So That Was Euro 2012
If you’d have told me at the start of the Euro 2012 competition that England would’ve gotten out of the group stages as winners I would have happily taken it. So the fact the we did was a really nice surprise, in my Euro 2012 bracket I had France as group winners with England runners-up. Having seen how we played against Italy I’m glad it’s they who we played and not Spain as, while they’ve not been their fluid best, they really would’ve hurt us. As it was we played out a rather boring 120 minutes of football to, in the end, exit as we prefer; on penalties.
On the whole though I’ve been rather proud of how Roy Hodgson has done given the limited time he had to prepare. In many ways this tournament was a freebie for Hodgson; no-one expected much so anything was pretty much a bonus. However in that limited time he managed to stamp his trademark which is that of organisation. While he’s got a lot to work on going forward defensively England were pretty good though there are some damning statistics showing how many shots England conceded etc. We held our shape pretty well but I think the biggest issue coming out of this tournament was how little possession we had. Only Greece and Ireland held less possession than England and when you play teams like Spain possession is key. Some may point to Chelsea’s triumph against Barcelona as how to play against Spanish sides but then club football is a different beast to International football.
In the end, I think, there’s a lot of positives to take away from the tournament if you’re an England fan. As well as some good signs on the pitch it was nice not to have the dressing room shenanigans in the last world cup. It’ll be interesting to see where Hodgson goes with the squad when the World Cup qualifier against Moldova comes around in September. It’s a game you’d nail England on as winners but the focus will be on how we play. While you’d expect the organisation that’s already been instilled one would be hoping that we’ll be more dynamic going forward using the pace of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ashley Young out wide to stretch teams as well as using the older heads like Gerrard to dictate the pace and own the middle of the park. To coin the phrase that many football pundits have used to describe England’s recent games it’s a “foundation on which to build” and they’re right. I just hope that the fans give Hodgson the time and respect he deserves as what he managed to do in a few short weeks was pretty impressive.