From Michael Budgen : Engerland
Isn’t it nice to have a ‘good’ thing to feel happy about in England’s results, this is how the Welsh & Icelanders must have felt recently !!
For the first time for a while, it feels like England are playing to their strengths.
We have made the pitch as big as possible, with the wing backs literally hugging the touchlines, but more importantly Sterling has played just in front of Kane, this means defences have been far too scared to press up from the back. At first I thought this was strange, as surely you want your goalscorer as close to the goal as possible.
So why is this so important? Because we don’t have any ‘footballers’ in midfield, we have engines, speed, goals and energy.
We don’t have, obviously, a Modric or Iniesta, so when we have the ball we have to keep plenty of space in the middle of the park so we can’t get closed down, and lose it there.
When we do lose it, which ideally will either be near the opposition goal or in a wider area, we have the personnel to win it back quickly, and exploit that transition.
I think Nords (his Palace nickname after Dennis Nordson) has been tactically very cute, the only issue is will it work twice more, and what will the Croats do to counter it ??
Will they have the energy after x 120mins plus penalties, and will Modric, who’s already played 485 mins of football, be able to keep it up?
In an old-fashioned Sixties/Seventies football match between these two teams, Pickford would have to make 20 saves.
But I fancy us. I’ve thought all week that England will outrun Croatia and outjump them and outpress them.
Rakitic worries me a little bit.
First penalty shoot-out against Denmark, he took the fifth penalty and I knew he’d score. Second shoot-out against Russia, even more pressure, Rakitic scored again to win the quarter-final.
WARNING: Rakitic could play much further forward and surprise us.
As he surprised Spain two years ago. See below: