I was rooting for England. I wanted this young solid team to win. They had an easier draw. The big guns mostly eliminated early in the knockouts. Unfortunately it was not to be
I felt the key was England blowing Italy away in the first 20 minutes. Unfortunately England managed only one goal. As the game grew on, and tactics were failing, managers need to step up. Southgate made awful substitutions, tad too late to inflict any change to the gameplay.
Having conceded early, it was obvious Italy would reign in control even more in the second half. The inability of the team to even wrest possession of the Italians was shocking.
Some players had outstanding performances all throughout the tournament. However opting to nullify the position and to wait and watch if something turns our way was a passive approach that epitomizes the character that Southgate is. Could there have been a better opportunity than this to win the Euros that too in home turf? I bet not. England just did not take it.
Italy with injuries, put out a monumental performance. The Italians of the 90s whom I watched growing up would be very proud of what this team has achieved. Numbers do not lie. Remaining undefeated for 30 plus games all the way to winning this tournament, they are indeed a force to contend in Qatar.
Will England rise up to the job at hand in Qatar? We will just have to wait and see. A good defensive team gets the top end of the tournament. England indeed one of, if not the best defending teams of the tournament. Pickford well protected by an excellent defensive setup. Harsh on some of the great talents who could not even find a way into the playing 11 for much of the tournament. Especially when they had to step up and just do one thing, take a penalty. Shocking misses from Rashford, Sancho and Saka. Home pressure eventually did get to the kids. But that is what it is. They have another 10 years of football to play for the nation and make her proud!
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