11th June saw England’s first game of the Euro 2016 group stages and as it is every year, we start off with so much hope and come away feeling let down and disappointed. Having never won their opening match in the tournament, it looked like this may finally be the year, with England leading 1-0 up until the 91st minute during extra time when the nation’s hopes were dashed by a Russian equalizer that seemed to come out of nowhere.
However the late goal may skew people’s views on England’s performance during the game, the team played well, keeping the pressure on Russia for the most part of the game with more than a few chances almost materialising. The loss can’t be blamed on the player’s lack of experience, the level of play was high and every player looked and worked well on the pitch, strong team cohesion and linking together some great plays that unfortunately didn’t pay off.
Post-match, many have pointed the finger of blame towards England’s manager Roy Hodgson, complaining that he made poor play decisions, such as taking Rooney off during the closing plays of the second half. Hodgson also had England’s Harry Kane taking all of their corners for the match, a player that could have been more effective and dangerous against Russia in the box. To put things into perspective, Kane took six corners during the Russia game and only seven for Spurs the whole of last season.
Can England’s first game disappointment be pinned to the player’s performance and ability to work together as a successful team? Or is it due to poor managerial decisions that don’t utilise the team’s strengths by poorly delegating player’s roles? Or is it simply a typical England result, a lot of chances and even more disappointment… Let’s hope for a better result on Thursday.