England Football News
Same old England football? Is Gareth Southgate moving the team forward? Are England’s football team stalling? All valid questions which appeared in the press after England’s latest round of UEFA Nations League fixtures. A mixed bag of results which saw Southgate’s men open with a free flowing 3-0 win over Wales. They came from behind to grind out a 2-1 win over Belgium, the No1 ranked team in the World, but then disappointingly slipped up against Denmark, losing 0-1.
UEFA EURO 2020 – The Groups have been Determined
The count down to the UEFA EURO 2020 is on.
Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic the EURO’s have been moved to the summer of 2021. The format will remain the same, featuring 24 teams within 6 groups. The top 2 teams in each group, plus the four best third place sides will proceed to the last 16. Knock out football will then see the best teams through to the Quarters, Semi’s. The Final awaits for the Nations lucky enough to make it.
England are in Group D alongside Scotland, Croatia and the Czech Republic. England v Scotland is a tasty affair and will be greatly appreciated by the neutral.
UEFA Nations League November Internationals
Gareth Southgate and England football head to Brussels and The King Baudouin Stadium on the 15th November. They will require all three points as they attempt to top the group. No easy feat as Belgium have a formidable record on home turf. Belgium will also be keen to make amends for the loss in London.
England’s second match in the International window is at home to Iceland on the 18th November. England must learn from their mistakes this week against Denmark as history has a horrible way of repeating itself. Remember when Iceland fought back from 1 nil down to win 2-1 in their last trip to Wembley. A famous victory in the 2016 UEFA European Championship for the International minnows!
England v Wales – Wembley Friendly
This was only the second friendly between England and Wales since the 19th century. The two nations have regularly met competitively in the UEFA EURO’s and FIFA World Cup, England winning all 5 of their past meetings. This friendly would allow both teams to sharpen up before the upcoming rounds of UEFA Nations League fixtures.
A derby match is always an exciting affair and Thursday night certainly lived up to expectation.
England and Dominic Calvert-Lewin started the brighter, his incessant running continued throughout the night, but it was his early movement in behind the Welsh defence showing a willingness to run and in doing so setting a dynamic tone for Southgate’s experimental side.
England’s opener came 25 minutes in when Calvert-Lewin on debut combined with Jack Grealish. Attacking from the right hand side Grealish (also on debut) created enough space against two defenders to whip in a cross finding the head of Calvert-Lewin, who making a late run into the box found space in between two defenders to head powerfully into the back of the net.
It was another cross from the right but this time from a freekick that lead to England’s second. Kieran Trippier sent the ball deep towards the far post from a long free kick inviting Wolves’ Conor Cody, another debutant on the night to confidently side foot the ball home. The look of pure joy on his face emphasizing his passion to be playing for the Three Lions. Wales would have been disappointed to have conceded twice from crosses, but take nothing away from Trippier and Cody who combined well for the goal and in defence throughout the night.
The final nail in the coffin came in the 62nd minute from yet another set piece, Tyrone Mings winning his header on the back post to set up Danny Ings for a fabulous overhead kick finding the top corner. Ings, showed a poacher’s instinct, agility, and skill to take a tough opportunity and move England out of reach.
There could have easily been more scored in the dying moments if it were not for Wales’ goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey who pulled of a sequence of fabulous saves from close range. Southgate after the match confirmed “The players did very well, its not easy for a new team to come together with not a lot of experience around it.”
England v Belgium – UEFA Nations League
After a solid opening performance, it was strangely England’s manager Gareth Southgate who drew criticism before the first of two UEFA Nations League ties. His decision to leave out Jack Grealish from his starting eleven after an excellent performance against Wales was poorly received by the English press. England would need to put any negativity aside as Belgium the No1 ranked Nation arrived at Wembley, full of confidence from not losing a competitive game of football since November 2018.
Yannick Carrasco opened proceedings with a classy finish, sweeping home a cross only for the goal to be disallowed. The linesman raised his flag for offside, all be it extremely late and the scores reverted to 0-0. Belgium did not have to wait long for their next opportunity as Romelu Lakaku who was all over England’s defenders in the first 45 minutes powered into the box only to be brought down by Eric Dier. The penalty awarded, Lukaku stepped up and rocketed the ball into the bottom left past a despairing Jordan Pickford.
In the last quarter of the first half England became sloppy, losing much of the authority they began the game with and could have easily slipped further behind but for some sharp saves by Pickford. Ironically, it was in fact a sloppy piece of defending at the other end which led to England’s equalizer. Thomas Meunier reached out and pulled Jordan Henderson to the ground when inside the box from a corner. Not a huge amount of contact but enough for referee Tobias Stieler to award a penalty. Marcus Rashford stepped up and belted the ball into the top left-hand corner dragging England back onto level terms with 7 minutes left of the half.
The second half deadlock was broken in the 63rd minute when Trent Alexander-Arnold found Kieran Trippier with a cross down the left flank, Trippier was able to head the ball back towards the top left corner of the box towards Mason Mount who’s shot via a rather large deflection off Toby Alderweireld looped over Simon Mignolet and in. It was a stroke of fortune as Mount had been playing down the right all evening making little impact, but on his first jaunt over to the left found the back of the net.
Belgium and England both missed chances throughout the final 20 minutes, the game ending 2-1 England. All things considered, a fantastic result for a much-changed England football team.
England v Denmark – UEFA Nations League
England buoyed by the victory over Belgium came into the fixture confident that they could stretch their lead at the top of the League A Group 2 table. However, in the early exchanges it was Denmark who looked more confident in possession dictating play. England lacked any rhythm which arguably, was once again down to changes in personnel forced upon Southgate through injury and availability issues.
England’s attackers were given nothing to work with, being forced to take shots from distance as they were unable to breakdown a staunch Danish defence. England had lost only 2 of their previous 49 matches at Wembley but through defensive frailty that record was soon to be broken.
Christian Eriksen on his 100th outing for Denmark scored a penalty. An incident which was quickly followed by a second yellow for Harry Maguire. A goal and a man down within the space of 5 minutes left the England football team chasing the game.
The slew of changes in the second half from Gareth Southgate were unable to unpick the Danish defence. The game finishing England 0-1 Denmark.
Southgate admitted after the match that even though the result was frustrating “England almost carried out the perfect plan with 10 men and created some good opportunities. I couldn’t be prouder of what they’ve done.”
England Football News Conclusion
A lack of discipline, injuries, and Covid-19 created problems for Southgate and England Football on and off the pitch. Victory in their opener against Wales showed the wealth of reserves England can draw from and the result against Belgium, however far from perfect, may have been a sign that England were maturing and learning to win ugly. It was unfortunate then the manor of defeat to Denmark and Southgate and his staff have a lot of work that needs to be done to top the group.
Declan Rice, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish are the players to have shone throughout the three matches. The trio have certainly raised themselves up the pegging order. Expect to see these young Lions in England’s future.