Diamond Dog wrote:From about 25 minutes in I just felt a strange sense of deja vu. It was the Croatia semi final all over again. We just stopped playing. Klinsman at half time nailed it when he said (and I paraphrase) to go and get the second goal, try to kill the game off. We didn't. We just sunk further and further back - and the gap between the defence/midfield and forwards just got wider and wider.
I really hope Southgate now has a bit of an epiphany and realises that our best chance of further success doesn't come from trying to win games 1-0, but from unleashing the attacking talent we have and letting those players dictate to the opposition. Two holding midfield players (in any configuration) is such a negative mindset - it basically concedes midfield and makes you defend right on top of your centre backs. It invites pressure and, against the best teams, that's asking to get beaten. Just play a back four, one holding midfield player (and we saw from Rice last that he definitely has the ability to do more than just defending) and then four others in midfield (with two wide players) and Kane up top. Just that one switch would completely transform the mentality of the side. And it would be playing to our strengths.
We did well. But I still believe we could have done so much better. The rest of the world was looking at our bench and thing "Why aren't more of them playing?". I must say I think they were right.
I agree with every word of that.
Foden (injured last night), Bellingham, Grealish and Sancho might be hard to squeeze into one team but he needs to work out a way to do just that. (Or at least 3 of the 4.) Rice and Phillips had good tournaments but they are players whose main attributes are stopping the other team from playing.
For me, that should not be the first priority.
I know Southgate was credited with showing his mettle when substituting substitute Grealish the other night but he showed none of that last night. Saka was a weak link, Mount was ineffective all game, Sterling was too focused on trying to win free kicks and penalties....