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  1. #121
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    We created nothing last night, mind you. If we hadn't had the penalty I don't think we'd have scored.

  2. #122
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Very true, we still have only scored 2 goals from open play, which is not ideal. I think a bit of that does have to do with Colombia to fight and cheat instead of playing football, but I agree that our front players didn't create too much. Kane was good obviously at crucial moments, but most of his good work was fairly deep in midfield.

  3. #123
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Yeah, and it'll probably be similar against Sweden. It's difficult to create when the opposition basically go out to stop you playing (why Colombia took that approach given some of their talent, I have no idea). But the other thing to remember is that they kept their cool, stayed patient, did get the penalty, and carried on passing the ball. And coming through it once breeds confidence that you can do it again, so they'll arguably be better prepared, against a weaker (though possibly better drilled) side.

    No vintage performance by any means but the relative scarcity of creativity shouldn't be too much of a concern. If the game was pretty open and free-flowing and we'd done nothing, then you've got to worry. And the time to peak as a creative force isn't in the group stages, it's... well, now.
    Last edited by Prime Time; 07-04-2018 at 05:06 AM.

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  4. #124
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    I'd imagine you'll be allowed to play more actual football against Sweden than you've had chance to against the likes of Colombia and Tunisia. I can't see Sweden being content to play wrestling for 120 minutes. I reckon it should be a good game.

  5. #125
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    They won't break it up the same way, but they'll definitely try and make us play through them and keep it tight. So it'll be a different way of going about it, for sure.

    I don't think Sweden have a whole bunch of goals in them either. One goal in most of their games, the lone exception being Mexico (where two were a penalty and an OG). Berg and Toivanen are not exactly the partnership that strikes terror in your heart. So they are absolutely going to be trying to keep it tight and nick one.

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

  6. #126
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    It's coming home...

    To be honest, even if it doesn't, this England team have far surpassed any of the squads in the last 20 years. They aren't the finished article, by any means - but most squads who win a World Cup spend more than a year together. There were a few people who weren't overly enthused with Southgate's approach and the personnel he selected, but he has not fallen into the trap that so many England coaches seem to have done in that he hasn't picked players and then tried to pick a system, he's done it the other way around - and the system is, by and large, working.

    It wasn't a brilliant performance - but in years gone by, we've played better and gone out because we haven't got the staying power, composure or concentration to see it through. I thought Stones and Maguire had their best nights in an England shirt, Kieran Trippier just seems to get better and better, and Kane played a role that reminded me of a certain Alan Shearer in the early 2000s for Newcastle; kept buying free kicks, and while it didn't look like he was doing a lot, he won a lot of free kicks in areas that will scare opposing teams with the reputation we are building for set plays.

  7. #127
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    Sweden will play very deep against us, so I don't think we'll be getting much joy going over the defence for, say, a Sterling or Rashford to burst onto.

    We're going to need to pass our way through them. Our wide players could be crucial, so big games from Young and Trippier might decide it for us.

    On Shinobi's point, I think Kane looked as good for England in the Colombia match as I've ever seen him. It's the match that probably did away with the 'he's just goals' argument.

  8. #128
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Yeah, as an Arsenal fan I have begrudgingly had to accept now how good Kane is. He's streets away the best England player overall and is hitting heights not seen in the Premier League for quite a while. Yes, Salah scored more goals last season, but Kane has now consistently done it for 4 seasons.

  9. #129
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Is that the best performance by an English goalkeeper at a tournament since the prime of David Seaman?!

    Seriously I'm starting to wonder if after the shootout and that game we know have to talk about where he sits in the list of our top keepers. I know it seems early but nevertheless.

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

  10. #130
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I can't think of one off the top of my head, not for England anyway. I agree, it's too soon. But he's put himself in the mix for sure. At least 2 worldies today, to go with his save against Colombia.

    Croatia in the semi final. Is that the definition of a 50/50 game? We're riding a wave of support, but can imagine the exact same thing is happening for Craotia too. Perhaps they have a few better individuals on paper, but we play better as a team?

  11. #131
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    I'm at the point where I daren't say anything too positive about anyone, just in case I in some way curse them. Pickford's shit, Alli couldn't create a model out of Lego let alone a scoring chance, and Harry Kane hasn't scored for two games, the overrated chin.

    Gooner, am I right in saying that a lot of Croatian fans hate their national team? Something to do with corruption and Dinamo Zagreb, possible around the transfers of Modric and Lovren who also face perjury charges in Croatia or something? I seem to recall that Kramaric was a player who spoke out against the guy who was convicted, too.

  12. #132
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Something like that, but I don't know much about it. This is their "Golden Generation", so I suspect the public is demanding success now and ignoring the controversy (remember Italy in 2006 and the match fixing scandal?).

    Looking at their starting XI, it is an impressive group of players. More experienced than England for sure. They do however possibly lack pace, which is one of our strengths. Gonna be an interesting game.

    France vs Belgium tonight, could be game of the tournament.

  13. #133
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    I've got Belgium over France. Love DeBruyne's play. England over Croatia. Should be like an EPL game in the final

  14. #134
    I’ve got both games going to penalties. Coin flip. But France and Croatia I think.

  15. #135
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    Absolutely spent. I am used to sitting back and enjoying a World Cup long before this point without emotional attachment. Need to get myself back up again for the final.

    EDIT: All though I will put a little postmortem out there. Young struggled a lot yesterday. Looked like all the football finally got to him. Kane played far too deep, which was fine while Sterling was on. Thought Gareth made a big mistake bringing him off. He had the Croatian defence shitting themselves. Rashford looked like a guy who had played 2 120 minute games in a week after he came on and Kane stayed deep where he wasn't really needed or wanted. We need to get stronger psychologically. Our reaction to conceding goals has been a big issue all tournament. You team without much in terms of success, hopefully that will change quickly. We were on the ropes after the equaliser and never looked like getting it back after they scored (Stones sleeping, as we did quite a lot while defending in the game). Overall a fantastic overachievement for England however. I'd flag Trippier as our star man, and would also have Maguire and Kane make the overall team of the tournament for us. Football may have not come home but hope sure did.

    EDIT2: Got me thinking of the team of the tourney...

    Lloris
    Maguire Varane Vida
    Trippier Modric Kante Perisic
    M'Bappe Kane Hazard

    Maybe... Might need further thought.
    Last edited by Mazza; 07-12-2018 at 06:03 AM.

  16. #136
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Congratulations to France. Very professional job throughout.

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

  17. #137
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Yep, very good tournament. Perhaps not the level of a 2010 Spain or a classic Brazil team, but they grew with each game and beat the second best team (in my opinion) at the tournament with the victory over Belgium. Scary thought is that most of those players will be around for the next few tournaments.

  18. #138
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    Yeah, I remember looking at them in 2014 and thinking with a spine of Varane, Pogba and Griezmann that they would be a world force for years to come. All 3 showed up when it mattered and when you add in Kante's rise to promising since then and not knowing about a 15 year old named Kylian, it's even stronger. And then on top of that you have guys like Matuidi and Lloris still about who are without a doubt world class. Not sure why it was ever in doubt to be fair. Looking at it now it seems like a no brainer. Immensely strong, so many options, different types of players for most positions so many options. Plus Giroud's handsomeness.

  19. #139
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    To be fair you could say the same for Germany and Brazil, but they underachieved. Even Spain, when you look at the players they left behind, they really should have done better.

    I think for Croatia and Belgium that might have been their last shot for a while though. Golden generations that are approaching the end of their run. They will still have the Euros, but I think in four years time they will be transitioning.

    The future should be bright for England, but I have a sneaky feeling Qatar in November is the worse time/place for an English team to win the world cup. Downplaying our chances already!!

  20. #140
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    Euro 2020, with the semi-finals and finals at Wembley...you've got to think that if we can get that far we would have the support behind us. We should have a decent chance, but all depends on the draw I guess.

    Unless we win whatever the UEFA Nations League thing is before that.

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