Last night England finally managed to beat Sweden in a competitive match. England made hard work of it but came out eventual winners with a 3-2 victory.
England manager Roy Hodgson’s team selection looked to be paying off mid way through the first half when Andy Carroll headed in from Steven Gerrard’s pinpoint cross from deep on the right flank. Without being completely dominant, England were comfortable in the first half, limiting Sweden to a few sparks from captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
More of the same for the second half would have been the basis of Hodgson’s half-time team talk as he sent out the same XI to finish the job.
England seemed to remain in the changing room though as Sweden took a hold on the game right from the start of the second half. It wasn’t long before Sweden’s Olof Mellberg had taken advantage of some very slack defending and had grabbed himself two goals to turn the match on its head. England were rattled and there were no signs of them getting back into the game.
Steven Gerrard was playing far too deep, too often taking the ball from Terry and Lescott leaving England’s midfield completely overrun, while Ashley Young continues to struggle at Euro 2011.
Theo Walcott came on to replace Milner who put in a hard-working performance that lacked any spark. Within 3 minutes, Walcott had drawn the game level with a goal that was nothing like a classic Walcott goal. Theo hit a shot from outside the box that dipped and seemed to completely baffle the Swedish goalkeeper who should have saved a shot that was right in the centre of his goal.
It was Walcott again that saved England a short while later as he burst into the box admins crossed just behind Danny Wellbeck who managed to spin his body and flick the ball in with his trailing foot, a goal worthy of winning any match and that will feature in many montages of Euro 2012 after the event.
It’s difficult to say whether England deserved their victory or not, but for now that’s irrelevant. There does seem to be a strong team spirit with Hodgson’s England and last night that was enough. England now face a tricky tie with Ukraine on Tuesday knowing that a draw will see them through to the quarter finals.
What a difference a day makes! Just 24 hours after quashing rumours that he’d resigned as manager of Spurs, Harry Redknapp has been sacked by Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy.
It is understood that Levy has his sights on Everton’s David Moyes as Redknapp’s replacement.
Redknapp’s tenure at Tottenham could hardly be classed as anything but successful, yet it was not enough for Levy as Spurs missed out qualifying for Champions League football this season.
It is thought that Levy did not like the way Redknapp handled the vacant England managers position when he was considered the front runner which seemed to have a huge impact on Spurs’ run-in.
Redknapp will feel particularly hard done by considering the fact that Spurs were propping up the Premier League table when he took over back in October 2008.
Euro 2012 is underway and the pod meet for the first time to discus England’s draw against France, who’s leading the way in the fashion stakes and why Spain are just 6 David Battys…
Rumours are circulating that Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has resigned as manager of Spurs. News is breaking on twitter as we speak that ‘Arry has had enough.
After missing out on the England managers position, Redknapp’s future has been in doubt with Redknapp only having a year left in his contract.
Update – Redknapp has not resigned
In an interview with ESPN, Redknapp said “No, I haven’t resigned, this is an outrage…for people to be putting around this rumour on the internet.”
Looks like Spurs fans can sleep easy for now.
Euro 2012 got underway for England today with a 1-1 draw against France. England looked lively to begin with giving every bit as good as they got, getting their results on the half hour mark after Gerrard crossed for Lescott to head in.
The french responded well to going a goal down and it wasn’t long before they were level. England retreated to a more defensive stance and the pressure from the French paid off. The England defenders pegged back couldn’t push out quick enough and Manchester City’s chief bench warmer Samir Nasri had enough time to beat an unsighted Joe Hart at his near post.
The second half was all France, England conceding possession, looking to hit on the break. Oxlade-Chamberlain given a surprise start by Roy Hodgson looked lively at times and a little naive at others.
England without Rooney look a little short creativity but it was a workman like performance and England will be happy with a point from a difficult first fixture. Roy Hodgson’s England side could never be accused of being exciting, but difficult to beat they will be content with for now.
Today marks the third day of Euro 2012 and sees defending Champions Spain take on an Italian side that has not yet found its identity. Italy have failed to win any of their last 3 friendlies and boss Cesare Prandelli seems unaware as to what his best starting XI is.
Today’s other game features Slaven Bilic’s Croatia taking on underdogs Republic of Ireland who will surely be many people’s second team at the championship particularly among Italian fans who will be keeping one eye on former manager Giovanni Trapattoni as he attempts to make his mark on the tournament.
So far we haven’t seen any stand out performances at Euro 2012. Russia swept aside the Czech Republic, Holland failed to produce and now find themselves in a difficult position and Germany didn’t live up to their pre-tournament hype, struggling to break down a resolute, if slightly dull Portugal.
This tournament is waiting for a player to grab it by the scuff of the neck and say to the rest of Europe ‘look at me’ because so far, albeit early days – Ronaldo, Ozil, Robben and many others haven’t been able to do that.
Meanwhile, a certain Lionel Messi hit a hat-trick against Brazil in a friendly last night which Argentina won 4-3.
Here’s hoping an English player steps up to the mark on Monday. Jordan Henderson perhaps?
If you’ve been following Norwich City’s most lethal player on Twitter for any length of time then you just may be wondering if Grant Holt is dyslexic.
Holy was subject to a lot of mocking following his announcement that he would like to leave Norwich via the social networking platform. It read “I have loved my 3 years at the club and it sadness me to right this but want use to here it from me first. #lovedmytime”
Holt then recently followed this tweet with a tweet to bookmakers Coral saying “@Coral Going to take some money off use tonight.”
It is not known whether Holt suffers from dyslexia.
Roy Hodgson has some difficult decisions to make over the coming days. Three of England’s most experienced players, including captain Steven Gerrard are all carrying injuries and have not been in full training over the past few days.
With the injury situation already less than ideal, England could realistically field a team on Saturday with up to 6 first choice players all out through injury and suspension.
John Terry’s injury (tight hamstring and a groin problem) is perhaps the most difficult to deal with for Hodgson and the FA as his former England team mate Rio Ferdinand was left at home to accommodate the inclusion of Terry. If Terry does not feature in any of England’s matches at Euro 2012 then the FA will find themselves with some very difficult questions to answer upon England’s return home following the conclusion of Euro 2012.
Since taking up tenure as England manager, Hodgson has lost Gareth Barry, Gary Cahill and John Ruddy all to injury. Roy will be keeping his fingers crossed that Terry, Cole and Gerrard all recover for Monday’s match against the French.
There’s just 2 days to go until the start of Euro 2012 so the team reflect on England’s 1-0 victory over Belgium and offer their opinions on the Ferdinand/Terry/Kelly debacle…
Gary Cahill has been ruled out of Euro 2012 and joins Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry on the injury list.
Cahill will be replaced by the inexperienced Martin Kelly rather than two of the more obvious replacements in Rio Ferdinand and Micah Richards.
Ferdinand was left out of the squad for ‘football reasons’ although this is now very debatable and puts England manager Hodgson in a very difficult position. Are we seriously to believe that Hodgson rates Martin Kelly as a better defender than the experienced Rio Ferdinand? Hodgson will have to face some difficult questions from the media in the coming days.
Micah Richards we are led to believe did not want to be on the initial stand by list alongside the likes of Henderson and Kelly, both of who are now in the 23 man squad. It is appalling behaviour from the Manchester City defender and few will see his side of the story when it all unravels in the press.
The FA once again are found to be controlling the England team from behind the curtain. I wonder how much longer the fans will stand for their meddling?