Look let’s be honest about it England have not been great at this year’s European Championships – adequate is how I would describe it. They couldn’t beat an awful Russia side, they then got a very late winner against a Wales side who were happy to dig in after taking a first half lead and then they could not break down an average Slovakia to concede top spot in their group. A lack of tactical nous by the manager, strange (or lack of substitutions) against the Russians and Slovakians, the managers selection policy especially his obsession with picking players from certain clubs, an obvious squad imbalance along with some players just not performing have all been mitigating factors – but that is no excuse. This has been the most prepared England squad for any tournament EVER, they even left Wembley for two matches in their friendlies before they arrived in France to replicate moving around a country, like in any competition. On a positive note, they have sporadically played nicely, created decent chances and at least made it out of their group, they now head to Nice for their Round of 16 game against Iceland – one they will expected to win and lets be honest they should. Due to their failure to qualify as group winners it would then likely be France next then Germany, Italy or Spain in a possible run to the final, and if they get that far they will most certainly be doing it the hard way. Basically Roy’s boys are four matches from glory, sounds so easy doesn’t it. It is now all about progression, for me the target has to be getting to the final, though I am sure a semi-final will be lauded in this country (because that is above our level nowadays) and really has to now be the minimum requirement for the manager. Roy Hodsgon is a good man, a competent football manager with a decent career record, but his detractors call him dour, boring and a dinosaur (Hodgsosaurus is a popular name amongst them). He is lucky to still be in the job after the last World Cup and his bosses have backed him with everything he has asked for – required results will be expected. The likelihood now, if England don’t make it to the last four, will sadly be a character assassination of Hodgson through all the different media streams, if this happens he would be best to disappear for a few weeks holiday well away from a football environment. There is a fine line between being a hero and villain hey.
ps a plea to the England setup – STOP THE LEAKING OF STARTING ELEVENS TO THE PRESS!!!!!!! PLEASE
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