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  • #61
    Originally posted by The Cook View Post
    But then it seemed like Southgate told them to calm it down in the second half, probably because drawing or even losing wouldn't have been the end of the world as it would most likely result in an "easier" next game.
    I can't quite believe that Southgate would actually say that, but the second half was much more subdued.

    Also, this idea that finishing second would have resulted in an "easier" route is full of holes for me and the way the draw is panning out, we're actually in a far better side of the draw by winning the group.


    If we go based on the most likely scenarios...

    If we had finished second, we'd likely hit one of Sweden, Slovakia or Poland (or even Spain, it's a weak looking group E granted) in the round of 16. Then France in the quarters, one of Italy or Belgium in the semi finals, probably the two form teams thus far.

    By finishing first we hit a hard first game against Portugal or Germany most likely, but after that in the quarters you have the winner of that weak group E and then Netherlands who I think are a little overrated. And all games bar the quarters at Wembley.

    Second place -> Sweden - France - Belgium
    Winners -> Germany - Spain - Netherlands

    Considering how the tournament has gone so far, I think winning the group looks quite a bit easier. Bare in mind also that they'll likely be a surprise package as there always is (my money's on Denmark) so all to play for.

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    • #62
      Yeah I don't think Southgate would've actually said calm down because it doesn't matter if we don't win but I feel if we needed to score a few more we'd have played the second half better.

      I did look at the potential quarters and semis based on where we finished but I'd say we need an "easier" game first to allow us to play ourselves into a bit of form because we've not played well yet, bar bursts here and there in games. Going straight into a tough game against a potential favourite doesn't allow for that. Having said that I can't disagree that winning games and playing whoever you're drawn against is the way to go as it prevents any potential overthinking of things.

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      • #63
        I think I'd shade towards the way Gooner's interpreted it, though I understand the point about an extra game to play your way into form. But you have to play the good teams at some point, and if we get through the 2nd round the advantage of the favourites being clustered into the other half of the draw is pretty clear.

        As for the performance the other night - big improvement first half, tepid in the second. I actually get the feeling we've played broadly the same way all three times, with the idea to get the lead and protect it, first and foremost, once we've got it. On the one hand, judged in that light, we've actually played rather well. On the other, it won't work against better teams. It's a Sven-esque strategy with inferior defenders and since it always got found out before, no reason to think it won't be found out again.

        In short - we're going to need a second goal from this round on.

        More thoughts coming when we record our next Euro 2020 episode of Four at the Back, which should be out before the 2nd round kicks off....

        "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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        • #64
          Looking forward to listening to that Prime!

          Just a side note that just proves how tiny the margins are at times - England have hit the post within 10 minutes in all three group games. Foden vs Croatia, Stones vs Scotland and Sterling vs the Czechs. A matter of inches could have potentially made a real difference on the perception of England performances. And yet I agree with Prime, against the better teams, we have at best a 50% chance or less of winning.

          EDIT: With Sweden winning group E, they're potential quarter final opponents for England. Perfect for us, provided we get that far. Sweden have almost sleepwalked through their group.
          Last edited by Gooner; 06-23-2021, 02:08 PM.

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          • #65
            The Czechs have just blown that side of the draw wide open. Potential England route to the final is now Germany > Sweden > Czechs/Denmark

            Gareths detractors will point to easy draws in the World Cup and this Euros, but you can only beat who you play. Huge chance for a final appearance now.

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            • #66
              Yep, although I see Denmark beating the Czechs and I wouldn't rule out Ukraine against Sweden. Either way if we get past Germany then not reaching the final will look like a real disappointment.

              I thought Belgium were excellent last night but with potential losses of de Bruyne & Hazard Sr. I can see Italy doing a job on them in the quarters.

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              • #67
                Well... what a couple of matches. France out will be the headline, for obvious reasons, but from an England perspective everything is falling into place... provided they get through Germany tomorrow.

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                • #68
                  I can't help but feel that we really need to attack Germany to have a good chance this evening. I'd normally not be thinking that, and would hope we kept it tight at the back, but I've not been that impressed with Germany at either end of the pitch - both Portugal and Hungary kind of dug their own graves defensively while creating chances and putting them away.

                  I don't think it's Southgate's style to go out and really try and attack a team, but I'd be a bit let down to see us start with a back three and sacrifice one of an attacking four.

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                  • #69
                    Well, that worked a treat in the end. Bar a Muller sitter, I felt we controlled the game most of the time. Southgate got it all right,

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                    • #70
                      As far as I'm concerned we should now be making the final at the very least. Neither Sweden or Ukraine look great and they both look knackered in extra time. We already beat comfortably the Czechs and while Denmark are a decent outfit they're very much playing on emotion and that'll run out eventually.

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                      • #71
                        Yeah we'll never have a better chance of reaching a final. Even the Sweden vs Ukraine game couldn't have gone better: quite a few injuries, 120 minutes, the slightly less able team going through...

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                        • #72
                          Denmark do have a bit more than just emotion - but yes, we'd have to be the favourites in our half of the draw. In a way, I think Ukraine/Sweden went as well as it could for us. They played later, they went to extra time, and while you don't want any long term damage to anyone - they have a land who probably won't be fully fit. And truth be told, I think we'd fare better against Ukraine than Sweden. I'd be pretty surprised if we went out in the next round now, to be perfectly frank.

                          I wouldn't be staggered if Denmark kept it tight and knocked us out in the semis, or if the Czechs rebounded and won a tight one there either. And realistically, expectations shouldn't really change all that much (as in, if you were happy with a semi-final before the tournament, you should still consider it success regardless of the twists and turns along the way).


                          But regardless of that, I think the narrative will be that if we lose to a Belgium or Italy in the final fair enough - but anything short of that and it'll now be seen as a missed opportunity and, ultimately, as a failure. Right now Southgate's stock as a manager is through the roof, but he's achieved that running against popular opinion, and so if he falls to earth that stock will fall with it.

                          "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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                          • #73
                            Agree with all the above. I do wish the public would give Southgate a bit more respect because, despite plenty of people thinking he's going about it the wrong way and questioning his decisions (I will gladly put my hand upon doing this occasionally too), at the end of the day he's breaking down a lot of psychological barriers, and the perception is he's got the squad togetherness nailed on. There are no stories coming out about unhappy players, WAGs being difficult or anything of the like. They're focused on a gameplan that Gareth believes is the right one and it's working. Might not be pretty, but quite honestly I don't care when it comes to England. Arsenal, it's a different story, but with England I just want them to win by any means.

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                            • #74
                              I've been one of his biggest critics so far in his reign, but fair fucks to him, he's had two good tournaments so far and beating Germany in the knockout rounds is no small feat. Yes, we got a bit lucky with Muller's miss, but we've had some dreadful luck against them over the years, so it's time it evened itself out.

                              I found it interesting that he went back to his world cup formation for the game, with 6 of the same players who played against Croatia in the 2018 semi final. I always thought Walker, Stones and Maguire worked quite well together as a back 3, and it's nice that the team appears to be pretty tactically flexible at the moment.

                              On a different note, speaking of writing people off, I think Alvaro Morata has looked pretty sharp in the few Spain games I've seen so far. Was he really that shit for Chelsea?

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                              • #75
                                I think Morata's performance for Spain summed up his spell at Chelsea. I feel he's looked decent and gotten into some good positions but he really has missed some great chances that contributed heavily to Spain drawing their first two games and thus not being in our half of the draw and probably facing us on Saturday night.

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