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  1. I think the tournament is going well for England. A few key players who were struggling for form have suddenly started looking like international footballers again, notably Maguire, Sterling, Pickford, and Shaw. The shape of the team has looked a lot better with the back four and an extra player in midfield. We are doing the horseshoe of doom a lot, but we were doing that against Iran (who were a decent team that we made look terrible) and we scored six goals. All teams do this to an extent when in possession, it's about how you progress the ball from this set-up. For example Man Utd move through it by having Lissandro Martinez play passes through the lines. Man City have their five vertical lines on the pitch and players able to move the ball very quickly. Liverpool have excellent attacking full-backs and get them very high up the pitch. England lack a passer in the middle of the park, either in central midfield or defence. Stones is very much a ball-player at CB, but he's not a passer like a Koeman or something. Rice and Bellingham are good players, but Rice is a destroyer with very good technical skills and Bellingham progresses the ball by running with it. Mount is supposed to play further up and do clever link-ups with Sterling and Kane, but that has happened once in two matches, so it's not working. It's not that none of the players can pass the ball - Bellingham played some lovely balls forward against Iran, but there's nobody who's natural game is doing that under pressure, when it's difficult. There's nobody on the bench either. I've read that Phillips plays a lot of forward passes, but I've personally never really seen the evidence for that apart from one nice assist in the opening game of Euro 2020. I think we're going to see more of the horseshoe of doom, with England trying to probe down the wings. I think we do need to tweak the forward lines a bit. Mount has been ineffective, so he's the most likely candidate. We could bring in Phillips and move Bellingham further forward perhaps. Or there is the option of Foden or Maddison in there. That runs the risk of turning us into a 4-2-4 and heaping more defensive duties on Bellingham though. Mount isn't really playing as a number 10, as he is working hard defensively as much, actually probably more, than he's looking to create. Foden has never played in midfield for City, remember. He's also never done anything for England. What he does for England is repeatedly dribble infield from the wing, get confused that his teammates aren't making the exact pre-determined runs they make at City, and lose the ball near the edge of the box. For all his talent, what has he ever done in an England shirt? Leicester fans might be able to tell us more about Maddison's work-rate. I remember him telling an interviewer that he doesn't need to do any of that because Ndidi is good enough to do it for him, so that doesn't bode well. There's also the option of the forgotten man - Conner Gallagher. Could he come into the midfield? He's energetic and makes things happen. Not necessarily always good things, but he'd help shake of the lethargy that seeps into England performances. I always like it when teams have an agent of chaos in the attacking third - it makes defences nervous. I don't know. I think we'll need to be at the races against Wales if we are to top the group. While my perfect scenario is both England and Wales going through, I can't see that happening now with the way the results went yesterday, unfortunately. I'm not going to be sitting there watching the last round of matches hoping that needle gets threaded.
  2. A frustrating result, but that puts us on 4 points with one game to play. A win against Wales guarantees that we top the group. A draw puts us through. As for the match itself, it wasn't great, but it wasn't the disaster some people are seeing it as. I thought Maguire was excellent, easily the man of the match. What happens to him in international tournaments? He looks reborn. Shaw played well as well, Kane was really good but missed a couple of good chances. I know I slated him when he came on, but Henderson did really well.
  3. Grealish on on the left I like, as he links up well with Shaw. The problem is that Southgate is ignoring player performance with these subs. Sometimes you have to take someone who is playing badly off. Mount and Saka have been terrible, and there's no sign that they are suddenly going to start playing well.
  4. Henderson coming on is a ridiculous idea. A game of this pace will just happen around him.
  5. Why no subs yet? Are we waiting until we go 1-0 down?
  6. I don't think Mount will come off. He does something mysterious, undetectable to anyone but Southgate. If he did come off, perhaps bring Phillips on and try to control the midfield and send Bellingham further forward. There's also the wildcard option of Alexander-Arnold in midfield in the hope that he might score a worldy.
  7. Saka has to come off. He's having a stinker, and there are loads of good options to replace him. Perhaps Grealish to carry the ball.
  8. Maguire is actually holding us together a bit.
  9. We're second best so far. Mount, Sterling, and Saka are creating more problems for us than them.
  10. Kane should have buried that chance, by the way.
  11. I don't think this is quite correct. I'm possibly in a position to know but I don't for sure, but my understanding is that Artis Opus brushes are made by Rosemary and Co, but they're not direct rebadges of Series 33 etc. They're made in the same factory, with the same sable, but the design and specifications are different. They aren't the same brush with the handle painted white. Rosemary and Co are fantastic brushes though, really good quality and amazing value. The only fault I have found with them is that they seem to have a slight tendency to sometimes split and fray quicker than the more expensive brushes, but part of that is down to my own poor brush care.
  12. Iran deserved to win, they were the better team. God they were dirty though, Klinsmann is absolutely right. Edit - Not sure about the "that's their culture" comments though. To give him the benefit of the doubt perhaps he means their footballing culture.
  13. Brennan Johnson has been a massive disappointment.
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