It wasn't an exciting game for neutrals no, But of course when your own is playing in a rare high stakes game you'll always have a heightened sense of emotional investment.Reacting to some of the recent comments:
- I didn't think it was that great a game. Strip away the occasion, atmosphere and the theatre of penalties and it was pretty low key. I would say - as a football match - the Copa America final was more absorbing.
- I can't fathom Southgate's decisions. Seemed to be set up well but as the game developed it was crying out for more pace and ball-carrying, options they have. And was Rice injured? England's best player on the night. Also confused by some of Mancini's choices. Insigne and Verratti didn't look hurt or tired before coming off, at a time when they were causing major damage.
So much so that yes while we're investigating the England decision making it's easy to overlook the Italian ones too. Chiesa looked like it was exagerating until he was subsitiuted until it becomes clear that he may well know his own body better than the viewers and Manchini had to make a call corrobrates it.
Still alongside Verratti and Insigne, That trio were really causing problems for us but the latter 2 I was surprised to see go of as unless they were injured, they didn't look enthusiastic about being replaced either, like they knew they had more inconvenience in the tank for us to come.
You know bad when you're relived to see them go off, Which only illuminates how much we threw it away when they made negative changes and we didn't positive ones much earlier.
Yeah that was a terrible take. Rashford went above and beyond what most athletes have any right to do so really and if anybody deserved a statue being erected of him it shouldn't be Kane or Sterling for getting us to a final, it Should be Marcus for using his influence to make a transformative difference when he could've just forgotten about his troubled childhood and say "Well I'm good now who cares."I can't seem to find the joke on the last paragraph of the post before me 🤔
Or is it some kind of sarcasm?
What have feeding people in need have to do with that one kick?
I know you're upset man, but this isn't it. Grow up.
I'm far from a virtue signaller too but he doesn't get anywhere near enough recognition to be honest.
RE Penalties: Yup, Even Spain's Luis Enrique refused to ask Pedri to take a penalty in both of their shootouts knowing he probably is more than skilled to but the occasion and the burden on an 18 year old isn't even a discussion. You saw how much it affected Vargas for Switzerland taking the fateful kick and that's a 22 year old.Ironically Maguire's penalty was the best of the lot as well. Why were the likes of Grealish and Sterling letting a teenager step up to take a penalty ahead of them? And what was Southgate thinking having him take the fifth penalty which was very likely going to be decisive and coming with massive pressure.
@MafiaMurderBag Great post. Sums up exactly where I'm at with it too. He done a great job getting the team to the final, but his management style reminds me so much of what I watched for four seasons with Kenny Jackett. Caution first. Get ahead, sit back and invite pressure instead of continuing the dominance and looking for a second goal. If the other team equalises then he never seemed to have any idea of how to change it for the better. Poor use of subs, if using them at all and always the same players changed. It was honestly like watching that last night. So often the results clouded over the performances, again not unlike this tournament.
How many times did Maguire dribble out a bit last night then have absolutely nobody to hit because Kane and Sterling were being asked to sit so deep?
Then there's Chiellini, a great defender, but 36, at the end of a long tournament and no doubt fatigued and then on a yellow as well and for us not once look to run at him or go in behind him was terrible with the players we had on the bench to do exactly that.
I'm not screaming Southgate must go, but there's so much talent in that squad being stifled or not used. The balance is too defensive, we have so much to make other teams worried but instead we look to stop them rather than let them worry about us.
RE Tactics: And yeah that style isn't anti-football necessarily. it's not an exploit, It's something that requires an extreme amount of discipline and skill to execute successfully and consistently.
Not only do you need the right squad and right mentality but it doesn't work forever either. Greece & Chelsea couldn't play like forever and the squad inevitably changes and not everyone new can naturally adapt to it and everyone old eventually fails to keep up.
RE England: I know we used to champion that penalties were the main England problem but I don't think it is, there's something deeper. They aren't world class and never play like they are. Winning 1-0 and having less than 3 chances a game isn't clinical and isn't acceptable. When you think back over the last 21st century at least in tournaments, It's been the same consistent nations all winning convincingly.
We started the millennium with Italy & France as the 2 top teams and now we're back round to them again. Both have won European Cups and World Cups in the last 21 years and have appeared in many finals. Between that, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and loosely The Netherlands have all been very strong and deliberate during their dominant tournaments.
It always seems to feel like when we win and progress during these tournaments, it feels lucky, like an accident. And then when faced with a top tier side like the above, we're always the underdog. Germany being the only team we've beaten from that list in a tournament in those last 21 years but only because they're regressing themselves.
Then there's also the problem with never fully utilising the talent we've had on the bench.
I also recall EURO 2016 bringing Rashford on at 87' and even in those 3 minutes he was the only one to actually do anything resembling troubling a tired Iceland. Don't even get me started on 2006 and wasting a spot on Walcott and not taking Defoe or Bent when they were in form and Owen & Rooney couldn't contribute.