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Euro 2020 - Congrats Italy


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Good on you Marcus

 

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I was wondering if any black player would play again for England after this, after all I wouldn't blame them to refuse now, but this shows guts and determination. I don't think that much will improve going forward, for a few more generations its still going to be an issue, but he's trailblazing right now. 

 

Twitter needs to go really.

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9 hours ago, englishbob said:

Twitter needs to go really.

 

It's by far the most toxic unregulated echo chamber across the whole internet. The fact that anyone of even minor authority can drum up anything they like to a wide public audience with barely any contest (they don't even have negs) can be pretty dangerous. That's before we get to the likes of Trump/Musk.

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Going forward I really hope Southgate (assuming he stays) can figure out a way to set the side up for counter-attacking when needed. We have so many fast forwards and ideally he would have looked at the pattern of the game from 30-55 mins and changed things up accordingly. Instead we just sat deeper and deeper and started aimlessly hoofing the ball out of defence, with no out ball other than Kane (who obviously couldn't win everything in the air against Chiellini). It's a desperately stupid situation to put yourself in when, with the right setup, we could have retained defensive solidity while also having the potential to do further damage to Italy. Instead we just totally ceded control of the game and in the end were fortunate not to lose inside 90 minutes.

 

Southgate has shown decent tactical flexibility and has evolved that side of things well since 2018, but being far too passive when ahead against a decent side was a clear blind spot. We got away with it against Croatia, Czech Republic and Germany, but they're nowhere near as good as Italy. It's a shame because I think the way we started the game and the formation took them by surprise and we were very comfortable for half an hour, but once Mancini started tweaking things Southgate was found wanting unfortunately.

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I agree @The Fox. The more I think about it, the more I think Italy did to us what we did to Denmark in the semi - controlled the majority of the game without having too many clear-cut chances, but clearly the better team.

 

I do still believe that Southgate has done the prep for somebody else to take the team forward (no idea who, mind), because I don't think he's quite good enough to win the big matches that you need to in order to start getting trophies. I would love to be proven wrong on that, though. 

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We restricted them to a few chances here and there which is fine, but it was always going to be unlikely that we would hold out for an hour against such a good side, when we were repeatedly giving them the ball back under no pressure, and showing basically zero attacking ambition ourselves. More often than not that approach just isn't going to cut it against a truly top team -- even if you're not going to try super hard to hit them with fast counters, at the very least you have to give yourself some outlets up top. I like Mason Mount a lot but him staying on as long as he did in those circumstances was farcical. Saka for Trippier was a change that made sense but again it came too late and unfortunately Saka was off his game anyway.

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7 minutes ago, The Fox said:

We restricted them to a few chances here and there which is fine, but it was always going to be unlikely that we would hold out for an hour against such a good side, when we were repeatedly giving them the ball back under no pressure, and showing basically zero attacking ambition ourselves. More often than not that approach just isn't going to cut it against a truly top team -- even if you're not going to try super hard to hit them with fast counters, at the very least you have to give yourself some outlets up top. I like Mason Mount a lot but him staying on as long as he did in those circumstances was farcical. Saka for Trippier was a change that made sense but again it came too late and unfortunately Saka was off his game anyway.

 

Yep. We did the same thing we did against Croatia in the World Cup semi following our early lead there, unfortunately. I'm sure that Southgate will analyse the game, realise this has happened more than once, and figure out a way to resist the impulse he sometimes has to allow us to sit back and let our defence get too deep to defend a 1-0 lead. Sure, he probably didn't actually say 'defend deep, please!', but he needs to know how to stop it when it happens and we're just giving the ball straight back to the opposition every time. Whether that's a change in formation, sending on an earlier sub or just barking instructions from the touchline that are picked up on, the final bit of his management journey is working out how to make sure that second half never happens again. I was screaming at the TV for us to just get our foot on the ball, and the equaliser was totally inevitable. We did well to make it to penalties, tbh, as we never really looked like recovering.

 

Still, what an achievement to get to the final, and I have no doubt that we can be VERY competitive in Qatar. We'll be one of the favourites for sure. I just hope that Rashford, Sancho and Saka can get over the disappointment next season and continue their development into world class players.

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I realise that there is a lot of talk of Southgate being found wanting and then I remember he only got the job because the other option was Sam Allardyce and OhDearGodPleaseStayGareth.

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I can go along with the view that Southgate does appear to be one of those managers who is slow to react to what opponents do in game, though I'm sure part of that is down to his whole approach in trusting the players, supporting them and having faith they'll sort it out or come good. You can see they all have that level of trust & confidence in him.

 

Luke Shaw is the best example of this, look at him when not fearing being yelled at for one half the whole time and not getting credit for anything he does. 

 

I do like a comedy double sub at HT as much as the next man but it's often a sign of a failing manager with little faith in their team/players. 

 

Do agree though that the WC will need to see progression again, and the qualifiers are the time to shape that against weaker opponents, it's not about suicidal all out attack, just letting the handbrake off a little when appropriate. 

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19 minutes ago, Gotters said:

I do like a comedy double sub at HT as much as the next man but it's often a sign of a failing manager with little faith in their team/players.

It wasn't even necessarily a case of having to make half-time subs, but something like telling Kane not to drop 15 yards inside our own half, but instead stay up against Chiellini/Bonucci to at least not give them all the time in the world to build from the back would've helped. He may still have been starved of the ball, but it would've kept their CBs on their toes.

 

It did also need somebody to push the team 10 yards further forward, which again didn't require subs, but because they were all so compressed it meant every pass was being played into a tight space, and with no time on the ball it just lead to mistakes and lost possession. 

 

Obviously the subs we did make didn't work out - Henderson and Saka were both poor - but in part I think that's because the team as a whole had so little of the ball it was hard for anyone to get in the game.

 

Still, Southgate will review and hopefully recognise where things can change, but I guess we'll only really see that when we next play a top team, because I don't think the qualifiers are going to really tell us all that much. 

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36 minutes ago, Eighthours said:

 

Sure, he probably didn't actually say 'defend deep, please!', but he needs to know how to stop it when it happens and we're just giving the ball straight back to the opposition every time.

 

I'm actually not convinced this is true unfortunately, because he had a chance to address the obvious pattern of the game at half time and instead we came out and were instantly sitting even deeper. I think he gambled on us being able to keep them at bay while offering nothing in attack, and it backfired. Yes, we only conceded with a scrappy goal from a set piece, but it was always likely that something would go in once we let Italy have total dominance of the game.

 

I really do hope he can learn from this and be a bit braver in high stakes games against top sides, because we do have the players for it. As @Gotters says, we don't have to be some swashbuckling side winning all our games 4-3, but we have clear evidence now in the two biggest games we've played that the opposite approach probably won't cut it against the best teams. You saw Mancini try something different against Spain once it became clear they weren't going to see much of the ball, and while it wasn't entirely successful, they did score a great counter attacking goal and came close on a couple of other occasions. At no stage were Italy resorting to lumping aimless long balls into touch then simply waiting for Spain to come again.

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You have to remember that England were up against a very savvy, experienced side who had gone 33 unbeaten. If Italy had strikers they would be winning every game 3-0.

 

England needed an extra solid midfielder.  No disrespect intended to Rice and Phillips who I think will be very solid for a number of years but Mount was bypassed for the second half - excellent player but not what we need.  The problem is finding one. Maybe we can borrow one of the N'golo Kantes?

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I actually think that when it comes to defending, Rice is absolutely top drawer, but his passing isn't quite up to scratch at the highest level. Similarly I think that while Phillips will never be a truly elite player, he definitely has more in his locker in terms of distribution than he was allowed to show here. I think some of the issues with their play are by design, and they are doing what the manager wants them to do, and some are possibly just down to a lack of top level experience. Playing a fairly conservative double pivot was then compounded by Southgate's over-reliance on Mount ahead of them even when he was clearly not performing. He's an excellent player but clearly doesn't offer as much creative attacking verve as Grealish or Foden.

 

Obviously we are lacking midfielders with the technical quality to match the best sides in the world, and there should be tweaks to that area going forward, perhaps with Bellingham being integrated more, but that's no reason to just be hoofing the ball up the pitch to nobody for an hour plus.

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Southgate did talk a few times of wanting to do what Portugal and France did in recent tournaments, where they basically killed games off and defended narrow leads. I don't remember them having to desperately punt it upfield so often, but neither do I quite remember what it was they had to be able to do it that bit better.

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27 minutes ago, milko said:

Southgate did talk a few times of wanting to do what Portugal and France did in recent tournaments, where they basically killed games off and defended narrow leads. I don't remember them having to desperately punt it upfield so often, but neither do I quite remember what it was they had to be able to do it that bit better.


Christ, I’m sure he’s watched a few Spurs matches this season. I know the defenders are better with England, but it just invites waves of pressure.

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2 minutes ago, Jammy said:


Christ, I’m sure he’s watched a few Spurs matches this season. I know the defenders are better with England, but it just invites waves of pressure.

 

Yep that is a very good example and it's what got Mourinho sacked eventually.

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From an outside perspective I think it's a shame you have a manager whose instincts are defensive and cautious when your squad is almost comically overloaded with attacking talent. Southgate seems to be a very good man manager, but he doesn't really play to your strengths enough. 

 

But it's also a relief as I think a more swashbuckling version of your team could have enough to push you over the top and I would be sick. 

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2 minutes ago, deerokus said:

From an outside perspective I think it's a shame you have a manager whose instincts are defensive and cautious when your squad is almost comically overloaded with attacking talent. Southgate seems to be a very good man manager, but he doesn't really play to your strengths enough. 

 

But it's also a relief as I think a more swashbuckling version of your team could have enough to push you over the top and I would be sick. 

Yeah, the early talk during the first couple of group games was all about 'letting the handbrake off' and whilst to some that seemed to translate as 'all-out attack', to the more sensible it just meant take the game to the opposition a bit more - and they never really did.

 

We can argue about how in control they were for large parts versus Germany and Denmark, but a) neither of those teams were particularly ambitious themselves, nor really had the talent that the better teams have and b) even so, England still didn't really press that advantage - and were it not for a contentious penalty vs Denmark, would they have scored in the remainder of extra time, or would that have gone to penalties too?

 

I said on Sunday - and I do still believe this - that I think some/most/all of those players will wonder just 'what if' Southgate had been a bit braver in his decisions - as will will all, I suppose. 

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Southgate definitely gambled on ceding midfield control in that second half to defend the box. I don't mind that approach, but to relieve pressure it has to be balanced with some level of counter attacking threat, and that's where it fell down. I'm sure Southgate still intended us to counter attack - you don't send a team out there not to attack - but in practice the attack was either starting from too deep or was too isolated from the midfield for that. Southgate will have seen that, like we all did, but he will have also seen that we restricted Italy to few clear cut chances. The total Italian XG was less than 1.0 before the goal. You can see why in that moment he preferred to maintain the shape and keep faith in the players out there (who'd only conceded 1 goal all tournament, 0 from open play) than to tinker.

 

He might have seen things differently had Rashford been in form. Bringing an in form Rashford on and switching to the 4-3-3 we used so devastatingly against Spain in the Nations League would have been a no-brainer with how high Italy's defence was pushing up in the early stages of the second half. Saka is great, but offers a different kind of threat that's arguably better suited against a deeper lying defence, so I can see why Southgate didn't fancy making that change while we were still leading.

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Just now, Pants McSkill said:

Genuine question to those wanting to sack England's second most successful manager ever - the manager who just took us to our first ever European Championship final, who came within one spot-kick of delivering us only our second ever tournament, who took Roberto 'Premier League winning, triple Serie A winning, Fa Cup winning, Quadruple Italian cup winning manager' Mancini's Italy to penalties, the same Italy who everyone agreed were the team of the tournament, who got further than World Champions France and Golden Generation Belgium and World Cup winner Lowe's Germany... - Genuine question to you all:

 

Which manager that we could realistically appoint would *categorically* improve England and definitely win us the World Cup?

That's a big old strawman there, I don't think anybody at any point has said he should be sacked.

 

And it wasn't within one spot kick of winning, either.

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OK, so everyone in here is 100% all in agreement he should definitely be in charge at the World Cup then.

 

Because, and this may well be entirely on me of course - text doesn't carry tone particuarly well - but comments like this:

7 hours ago, Gabe said:

I do still believe that Southgate has done the prep for somebody else to take the team forward (no idea who, mind)...

...Kinda makes it sound like that's not the case.

 

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