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  1. #1241
    Yeah, I thought we were comfortable and in reasonable control for most of the match but without creating lots of clear cut chances (an area where we need to improve). I think Walker's back pass that was so nearly punished gave Colombia a boost and spurred them on a bit for the last ten minutes.

    I thought Trippier was harsh on himself in his post match interview when he took the blame for Colombia's equaliser. It wasn't like it was a tame header that dribbled past him, it was one of those where you have to try and get something on it and if luck is on your side it stays out, if it's not, it doesn't.

    We looked shellshocked for the first half of extra time but as you said, Rose and then Rashford coming on helped us refocus.

    I think Henderson was a bit unlucky with his penalty, Ospina dives the other way or doesn't dive as hard and it gets praised as a good penalty. Probably the height that does him, same kick but along the ground and it would have been harder to save. Thankfully it didn't matter in the end!

    I thought Kane was amazing last night. His hold up play and work rate were phenomenal: holding up the ball until he could lay it off to a team mate, winning free kicks by protecting the ball so well that the opposition players couldn't resist fouling him, and some of our best long range passes that spread the play came through Kane. Plus he had to wait a good two or three minutes before being able to take the penalty, thanks to Colombia's shenanigans, and it didn't phase him a bit and he stuck it away. An unglamorous but brilliant performance.

    And yes, I've been a fan of Tripper since he signed too. I remember mentioning a couple of times during his first two seasons that he was unlucky Walker was ahead of him as he always did well when he played and would be first choice for most other clubs. Absolutely delighted to see him doing so well and getting the recognition his hard work deserves.

  2. #1242
    HK and DA were being kicked all over park last night. I gave up counting how many times HK went down to hard tackles aka blatant fouls. Putting up with that level of physical assault and still contributing, doing the, as you say "unglamorous" hold up and donkey work was a real captain's performance. Even if he faded in extra time he unquestionably deserves high praise for what he did throughout the match.
    Last edited by fallenangle; 05-07-2018 at 12:49 AM.

  3. #1243
    I think the fouls were taking their toll on him by extra time, and he dropped deeper so Vardy was the focal point up front. Yet it was still through balls by Kane that nearly put Vardy in on goal a couple of times. Even if England don't manage to go all the way, I really hope Kane can hold on to the golden boot.

  4. #1244
    I certainly think we can beat Sweden and not just on penalties but I doubt the game will be very attractive; I hope I'm wrong in that respect but I suspect it will be all about England having the majority of possession trying to break down a stoic, well organised Scandanavian defence but having to make sure they're set up themselves defensively to deal with the real threat Sweden pose in counter attacks.

    If HK can get a sniff of a goal chance I hope he takes it because my guess is that the opportunities to add to his tally will be few and far between.

  5. #1245
    The phrase "war of attrition" springs to mind! Solid 4-4-2 from Sweden, build a brick wall, invite us to see if we can knock it down. I think I'd start Danny Rose in this one, get him and Trippier bombing forwards and whipping in crosses as I expect Sweden will pack the middle of the pitch with their two banks of four.

    I think he's done well, especially considering he's been carrying an injury throughout the tournament, but I'd quite like to see Dele pushed further forwards to be the player closest to Harry Kane instead of Sterling. That's the position where he's been at his best for Spurs, scoring a load of goals himself and setting up a load of goals for Kane. Might help when we do try and go through the middle.

  6. #1246
    Yes, that all sounds good to me - we have to be quick and flexible to exploit any gaps in their defence and having two good wing players and giving HK some closer support from DA allows us to exploit any gaps or mistakes as quickly as possible. If that is at the expense of Sterling so be it. He hasn't looked like scoring in any game its been Lingard and Vardy who look as though they're more likely to do that when/if they get the chance.

    I think DA has to prove he can be effective support for HK when facing a world class defence or I can see him being subbed early for Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Vardy particularly if we loose a goal.

    EDIT Saturday 07.07.18

    Half time and going very well. We would be two up if Sterling had quickly passed it back to HK in that attack just before the break.

    I can't believe how lacklustre and predictable Sweden have been so far and I can't believe that is going to continue either. Until we get that second goal I'm not even going to start to think about us winning this, all it would take is one mistake or a bit of luck and they'd take us into extra time. England have done everything right so far except scoring that vital second goal.

    ................................................ which DA just did. Yay!

    A few chances for Sweden but overall a hugely dominant, very much deserved England win; I don't think I've seen them play better in years.

    Russia or Croatia? Hmmmm. If Modric is off form or marked/kicked out of the game the home advantage and fan support could be telling but my waters say Croatia, just, maybe on penalties. But in either case if England can put in another performance like today's they can beat either.

    Good times.
    Last edited by fallenangle; 07-07-2018 at 04:09 PM.

  7. #1247
    Quote Originally Posted by fallenangle View Post
    EDIT Saturday 07.07.18

    Half time and going very well. We would be two up if Sterling had quickly passed it back to HK in that attack just before the break.

    I can't believe how lacklustre and predictable Sweden have been so far and I can't believe that is going to continue either. Until we get that second goal I'm not even going to start to think about us winning this, all it would take is one mistake or a bit of luck and they'd take us into extra time. England have done everything right so far except scoring that vital second goal.
    Semi-finals here we come

    Surprisingly Sweden pretty much did continue in the same vein, aside from a couple of shots that needed good Pickford saves. Never expected it to be anywhere near that comfortable of a match.

    Great to see Dele Alli get a goal, and another selfless performance up front from Kane, two superb performances from him in the past couple of matches. And (despite the fact that he should have played that ball back for Kane at the end of the first half) I thought Sterling was really good today, always England's most dangerous player.

    Beat Russia or Croatia and we're in a World Cup final! Would have bitten off hands, arms, and most other body parts if you'd offered that to me before the tournament started.

  8. #1248
    Damn. Gutted but proud, didn't expect us to get anywhere near the semi-finals before the tournament began. It started so well with Trippier's superb free kick; I think we were the better team for most of the first half and it's just a shame that we couldn't capitalise and nab a second goal. 99 times out of 100 Kane puts away the chance (and rebound) he had without even thinking about it. I don't think he looked fully fit, he was badly limping and down to walking pace at the end of the Colombia game, got through the lower intensity Sweden game, but I think it caught up with him tonight.

    Seeing Trippier being helped off injured during extra time was simultaneously really sad, but also filled me with pride. Absolutely ran himself into the ground for the team and has to be a shoe in for team of the tournament, he's been exceptional.

    Croatia deserved to win though, they were the better side in the second half and for all of extra time. Spurs bias makes me want to see France win the final as I'd like the (small) consolation prize of seeing Lloris lift the cup, but it'd be great to see a surprise winner like Croatia get their name on the trophy, it'd be an amazing achievement. May the best team win!

  9. #1249
    I have a slightly more cynical attitude towards what happened last night.

    In the first half we had them on the ropes and even if not from open play that great Trippier goal was gold.

    But I just didn't understand the tactics Southgate went with in the second half. We've seen Spurs play so many games where it has quite literally has been a game of two halves each with two very different performances, almost like they're two different teams. That is how England looked to me right from the start of the second half.

    Cagey, slow in build up, and none of that energy and high pressing they'd been displaying only 15 minutes earlier.

    Glenn Hoddle pointed out that Croatia had effectively gone to a back three making their midfield 4 or 5 strong and what did England do? Instead of the tried and tested 4-4-2 or a more cautious 4-1-4-1 they used a bizarre choice of 5-3-2 which often eroded into 5-2-3 with just DA and Lingard having to cover the whole area against a team who's main strength is in the midfield ie. Modric, Rakitic and Peresic.

    The England back five dropped deeper giving those players even more of the space they needed to boss the game and that is what they did.

    Sterling, who'd been a thorn in their flesh in the first half was subbed far too early and wrongly with Rashford who seemed to have been told to play as a roving utility player doing a lot of work but not to any great effect where it was needed.

    Dier, yes, straight sub for Henderson but should have been operating as he does most effectively in front of a back four rather than as part of a back five.

    Danny Rose for Ashley Young, no. It should have been the flagging DA who went off allowing Ashley Young to save his energy and concentrate on defending that left wing with Rose playing in front of him more as wing half, basically splitting duties.

    Have to say that if I was going to sub anyone else it would have been HK with Rashford and bought on Vardy when Sterling had genuinely exhausted himself, and not as a pointless last gasp when the front men were getting no service anyway.

    They lost, It happened and we have to accept that and England getting this far and playing so well in most of their games, who can't have enjoyed that? But to lose it in last 45 minutes of a WC semi-final mainly because of tactical is indeed gutting.

  10. #1250
    Yeah, the second half performance and Southgate's tactical / subs in response weren't the best, but hopefully it's something he'll learn from and do better with in the future (easy to forget he's not a massively experienced manager). Removing Sterling was definitely a mistake; we weren't getting the ball to him anywhere near as much as in the first half, so try and change things to enable us to get the ball to him more often again, don't just remove him.

    I've seen it said by quite a few people, and I agree with it, England's biggest problem is a lack of a midfielder with an eye for a pass, whether from deeper like Modric or further up the pitch like Eriksen. Then Kane doesn't need to keep dropping deep to get the ball and can concentrate on staying up front, and you have someone that can pick out the runs of players like Alli and Lindgard.

    It's a shame Winks' season was so disrupted by injury as he's developing nicely into a player who could possibly do that kind of role in midfield (along side someone else doing more of the defensive grunt work). Nowhere near the finished article, of course, but I think with an injury free season he might have made the squad.

    He looked good on his England debut, was then excellent in both CL games against Real Madrid and away against Dortmund, getting into the team most weeks but got injured just before new year and was basically out for the rest of the season. Hopefully he can stay injury free in the upcoming season, could be a big one for him, and there might be even more chance for him to impress if Dembele moves on as has been rumoured.


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