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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Euro Review: New Manager, Same Old England

After a new found belief from England fans, they were brought down to earth with a bump as the national side crashed out of Euro 2012 on penalties again, this time to Italy.

PAYING THE PENALTY: Diamanti Strokes Home
After a "solid" performance in the group stages with a draw in Group D's opening game against France followed by an entertaining or painful (whatever way you look at it) win versus Sweden.  The final game in Donetsk against co-hosts Ukraine was a nervy 1-0 win thanks to a goal from the returning Wayne Rooney which, along with Sweden beating France meant England qualified by topping the group.

RETURN OF THE ROON: Wayne marked his return with a goal
It wouldn't have been England if they hadn't had players pull out; Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill, Gareth Barry and goalkeeper John Ruddy all missed the Championships through injury.

Despite the failures once again, there were a few positives to take out of the tournament.

New manager Roy Hodgson looked to youth for a change.  Under Fabio Capello you always had the feeling that no matter what happened, the "old guard" would still be playing the next game.  The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck were given their chance to shine with the latter arguably getting the goal of the tournament with his match-winning, mid-air backheel against Sweden.

Welbeck (L) and Carroll (R) were given their chance
Roy made a big decision in not taking Rio Ferdinand to Poland/Ukraine, and, with Cahill injured, Joleon Lescott filled the void beside John Terry and did not disappoint.  Personally, I felt that leaving Rio out was a good call and a brave one from the manager.

Another positive was the fact that Roy seemed to install a sense of pride back into the nation again.  One improvement was seeing all of the players singing the national anthem.  Even  Rooney opened his mouth to sing for once.

The negatives now and for me it was disappointing to see the lack of threat attacking-wise from England.  Admittedly losing Rooney for the first two games was a blow but it would have been nice to have seen us create a few more chances.

Much has been talked about our lack of keeping the ball.  In my opinion this is because we tried so hard to get the ball back that when we did have it, the players were knackered and the pass went astray.

GERRARD: Reviltalised but knackered
Another gripe of mine was hearing most saying how well the team have done to reach the quarter finals.  For me, the quarter finals was the minimum requirement - It's something that England have done consistently (Apart from 2008) in recent times so for the team to be congratulated on it is wrong.

Finally, with regards to the game (which Italy deservedly one) I did not see the huge fuss about Andrea Pirlo that everyone way making out.  He's a good player, don't get me wrong, but with the amount of space he had given to him, a player of his quality you'd expect him to pick out passes to his team mates.  As for his penalty, it would have been a poor one had Joe Hart just stood in the centre of the goal and caught it.  "Quality penalty". I disagree.

Pirlo's "dink" could have left him red faced
Still, we'll win the World Cup in Brazil in two years time right?!

Until next week...

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