England limps out of yet another tournament!
It was inevitable. Like years gone by, the rhetoric of this squads potential, the talented youth and desire to finally break through as a real contender fell flat as always. Roy Hodgson’s England were frankly pathetic.
Having got their tournament off to what appeared to be a great start against Russia, that last minute equaliser to end the opening game at a score of 1-1 proved to be a decisive blow. Not on who England would eventually face in the knock out stages but how they would approach their next matches and show their usual vulnerabilities. England were clearly mentally weak, unable to contain teams and see games out to the final whistle.
Their last minute victory over a brave and ambitious Wales team in the next game, frankly papered over the cracks and Hogson’s questionable decision to rest key players and place unproven squad members into unfamiliar positions in their final group game against Slovakia exposed an overconfidence that was clearly undue. Worst of all, his decision to have this season’s top scoring Golden Boot winner Harry Kane take corners and free kicks was frankly bazaar. The curse of the England manager was undoubtedly starting to take hold. The game ended with a tame goalless draw which left most fans scratching their heads.
England shamefully finished second in Group B behind a deservedly first placed Wales. What was to come in the knock out stages however, was a far bigger embarrassment.
On paper, England were given the perfect draw. Iceland, in their first major tournament in history and with a population of just over 330,000 humbled England and made them look like strangers. Their organised, pressing style had them completely dumbfounded, with no answer, no cutting edge and worse of all, no desire. England looked lost and rudderless. They were humiliated, losing 2-1 to a deserved victorious Icelandic team that took inspiration from Premier League title winning Leicester’s hard working and methodical approach. It clearly worked and exposed Roy Hodgson to be seriously lacking in tactical nous, inspiration or footballing prowess. England were going home and so too, was Hodgson gone from his job within hours.
The Welsh dragons are flying high
Chris Coleman’s Wales, driven on by the inspired Gareth Bale couldn’t be anything further from the rudderless England team. On Friday night, they take on a very impressive looking Belgium team who appear to be getting into gear after their swift demolition job of Hungary. But anyone writing off the Welsh in this game would be foolish to do so. Having already seen two convincing victories in Group B against Russia and Slovakia, two teams England failed to beat, they are a team that is brimming with confidence and firing on all cylinders.
It promises to be a fantastic match and could potentially be the match of the tournament. Both Belgium and Wales are attacking teams, with their defences looking a tad uncertain and vulnerable at times. With the tournament so far lacking goals and displaying a habit of late strikes thus far, the tournament really needs a hotly contested match to bring it to life. Perhaps this could it?
You can see the match live on BBC One from 7:30pm. Come on Wales!
Who’s the favourites to win Euro 2016?
The biggest match of the second round was undoubtedly Italy v Spain, a match the defending champions were humbled in by a highly impressive Italian team, coached by the soon to be Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. Italy ended up winners by a 2-0 scoreline but it frankly could have been more. Italy looked highly impressive. They were organised, had the lions share of the ball and humbled defending European champions Spain into looking like a very average team.
Italy are certainly one’s to watch. They face the highly fancied Germans this coming Saturday night from 7:30pm, again live on BBC One. That could be a cracker!
England’s conquerers Iceland, have the unenviable job of facing hosts France, whilst Poland take on misfiring Portugal. Both of those matches should go the favourites way but in a tournament full of surprises, who knows?
So who will win Euro 2016? In our opinion, the eventual winners of the huge clash between Italy and German have to be favourites to win. The fancied Belgians have a habit of falling at the last hurdle, Portugal look like they are feeling the pressure from back home and hosts France for us, still look like they can be beaten if pressed and harried.
Anyone betting against World Champions Germany to win it would be a brave person!
EURO 2016 Quarter Finals Live Match TV Schedule
|Thursday 30th June 2016|
|Poland v Portual||UEFA EURO 2016 Quarter-Final||20:00 KO||BBC One (7:30pm), ITV (7:15pm)|
|Friday 1st July 2016|
|Wales v Belgium||UEFA EURO 2016 Quarter-Final||20:00 KO||BBC One (7:30pm), ITV (7:30pm)|
|Saturday 2nd July 2016|
|Germany v Italy||UEFA EURO 2016 Quarter-Final||20:00 KO||ITV (7:15pm)|
|Sunday 3rd July 2016|
|France v Iceland||UEFA EURO 2016 Quarter-Final||20:00 KO||ITV (7:15pm)|