England need to end major tournament nerves

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After Iceland fell to a 5-2 defeat to host France in Paris, it will have further infuriated England fans who are incensed that Roy Hodgson’s side failed to progress past the relative minnows. Iceland were blown away by half-time, with goals from Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann putting the French 4-0 up at the break and highlighting the clear gulf in class between the sides, something that England failed to show.

After watching Roy’s men crash out at the last 16, drastic changes could be afoot in English football. Firstly, a new manager. Hodgson himself resigned in the aftermath of the defeat, although no candidates stand out from the list touted to replace him. Gareth Southgate ruled himself out of consideration, preferring to continue his impressive work with the current under-21 set-up. Elsewhere, Jürgen Klinsmann has been installed as the new favourite, and you can check all the latest football odds and England manager news at bookies.com. The German is a frontrunner partly because of his past experience with Germany, which saw him lay the foundations for their current success by putting huge emphasis on football from the youth teams and producing more technically gifted players.

However, it is not necessarily what England need now. They have only recently changed the structure with Dan Ashworth coming in as technical director and the new facility at St. George’s Park becoming a base for all national team age groups, instead we need to identify why once again we choked under the pressure. After Iceland took the lead, England barely created a chance of note, against a side that was compromised of several Championship players and an ex-Plymouth Argyle centre-back, it simply wasn’t good enough. Another common feature of England at major tournaments saw good players underperforming. Harry Kane played like the young Harry Kane that struggled to find consistency out on loan in the lower leagues, not the devastating striker that has won a Premier League golden boot. His Spurs team-mate Dele Alli barely did anything of note throughout and Raheem Sterling looked frightened. It is lazy to suggest that these players are overrated, and instead ask why they couldn’t perform. Of course, it was not just those three, excluding Eric Dier it is hard to think of an England player who played that came away with any credit.

Hodgson deserves a large proportion of the blame, his subs against Russia were negative and against Iceland it was baffling that he only introduced Marcus Rashford after 85 minutes. However, there is something clearly deeper than poor in game tactical decisions as to why England keep suffering in major tournaments. Is it the pressure? Probably. Do the media help? Probably not. But either way England need to rectify this constant cycle of mediocrity that they keep delivering because losing to the likes of Iceland is awful for a country with England’s resources.

 

Featured Image – Source / CC 2.0 

 

Author: Robert Ford
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