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Confident Hodgson happy to brush off criticism

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Phil McNulty | 22:30 UK time, Thursday, 14 June 2012

From Kiev

England's warm embrace for the Krakow community has deservedly won friends and admirers - but among opponents they are winning a reputation as the unloved country of Euro 2012.

Roy Hodgson and his players flew from their Poland base into the sprawling bustle of Kiev in Ukraine to more verbal blows and even a touch of mockery from Friday's opponents Sweden as they prepare for their second Group D game.

England's crime appears to be a point-blank refusal to make life easy for France in their opening 1-1 draw in Donetsk, a result and resilient performance that unsettled the purists but served Hodgson's purposes with an important point.

Matters of style were once more on the agenda as Hodgson and captain Steven Gerrard faced the world's media in the shadow of Kiev's impressive Olympic Stadium. And the supreme indifference they showed to the inquisition suggests they adhere to the old adage stating that there is only one thing worse than being talked about - and that is not being talked about.

England team

England team take part in a training session at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev ahead of their match against Sweden. Photo: Getty  

If England have been too eager to please the opposition in recent major tournaments like the World Cup in 2010, then their poor approval rating here may well be a good sign.

Former Sweden captain Jonas Thern threw a barb in England and Hodgson's direction when he said: "The one shot towards the France goal over 90 minutes was all it took to ignite the chronic English illusion of world football supremacy. Their style of play is predictable."

The gentleman in Hodgson will probably thank Thern for his interest then ignore a Swedish mock - with heavy emphasis on mock - front page of an English national newspaper reflecting on an imaginary Swedish victory under the headline "Broken Hart".

There was more but the humour was of an acquired taste. Hardly subtle, hardly humorous and hardly likely to have the slightest impact on Hodgson and England.

France coach Laurent Blanc, who made a veiled reference to England's approach after the Donetsk draw, could not resist another shot when looking ahead to their meeting with co-hosts Ukraine.

He said: "Regardless of who starts they just need to relax because we can't repeat the first 30 minutes against England. If we had played against a really good side it would have been over."

If the sideswipes were intended to divert Hodgson and England away from their chosen course, a course taken out of the necessity of missing their outstanding player Wayne Rooney through suspension, seeing midfield options reduced by injuries to Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry and the manager having reduced preparation time, then they met a brick wall.

Hodgson said: "It is only three days since we played. I don't expect miraculous changes overnight and in three days we are not going to change enormously. Frankly I rather hope we are not going to change at all. I thought, going into a game against a very good French side, we handled things well."

The 64-year-old is aware England must produce more of an attacking threat against the Swedes in a game where victory is essential, while there is inevitably a sense that these early games are something of a holding operation until Rooney returns against co-hosts Ukraine.

He added: "We have the quality of people who will score and we have a world-class player of our own to bring back into the team soon in Rooney. He is very anxious to get back into the team."

The words of Thern and a Swedish front page poking fun - and poking hard - hardly represent a show of respect but Hodgson, who also heard England's status as a world power questioned by the French media last week, delivered a measured response.

England have entered into the spirit of this sparkling Euro 2012 off the field with a successful charm offensive in Poland and are convinced they are being taken seriously amid the less than kind messages.

Hodgson said: "I would be surprised if teams were not taking England seriously. I think it is more of a question that in past tournaments we haven't been able to live up to very high expectations. I would say the reputation of football in England, not least of all the quality of the Premier League and the famous names in there, means that we are never going to be taken lightly or not seriously.

"To some extent we run the risk of a country like Sweden, that spends a lot of its time watching the Premier League, getting an extra motivation to beat an England team because they like to show these highly-paid superstars they are no better than their own players."

The Football Association's plan to make England good tourists off the field has been an unqualified success. If it does not extend on the field then Hodgson and his players will consider their job well done. They will hope the joke is on Sweden on Friday.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Should be a good indicator of where we are, should France struggle to get past Ukraine suddenly our group becomes very interesting for all concerned. I would actually put France as being under more pressure than the other 3 in the group. They are touted as the best side but come unstuck against the co-hosts and it could be out of their hands.

    Germany & Spain have stepped up to the party and England will have to show a lot more than they did against France to get us dreaming. However, should Croatia finish ahead of Italy then topping our group could lead to a favourable tie in the quarters. Still need to see what we have when we are a goal down, and whether Parker & Gerrard can last the tournament.

    Hodgson has no need to apologise for the negativity but it is a sad reflection on our country that we are being forced to adopt the tactics of a minnow to try and negotiate our way through the tournament, it is an admittance that we are technically inferior the Europe's best.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hodgson managed in Sweden for a number of years so he will have a good understanding of the Swedish mindset.

    Several of the Swedish players have played in the Premier League so they will know what to expect from our players and visa versa.

  • Comment number 3.

    Big game for Gerrard, linking up with Ox, Young and Welbeck to move the team forward.

    3 good results for Roy, now a new test, a team we should beat in a tournament...

    Still fear 3 draws...

  • Comment number 4.

    I don't take these criticisms too seriously- the 'golden generation' were truly golden as individuals and for their clubs, and the new generation coming through with Hart, Wilshere, AOC, Walker etc. shows that there really is a fundamental change in English players towards more technical and finesse moulds. As for expectation: Wenger said the passion of English fans is unlike any other nation, and we have the best league in the world (yes, the UEFA coefficients back that claim up- long term/short term patterns for those dissenters), so there is a corollary of that- of course!

    It is a pity though that we're not playing 5 in midfield since we could genuinely dominate the games against Ukraine and Sweden's, with their use use of 442.

  • Comment number 5.

    I do not understand why were are disappointed or surprised that we are technically inferior to the best teams in Europe? As fans that watch the Premier League week in, week out, we are treated to the best football that can be seen anywhere in the world. But it is a unique brand of football.

    Premier League football is based around counter attacking; teams rarely achieve more than 55-58% possession, and the objective is to score as quickly as possible. Continental football is much more measured, and centres around keeping the ball until an 'easy' opportunity arises. England are inexperienced in this style, as our young players are not coached in this way and therefore do not have the technical ability. The great English players (only Gerrard, Rooney, Terry, Cole and Hart?) are in teams which also have foreign players to help them win trophies.

    It is refreshing to see Roy Hodgson come into the job, tell the players that they are underdogs (which we are) and to play to their strengths in order to nullify the threat of technical teams. If we have realised this 10 years ago we may have won something. I remember the days when Germany and Italy would reach the latter stages of tournaments purely based on their organisation and discipline, and they would be praised for it.

    Against Spain, Germany, Holland, Russia, France, Italy and Croatia I'd say we'd be better of with our containment strategy (as vs France) and see where it gets us, because anything else, quite frankly, will expose us badly. I'm looking forward to tomorrows game and am expecting a 2-1 win.

    Come on England!!

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    All I can say is it's about time! Thank you Spain for injecting life into what was quickly becoming a drab Euro's after a promising start.

    Feel a little sad for the Irish fans even, but it had to happen sometime and in fact I was a tad disappointed Spain managed only 4. Expected at least 5, but anyhow there's sterner opposition yet.

    I just hope Germany can finally triump over them, it's been a long while.

    And while I'd be sad to see the artful craftsmen not obtain more silverware, nation comes first and it's our turn!

  • Comment number 8.

    For once we are keeping our heads down and being workman like. Seems to be winding up our fellow Europeans. Good, good. Keep it up lads. I'm enjoying this, nothing like seeing our opponents bite.

    England are finally doing something right :D

  • Comment number 9.

    1. At 23:32 14th Jun 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:

    Oh my. First time I've actually agreed with anything on here. A balanced and realistic viewpoint. How refreshing.

    Glad to see we actually have a game plan and i think that Roy is able to communicate and put across his instructions clearer than Capello.

    It might have been a blessing in disguise that Rooney was injured as we will hvae him rested and raring to go in the third match.

    I am pleased with how England are doing. Making all the right noises. Everyone seems in on it together which is a change. Feels like we've turned a corner. Albeit a very long one.

    Feeling conservatively positive!

  • Comment number 10.


    Have you been viewing too much News24 lately?? ,]

  • Comment number 11.

    Looks like Carroll could be upfront with Welbeck and the Ox is left out, Young moving over to the left.

    Brave move by Roy, starting to like this guy...

    Very interesting, will definitely get the Swede's thinking defensively...

  • Comment number 12.

    Why is it when England set out to defend it's negative,but when the Italians did it for so many years it was brilliant defending.It was a case of thats the way they play and its up to other teams to break them down,Italy have won more trophies playing that way,than anyone else.

  • Comment number 13.

    With exception of a couple of games in Euro 2004 , England have failed to inspire on the field of play. Every game that they play I am lured into thinking that this may finally change and we will be treated some flair and creativity going forward. Only for my hopes to be dashed as I watch us run out of ideas in the final third and pinch a goal from a set piece. As a fan I will be watching and hoping again in the game against Sweden, but history tells me we are in for more of the same.

  • Comment number 14.

    I've mentioned before, the English are *very fortunate to be in this group. Ukraine and Sweden have been solid but nothing special so far, with their obvious talismen the only proper threats.

  • Comment number 15.

    @ 1 sirHellsBells

    I think France should be concerned. They will be playing a Ukraine side who know that a win will take them to the knockout stages and who will be buoyed by their win over Sweden.

    The Swedes will be tough opposition but if we are a little more positive than we were against France then I think we can beat them.

    Germany have beaten talented but tactically flawed Netherlands and Portugal. Spain have drawn against a decent Italian side and thrashed an awful Irish team. I would say that of the two the Germans have been more impressive so far.

    I've wouldn't say we are adopting tactics of a minnow, I think we are playing to our strengths which is being well organised and hard to score against. To progress far in the competition we will need to become more attacking but not at the expense of our defensive solidity.

  • Comment number 16.

    If England can win one of the next two games I can see them possibly winning the thing based on some unprecedented luck on penalties and lots of defending. Not that I would condone such behaviour, I find grinding out draws quite boring, but I guess they have to work with what they have!

    Ukraine game could be a tough one as regardless of what happens against France, they will either need to win a game in front of their home ground, or will be filled with confidence in front of their home crowd.

  • Comment number 17.

    2-0 to the Ingurlend

  • Comment number 18.

    Interesting that most believe France are the strongest team in this group. The outcome is going to go down to the wire. I think it is essential England beat the Swedes as I doubt they will beat the Ukraine in their own environment. Besides the Ukraine looked every bit as technical and pacy as the French in their win over Sweden. It would not surprise me if England drew all three matches and go through as runners up.

  • Comment number 19.

    I must state, I give real credit to Roy. He's a likeable individual and so far his modesty and workman-like progress are far more assured than Capello's tournament bafoonary.

    I'm still an England slater, but credit where due and Roy already deserves more than Capello and McLaren combined.

    I'm going for 2-1 to England tomorrow. Ukraine will probably prove a tougher test, but England look to have somehow progressed.

    Good, we look forward to meeting your team Roy. Hehe.

  • Comment number 20.

    Good to read the swedes and french are sending some negative remarks our way. If they weren't worried about us then they wouldn't be saying anything. I don't think any englishman is under the disillusion that we have a strong chance of winning this competition so I don't think england have the same air of arrogance as in previous tournaments. I would love it if we turn the swedes over, man for man we're better than them and now we have a good shape. I'm not loving our style but all things considered I'm happy so far.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ 7 Avonns

    I'm not sure which games you have been watching but the matches i've seen in the past couple of days have been some of the best so far.

    Poland 1 Russia 1 was an end to end match with an amazing solo effort from Blaszczykowski.

    Denmark 2 Portugal 3 was in my opinion the best match of the tournament so far.

    Netherland 1 Germany 2 was a tense match of high quality.

    The Spain vs Ireland match was a masterclass in maintaining possession but was a completely one sided affair so I wouldn't say it was a great game.

  • Comment number 22.


    Agree there, really enjoyed the Poland/Russia game. The Pole's next game the Czechs should be a good un too! Would love to see them get through

  • Comment number 23.

    @1 Please read my comment @12,Italy as you probably know were the most defensive team in world football,don't ever remember them being called minnows.Wish England could win the Euros or World Cup,don't care what system they use,1966 is a long time ago.

  • Comment number 24.

    @ 22 Bungly Pete

    Yes the Poland vs Czech game should be a cracker. The Poles have to win to progress and the Czechs could need a win too.

  • Comment number 25.

    Looking at Spain's and the Germans performances the likely winner will come from them but the way they play and pass means we're probably 20 years behind them in terms of technique and fitness and our game from grass roots upwards needs a total overhaul to catch them up. For now with our current squad why shouldn't we play defensive and play to our strengths and if i remember rightly the French don't always play exciting football and i would rather be in our position than the mighty Dutch. I also would like to see Russia come up against a better team to see how they would fare. Brilliant tournament so far :)

  • Comment number 26.


    I'm a high-score junkie, the more the merrier for me =D

  • Comment number 27.

    @ 26 Avonns

    Fair enough - each to their own. I like goals (who doesn't?) but also close matches where you are not sure who will win the game until the final whistle. The matches with most goals so far have actually been Russia 4 Czech 1 and Denmark 2 Portugal 3.

  • Comment number 28.

    I can't believe some of the people here are comparing England to Italy. Yes Italy may have been quite defensive, but they've always had players with superb technical ability such as Baggio, Del Piero, Totti, Pirlo and Cassano. In the same period England have just had Gascoigne. The likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Barry and even Rooney don't have the skills of these Italians.

  • Comment number 29.

    England are finally playing to there strengths, As a footballing nation we produce really good defenders and we like to counter attack and that is what Woy is setting us up to do and the players are buying it.

    Im just happy that the players played with some passon on monday

  • Comment number 30.

    @28 The likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Barry and even Rooney don't have the skills of these Italians.
    Brilliant Premier league players but they just dont have the required technique and passing ability to succeed at internatrional level

  • Comment number 31.

    The opposition players and coaches need to stop criticising other teams and focus on their own shortcomings. The French, in particular, seem to have criticised England a lot, but they hardly played brilliantly, and we restricted them totally to shots from outside the box. What were we supposed to do? Just let them wander into the penalty area and tap it in?

    In all honesty, and for all the brilliance of some foreign clubs and nations, their style of football is no better. People often laud Barcelona for their metronomic passing style, but it often gets to the point where I find myself thinking "just take a ******* shot!" No foreign league measures up to the Premier League, and its about time England tried to imitate the football played in the EPL. I'm not saying our football against the French was great, but whoever said metronomic passing automatically made a brilliant football side? As someone rightly said, the Italians have been defending for 50 years, and yet everyone applauds them for it.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hands up who thought chelski played boring defencive football in Champions league, And when they beat Barca it was excellent tactics, But when JT picked up the silver it was utterly brilliant and why havent they signed the manager to a multi year contract. My point being England NEED to make it deep into this toury and put the fear of England back into the Contenders for the world cup. The tactics being deployed by Mr hodgson are working it may not be the all out attack we think works for us ( which has won us early flights home for decades) I think Roy is doing a very good job playing with the cards he has been dealt, and he gets his Ace back for Ukraine, England with Roo are a very dif propersition than without him. Exactly who is scared of Andy Carroll and Young Danny is mostly unproven at this level but will be a real threat at the world cup, Roo IS world class now and scares the crap out of defences, So leave the tactics to the man with the plan. If we were to win this thing the tactics will have be called genius, Now who here would agree with the french then!!!!!! anybody remember " The boring boring arsenal " that couldnt be beaten!

  • Comment number 33.

    Overall I'd rate the tournament as OK so far. It's not too flash, some big players have yet to perform. But some nice displays from the 'progressing' Nations.

    The 1-1/1-0 score lines in quite a lot of the matches have detracted from some of the better matches. Russia v Czechs, Germany-Holand and Denmark-Portugal were class.

    Guess I'm alluding to every tournament having its token 5-0/6-0 drubbing, but I'm probably just being greedy.

    Surprise picks are the Dutch (all going wrong again?), and the Croatians draw with Italy. Well deserved as Italy were quite the Poor, and deserved punishing.

  • Comment number 34.

    Sadly, a great tournament day is spoiled by those bafoons on the sofa for the highlights show.

    Why can't Linekar just host those too? =]

    BBC intro theme is brilliant this time however, fittingly epic. Best since 2004. Their appalling treatment of the 2008 tournament programme has almost been forgiven.

  • Comment number 35.

    @34 I cant stand Itv's pre-match coverage Adrian chiles does my head in and Roy Keane just looks like a psycho ready to pop, Beeb have got a brill set up with Lineker and the lads excellent chemistry

  • Comment number 36.

    I see a lot of comments regarding possession and how England is not able to manage it. There is a difference between having possession and know what to do with the ball when in possession of it. Unfortunately, in both aspects of possession England falls below average. If they can improve the 2nd aspect, it could be a very different outcome. Another fact is that England's game is predictable and for such reason they need to try different things when in possession of the ball.

  • Comment number 37.

    I don't know why anyone would be negative about a 1-1 draw vs France. Personally, I thought we looked alright against a team favourite to win the group.

    What concerns me more is Ukraine winning. I fancied a draw at that means beating Sweden today is a must. Playing to our strengths is all well and good if we need a draw but when you have to score, are we just relying on set pieces? The defending tactic works if we get out the group as I guess we can play for penalties but we are **** at them....I hope Woy has had them practising none stop.

    The fact we are being talked about is only a positive.

    England to nick it 1-0. I hope!

  • Comment number 38.

    Watch the way Spain played against Ireland today, then watch England against France. It's like night and day. I can't see England beating anyone. They're hard to break down but offer little in attack. Therefore, we're looking at two draws against Sweden and Ukraine and an early trip home.

  • Comment number 39.

    It is a pathetic situation when England focus all their hopes on one player,Rooney,who is a loose canon. Comapre this with the depth of attacking talent in other teams,such as Spain and Germany. What a blinkered view to think that one player holds the key to England's success. Until and unless a reservoir of talented forwards is developed as quickly as possible,the illusion will be fostered that England has a real chance of success.

  • Comment number 40.

    @39 just like any team in the world if your best player is not playing, your team will be much improved when they return. Think of players such as Ronaldo, Messi, iniesta (club or country). I don't think anyone has all their hopes on Rooney, but you'd be a fool to say he wouldn't improve the team. Sure, England aren't amazing and noone says we are. But we have a chance, just like Denmark and Greece when they won it

  • Comment number 41.

    I have been a die-hard England fan for years. I think it is time to switch teams because England teams are not entertaining. England was the first team that came with a game plan to 'not lose' at any cost. This tells how inferior the England team is to France and others. What is more ironic is England claimed to be the origin of soccer, and now there is a claim that Swedish winning mentality originated from English coaching. Why don't you teach your players how to win instead of boasting you teach the Swedish how to win? Team England is a victim of the English total arrogance and the delusion and hype of the media!

  • Comment number 42.

    Well, that former Swedish player did have a point, England may be ranked 6th in the world but Sweden are admittedly 4th...oh hold on, that's the Swedish women's side.

  • Comment number 43.

    41. We do win, most of the games we play. That's why we are ranked 6th in the world.

  • Comment number 44.

    39. We are 6th best team in the world, that means we have a reasonable chance of reaching semi finals in major tournaments, and that is what we have achieved on a number of occasions. That's pretty much the best most England fans hope for or expect going into a tournament. It's quite a big achievement too, considering the popularity of the game worldwide and the pool of players England has to choose from being a fairly small country. Being a relatively successful small country we tend to fantasize about going those few extra levels needed to win a tournament and as a team that has been reasonably close on several recent occasions it is hardly a delusional act. The media is a load of hot air to attract readers and viewers.

  • Comment number 45.

    Blanc's comment hints either at frustration at his own team's performance or irritation at the pain in the backside that was England. The question England have to pose themselves is whether a mere irritation is sufficient to progress out of the group stage.

  • Comment number 46.

    @28 The likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Barry and even Rooney don't have the skills of these Italians.
    Brilliant Premier league players but they just dont have the required technique and passing ability to succeed at internatrional level

    LMAO, yeah these players just don't cut it in Europe which is why 3 of them have Champions league winners medals and they have played in 6 finals between them as the star turn in their respective teams.

    For the first time in a long time we have a sensible 4-4-2 with players in the right position and knowing their jobs. I think Parker And Stevie G will get better and better throughout the tournament. Also brave Shout from Hodgson so far Starting wellbeck and Oxlaide Chamberlin. Solid defending is a good foundation. As these attacking players grow into the tournament we could do very well.

    I think we will beat Sweden, get a result against Ukraine. Top the group and beat Croatia. Then the tournament will get very interesting. Especially if Rooney comes back into the team super hungry with a point to prove.

  • Comment number 47.

    "If the sideswipes were intended to divert Hodgson and England away from their chosen course, a course taken out of the necessity of missing their outstanding player Wayne Rooney through suspension, seeing midfield options reduced by injuries to Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry and the manager having reduced preparation time, then they met a brick wall."

    I see you have your excuses lined-up like ducks in a row already, Phil. Good attempt at keeping the stiff upper lip but it comes across quite clearly that you are needled by the jibes.

    It's a sign of how low England have sunk that countries like Sweden confidantly take a pop at them, along with many others. England have become a laughing stock in world football.

    What's even more interesting is the approach of everyone associated with England, especially the fans and the press. It's all a 'closed ranks' approach now, a kind of realisation that "we're &*^% and we know we are", which makes everyone pull together with very limited expectations.

    Whether it's a return to grass roots coaching etc. etc. that's required I honestly don't know. Someone though needs to do something to stop the world laughing at England and its football team.

  • Comment number 48.

    Phil, you being a seasoned football man - I never expected you to defend this England style. Looks like England have thrown their hand into the air and said 'we are rubbish' so let's play to our 'strengths' - a little like Bate Borisov or Otelul Galati playing in the CL.. I just don't understand how a team of the stature of England can go inte a championship to sit back passively hoping that the opposing teams will make mistakes, or that England gets a generous referee desicion (setpiece) etc.. Basically hoping that the teams trying to win will get punished for doing so and a passive England will ride their luck and win!
    I guess what is surprising other European countries is the way England have relinquished any ambiton to become a major footballing nation. England goes into championship scared of being beaten, and plays cowardly football not expected even of countries ranked 50's or 60's on the World ranking.

  • Comment number 49.

    Not having Rooney in the side is a plus.
    He isn't the talent at international level that you journalists are so desperate for us to believe. More importantly, he is always likely to let the team and the nation down by getting himself sent off.
    England are better off without him.

  • Comment number 50.

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

  • Comment number 51.

    All of this sort of rubbish being talked is laughable. If England are so predictable and by inference also inferior, then pick your team and beat them, it sounds so easy. Spain's game is highly predictable so I suppose that is easy too.

    Comments made in the press and on here show an ingrained spiteful attitude to England and their supposed arrogance presumably going back to the days of the Empire or something. It just keeps coming up and there is a word for it. I see no other nation being spoken about in such a way.

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    I hope Egland do well tonight and they score a few goals we need a bit of joy with the weather we have in the UK.

  • Comment number 54.

    Oh come on, the only time I really take note of a comment is when its slagging me, or something I care about (in this case England) off. At least there is a bit of truth in it, good or bad. Compliments are great, if taken with a pinch of salt.
    Don't we all look at the Argentine (Falklands) or Iranian (random strangeness) news headlines first. So any insults dished out by our French or Swedish friends should be welcomed. COME ON ENGLAND!!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    Player to watch: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden).

    and how long did it take to work that one out Sherlock!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    Since that 2010 WC Algeria game, I've been too angry to wear my England shirt. I watched some of the France game (in Oz) and England were better than my low expectations. We were in this position in the last World Cup and 'hoping' to beat Algeria. A draw with Sweden would be disappointing but not unexpected. The way Rooney has been playing for England, he's no saviour either. It would be great to thump a quality team 4-1 like the Dutch in '96 rather than get thumped by Germany! We long to feel that excitement again for our national team. The kind of excitement we get regularly at Premier League games from brilliant players like RVP, Cisse, Aguero. Scott Parker is the only English player to win Premier League Player of the month since Scholes in Aug 2010.

  • Comment number 57.

    Love the hypocrisy we as a country now display.
    We demand to be considered as one of the top teams worldwide & get annoyed at anyone who says otherwise.
    But then, we go and play defensive football, and can't understand the complaints.
    We have to play attacking, front-foot football if we want to be taken seriously as a contender.

  • Comment number 58.

    It seems there is only one player that can win a game for England and he is on the bench for the first two. I don't think they are just waiting for Rooney, they are just trying not to embarrass themselves after the abysmal amount of time it took to appoint a manager and a team full of players that are good but do not possess any real quality, when they are in form they are good but when they are not......well the same old England, no class.
    Would like to see us do well, but frankly, we have NO chance.

  • Comment number 59.

    Have England become "boring boring Arsenal" "boring boring Arsenal" of Euro2012

  • Comment number 60.

    57.At 07:30 15th Jun 2012, JezzaMcJezza wrote:
    Love the hypocrisy we as a country now display.
    We demand to be considered as one of the top teams worldwide & get annoyed at anyone who says otherwise.
    But then, we go and play defensive football, and can't understand the complaints.
    We have to play attacking, front-foot football if we want to be taken seriously as a contender.


    i genuienely think we would open up a bit and be more expansive if we had the players. there are not enough quality english players around who can create opportunities and the ones we have are what would u prefer, we open and get hammered like ROI last night or be solid and try and pinch 1-0's? i for one would settle for the latter.. italy have played this way for ever and a day and been successful without any negativety..

  • Comment number 61.

    Re. post 44:

    I am all for being positive; and am quietly confident about England, but I need to pick you up on two thing. England do not get to semi finals that often. We have only got to the semis of the world cup twice (1966 and 1990) and twice in the Euros, but never to the final in the latter.

    And England's population is similar to the major footballing nations in the world. Of these countries, only really Brazil and Germany are significantly bigger. France is about equal in size to the UK but is bigger than England alone, Spain is similar in size to England, while Italy is a little bit bigger. Netherlands is a lot smaller as is Argentina.
    England struggles in tournaments, but not because of a small population.

  • Comment number 62.

    Sorry Amigos why "should" we beat Sweden? They are a good team and we are good. Not better, superior or anything of the sort. If we don't get a result I agree we should go home but then lets not pretend we "should" beat anyone.

    At 00:14 15th Jun 2012, amigos wrote:

    Big game for Gerrard, linking up with Ox, Young and Welbeck to move the team forward.

    3 good results for Roy, now a new test, a team we should beat in a tournament...

    Still fear 3 draws...

  • Comment number 63.

    Thern is right we are predictable but then so are the Spanish - you can predict they will keep possesion and move the ball and the players a lot, but as Italy showed that doesn't mean you can't combat it.
    Englands predictability is that while we will sit back and soak up pressure the oppostion will hopefully get frustrated and out of position and be vunerable to counter attack football and even set pieces. Strangely enough, playing against sides that play as we do under Hodgson, is more difficult than many would think. While our concentration is almost entirely on one aspect the opposition can find their defensive concentration slipping as they look to overcome a set up that will deny them space and time in the final third. This tends to make teams push up high and thus vunerable to quick attacks via knock downs and long and short through balls into the space they have vacated.
    If Roy starts with Carroll and Welbeck I'm sure we can nick a result against the Swedes.
    As for the idea that Wayne Rooney will be some kind of saviour for England adding a dynamic goal scoring dimension to our play, can I remind posters that Rooneys goals record for the national side is not that good. Overall only 1 goal in 3 games and in the last 17 games only 3 goals or 1 in 6.

  • Comment number 64.

    Isn't it marvellous to have an intelligent, thoughtful, man as the England Soccer Manager? Devoid of (silly tabloid) headlines and hyperbole! It is clearly quite galling for some (all?) scribes, particularly in the red tops, not to be able to get rich pickings for their miserable work.

  • Comment number 65.

    I can see England getting a relatively comfortable 2-1 win. One of the nicer aspects of the France game was that England rarely looked troubled in defence and it was the first game for a while when a didn't get that nervous feeling when the opposition got close to our goal. That's why I use the term comfortable - I don't think it will be spectacular either but most teams grow into a competition so if we can make some improvements today and get a win I'll be happy.

    Commiserations to Ireland - so sad to see them go out like that but other then a few moments they never looked like they had their hearts in the game. Now that they can9't make the quarters I hope they show they can play better then that and at least take something off the Italians. It was embarrassing to capitulate to Spain like that.

  • Comment number 66.

    Who's Jonas Thern?

  • Comment number 67.

    It's always puzzled me why anyone would equate the undoubted quality of the English Premier League with the potential and supposed ability of the English national side. Fallacious reasoning at best, what people overlook is the fact that a lot of the EPL quality is supplied by non-English players like Thierry Henry, Dennis Berkamp, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Mario Balotelli etc.

  • Comment number 68.

    67 The 2 best players in La Liga are not Spanish

  • Comment number 69.

    Another thing bothering me is the misapprehension that France are the supposedly best team in our group.
    When the draw for these finals took place back in December last year England were in seeding pot 2 along with Germany, Italy and Russia while France were in pot 4 with Ireland and Denmark.
    Our players are considered by FIFA better than the others in our group the fact that we play like we do is down to our manager.

  • Comment number 70.

    @52 Soul Platch

    Zlatan a talisman for Barca, are you sure?

  • Comment number 71.

    To those that know more about football than me, I might be wrong here but England remind me of the Italy 90 squad in respect of the negative views of them and the way they responded. Well don Roy, gentleman and credit to your country. Lets be honest if he upsets the French (and he has) then he's done a great job already. For the first time in a long time I've actually thought these lads are giving their all. Don't think we'll win but they are showing some pride and passion.

  • Comment number 72.

    Can someone please explain to me what all the bitching and moaning and negativity is about? We've played one game in the tournament - arguably the hardest in the group, and got a draw which as far as I'm concerned the entire country would have taken beforehand. All this without Rooney, Lampard, Barry, Parker apparently not being 100% fit, and Defoe probably not being mentally ready (understandably so). Add this to the fact that the manager has been in the job for about 40 days. Where's the problem?

  • Comment number 73.

    Phil, when are you going to realise that Rooney is nowhere near what he showed glimpses of in 2004.

    The hair is back (lol, kinda) but the carefree enthusiasm has gone.

  • Comment number 74.

    You get some numpties on here you really do. England are not and never,ever,ever have been the best footballing side in the world,never. What we have been is extremely well organised at times (under Sir Alf imparticular) and blessed with some solid if not altogether exciting professionals at other times who formed a good unit (notably under Sir Bobby Robson). We have never had the class of the Magyars in the 50's or the swagger of the great Brazillian teams or the Dutch or Spanish. We are far nearer to the Germans in that we rely on team organisation rather than individual brilliance but its a fair point that Germany do seem to produce better teams more often,probably because the Germans Bundesliga is played predominantly by Germans and not forgien imports. Hodgson is not a fool,he looks at what he has and is trying to get as far as he can with that squad. We have some quick players,some fairly skillful players but we do not have a fully cohesive team unit and we don't keep possession well enough. The same problems have faced every England manager that ever lived and are born of our ridiculous passion for blood and thunder football from the cradle to the grave. This does not however mean we cannot win. We can win if we are cautious and organised and if we foster good team spirit. The'66 team was extremely dull,no wide players,the Rooney of the day Jimmy Greaves couldn't get a game.We were functional but who cares about that today? Nobody,all that matters is we won and Roy Hodgson knows that. Nobody is going to be saying Spain played beautiful football in 2012 if we win the cup.So can we drop this 'ah but it's sad we are not better to watch' rubbish? Our best teams (30's,mid 60's and early 90's) were not particularly good to watch,Uraguay,Italy,Brazil,Holland,France,Spain,Hungary,they have all been fabulous to watch and successful at various times but you cannot simply magic up players who can perform they way those teams did and in some cases still do. The 'trick' is in getting a manager who recognises that fact. Finally,we have one. COME ON ENGLAND!

  • Comment number 75.

    My expert pick: England 0 Sweden 3. Player to watch: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden).


    Expect an England win then tonight everyone. Considering our resident expert's predictions from each England game have always seen them lose (despite the opposition), then please expect a win.

    England vs Sweden (1-0)

    England vs Spain (1-0)

    England vs Belgium (1-0)

    Norway vs England (1-0)

    England vs France (1-1)

  • Comment number 76.

    Rooney is not in the same class as Iniesta, Messi or Ronaldo (although the latter is having another big tournament mare) so I don't think it is realistic to pin our hopes on him. Rooney is an excellent player but the way Roy is setting England up I fear that he will become frustrated in the lack of time he will see either the ball or any meaningful support.

    On the subject of Italy, yes they are lauded for their ability to defend their way to success but lets not forget how devastating it has been for their fans to see their lack of ambition mean that they are home early without ever having a real go (Euro 96, 04, World Cup 10). I know that it could bring us some success but surely we want to see some ambition, especially in games against Sweden and Ukraine. These games are not gimmes but we have to take the initiative at some point.

    I do think we have adopted 'minnow' tactics, maybe that is just the way Roy has always approached things but we are a defensive team, this doesn't mean we defend well with 4 or 5, we are playing with 8 behind the ball and hoping to choke the life out of others. If we fail to get out of our group playing like this then I hope all those posters who claim it to be a masterstroke aren't on here complaining if it all goes pear-shaped.

    I honestly think we can win our next two games but we have to be a lot more positive, if we were tired chasing the French then Spain or Germany will make that feel like a walk in the park.

  • Comment number 77.

    ...jeez there are some idiots on this post...well done to those of us trying to remain positive,the first game was tactically very good in containing a decent passing french side,we kept our shape for the most part and recduced France to shots outside the box,there are obviously risks to this hence the equaliser but what I liked was the lack of panic or 'scared to lose' body language that both players and fans have grown acustomed to,I dont think we ever looked like losing that game and for our first game without some first choice players due to injury/suspension,in form opposition and the fact that Roy only had a limited time with his players I would say it was a positive result,yes we need to have a more attacking line up but thats exactly what Roy and the team will be doing tonight,just looking at the team news tells us that-I must admit I think some of the criticism from opposing nations has been annoying and the accusations of arrogance coming from the likes of Sweden is frankly laughable,its they who are arrogant,this with the patronising comments from the French show we are getting to a few people-I'm all for that,its always good to have extra motivation - The fact is that on the international stage we just do not have much respect anymore but that will suit us-so lets go out a prove a few people wrong...

  • Comment number 78.

    Not meaning to blow my own trumpet but i infact showed my expert knowledge in correctly predicting another correct score

    309.At 13:16 14th Jun 2012, Titus Bramble wrote:
    My expert predictions

    italy 2 - 1 croatia
    spain 4 - 0 ireland

  • Comment number 79.

    66.At 08:29 15th jun 2012, Rupert P Matley wrote:
    Who's Jonas Thern?

    Surely - you don't know who Jonas Thern is??

    Do you know who Claude Makelele is? THE 'holding midfielder'
    Do you know who Sergio Busquets is? THE 'Pivot'
    Do you know who Jonas Thern is? THE 'Balance'

    These players are milestones in what has come to be known as the defensive midfielder, if you did not know..

  • Comment number 80.

    As the article title suggests, Hodgson and his players are having to ignore jibes from some of the clowns on here.

    Amazing to see the Ireland supporters last night getting behind their team, even though some of them may not be happy with the manager or team. Unlike our fans, they didn't start whinging about it on the internet, they still gave their team ll the backing they could when they needed it. We could take a leaf out of their book

  • Comment number 81.

    What football do people expect us to play? We are not blessed with matured attacking talent and our greatest strength is our defense. As far as I was aware the best way to win games is to play to these strengths.

    Who cares if other countries don't like the way we play that's their choice if they want to play stylish attacking football, but we are best suited to a defensive organised game

  • Comment number 82.

    Love it to bits! I was taught that "when you point a finger, never forget there are also three pointing back at you". All those comments from the Swedes show me that they are more worried about England than they would like to admit!

  • Comment number 83.


    Congratulations Titus, and to be fair you should have been right about the Italy score as well, how they did not win that....

  • Comment number 84.

    @81 They could play a bit more like Man Utd who aren't as super defensive but still get results? It's not like they have a great deal more flair in the side really.

  • Comment number 85.

    I wonder what team Fabio would have picked tonight...

  • Comment number 86.

    (Its not a case of needing to play like anyone, just using that team as an example!)

  • Comment number 87.


    Is that the best that you can do? Your posts are now as predictable and boring as the ones from the contributors you seek to mock. D Minus - must try harder.

  • Comment number 88.

    @82 England used to be admired in Scandinavia and around the world for their determination, if not anything else. Now that England have stopped trying, what else is left to admire and respect them for?

  • Comment number 89.


    England don't have SAF, Valencia, Nani, Scholes and options like Hernandez. I get whhat you mean in principle in terms of attacking football, but without Rooney and an immature Ox on the wing, we don't really have the tempo or imagination to drive foward on the break like Utd

  • Comment number 90.

    Other countries know that if they put a bit of pressure on the England team they react badly so are exploiting that, so what? The best thing the BBC and all the other news agencies reporting this could do is ignore it. A whole generation or more of England fans probably don't even know who Laurent Blanc was anyway. He's the equivalent of yesterday's chip paper.

  • Comment number 91.


    What do you mean stop trying? We were extremeley determined on Monday, shown by preventing any clear cut oppertunities for France.

    I'd rather have success than admiration. Grind out the results and get the job done

  • Comment number 92.


    "Now that England have stopped trying"


    How did we manage to win our qualifying group then?

    How did we manage a point with France then?

    Please explain this remark, I am genuinely interested to hear why you thin England have stopped trying.

  • Comment number 93.

    @ 92 derwaldmannn

    Some people seem to think playing to your strengths means you don't want to win it seems...

  • Comment number 94.

    I don't really know how the French can critisise us in how we played. I can't remeber seeing any attacking flair, just long shots which never troubled. At the end of the day we are level on points with France, it may not be good to watch, but it does get results, just ask Chelsea x2, inter milan etc

  • Comment number 95.

    I know we haven't had any success in terms of winning trophies but out most successful competition have come when we have played a PL style game. In that I mean we play at a very hi-tempo. Unfortunately in the heat of many tournaments we run out of steam which could be attributed to the fact we are not fit.

    Conversely th spanish, germans et al can hold the ball and pass better so they can conserve energy. The only way we can counterract this is to solid in defense and allow them to pass the ball as we know we cannot hold the ball to the same level.

    The ridiculous thing about the France game was that we had the two best chances by far. Milner should have scored and it took an excellent individual moment from Nasri to equalise. France may have been pretty to watch but it was hardly effective, in fact England looked more of a threat going forward they just didn't test the centre-halves enough.

    While I expect England to beat Sweden I do not think that Sweden were as poor against Ukraine as people make out. Ironically they were the best side until Ibrahimovich scored and it was only then that Ukraine woke up and even after going behind they still had their chances.

  • Comment number 96.

    I'm happy for all and sundry to moan about us English.....they are creating a seige mentality. Come on England!

  • Comment number 97.

    I loved the one about being a 'Die-hard England fan for years. I think it is time to switch teams...' #41 In the same vein I have been a white male for years, but having not made a great success of that I'm now considering becoming a black woman. I think 'Die-not-very-hard' or 'Die-surprisingly-easily' would be a better self description.

    As for all the complaints that England don't attack enough, are too defensive etc may I suggest that unlike many of the team's critics, Roy Hodgson operates in the real world, one in which the team he manages has manifestly limited offensive resources but extremely effective defensive capabilities. In sport, as in life, individuals and teams tend to succeed by playing to their strengths. In footballing terms not all countries can be Spain. Moreover it is the match-up between differing styles of play which tends to lend interest and excitement to games. If we all played tippy-tappy football the game would become very one dimensional.

    If you are really that fed up watching England I'm sure nobody in your house would object to you watching Gardeners' World instead (Although doubtless you will feel obliged to complain about Monty Don's use of the now outdated shrub, shrub, hardy perennial combination with an ageing Agapanthus employed in the holding mid-border role.

  • Comment number 98.

    Phil, it's amusing to read and watch you and most anyone else labour like mad to put fresh lipstick on this pig every day. Discipline, conservative approach, tactical finesse, security, and other adjectives I'm not familiar with. Hodgson is and remains the wrong man for the job, you know it, they know, we all know it. Yes, we stand behind the team, but no-one expect this playing style- the holding pattern -to win anything; a draw against Sweden would trump reality.
    This team can win anything, and be feared, but not under this coach with this style; he's a gentleman and a good coach, but the wrong coach at this level. Nonsense.

  • Comment number 99.

    92.At 09:26 15th jun 2012, derwaldmann - 22-01-2011 wrote:

    "Now that England have stopped trying"


    How did we manage to win our qualifying group then?

    How did we manage a point with France then?

    Please explain this remark, I am genuinely interested to hear why you thin England have stopped trying.


    Trying to score goals, win matches.

  • Comment number 100.

    How can we expect to progress much further when Roy has said its back to the past when Rooney is available the tactic then becomes play Rooney and ten others.
    This naive plan based on the Rooney myth.
    Rooney played 90 minutes against th USA and failed to score, England only drew 1-1 because the forwards failed to score (Gerrard scored) and not because of a goalkeeping error.
    Rooney played 90 minutes against Algeria and failed to score, 0 - 0.
    Rooney played 72 minutes against Slovenia and failed to score (Defoe Scored) win 1-0.
    Rooney played 90 minutes against Germany and Germany hammered us 4-1 (Upson scored).
    Thats Rooney and Englands record in the last tournament. The current proven England goalscorer is sitting at home and Roy is dreaming on Rooney suddenly becoming good enough to play at this level.
    I hope he finaly does step up to the mark, unfortunately Rooneys record and the Rooney myth tell very different stories.
    Unfortunately Roy has gone for the myth.


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