The Football


Surely this generation of gifted players, schooled in the minted PL clubs academies was that which was supposed to the first ‘European-style’ / anti-hoof-ball one?


I don’t think this England side played like most of the England sides I can remember. I think the influence of the likes of Guardiola & Pochettino has had an effect but the younger players in the current side aren’t so much academy products as players who’ve been on loan or trialled with a good number of lower league clubs. But many of the players in this team still aren’t technically good enough. Maybe the U17 & U20 youngsters can be.

What Southgate did manage to do was get the best from a limited group & remove the variables that could be controlled ie messing up penalty shoot outs or panicking at unhelpful moments Maybe introducing a calmness that we’re not used to from the usual England performance.

It has been noticeable recently that we’ve done better in the first half of games & then struggled as teams adjust.

But overall this was much better than our efforts at Euro 16, WC14, WC10, WC06 etc. There’s some semblance of some method, of a plan & that is progress.



Dejan Lovren spoke to BeIN Sports after the match last night and said: “I took Liverpool to the final of the Champions League. Now with my national team we are in the final. I think people should recognise that I am also one of the best defenders in the world and not just talk nonsense.



You forgot Sweden but otherwise your analysis is right on the money imo.


He’s a shy boy.




At least for the first time in ages we will have some continuity.
A manager returning from a major tournament will neither be sacked or expected to resign and the press won’t be on his back.




Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m thankful for what we have achieved in terms of team cohesion, belief and enjoyment because it’s a long way from where we were. And of course it was ludicrous to expect that just because we’d put a few things right we’d just go out and win the WC straightaway. Realism might be an important quality too.

This doesn’t resolve the structural issues particularly the lack of available talent, but at least ambitious youngsters and their coaches now know it’s worth it and where the gaps in the market are.


It would be nit picking and is easily said with the benefit of hindsight but I read one analysis of last night’s game which suggested that a more experienced & more pro-active manager might have seen England’s flanks were becoming overloaded by 50-55 minutes & have beefed up the midfield further perhaps leaving one rather than two up front. Certainly it was that period where Croatia took over & Lingard/Alli were struggling to help Young & Trippier who’d been forced back.

Southgate seems thorough enough to look at what he thinks might have gone wrong & hopefully will be more ready to make changes earlier if need be.


Would agree with that. He seemed quite reluctant to make an earlier sub, especially given that extra one is granted in extra time.

I think most managers are reticent to do something before the hour mark because it’s often perceived as a criticism of the player being removed rather than some insight into the overall flow of the match.


At about 2:20 he discusses substitutions. I thought at the time that he was quite honest that he didn’t really know what to do…


Conte goes.


Croatia changed it in the second half to adjust to England but England never fully responded tactically.

The smart thing Croatia started to do was press from the front and restrict England’s defence from playing out from the back, which meant Pickford had to go long and then we lost possession and momentum which we never recovered.


It sounded like England forgot to play out from the back,and it was just long punts that kept coming back


Yep, as soon as it started going long, Lovren and Vida loved it.



Avram Grant not on the list due to only being in charge for 54 games. His win percentage was 66.67%. Surprised me.