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Euro 2020 : Group D (England, Scotland, Croatia, Czechia)


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I was trying to fly home for it but Boris + Ange have given it the big no

Will be a massive tear up all over both countries 

Instead I'll watch it here in 35° sunshine hitting the pub for the 3pm kick off, what could go wrong 😂

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20 minutes ago, wedge said:

Me too, fewmin', I'm holding out hopes to get one for the first knockout game at Wembley if more are allowed in.

It's been announced as 50% capacity for the last 4 games at Wembley (3 of which being the semis and the final).

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1 minute ago, Wainy316 said:

It's been announced as 50% capacity for the last 4 games at Wembley (3 of which being the semis and the final).

I should stand a chance then as our tickets were originally for the Aviva in Dublin so the capacity won't be far off at 50%.

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22 minutes ago, villa4europe said:

I was trying to fly home for it but Boris + Ange have given it the big no

Will be a massive tear up all over both countries 

Instead I'll watch it here in 35° sunshine hitting the pub for the 3pm kick off, what could go wrong 😂

I'm on the 08.30am train into London, a solid 12 hours before kick off, what could possibly go wrong? 😂

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8 minutes ago, fightoffyour said:

Sounds like a joyous occasion of mutual respect and well wishes. I would expect to see lots of love and hugging, but because the latter is banned they will have to resort to brawling instead so any fighting is on Boris.

We're all adults so civility will surely reign.

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Read a brilliant article on the italian footy website l'ultimo uomo - the last man - it was written before the croatia game and has some really good analysis of the squad, how Southgate has used players and how the systems's he's tried have worked etc. It pretty much predicted the pattern of play in the Croatia game and it's got some interesting things to say about England and our Jack. I'll see if I can translate some of it later.

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9 minutes ago, romavillan said:

Read a brilliant article on the italian footy website l'ultimo uomo - the last man - it was written before the croatia game and has some really good analysis of the squad, how Southgate has used players and how the systems's he's tried have worked etc. It pretty much predicted the pattern of play in the Croatia game and it's got some interesting things to say about England and our Jack. I'll see if I can translate some of it later.

If you could link to it as well I'd appreciate, try and test how well my learning italian from duolingo is going :D 

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7 minutes ago, romavillan said:

Nessun problema Rodders, ecco qua: https://www.ultimouomo.com/guida-inghilterra-euro-2020/

I'll see what I can do quick for the non duolingo'd now.....

A team with high hopes, but also little constancy.

Gareth Southgate's England arrive at the European Championship after fourth place at the Russian World Cup (eliminated in the semifinals by Croatia and defeated in the "final" by Belgium). He has won seven out of eight games in his qualifying group, scoring 37 goals and suffering just 6. Although he also has one of the most talented roses of the European Championship, some warning signs came from the defeat with the Czech Republic, in October 2019, the first in the last 10 years in a qualifying match for England: it could have been a decisive match to qualify, but the Southgate team missed the appointment, showing problems of tactical and mental solidity. Then came the Nations League 2020, a tournament of which many English players, also engaged in European cups in a year with a tight schedule, perhaps they would have preferred to avoid: this does not detract from the fact that the third place in the standings, and just 7 goals scored in 6 games (including 4 in the final victory with Iceland), were a disappointing result nonetheless.

 

Not only do some results worry (since the World Cup he has lost once out of two with Spain, Belgium and the Czech Republic, he has not won in two games with Denmark and drew with Switzerland) but the general lack of constancy for a team that aspires to enter the favorites: in some games he has dominated possession but has always missed something in the last meters of the field , in others it has paid for defensive errors of individuals, but exposed by structural problems. And upstream there is the mystery about the choices of Southgate, who until the last, until the friendly a few days ago with Romania, continued to shuffle the cards.

 

The coach and former National team defender has considerable and extremely versatile offensive potential in his hands. And a little bit for the maybe too wide choice, a little bit for injuries, it's hard to figure out who will play in almost any role. Meanwhile, controversy has already begun since the call-ups: in particular, Southgate's decision to bring in four right-backs – Trippier, Walker, Reece James and Trent Alexander Arnold – has left the English press surprised. Southgate justified himself by saying that those four were simply among the top 26 English players (as if the national team were a collection of figures based on absolute value) and that if there were six, of right-backs to be summoned, he would.

 

Then Trent-Alexander Arnold got injured and Southgate, perhaps to troll, in the penultimate friendly against Austria made Trippier play on the left, and in the last against Romania he started Ben Godfrey, Everton's defensive centre. Similarly, the decision to give a week's break to the seven Chelsea and City players, a week before the tournament began, or to have at least a chunion of the last friendlies played by players he already knew would not have been part of the twenty-six European players (White, Godfrey, Watkins, Ward-Prose, Lingard) all fuelled the perplexities. "I think our situation is more complicated than any other national team," he said.

 


You can tell Southgate everything except brave.

 

 

How do you play?

Euro 2020 will be, at least in part, a home tournament for England, with all group matches played at Wembley plus a possible eighth final (should it come before Group D), semi-final and final. Inevitably expectations are high, but for now Southgate is far from having found the magic formula that ensures stability and balance.

 

Since last March, save for the final minutes of the game with Poland (2-1), the coach seems to prefer the 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 to the modules with the 3-man defense (after he had proposed 5-3-2 in the World Cup and then, in the Nations League, the 5-2-3/3-4-3) but too many doubts are related to the state of form of the important players, on which the choice of form will also depend.

 

Maguire's likely absence, at least for the first few games (the player continues to say that he is improving, but injured his ankle ligaments last May 9); as well as Jordan Henderson's (before entering the second half against Romania, and miss a penalty, he hadn't played since last February) and Jack Grealish's form, leave all the possibilities open.

 

As for players whose health is still in doubt, but who have chosen to retire anyway, Southgate said they are unlikely to play seven full games, meaning everything will be about putting them on the pitch in the right minutes, in the most important matches.

 


But beyond the possible confusion of the technician – who may have clear ideas but keeps them hidden – the fact is that each player seems to have different characteristics from the others. Not having a solid foundation, in such a short tournament, could prove problematic.

 

In any case, regardless of the eleven players he chooses from time to time Southgate, and the form in which they will be deployed, England aspire to be a team in control of possession, patient in construction, if possible dominant and with a medium-high centre of gravity. In reality, the quality available is enough to control the ball and manage it cleanly against most of the teams it faces, but England often end up making trivial mistakes and disuniting, stretching on the field and leaving plenty of space for opponents to play.

 

‎The tactical identity is clear in the more general traits but vague in detail, difficult to say what the tactical tasks of individual players are, and how they change depending on who is on the pitch. Beyond construction, choices seem to depend on individual talent. A system that, moreover, may not enhance some of the best players available, more suited to a vertical and less associative context (Kane, Mount, Sancho and even Grealish, who best shows his ability to manage rhythms when it comes to slowing down before playing the last pass) and who have had little time to get to know each other.‎

 

‎Who should be kept an eye on?‎

‎While individual quality in attack still suggests a team capable of building more than one opportunity per game without much effort, England have shown trouble scoring goals in recent months. In fact, it is a team that depends above all on Harry Kane, the captain, a more charismatic and influential player in the offensive half, and who has scored 12 goals in qualifying, more than any other player.‎

 

‎England's ambitions now seem to be linked to Kane's ability to decide important matches. At times Harry Kane literally drags England into the last third of the pitch, lowering himself to take the ball in the left centre and changing the pitch with a diagonal throw on the weak side, as he does at Tottenham, or at least trying to trigger a more direct phase of the attack. But it could become a predictable pattern against perhaps less talented teams that will better organize the defensive phase to compensate. Let's put it this way: if Kane is the best player in the tournament, England will have a great chance of winning it.‎

 


‎Of course, there are many other players who could decide one or more games, perhaps giving a more defined identity to the team or solving difficult situations with a flick. As mentioned, for example, much will depend on the form of Grealish, who only made his debut last September in the national team but who has unique qualities for game vision and rhythm management in the middle of the field as well as on the left. In the few games grealish played showed great influence on the game of his teammates and against Romania it was his play that provided the decisive penalty, transformed by Rashford.‎

 

‎The same goes for Jadon Sancho, who hit a crossbar against Romania, or players like Sterling, Rashford and Foden. There is no clear hierarchy at the moment and even Mason Mount, who could start from the outside or push Southgate towards a three-man midfield, could prove decisive in adding quality in the finishing phase. Even Saka has the potential to break the balance of a tournament for Nationals and with his energy could earn more minutes than expected.‎

 

‎Southgate has not only shuffled the cards but will probably try, even once the tournament starts, to field the right formation for that particular context. There is no offensive combination that, on paper, may not be devastating: Sterlinkg-Kane-Foden; Mr Mount-Kane-Sancho; Sterling-Grealish-Kane-Rashford. And so on.‎

 

 

‎Do you have any weaknesses?‎

‎If there is even too much choice in front of us, it is above all behind that it will be difficult to guarantee continuity and balance. It is paradoxical for England to have the defence of the penalty area as a weakness, but neither Mings nor Stones (who conceded a goal to Poland just last March and in the Champions League final was often inaccurate and out of rhythm) give peace of mind. So did Pickford on goal. Conor Coady plays as a centre-back in a 3-man defence, and still has very little international experience, having also made his debut last September. So did Benjamin White, with only two appearances for the national team, named in place of Trent-Alexander Arnold.‎

 

‎The abundance of outsiders would make sense of a possible 3-man defense. On the left, both Chillwell and Luke Shaw have come from two excellent seasons, and Walker can safely make the third centre-back on the right with one between Trippier and Reece James in a higher position. With a lower centre of gravity that widen the pitch could work well against england's level teams, but it would mean putting an offensive player more on the bench. And, as mentioned, Southgate doesn't seem to think about it right now.‎

 

‎Even in midfield the situation is delicate. The best solution seems to be that of the two middlemen, because no one but Henderson could shield the central area on his own. Even with two central midfielders in recent outings England have suffered a lot from defensive transitions and left room between the lines in positional defence situations (this is also because the defensive power stations available are not among the most elastic).‎

 

‎Taking into account that Henderson is one of those players who can't do all ninety minutes of all games, they will often have to play as a pair declan rice (who has played almost all of them for two years) and one between Kalvin Phillips and Jude Bellingham.‎

 

‎The first ("the Yorkshire Pirlo", also injured in the season) would guarantee more control of the ball, but the second could add dynamism with and without the ball, creativity and intensity in an area where the English school usually wants calm and prudence, and with a charisma that despite the 17 years could weigh heavily in such a short tournament. Bellingham also played very well against Austria, which could prompt Southgate to point to him. Like Renato Sanches five years ago, he might be the surprise of the tournament.‎

 

‎Then there is always the possibility of the three-man midfield, with the players named above but also Mason Mount: in general everything is to be expected from a coach who, last World Cup, reached the semi-finals with Dele Alli and Lingard mezzali.‎

 

Perhaps, however, the real weakness seems to be that of the psychological level. England have always maintained control against teams on the lower card, sometimes even with those at their level (with Belgium, for example, in the somewhat unfortunate 2-0 defeat of the Nations League), but it looks like a fragile team, alternating moments of euphoria with passive performances, in which it seems to lose its identity.

 

Where it can go

Let's say England reached the semi-finals of the last World Cup and have improved since then in talent and depth in the squad. The impression, however, is that something is missing collectively and individually at the moment, but we know: the best teams in the World Cup and European are the ones that are built, that are, in the running tournament. Game after game. England's great fortune, apart from potentially playing six out of seven games at Wembley, is to have a group within reach. The first match with Croatia could put the tournament downhill, but even if that were the case, things would not be much complicated, considering that the second in Group D meets the second of group E (indeed, arriving first in the group they will immediately meet a team of group F, the one with Germany, France and Portugal that, instead, coming second would eventually meet in the quarter-finals).

 

It's hard to see how things can fit for England before the round of 16, but it's even harder to imagine it not qualiing as first or second. Similarly there are many ways england can find a winning identity from time to time and if Southgate can field the most fit players, and those will be able to speak the same language at least in part of the competition, the minimum goal should be a semi-final, if not just the final. For once even England's usual ambitions for victory do not seem disconnected from the reality of the pitch.

 

There is also the "nightmare" version of the European, all right, a spectre that is on a team with a lot of pressure on it and that when it met level rivals it almost always went into difficulty. Realistically an English success seems unlikely, if only because it should beat at least a couple of top-tier teams and, based on the history of recent years, it will not be such an easy feat. Winning the European Championship will require at least two or three games of the highest level in a row. So far that's what this England have missed, but in contemporary football things change quickly. Who knows, maybe it will really be the summer of white pischelletti.

 

 

edit, translated all

Edited by Phil Silvers
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Posted (edited)

Here's my translation, google does some weird shit to it :D....

 

A Guide to England
A side with high hopes, but also little consistency (*there's a hint of little substance here in the original*)

Gareth Southgate's England come to the European Championships after finishing fourth in the Russian World Cup (eliminated in the semifinals by Croatia and defeated in the third fourth place playoff by Belgium). England won seven out of eight games in their qualifying group, scoring 37 goals and conceding just 6. Despite also having one of the most talented squads in the European Championships, some alarm signals came from the defeat against the Czech Republic in October of 2019, the first in the last 10 years in a qualifying match for England: it could have been a decisive match to qualify, but the Southgate team didn't turn up, showing technical problems and not enough mental strength. Then came the Nations League 2020, a tournament in which many English players, also involved in the European cups in a year with a very tight calendar, perhaps would have preferred to avoid: this does not mean that the third place in the standings, and just 7 goals scored in 6 games (including 4 in the final victory against Iceland), were however a disappointing result.

It's not only some worrying results (since the World Cup they have lost once in two with Spain, been beaten by Belgium and the Czech Republic, not won in two games with Denmark and drawn with Switzerland) but the general lack of consistency for a team that aspires to be amongst the real favourites: in some games they dominated possession but something was always missing in the last third of the pitch, in others they paid for individual defensive errors, exposed however by structural problems. There is also the mystery regarding the selection choices made by Southgate, who until the last, until the friendly match a few days ago with Romania, continued to shuffle his cards.

The manager and former national team defender has considerable and extremely versatile offensive potential in his hands. Maybe partly from having too much to choose from, partly because of the injuries, it is difficult to understand who will play in almost all the roles. In the meantime, the controversy began already from the first squad announcement: in particular, Southgate's choice to bring four right-backs - Trippier, Walker, Reece James and Trent Alexander Arnold - left the English press surprised. Southgate justified himself by saying that those four were simply among the top 26 English players (as if the national team shoudl be made of the absolute best players regardless of their role) and that if there were six right-backs to call up, he would have done so.

Then Trent-Alexander Arnold was injured and Southgate, perhaps trolling the media, had Trippier play on the left in the penultimate friendly against Austria, and in the last game against Romania he played Ben Godfrey, Everton central defender, on the right. Similarly, the decision to give seven Chelsea and City players a week off, just a week before the tournament started. He let players he already knew were not going to play a part in the tournament play at least one of the last friendlies (White, Godfrey, Watkins, Ward-Prose, Lingard). These are all things that have fueled the perplexities. "I think our situation is more complicated than that of any other national team," he said.

How do they play?
Euro 2020 will be, at least in part, a home tournament for England, with all group matches played at Wembley plus the eventual quarter finals (if they finish top of Group D), the semi-final and the final. Inevitably, expectations are high, but for the moment Southgate is far from having found the magic formula that ensures stability and balance. 

Since last March, except for the final minutes of the match with Poland (at 2-1), the coach seems to prefer 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 to formations with a 3-man defense (after the World Cup he played a 5-3-2 and then, in the Nations League, a 5-2-3 / 3-4-3) but too many doubts are linked to the form of important players, on which the choice of the formation is made.

The probable absence of Maguire, at least for the first few games (the player continues to say that he is improving, but he injured his ankle ligaments on May 9th); as well as that of Jordan Henderson (before coming on in the second half against Romania, missing a penalty, he had not played since last February) and the form of Jack Grealish, leaves all possibilities open.

As for the players whose fitness is still in doubt, but who he has chosen to bring in reserve anyway, Southgate said they are unlikely to be able to play seven full games, which means that everything will be about putting them on the pitch in the right moment, the right time in the big games.

But beyond the possible confusion of the coach - who may have clear ideas but keeps them hidden - the fact is that each player seems to have different characteristics from the others. Not having a solid foundation in such a short tournament could prove problematic.

In any case, regardless of the eleven players that Southgate picks from game to game, and the formation in which they will be deployed, England aspires to be a team in control of possession, patient build up, dominant if possible and with a balance struck slightly in favour of attacking. In reality, the quality available is enough to control the ball and manage it with cleanliness against most of the teams they face, but England often end up making trivial mistakes and breaking up, stretching out on the pitch and leaving plenty of space for the opposition to play in.

The tactical identity is clear in the more general features but vague in the details, it is difficult to say what the tactical tasks of the individual players are, and how they change depending on who is on the pitch. Beyond the shape, the choices seem to depend on individual talent. A system that, moreover, may not enhance some of the best players available, more suited to a direct style and less interplay (Kane, Mount, Sancho and even Grealish, who shows his best with his ability to manage the rhythm of play, slowing it down before playing the final ball) and who have had little time to get to know each other.

Who to keep an eye on?
While the individual quality in attack still suggests a team capable of building more than one chance per game without too much effort, England have shown problems scoring goals in recent months. In fact, it is a team that depends above all on Harry Kane, the captain, the most charismatic and influential player in the attacking half, scoring 12 goals in qualifying, more than any other player.

Right now the English ambitions seem to be closely linked to Kane's ability to decide the important games. In some moments Harry Kane literally drags England into the last third of the field, drifting deep to take the ball on the center left and switching it with a diagonal pass on the weak side, as he does for Tottenham, or in any case trying to trigger a more direct phase of the attack. It could become a predictable pattern against perhaps less talented teams that will organize the defensive phase better to compensate (**this was written befor the Croatia game and it's a really good prediction of what actually happened in that game**). Let's put it this way: if Kane is the best player of the tournament, England will have a great chance of winning it.

Of course, there are many other players who could decide one or more games, perhaps giving a more defined identity to the team or solving difficult situations with a flash. As mentioned, for example, a lot will depend on the form of Grealish, who made his debut only last September in the national team but who has unique qualities, great vision of the game and an ability to control the pace of the game either through the middle or down the left. In the few games played, Grealish showed great influence on his teammates' game and against Romania it was his play that procured the decisive penalty, converted by Rashford.

The same goes for Jadon Sancho, who hit the crossbar against Romania, or players like Sterling, Rashford and Foden. There is no clear hierarchy for the moment and even Mason Mount, who could start from the outside or push Southgate towards a three-man midfield, could prove decisive in adding quality in the final third. Even Saka has the potential to break the balance of a national team tournament and with his energy he could gain more minutes than expected.

Southgate has not only shuffled the cards but will probably try, even once the tournament has started, to field the formation suited to that particular context. There is no offensive combination that, on paper, isn't potentially devastating: Sterlinkg-Kane-Foden; Mount-Kane-Sancho; Sterling-Grealish-Kane-Rashford and so on. 

Are there weaknesses?
If they are spoilt for choice up front, it is especially at the back that it will be difficult to guarantee continuity and balance. It is paradoxical for England to have the defense of the penalty area as a weak point, but neither Mings nor Stones (who gave Poland a goal just last March and was often imprecise and out of pace in the Champions League final) give peace of mind . As well as Pickford in goal. Conor Coady, on the other hand, plays centrally in a 3-man defense for Wolverhampton, and in any case has very little international experience, having also made his debut last September. As well as Benjamin White, with only two caps for the national team, called up in place of Trent-Alexander Arnold.

The abundance of wingers coudl make for a possible 3-man defense. On the left, both Chillwell and Luke Shaw have had two strong seasons, and Walker can easily make the third center back on the right with one between Trippier and Reece James in higher positions. Playing deeper and drawing teams on could suit England against the big teams, but it would mean putting one more attacking player on the bench. And, as mentioned, Southgate doesn't seem to be thinking about it at the moment.

Even in midfield, the situation is delicate. The best solution seems to be that of the two defensive midfielders, because no one except Henderson could shield the center backs alone. Even with two central midfielders in the last few outings, England suffered a lot from defensive transitions and left space between the lines through bad defensive positioning (this is also because the central defenders available are not among the most elastic).

Taking into account that Henderson is one of those players who cannot play ninety minutes of all games, often they will have to play in pairs Declan Rice (who has played almost all of them for two years) and one between Kalvin Phillips and Jude Bellingham.

The first ("the Yorkshire Pirlo", also injured this season) would guarantee greater control of the ball, but the second could add dynamism with and without the ball, creativity and intensity in an area where the English school usually wants calm and prudence, and with a charisma that despite being 17 could weigh a lot in such a short tournament. Bellingham also played very well against Austria, which could lead Southgate to bet on him. Like Renato Sanches five years ago, he could be the surprise of the tournament.

Then there is always the possibility of a three-man midfield, with the players mentioned above but also Mason Mount: in general, everything is to be expected from a coach who, last World Cup, reached the semifinals with Dele Alli and Lingard as inside forwards.

But perhaps the real weakness seems to be the psychological one. England have always maintained control against inferior teams on paper, sometimes even with those at their level (with Belgium, for example, in the somewhat unfortunate Nations League 2-0 defeat), but they appear to be a mentally fragile team, which alternates moments of euphoria with passive performances, in which the team seems to lose its identity.

How far can they go?
Let's say England made it to the semifinals of the last World Cup and that, since then, they have improved in talent and depth of the squad. The impression, however, is that at the moment something is missing on a collective and individual level, but you know: the best teams in the World and European Championships are those that are built, that are found, as the tournament progresses. Game after game. England's great fortune, aside from potentially playing six games out of seven at Wembley, is to have a group they can win. The first match with Croatia could be the toughest, but even with that, things would not get too complicated, considering that the second of group D meets the second of group E (indeed, finishing top of the group they will immediately meet a team of group F, the one with Germany, France and Portugal who, on the other hand, finishing second would eventually meet in the quarterfinals).

It's hard to understand how things can fit together for England before the round of 16, but it's even harder to imagine them not qualifying as first or second. Likewise there are really many ways that England can find a winning identity time and time again and if Southgate can field the fittest players, and they can dance to the same tune at least for part of the match, the minimum goal should be a semi-final, if not the final. For once, even the usual British ambitions of victory do not seem disconnected with the reality of the field. (**haha so true**)

There is also the "nightmare" version of the European Championship, of course, a specter that hovers over a team with a lot of pressure on it and that when it has met level rivals has almost always gone into difficulty. Realistically, an English success seems unlikely, if only because they need to beat at least a couple of top-level teams and, based on the history of recent years, it will not be such an easy feat. To win the European Championships it will take at least two or three consecutive top-level matches. That's what this England has been missing so far, but in contemporary football, things change rapidly. Who knows, maybe it will really be the summer of the kids in white.

Edited by romavillan
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1 hour ago, romavillan said:

Here's my translation, google does some weird shit to it :D....

 

A Guide to England
A side with high hopes, but also little consistency (*there's a hint of little substance here in the original*)

Gareth Southgate's England come to the European Championships after finishing fourth in the Russian World Cup (eliminated in the semifinals by Croatia and defeated in the third fourth place playoff by Belgium). England won seven out of eight games in their qualifying group, scoring 37 goals and conceding just 6. Despite also having one of the most talented squads in the European Championships, some alarm signals came from the defeat against the Czech Republic in October of 2019, the first in the last 10 years in a qualifying match for England: it could have been a decisive match to qualify, but the Southgate team didn't turn up, showing technical problems and not enough mental strength. Then came the Nations League 2020, a tournament in which many English players, also involved in the European cups in a year with a very tight calendar, perhaps would have preferred to avoid: this does not mean that the third place in the standings, and just 7 goals scored in 6 games (including 4 in the final victory against Iceland), were however a disappointing result.

It's not only some worrying results (since the World Cup they have lost once in two with Spain, been beaten by Belgium and the Czech Republic, not won in two games with Denmark and drawn with Switzerland) but the general lack of consistency for a team that aspires to be amongst the real favourites: in some games they dominated possession but something was always missing in the last third of the pitch, in others they paid for individual defensive errors, exposed however by structural problems. There is also the mystery regarding the selection choices made by Southgate, who until the last, until the friendly match a few days ago with Romania, continued to shuffle his cards.

The manager and former national team defender has considerable and extremely versatile offensive potential in his hands. Maybe partly from having too much to choose from, partly because of the injuries, it is difficult to understand who will play in almost all the roles. In the meantime, the controversy began already from the first squad announcement: in particular, Southgate's choice to bring four right-backs - Trippier, Walker, Reece James and Trent Alexander Arnold - left the English press surprised. Southgate justified himself by saying that those four were simply among the top 26 English players (as if the national team shoudl be made of the absolute best players regardless of their role) and that if there were six right-backs to call up, he would have done so.

Then Trent-Alexander Arnold was injured and Southgate, perhaps trolling the media, had Trippier play on the left in the penultimate friendly against Austria, and in the last game against Romania he played Ben Godfrey, Everton central defender, on the right. Similarly, the decision to give seven Chelsea and City players a week off, just a week before the tournament started. He let players he already knew were not going to play a part in the tournament play at least one of the last friendlies (White, Godfrey, Watkins, Ward-Prose, Lingard). These are all things that have fueled the perplexities. "I think our situation is more complicated than that of any other national team," he said.

How do they play?
380 / 5000
Translation results
Euro 2020 will be, at least in part, a home tournament for England, with all group matches played at Wembley plus the eventual quarter finals (if they finish top of Group D), the semi-final and the final. Inevitably, expectations are high, but for the moment Southgate is far from having found the magic formula that ensures stability and balance. 

Since last March, except for the final minutes of the match with Poland (at 2-1), the coach seems to prefer 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 to formations with a 3-man defense (after the World Cup he played a 5-3-2 and then, in the Nations League, a 5-2-3 / 3-4-3) but too many doubts are linked to the form of important players, on which the choice of the formation is made.

The probable absence of Maguire, at least for the first few games (the player continues to say that he is improving, but he injured his ankle ligaments on May 9th); as well as that of Jordan Henderson (before coming on in the second half against Romania, missing a penalty, he had not played since last February) and the form of Jack Grealish, leaves all possibilities open.

As for the players whose fitness is still in doubt, but who he has chosen to bring in reserve anyway, Southgate said they are unlikely to be able to play seven full games, which means that everything will be about putting them on the pitch in the right moment, the right time in the big games.

But beyond the possible confusion of the coach - who may have clear ideas but keeps them hidden - the fact is that each player seems to have different characteristics from the others. Not having a solid foundation in such a short tournament could prove problematic.

In any case, regardless of the eleven players that Southgate picks from game to game, and the formation in which they will be deployed, England aspires to be a team in control of possession, patient build up, dominant if possible and with a balance struck slightly in favour of attacking. In reality, the quality available is enough to control the ball and manage it with cleanliness against most of the teams they face, but England often end up making trivial mistakes and breaking up, stretching out on the pitch and leaving plenty of space for the opposition to play in.

The tactical identity is clear in the more general features but vague in the details, it is difficult to say what the tactical tasks of the individual players are, and how they change depending on who is on the pitch. Beyond the shape, the choices seem to depend on individual talent. A system that, moreover, may not enhance some of the best players available, more suited to a direct style and less interplay (Kane, Mount, Sancho and even Grealish, who shows his best with his ability to manage the rhythm of play, slowing it down before playing the final ball) and who have had little time to get to know each other.

Who to keep an eye on?
While the individual quality in attack still suggests a team capable of building more than one chance per game without too much effort, England have shown problems scoring goals in recent months. In fact, it is a team that depends above all on Harry Kane, the captain, the most charismatic and influential player in the attacking half, scoring 12 goals in qualifying, more than any other player.

Right now the English ambitions seem to be closely linked to Kane's ability to decide the important games. In some moments Harry Kane literally drags England into the last third of the field, drifting deep to take the ball on the center left and switching it with a diagonal pass on the weak side, as he does for Tottenham, or in any case trying to trigger a more direct phase of the attack. It could become a predictable pattern against perhaps less talented teams that will organize the defensive phase better to compensate (**this was written befor the Croatia game and it's a really good prediction of what actually happened in that game**). Let's put it this way: if Kane is the best player of the tournament, England will have a great chance of winning it.

Of course, there are many other players who could decide one or more games, perhaps giving a more defined identity to the team or solving difficult situations with a flash. As mentioned, for example, a lot will depend on the form of Grealish, who made his debut only last September in the national team but who has unique qualities, great vision of the game and an ability to control the pace of the game either through the middle or down the left. In the few games played, Grealish showed great influence on his teammates' game and against Romania it was his play that procured the decisive penalty, converted by Rashford.

The same goes for Jadon Sancho, who hit the crossbar against Romania, or players like Sterling, Rashford and Foden. There is no clear hierarchy for the moment and even Mason Mount, who could start from the outside or push Southgate towards a three-man midfield, could prove decisive in adding quality in the final third. Even Saka has the potential to break the balance of a national team tournament and with his energy he could gain more minutes than expected.

Southgate has not only shuffled the cards but will probably try, even once the tournament has started, to field the formation suited to that particular context. There is no offensive combination that, on paper, isn't potentially devastating: Sterlinkg-Kane-Foden; Mount-Kane-Sancho; Sterling-Grealish-Kane-Rashford and so on. 

Are there weaknesses?
If they are spoilt for choice up front, it is especially at the back that it will be difficult to guarantee continuity and balance. It is paradoxical for England to have the defense of the penalty area as a weak point, but neither Mings nor Stones (who gave Poland a goal just last March and was often imprecise and out of pace in the Champions League final) give peace of mind . As well as Pickford in goal. Conor Coady, on the other hand, plays centrally in a 3-man defense for Wolverhampton, and in any case has very little international experience, having also made his debut last September. As well as Benjamin White, with only two caps for the national team, called up in place of Trent-Alexander Arnold.

The abundance of wingers coudl make for a possible 3-man defense. On the left, both Chillwell and Luke Shaw have had two strong seasons, and Walker can easily make the third center back on the right with one between Trippier and Reece James in higher positions. Playing deeper and drawing teams on could suit England against the big teams, but it would mean putting one more attacking player on the bench. And, as mentioned, Southgate doesn't seem to be thinking about it at the moment.

Even in midfield, the situation is delicate. The best solution seems to be that of the two defensive midfielders, because no one except Henderson could shield the center backs alone. Even with two central midfielders in the last few outings, England suffered a lot from defensive transitions and left space between the lines through bad defensive positioning (this is also because the central defenders available are not among the most elastic).

Taking into account that Henderson is one of those players who cannot play ninety minutes of all games, often they will have to play in pairs Declan Rice (who has played almost all of them for two years) and one between Kalvin Phillips and Jude Bellingham.

The first ("the Yorkshire Pirlo", also injured this season) would guarantee greater control of the ball, but the second could add dynamism with and without the ball, creativity and intensity in an area where the English school usually wants calm and prudence, and with a charisma that despite being 17 could weigh a lot in such a short tournament. Bellingham also played very well against Austria, which could lead Southgate to bet on him. Like Renato Sanches five years ago, he could be the surprise of the tournament.

Then there is always the possibility of a three-man midfield, with the players mentioned above but also Mason Mount: in general, everything is to be expected from a coach who, last World Cup, reached the semifinals with Dele Alli and Lingard as inside forwards.

But perhaps the real weakness seems to be the psychological one. England have always maintained control against inferior teams on paper, sometimes even with those at their level (with Belgium, for example, in the somewhat unfortunate Nations League 2-0 defeat), but they appear to be a mentally fragile team, which alternates moments of euphoria with passive performances, in which the team seems to lose its identity.

How far can they go?
Let's say England made it to the semifinals of the last World Cup and that, since then, they have improved in talent and depth of the squad. The impression, however, is that at the moment something is missing on a collective and individual level, but you know: the best teams in the World and European Championships are those that are built, that are found, as the tournament progresses. Game after game. England's great fortune, aside from potentially playing six games out of seven at Wembley, is to have a group they can win. The first match with Croatia could be the toughest, but even with that, things would not get too complicated, considering that the second of group D meets the second of group E (indeed, finishing top of the group they will immediately meet a team of group F, the one with Germany, France and Portugal who, on the other hand, finishing second would eventually meet in the quarterfinals).

It's hard to understand how things can fit together for England before the round of 16, but it's even harder to imagine them not qualifying as first or second. Likewise there are really many ways that England can find a winning identity time and time again and if Southgate can field the fittest players, and they can dance to the same tune at least for part of the match, the minimum goal should be a semi-final, if not the final. For once, even the usual British ambitions of victory do not seem disconnected with the reality of the field. (**haha so true**)

There is also the "nightmare" version of the European Championship, of course, a specter that hovers over a team with a lot of pressure on it and that when it has met level rivals has almost always gone into difficulty. Realistically, an English success seems unlikely, if only because they need to beat at least a couple of top-level teams and, based on the history of recent years, it will not be such an easy feat. To win the European Championships it will take at least two or three consecutive top-level matches. That's what this England has been missing so far, but in contemporary football, things change rapidly. Who knows, maybe it will really be the summer of the kids in white.

I let Google translate the article for me and you're right it does do some weird stuff. The weirdest one probably being the last sentence which suddenly read "maybe it will really be the summer of the little white kids". 

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1 hour ago, Rds1983 said:

I let Google translate the article for me and you're right it does do some weird stuff. The weirdest one probably being the last sentence which suddenly read "maybe it will really be the summer of the little white kids". 

Yeah, the white refers to the shirts in the original. It's a really good article, completely on the money that paragraph about teams setting up to stop Kane when he drops deep. It's exactly what Croatia did to us, also the point about the big picture, general, tactics being clear but players getting a bit lost and the tactics not being clear in detail in certain moments. I think you can see that with us.

The stuff about the great teams that win these things coming together and being created on the way is cool too, it's not beyond us to do that. We have 3 points in the bag and a couple of winnable games coming up. If we can start to put the pieces together and get some understanding we could have a really good side. After watching France and Germany, we've got a way to go before we could be bossing a game against France.

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13 minutes ago, villalad21 said:

So is finishing 2nd actually better?

England should field a weak team  

Maybe not.  I’d rather play Germany than Spain which could be the two pairings.  

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28 minutes ago, Wainy316 said:

Maybe not.  I’d rather play Germany than Spain which could be the two pairings.  

Germany? definitely think Germany be lucky to be best 3rd spot

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1 hour ago, villalad21 said:

So is finishing 2nd actually better?

England should field a weak team  

Nope we need to win the group

if we finish second, we may get an easier game out of Spain’s group but it won’t be at Wembley. Plus even if we win that we’re likely to get France in the quarters

Finish top and it’s more than likely we would get either Portugal or Germany. But it’ll be played at Wembley 

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