

  • Comment number 80.

    Almost every country in the world has evolved and moved away from the long ball and hope for the best (like a Hail Mary pass in American football) but England has decided it is the only way they can win. With the zero technical skill players they have, it is really the only hope they have. It makes for boring football and apart from the die hard English fans, no one expects to be entertained whenever England plays. If they want a better future, they should realize it is better to lose with dignity by playing positive football, than to be embarrassed. Having an average of less than 3 shots on goal per game in EURO 2012 should be a wake up call for a complete change.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think Hodgson, so older idea that he chose Gerrard as captain bc Grd is not enough capable of captaincy top world team as 3 Lyon now, and Hodgson did not respect the man who guide England to Euro play off as Terry, and Gerrard had created the fait of Mclarence to run to mud in the past. If in the next future of the England coach he (any) must reproduct new team squard, we have many many of talenting tennagers.

  • Comment number 82.

    #3 Lexata

    Every year England get knocked out, every year we get the same story. Learn form the mistakes move forward...then nothing changes.


    Absolutely, and the reason is like most things in this country we are conservative with a small c.

    The recent changes the FA have brought in to alter youth football, are onlly things that the Dutch and Spanish have been doing for 20 years!
    We should, tho' we won't, take a look at what the Germans have done in the last 10 years. Seeing themselves fall behind the rest of the world they set about root and branch reorganisation at all levels. New rules regarding club ownership were part of that process, even the cost of tickets to go to matches, aswell as an entirely modern approach to coaching. Not following what someone else had done but taking a thorough look at their problems, analysing them, and creating a blueprint that would suit their culture and mentality to re-establish themselves at the pinnacle of football again.
    This has culminated with Joachim Loew, a young adventurous coach, who has created a team that can slip effortlessly from 442 to 424 with the ball, back to 451 or even 541 if needed, without the ball. who know when to press and when to retreat, and with individuals possessing the skills to enact it confidently and competently. Not tikki takka but a German way.
    The FA of course will tinker around the edges as always and would prefer to appoint established managers, like Hodgson, a man who still thinks football is the same today as it was in the 70s!
    I firmly believe, that despite many of the problems that beset the English game, at all levels, many of those players who have made it to the top, could easily adapt to a different style of play.
    For that to happen though we need a manager with an eye to the future, rather than the past, a media that would accept the transition, and what it may mean for results, and an FA board with the courage to enact it and truly revolutionise football from the bottom up.
    However, my prediction is, and I rarely make them regarding footbal, that we shall have this discussion again in 4 years time, the media will continue to pick, or at least influence the managers team selection (the clamour for Rooney etc. despite yet more evidence that he isn't what they think he is) and ,if Hodgson is in still in charge, while may we have got some results, we will be dissapointed with the way we have played.

  • Comment number 83.

    Found this on Written after 2010WC and a few points have been addressed but still valid
    When a business fails or struggles in some other way people commonly look for recent tactical or incidental causes, but the roots of failure are usually far deeper in foundational strategies, structures and philosophies.

    The poor performance of the England football team at the FIFA 2010 World Cup offers an example of a venture inflicted with fundamental problems, and therefore likely to fail.

    Here are some indicators (as at FIFA World Cup 2010) of foundational weakness and vulnerability in the basic organization and ethos of the England national football effort. Think of it like a business. Success is difficult when foundations are flaky and misaligned. With a little imagination it is easy to relate these lessons/examples to the business world.

    The English Premiership (England's top domestic league and effectively the pool from which the national team is selected) is dominated by clubs which are:

    Mostly owned, and the teams managed/coached, by people/companies from outside of the UK, who have little interest in the success of the England national team, and in many cases have very strong national football loyalties overseas.
    Mostly staffed by players from outside of England (two-thirds are from overseas), which restricts the pool of available English national talent, and also the opportunities for English home-grown talent to develop and become experienced.
    Clubs are very strongly profit-driven, and are so debt-ridden as to be effectively bankrupt.
    As a consequence of these commercial pressures, players are forced to play too many games in a season (generally far more than their international counterparts), without break, and so that when the World Cup happens it is during the one month in the year when players would normally be resting and recovering.
    The leadership of the Football Association, guardian of England's national game, has for some years been chaotic and disjointed, indicators being:

    Recent resignations of Chief Executive and Chairman.
    Regular scandals and infighting.
    Lack of control over domestic game and clubs.
    Other 'foundations of failure' indicators:

    England has approximately 10% of the number of FIFA qualified coaches compared to European countries like Spain, Germany, Italy, and France (about 2,700 compared to about 20,000 or 30,000 in these other countries).
    The coach of the national team is not English and cannot speak English properly. It is not ideal to have coach who cannot communica

  • Comment number 84.

    Obviously outclassed on Sunday, we have to now build for the future. The key is that Hodgson does not now go back to the tried and failed veterans such as Lampard, Barry and Ferdinand. I'd like to see Terry put out to pasture now as he won't make it through the court case.

    Bring on the Under 21's and meld them with this group of squad members.

  • Comment number 85.

    If it helps you miserable bleating Poms feel any better, New Zealand just lost to the mighty New Caledonia (pop. 256,275) in the Oceania Cup. There, you thought you had problems, ay?

  • Comment number 86.

    #78 thehippreist

    What you say makes an awfull lot of sense. However their is on stumbling block to that and it is Roy Hodgson. England play like they have because that is what he wants.
    Carroll recieved more passses from Hart than Gerrard from other midfielders, because Hodgson wants the ball moved forward quickly. The only reason it didn't happen to Wellbeck or Rooney was that they failed miserably to collect the long ball. Hence my arguement that Hodgson failed to select even the best 11 for the way he wanted to play. Which would have seen Carroll, and Wellbeck or Defoe up front, probably Downing in for Young, who incidentally was one of our designated penalty takers - 120 minutes of dire football for him only to miss the pen! how ironic - and Rooney on the bench!
    The fans, and media, would have slated him before kick off, now they will only slate him till the next match when Rooney Terry stc get picked again!

  • Comment number 87.

    Rooney. What a waste of space in an England shirt! And yet more excuses on why he doesn't perform for England. Yawn, yawn. yawn.

  • Comment number 88.

    Hodgson accepts the Rooney played poorly but he never took him off! Did that cost us the match with only 10 players against 11? Is this a sign he cannot make the right decisions at the right time? Has Rooney ever played well for England?

  • Comment number 89.

    Just an idea about penalties. Everyone says we cannot re create the pressure, exhaustion and atmosphere of a penalty shoot out. If I am not mistaken nearly every weekend between August and May we have our stadiums full of fans, we play tough premier league football and we have our England players on the field.

    Why don't we ask the Premier League to hold a penalty shoot out at the end of every Premier League Match. This will no doubt give the fans an added bit of entertainment, present the Premier League with some commercial sponsorship deal and help our players re create the pressure of a shoot out. Even if we just did it for the games that ended in a draw.

    This is the kind of thinking that the Germans or Spanish would do to improve their chances so why don't we.

  • Comment number 90.

    The problem is wit English football is the grassroots football that if if we have any, all the talk is not gonna win England a major tournament. This team is just the same as other English teams that we have seen in the past, they can't complete even 5 passes or hold the ball for 5 seconds and you expect to win big tournaments. Keep on dreaming people.

  • Comment number 91.

    The main memory of this tournament, from an England point of view, must be the England-Sweden game and Mark Lawrenson's cry of anguish when England kept giving the ball back to their opponents, effectively giving them an opportunity to win. The Swedish passing was not the silky-smooth product of Italy or Spain, but was effectve. When England learn (re-learn?) how to pass the ball to each other and retain possession, they'll be contenders.

  • Comment number 92.

    End of Point 83 after laptop problem -
    • The coach of the national team is not English and cannot speak English properly. It is not ideal to have coach who cannot communicate effectively, and by virtue of his foreign nationality cannot possibly have English national pride in the truest sense. Would an Englishman ever coach the Italian or German national team? This is not xenophobia (dislike of foreigners) or discrimination, it is practicality and common sense.
    • The coach is paid £5 million (or £6m, depending on interpretation) per year, regardless of performance; moreover failure and early departure is effectively rewarded because of a contracted fixed two-year term termination payment (although the effect of this is probably to maintain a failed situation - because the cost of change is prohibitive).
    • England players are paid around £100,000 per week; for doing another job (playing for their clubs). Failure at national level may be slightly upsetting for a day or two, but it does not really hurt or matter.
    • At least one England squad member had to be asked by the coach to make himself available for his country. Another could not be persuaded. National representation is a peak sporting achievement. It's worrying when candidates reject this notion, and just as worrying when such candidates are pursued and recruited.
    • Culturally the integrity and ethos of football - especially what it means to be a footballer - has been lost to the corporate world. The focus (of the role-models and therefore the kids) is no longer on ball skills and being the best - it's on the brands, the replica shirts, the day-glo boots and the millionaire celebrity lifestyles. Not much works well when hype dominates substance.
    A national football team is in many ways like a business. It needs solid strategic and philosophical foundations. Misalignment at a basic level eventually produces problems at the level of tactical or operational implementation. Like a national football team, if a business fails at a tactical or operational level, the causes - and therefore the solutions - are generally much deeper than they seem.

  • Comment number 93.

    Hodgeson is and always was going to be the FA yes man -
    the way he approached the France and Italy games was absolutly lame - he is at best a mid prem manager not england - we should have got rednapp from the start.

  • Comment number 94.

    I admire you so much Phil, your bottomless Hodgson love.
    Tell me, does this improvement also include playing football, or just building walls to stop the opposing team from playing? Or are you talking about improving penalty practice!!You should have been a make-up artist mate, the way you paint beautiful colours over this drab Hodgson landscape day in day out.
    Phil McNulty, make-up artist and the tailor who makes the emperor's clothes.

  • Comment number 95.

    This is tournament football, I don't understand why there are so many comparisons to a long English season. Am I the only one who thought that Italy weren't that good, either that or England did a good job of being difficult to beat? England gave the ball away, but what did the Italians do with it?. Lol at the media and pundits going gooey over Pirlo's penalty, which is one of the easier kicks to take, a simple gamble that paid off, albeit from a cool and confident player.
    Everyone seems to think you can't recreate the nerves and tiredness of a Penalty shoot out, yet they train Man and Horse for riots during Police work, in dedicated re-enactment facilities.
    The players need to practice in a tired leg situation with high rewards at stake, perhaps personal privileges, maybe on the stage of a theatre with a hired crowd.
    If you really want to change English football, then the answer could be to send our teenagers to academies abroad or at least youngsters on football camps to mix with at least the Germans and Dutch regularly. Absorbing another culture, way of doing things, attitude, even during their time off. Football academies in England, will produce exactly the same types of player we have now. Just as Turkish business schools will never produce businesses comparable to those in Germany ran buy German Turks.

  • Comment number 96.

    There's some reasoned comment here, as well as much that is unfair to Hodgson. Perhaps we should remember the saying 'You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear'? But he should not have persisted with Rooney.

  • Comment number 97.

    The three big take-home messages I would give England apart from 'keep the ball' are these:

    1. Spend 2 years getting your bodies adapted to heat and humidity. I say take two years, because it's the only way you can do it without compromising your fitness for your clubs. 15 minutes twice a week exercising in a sauna is the way to start. You need to be comfortable playing 120 minutes in 80F and 90% humidity. It's called being professional. It's not hard to set up a programme to do that. It's simply a matter of attending to the necessities of preparation.
    2. Learn from Spain, Italy and Germany about how to win the ball back. Their intensity goes up 3 notches when they don't have the ball. The reason they can do that is that they get a rest when they are on the ball as they keep it rather well for extended periods of time. We don't.....
    3. Teach our aspiring young talent foreign langauges and see if they can 'study abroad'. 4 years playing every week from 18 - 22 is better than being a bum warmer in England. If we sent 15 of our most technical youngsters to good technical clubs in Europe each year, we might instil some really good habits.

    It's possible to learn to press at very high intensity - I saw Arsenal learning to do it the past few years. They weren't by any means perfect, but they beat Barcelona doing it and beat Chelsea 3-1 doing it. Wilshere showed he could compete with Xavi and Iniesta and Walcott showed he could fit into a 4-5-1 defensive situation and break rapidly, assist and score goals when the side had the ball against Chelsea. It's 4-2-3-1 and 4-5-1 combined.......

    England had better decide once and for all whether they ever want to win a major football tournament again. And they had better decide that now.

    It won't happen, ever again, short of the accident of birth gifting us the next Messi, unless there is a unified decision to make it happen.

    It won't happen overnight, even if that decision is taken.

    It will only happen if enough people, in the right places, are single-minded enough to make it happen.

    If that's not the case, best to end the fraud of false expectations now. It costs too much to travel to tournaments to allow that betrayal of fans.

    If the foreign owners won't have it, call for FIFA to ban their nations from tournaments. It's not on having the USA setting up their own excellence programmes, then preventing that happening here by buying our football clubs and setting out to undermine ours.

    They are guests in our country, not our masters.

  • Comment number 98.

    The English game needs a huge shake up but I doubt it will get one. The Premiership is flooded with foreign players and this should be changed, no more than two or three foreign players per club should be the rule. Rooney was banned after his latest display of petulance and should never have been picked for Euro 2012, he was overweight, unfit and has never performed well at international level. It's time to get rid of the old guard and bring in young players like Oxlade Chamberlain, Wilshere, Rodwell and Walcott. I thought Hodgson's tactics against Italy were dire and embarrassing to watch, I would rather have seen England lose 4-0 than the way they surrendered midfield and packed the penalty area to hold out for the penalty shoot out. If that is Roy's blueprint for the future I fear the worst, maybe we need to appoint a German coach next time!

  • Comment number 99.

    I agree Steve S. whole-heartedly with your comments. England were boring boring to watch and if this negative and defensive style of play is to continue for the next 2 years under Hodgson then heaven hlep us. The best thing that could have happened on Sunday was for Italy to have scored early in the 2nd half as then England would had to have come out of their own half and attacked but it was sickening to see that they, and Hodgson, were happy to sit back and go to extra-time and penalties, and then produce the same old sob-story of how 'unlucky' we were. I think that the future looks bleak and it would not surprise me if England do not qualify for the next World Cup, based on their tepid displays in Euro 2012. I can see them losing to Ukraine, struggling to beat Poland and even Montenegro could trouble them. The only 'easy' games are those against Moldova (maybe) and San Mariono for sure.

  • Comment number 100.

    Once again it appears to me that the outcome's assessment of the Euro is somewhat delusional from the English perspective.

    Where exactly did England do well? Resilience? Team spirit?

    England were underwhelmingly average from the outset. Leads against France and Sweden were squandered. The Ukrainian goalkeeper's incapabilities gifted Rooney the easiest goal of his life; this game could have been easily lost, too, given that Parker handled the ball in his own penalty area.

    Only because the French threw their game away, and subsequently their tournament, against Sweden was England given a lifeline. They were exposed against Italy, badly, in terms of skill and possession.

    Their senior leadership was, perhaps with the exception of the battling Terry, left wanting. Gerrard's body language has always been that of a beaten man that cannot inspire anyone. You have to leave people at home to create good locker room atmosphere?

    What was so bad under Capello? That he did not understand the language or the "British way of life"? They certainly got some results under his watch.

    So perhaps, as Mr Hodgson said, the best thing to take away from the Euro was the fan support. What a sad resume. Perhaps it would be wise to let Hodgson go and install someone with understanding for the English game, culture - but with a certainly never seen before ruthlessness. So why not install someone they could actually learn something from. I think of Klinsmann. He would get rid of the dead wood and take the team forward.


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