England produced a solid display to claim a 1-1 draw with France in Group D of Euro 2012.
In truth the game was a very even affair and a draw was a fair result. However, some England fans and players will be left wondering what if?
What if England attacked the French? It seems that Les Bleus regard their defence as their weak link.
England approached the game in typical Roy Hodgson fashion though, very cautious. It won England a very credible point but it doesn’t stop me wondering if we could have won the game.
France is a good team but I think there was very little between Roy Hodgson’s men and Laurent Blanc’s team. France are not the worlds best team but England set their team up to defend like they were. The likes of Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery would cause any defence problems but that didn’t mean England had to play such a defensive game.
One of the problems England encountered at times against France was the fact that the team was too deep in their own half. On numerous occasions the England midfielders found themselves on the edge of their own penalty area.
One of these occasions led to the France goal as seven England players were in their own area marking one player. That meant that the midfielders didn’t have time to get out of the box to block Samir Nasri’s shot and the City star fired past Joe Hart.
Although these defensive tactics subdued the England attack slightly they produced a more solid display from the Three Lions. The display was very different from those seen by England teams in past tournaments. The team seemed more disciplined and more solid.
Every player in the team knew their job and they did it with the minimum of fuss. Roy Hodgson is famous for not overcomplicating the game and producing teams that well organised. This could be the key to England progressing past the group stage at Euro 2012.
Although England didn’t attack as much as I’d like them to have the likes of Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain looked promising. In flashes all three players showed that they can cause opposition defences problems.
Young operated just behind Welbeck in the hole and managed to pick up some good positions. The United attacker showed outstanding vision to put James Milner in on goal, only for the City midfielder to round Hugo Lloris and fire wide.
Young has the talent to be England’s creative fulcrum and so does Oxlade-Chamberlain. For 18 years of age the youngster show maturity beyond his years. He was a surprise starter against France but I think the gamble paid off.
The youngsters strength is being direct and running at opposition defences and whenever he did that to France they brought him down. It just showed that Chamberlain was a threat whenever he had the ball.
Hopefully in the next game he will get a chance to prove he has what it takes to make it at international level. He has certainly made a decent start to his England career.
Although Roy Hodgson is a very cautious manager by nature I can see him taking a more offensive approach against Sweden on Friday. He may not change the formation but maybe England will approach the game with a more offensive outlook.
Sweden don’t hold as much of an attacking threat as France, although Zlatan Ibrahimovic could cause England some problems. England have to look to attack the Swedes and gain their first three points of the tournament.
Prior to the France game I think most England fans would have taken a draw from the clash. It was definitely a decent platform for England to build from for the rest of the group stage. A win against Sweden on Friday and I think most England fans will be happy with the teams tournament so far.
Was a draw a good result for England against France?
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