***England V Czech Rep 22/06/2021***

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Good points.
Phillips has played every minute yet he was still fresh towards the end of the game.
Saka was great up and down the pitch and the passes he received when he went on his runs were excellent.

They both were great. Mings was good in the games he played, too.
GS has a great squad and let's hope he keeps getting the selections and tactics right.

They'll obviously have bigger tests but so far, so good. Stones has always had the potential to be one of the best of his kind around. It's those brain farts that held him back. He's allowed one or two over a season like any player, but there was a time he was making them every month.

Maguire was excellent yesterday and looked a top class defender. I'm also perfectly fine with Mings and White as back up for Maguire and Stones, though I feel Tomori will soon challenge for a first team place.
 

Ginolaflair

BLEEDER OF BLUE & WHITE
I thought Saka was the bright spot in the game. His control was excellent, and it was his driving runs that got us on the front foot when we attacked. He was my MoM yesterday. I felt the 2nd half was tepid because we didn’t get the ball to him enough, the same for Grealish really.
Exactly.
 
I thought Saka was the bright spot in the game. His control was excellent, and it was his driving runs that got us on the front foot when we attacked. He was my MoM yesterday. I felt the 2nd half was tepid because we didn’t get the ball to him enough, the same for Grealish really.

That's because we sat back. I don't even think it's Southgate telling us to at half-time to go out there and play like that. I think it's a case of the players collectively thinking it's job done if we defend well, and the feeling that one goal would be enough. I would like to see us on the front foot more, even when we have a lead and are comfortable in the game. If it's the players wanting to conserve energy somewhat for the more difficult games down the line then that's fair enough I suppose.
 

Guido

"Legacy Fan"
Right, I'm posting this in here so that some of you who are absolutely OBSESSED in saying we are playing with 2 DM's.

As I attempted to engage with some of you during the game WE ARE NOT PLAYING WITH TWO DM'S!!! (this might change against better oppo or we are managing out a game which we are leading, either way, this hasn't happen in our two previous games to last night, although we deployed them differently in those games than the one last night. prior to last nights game, Phillips was playing as an 8 which left Rice playing as a 6 at no point in any of the games have we played a double pivot!).

So, please don't take it from me, a random on a forum. Have a read of this, understand that the bit of paper that names the team and sets them up in a formation of 4-2-3-1 has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on how the players take to the shape and formations during the actual game.

During the next game (any game) just watch what the actual player are doing, where they are and what positions they take up before screaming at the moon about two DM's etc...

Cox: This was a different England. Southgate’s willingness to adapt will be vital in knockout stages

C3-1-e1624446864468.png

By Michael Cox 13m ago
comment-icon.png
1
save-icon.png

There were two major positives from England’s 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic on Tuesday evening.
First, and most obviously, England recorded the result that confirmed their position as group winners.
Second, and more pertinently in terms of England’s overall objective at Euro 2020, there were signs that England are happier against opponents who try to engage high up the pitch. Jaroslav Silhavy’s side tried to press aggressively in England’s half but rarely won the ball in advanced positions, and they often left space for England to break into.
England adjusted their shape for this game in a couple of ways. Although 4-2-3-1 on paper, England were evidently keen to form a three-man defence in possession to pass around a Czech side that often pressed with a front two.
The precise construction of this three-man defence varied. In the first minute, it was Kyle Walker shuffling inside from right-back alongside John Stones and Harry Maguire…
B1-2.png

…later in the same move, Walker has pushed up the touchline, so Kalvin Phillips drops in as a right-sided centre-back…
B2-2.png

…and, six minutes in, Declan Rice drops between the centre-backs. The three-man build-up helped England play forward, and the rotation of players dropping back kept the Czechs guessing.
B3-1.png

Rotation was a factor further forward, as well, where England’s attacking trio of Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling continually swapped positions. Saka was most regularly on the right, with the other two switching positions between the left and the central role behind Harry Kane.
At times, however, all three are located in central positions, with the width provided by the full-backs.
C0.png

Here, meanwhile, is an example of England bringing the ball forward from the back with their three-man build-up. In this example, Sterling and Grealish make eye contact and decide to switch positions to drag around the Czech defenders who were, at times, almost man-marking them.
C1-2.png

That understanding between attackers, and the determination to drag defenders out of position, contributed to one of England’s best chances.
Here, as Maguire brings the ball out of defence, Grealish checks over his shoulder, realises right-sided centre-back Ondrej Celustka is marking him and sees Kane is in a position to run into the space created. Grealish, therefore, makes a decoy run towards the ball, Kane peels off into the channel, and Maguire slips him in.
C2-1.png

C3-1-e1624446864468.png

It was certainly a fine ball from Maguire, but Grealish’s movement opened the passing lane intelligently, to make the pass relatively simple for a player of Maguire’s calibre.
Balls in behind the opposition defence were a regular theme of England’s play — they simply had more space in that area than they’d been afforded in other matches. Sterling lobbed against the post from Luke Shaw’s early ball in behind…
G0.png

…and Shaw himself was also notably advanced, particularly compared to England’s first two matches, when the full-backs were ordered to remain deep. This move actually ended with Shaw being flagged offside, a particularly stark demonstration of how high the full-backs were pushing.
G1-1.png

G1a.png

If that was a sign of Maguire and Shaw’s understanding down the left from Manchester United, Stones’ good ball out to Walker on the opposite side suggested the Manchester City connection on the opposite side was also strong.
G6.png

And Kane, quiet in his first two matches, was more involved here. This ball out to Saka showed what he wants to do when England are building up play, and overall he played 32 passes — significantly more than he played against Croatia (16) and Scotland (11), even accounting for the fact he was substituted in those games.
G8.png

Saka, meanwhile, was the most surprising name on the teamsheet but England’s brightest player, particularly with his ability to receive the ball in deep positions, turn and then carry the ball aggressively into attack, as seen in the build-up to England’s goal.
H1.png

H2.png

Once again, this wouldn’t have been quite so valuable against Croatia and Scotland sides sitting deep, but with England being afforded more space to break into, and more capable of playing on the transition, Saka was an inspired choice.
The next question, then, is what Southgate sees in this performance that he’ll want to implement in the knockout stage.
In defence, Maguire performed solidly and seems likely to keep his place. Walker and Shaw played very different roles, the latter significantly more attack-minded in his positioning, but both enjoyed good matches, and the possibility of keeping those club partnerships on either side of the defence may appeal to Southgate.
Rice and Phillips dropping into defence also worked well. That is a tactic that England are also likely to deploy in the knockout games, when they’ll probably be under more pressure as they build from the back.
Further forward, the big winner was Saka, who doesn’t merely offer an ability to drive forward in possession, but also offers great versatility and is capable of playing as a wing-back, a wide midfielder or even a central midfielder. That might prove crucial in the second round, when Southgate might be inclined to change his system — particularly if England face Germany’s 3-4-3.
And overall, this was a demonstration of England’s tactical adaptability. Compared to the opening two matches, the centre-backs carried the ball more ambitiously, the full-backs overlapped more energetically, the attackers rotated their positions more, and Kane was significantly more involved. The opponents get significantly more fearsome from here, but perhaps that will suit England’s approach.
 
Last edited:
Right, I'm posting this in here so that some of you who are absolutely OBSESSED in saying we are playing with 2 DM's.

As I attempted to engage with some of you during the game WE ARE NOT PLAYING WITH TWO DM'S!!! (this might change against better oppo or we are managing out a game which we are leading, either way, this hasn't happen in our two previous games to last night, although we deployed them differently in those games than the one last night. prior to last nights game, Phillips was playing as an 8 which left Rice playing as a 6 at no point in any of the games have we played a double pivot!).

So, please don't take it from me random on a forum. Have a read of this, understand that the bit of paper that names the team and sets them up in a formation of 4-2-3-1 has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on how the players take to the shape and formations during the actual game.

During the next game (any game) just watch what the actual player are doing, where they are and what positions they take up before screaming at the moon about to DM's etc...

Cox: This was a different England. Southgate’s willingness to adapt will be vital in knockout stages

C3-1-e1624446864468.png

By Michael Cox 13m ago
comment-icon.png
1
save-icon.png

There were two major positives from England’s 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic on Tuesday evening.
First, and most obviously, England recorded the result that confirmed their position as group winners.
Second, and more pertinently in terms of England’s overall objective at Euro 2020, there were signs that England are happier against opponents who try to engage high up the pitch. Jaroslav Silhavy’s side tried to press aggressively in England’s half but rarely won the ball in advanced positions, and they often left space for England to break into.
England adjusted their shape for this game in a couple of ways. Although 4-2-3-1 on paper, England were evidently keen to form a three-man defence in possession to pass around a Czech side that often pressed with a front two.
The precise construction of this three-man defence varied. In the first minute, it was Kyle Walker shuffling inside from right-back alongside John Stones and Harry Maguire…
B1-2.png

…later in the same move, Walker has pushed up the touchline, so Kalvin Phillips drops in as a right-sided centre-back…
B2-2.png

…and, six minutes in, Declan Rice drops between the centre-backs. The three-man build-up helped England play forward, and the rotation of players dropping back kept the Czechs guessing.
B3-1.png

Rotation was a factor further forward, as well, where England’s attacking trio of Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling continually swapped positions. Saka was most regularly on the right, with the other two switching positions between the left and the central role behind Harry Kane.
At times, however, all three are located in central positions, with the width provided by the full-backs.
C0.png

Here, meanwhile, is an example of England bringing the ball forward from the back with their three-man build-up. In this example, Sterling and Grealish make eye contact and decide to switch positions to drag around the Czech defenders who were, at times, almost man-marking them.
C1-2.png

That understanding between attackers, and the determination to drag defenders out of position, contributed to one of England’s best chances.
Here, as Maguire brings the ball out of defence, Grealish checks over his shoulder, realises right-sided centre-back Ondrej Celustka is marking him and sees Kane is in a position to run into the space created. Grealish, therefore, makes a decoy run towards the ball, Kane peels off into the channel, and Maguire slips him in.
C2-1.png

C3-1-e1624446864468.png

It was certainly a fine ball from Maguire, but Grealish’s movement opened the passing lane intelligently, to make the pass relatively simple for a player of Maguire’s calibre.
Balls in behind the opposition defence were a regular theme of England’s play — they simply had more space in that area than they’d been afforded in other matches. Sterling lobbed against the post from Luke Shaw’s early ball in behind…
G0.png

…and Shaw himself was also notably advanced, particularly compared to England’s first two matches, when the full-backs were ordered to remain deep. This move actually ended with Shaw being flagged offside, a particularly stark demonstration of how high the full-backs were pushing.
G1-1.png

G1a.png

If that was a sign of Maguire and Shaw’s understanding down the left from Manchester United, Stones’ good ball out to Walker on the opposite side suggested the Manchester City connection on the opposite side was also strong.
G6.png

And Kane, quiet in his first two matches, was more involved here. This ball out to Saka showed what he wants to do when England are building up play, and overall he played 32 passes — significantly more than he played against Croatia (16) and Scotland (11), even accounting for the fact he was substituted in those games.
G8.png

Saka, meanwhile, was the most surprising name on the teamsheet but England’s brightest player, particularly with his ability to receive the ball in deep positions, turn and then carry the ball aggressively into attack, as seen in the build-up to England’s goal.
H1.png

H2.png

Once again, this wouldn’t have been quite so valuable against Croatia and Scotland sides sitting deep, but with England being afforded more space to break into, and more capable of playing on the transition, Saka was an inspired choice.
The next question, then, is what Southgate sees in this performance that he’ll want to implement in the knockout stage.
In defence, Maguire performed solidly and seems likely to keep his place. Walker and Shaw played very different roles, the latter significantly more attack-minded in his positioning, but both enjoyed good matches, and the possibility of keeping those club partnerships on either side of the defence may appeal to Southgate.
Rice and Phillips dropping into defence also worked well. That is a tactic that England are also likely to deploy in the knockout games, when they’ll probably be under more pressure as they build from the back.
Further forward, the big winner was Saka, who doesn’t merely offer an ability to drive forward in possession, but also offers great versatility and is capable of playing as a wing-back, a wide midfielder or even a central midfielder. That might prove crucial in the second round, when Southgate might be inclined to change his system — particularly if England face Germany’s 3-4-3.
And overall, this was a demonstration of England’s tactical adaptability. Compared to the opening two matches, the centre-backs carried the ball more ambitiously, the full-backs overlapped more energetically, the attackers rotated their positions more, and Kane was significantly more involved. The opponents get significantly more fearsome from here, but perhaps that will suit England’s approach.

Regardless, unless we're winning by a few and creating 10 chances a game, some people will never be content.

Go back not that many years and the general opinion was that England don't keep the ball well enough and give it away far too much compared to other top Nations. Now some of these same people are moaning because we show patience and don't just lump it forward at every opportunity and ultimately give it away a lot.
 
That's because we sat back. I don't even think it's Southgate telling us to at half-time to go out there and play like that. I think it's a case of the players collectively thinking it's job done if we defend well, and the feeling that one goal would be enough. I would like to see us on the front foot more, even when we have a lead and are comfortable in the game. If it's the players wanting to conserve energy somewhat for the more difficult games down the line then that's fair enough I suppose.
Agreed. I don’t have an issue per se with the game, we did enough and looked comfortable against a pretty good side, same as Croatia. I feel that there’s too much angst spilling over from the game against the Scots, but I suppose it’s just indicative of different expectations.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have concerns going forward though. We will have a huge test in the next game because, whoever we get from France/Portugal/Germany, we’re facing a team that’s up there as one of the favourites for the tournament, and anything can happen in a knockout game. Our history against these bigger countries isn’t great though, so concerns are justifies I think.

Personally, I can’t see us progressing beyond the last 16 but, as I say, anything can happen in a knockout stage, so I’m hopeful but not expectant.
 
Agreed. I don’t have an issue per se with the game, we did enough and looked comfortable against a pretty good side, same as Croatia. I feel that there’s too much angst spilling over from the game against the Scots, but I suppose it’s just indicative of different expectations.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have concerns going forward though. We will have a huge test in the next game because, whoever we get from France/Portugal/Germany, we’re facing a team that’s up there as one of the favourites for the tournament, and anything can happen in a knockout game. Our history against these bigger countries isn’t great though, so concerns are justifies I think.

Personally, I can’t see us progressing beyond the last 16 but, as I say, anything can happen in a knockout stage, so I’m hopeful but not expectant.

I think France beat us 7 or 8 times of of 10 right now. I give us much more of a chance against any of the other sides, even if we're under-dogs. But I have a feeling that being the under-dogs somewhat will suit us. I believe at some point either Kane or Foden, or perhaps both, will have a big impact on a game. Hopefully it's the next one and it's enough to see us progress.

The Scotland game, you just have to say fair play to them as they did a job on us. They played at the best of their ability, we were nowhere near ours, and they got a deserved draw from it. I'd have been more concerned with that performance if it was a knockout game, and we just about scraped through. They seemed to be up for it much more than we were on the evening, it happens sometimes in football and you just have to accept it and move on.
 
Saka is very impressive, in a way he is at a stage where we hoped Sessegnon would be, they are very similar in what they offer and where they can play in a team but Saka is flying atm. Grealish did well but he can do even better unfortunately I get the feeling Gary is not as big a fan as the rest of the media snd fans are.
 
Saka is very impressive, in a way he is at a stage where we hoped Sessegnon would be, they are very similar in what they offer and where they can play in a team but Saka is flying atm. Grealish did well but he can do even better unfortunately I get the feeling Gary is not as big a fan as the rest of the media snd fans are.

Grealish is technically brilliant but I do worry about his lack of goal threat if played as one of the front three. He's now played 10 games (I think) for England and hasn't come close to scoring yet. I know his main job is to create, but as one of the front three he needs to start shooting and threatening the goal. For that reason I'd have Foden over him if it comes down to a straight choice between the two.
 

Tomo

Supporter
Grealish is technically brilliant but I do worry about his lack of goal threat if played as one of the front three. He's now played 10 games (I think) for England and hasn't come close to scoring yet. I know his main job is to create, but as one of the front three he needs to start shooting and threatening the goal. For that reason I'd have Foden over him if it comes down to a straight choice between the two.

The biggest advantage of having him on the pitch is his possession ability. He is very hard to get off the ball and it enables the England team to take hold of a game so while his scoring isnt always great his contribution is very important. I thought last night he was our most important player in terms of how we played.

Foden is a different player, he is more of a goal threat but doesn’t control a game like Grealish.
 
The biggest advantage of having him on the pitch is his possession ability. He is very hard to get off the ball and it enables the England team to take hold of a game so while his scoring isnt always great his contribution is very important. I thought last night he was our most important player in terms of how we played.

Foden is a different player, he is more of a goal threat but doesn’t control a game like Grealish.

They're different players, sure, but I don't see Southgate ever starting them both. It's one or the other. In a low scoring side I think Foden's extra goal threat is vital. He also presses better too, which Southgate loves.
 

Guido

"Legacy Fan"
Regardless, unless we're winning by a few and creating 10 chances a game, some people will never be content.

Go back not that many years and the general opinion was that England don't keep the ball well enough and give it away far too much compared to other top Nations. Now some of these same people are moaning because we show patience and don't just lump it forward at every opportunity and ultimately give it away a lot.
We haven't been great. We've been functional but we've been in complete control of each game, even when the oppo has applied pressure and upped the tempo against us, more importantly, we've looked comfortable at the back when we've been pressed!! This has always been our issue and where we've lost games. Iceland is perhaps the most extreme, the moment they pressed us (which wasn't very often) we coughed up possession and looked extremely vulnerable. Even worse is that it affected our "game state", this undefinable presence that we can all feel as too do the players on either side.

Whilst Mings has defended just fine, his inability to join attacks with progressive line braking passes and bringing the ball out of defence is non-existent, Maguire and Stones both capable of doing this, which allows us to draw oppo onto us, step into midfield with the ball or as evidenced last night play some very incisive balls to advanced forwards or FB's pushed higher and staying wide creating space in oppo defence.

I get wanting to see a higher tempo game from us but screaming at the moon about having 2 DM's when we aren't playing 2 DM's is nonsense.

I want to see us play with a higher temp, press more and move the ball faster but aside from Kane the players are there to do that but why do that when you've already qualified, why expend all that energy and go into fatigue against a better side than us which is when you are going to need to do that, to empty yourself. If you go into a game already half-cooked what good is that, especially against better oppo? (Stones went off last night not because of injury but because of fatigue).

We've looked comfortably in every game, even against Scotland where we didn't look good (outplayed in midfield), but I disagree with the commentary around it in that I thought we completely deserved to win that game and were unlucky not to score from our chances we created, which were far bigger opportunities than Scotlands.

We absolutely do need to up our tempo and I'm hoping that we are able to do that in a game when it demands such.
 
We haven't been great. We've been functional but we've been in complete control of each game, even when the oppo has applied pressure and upped the tempo against us, more importantly, we've looked comfortable at the back when we've been pressed!! This has always been our issue and where we've lost games. Iceland is perhaps the most extreme, the moment they pressed us (which wasn't very often) we coughed up possession and looked extremely vulnerable. Even worse is that it affected our "game state", this undefinable presence that we can all feel as too do the players on either side.

Whilst Mings has defended just fine, his inability to join attacks with progressive line braking passes and bringing the ball out of defence is non-existent, Maguire and Stones both capable of doing this, which allows us to draw oppo onto us, step into midfield with the ball or as evidenced last night play some very incisive balls to advanced forwards or FB's pushed higher and staying wide creating space in oppo defence.

I get wanting to see a higher tempo game from us but screaming at the moon about having 2 DM's when we aren't playing 2 DM's is nonsense.

I want to see us play with a higher temp, press more and move the ball faster but aside from Kane the players are there to do that but why do that when you've already qualified, why expend all that energy and go into fatigue against a better side than us which is when you are going to need to do that, to empty yourself. If you go into a game already half-cooked what good is that, especially against better oppo? (Stones went off last night not because of injury but because of fatigue).

We've looked comfortably in every game, even against Scotland where we didn't look good (outplayed in midfield), but I disagree with the commentary around it in that I thought we completely deserved to win that game and were unlucky not to score from our chances we created, which were far bigger opportunities than Scotlands.

We absolutely do need to up our tempo and I'm hoping that we are able to do that in a game when it demands such.

We'll play better when we really need to, that's what I believe, and we'll need to next Tuesday. That doesn't mean we will win of course. You can play well and/or give your best performance of the tournament and still go out. But there's more to come from this England side, certainly much more to come from individual players like Kane, Foden and Mount. I've had a couple of good inklings this tournament already, and another is that we'll surprise lots of people next week. I believe our best performance is just around the corner. Time will tell, as always.
 
What's Gareth going to do against the next top side we play, field 3 DMs for heavens sake!

We've only played with one all tournament. The issue is that Rice and Phillips are quite similar. But Phillips has definitely been playing higher up the pitch than Declan Rice.
 
We've only played with one all tournament. The issue is that Rice and Phillips are quite similar. But Phillips has definitely been playing higher up the pitch than Declan Rice.
Well i didn't see last nights game as I fell asleep, but do you think he' ll play the same team as he did last night in the next game?
 

Ginolaflair

BLEEDER OF BLUE & WHITE
Right, I'm posting this in here so that some of you who are absolutely OBSESSED in saying we are playing with 2 DM's.

As I attempted to engage with some of you during the game WE ARE NOT PLAYING WITH TWO DM'S!!! (this might change against better oppo or we are managing out a game which we are leading, either way, this hasn't happen in our two previous games to last night, although we deployed them differently in those games than the one last night. prior to last nights game, Phillips was playing as an 8 which left Rice playing as a 6 at no point in any of the games have we played a double pivot!).

So, please don't take it from me, a random on a forum. Have a read of this, understand that the bit of paper that names the team and sets them up in a formation of 4-2-3-1 has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on how the players take to the shape and formations during the actual game.

During the next game (any game) just watch what the actual player are doing, where they are and what positions they take up before screaming at the moon about two DM's etc...

Cox: This was a different England. Southgate’s willingness to adapt will be vital in knockout stages

C3-1-e1624446864468.png

By Michael Cox 13m ago
comment-icon.png
1
save-icon.png

There were two major positives from England’s 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic on Tuesday evening.
First, and most obviously, England recorded the result that confirmed their position as group winners.
Second, and more pertinently in terms of England’s overall objective at Euro 2020, there were signs that England are happier against opponents who try to engage high up the pitch. Jaroslav Silhavy’s side tried to press aggressively in England’s half but rarely won the ball in advanced positions, and they often left space for England to break into.
England adjusted their shape for this game in a couple of ways. Although 4-2-3-1 on paper, England were evidently keen to form a three-man defence in possession to pass around a Czech side that often pressed with a front two.
The precise construction of this three-man defence varied. In the first minute, it was Kyle Walker shuffling inside from right-back alongside John Stones and Harry Maguire…
B1-2.png

…later in the same move, Walker has pushed up the touchline, so Kalvin Phillips drops in as a right-sided centre-back…
B2-2.png

…and, six minutes in, Declan Rice drops between the centre-backs. The three-man build-up helped England play forward, and the rotation of players dropping back kept the Czechs guessing.
B3-1.png

Rotation was a factor further forward, as well, where England’s attacking trio of Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling continually swapped positions. Saka was most regularly on the right, with the other two switching positions between the left and the central role behind Harry Kane.
At times, however, all three are located in central positions, with the width provided by the full-backs.
C0.png

Here, meanwhile, is an example of England bringing the ball forward from the back with their three-man build-up. In this example, Sterling and Grealish make eye contact and decide to switch positions to drag around the Czech defenders who were, at times, almost man-marking them.
C1-2.png

That understanding between attackers, and the determination to drag defenders out of position, contributed to one of England’s best chances.
Here, as Maguire brings the ball out of defence, Grealish checks over his shoulder, realises right-sided centre-back Ondrej Celustka is marking him and sees Kane is in a position to run into the space created. Grealish, therefore, makes a decoy run towards the ball, Kane peels off into the channel, and Maguire slips him in.
C2-1.png

C3-1-e1624446864468.png

It was certainly a fine ball from Maguire, but Grealish’s movement opened the passing lane intelligently, to make the pass relatively simple for a player of Maguire’s calibre.
Balls in behind the opposition defence were a regular theme of England’s play — they simply had more space in that area than they’d been afforded in other matches. Sterling lobbed against the post from Luke Shaw’s early ball in behind…
G0.png

…and Shaw himself was also notably advanced, particularly compared to England’s first two matches, when the full-backs were ordered to remain deep. This move actually ended with Shaw being flagged offside, a particularly stark demonstration of how high the full-backs were pushing.
G1-1.png

G1a.png

If that was a sign of Maguire and Shaw’s understanding down the left from Manchester United, Stones’ good ball out to Walker on the opposite side suggested the Manchester City connection on the opposite side was also strong.
G6.png

And Kane, quiet in his first two matches, was more involved here. This ball out to Saka showed what he wants to do when England are building up play, and overall he played 32 passes — significantly more than he played against Croatia (16) and Scotland (11), even accounting for the fact he was substituted in those games.
G8.png

Saka, meanwhile, was the most surprising name on the teamsheet but England’s brightest player, particularly with his ability to receive the ball in deep positions, turn and then carry the ball aggressively into attack, as seen in the build-up to England’s goal.
H1.png

H2.png

Once again, this wouldn’t have been quite so valuable against Croatia and Scotland sides sitting deep, but with England being afforded more space to break into, and more capable of playing on the transition, Saka was an inspired choice.
The next question, then, is what Southgate sees in this performance that he’ll want to implement in the knockout stage.
In defence, Maguire performed solidly and seems likely to keep his place. Walker and Shaw played very different roles, the latter significantly more attack-minded in his positioning, but both enjoyed good matches, and the possibility of keeping those club partnerships on either side of the defence may appeal to Southgate.
Rice and Phillips dropping into defence also worked well. That is a tactic that England are also likely to deploy in the knockout games, when they’ll probably be under more pressure as they build from the back.
Further forward, the big winner was Saka, who doesn’t merely offer an ability to drive forward in possession, but also offers great versatility and is capable of playing as a wing-back, a wide midfielder or even a central midfielder. That might prove crucial in the second round, when Southgate might be inclined to change his system — particularly if England face Germany’s 3-4-3.
And overall, this was a demonstration of England’s tactical adaptability. Compared to the opening two matches, the centre-backs carried the ball more ambitiously, the full-backs overlapped more energetically, the attackers rotated their positions more, and Kane was significantly more involved. The opponents get significantly more fearsome from here, but perhaps that will suit England’s approach.
Maybe just post a link next time mate?
 
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