Half-time in the match. Pointers
England- The idea that Roy had for his team was a sound idea. Play good defense and counter attack in numbers. But looks like it got unraveled after the goal at the 30′ by Lescott from Manchester City. Milner’s chance was almost too good, and sad to see it go to waste and this might end up kicking England in the end. Roy Hodgson needs to make sure that Parker and Gerrard get up and out of the defense, which is very uncharacteristic of him, and make sure that he can support Welbeck and Young, both phenomenal strikers that only need one chance to fix a match. The main thing to note is after the goal by Lescott, England played defense for 15 minutes. This cannot be done against the French side, as they have too many players in form and too much attacking power, regardless of the strength of the England back line.
France- Honestly, I cannot say too much about this side. Blanc is a veteran manager and player and has been to many tournaments as both. He looks like he knows exactly what he is doing with the team. Of good note, however, France is currently sitting on the perfect balance of possession and attack. They are not straining too many opportunities and finding one good look after another, with Nasri finding a great slot and possibly catching Hart off his toes. The main criticism I bring up for them is their defense, which needs to be stronger on set plays and fast attacks in order to come out with points today, because England is looking for a good counter, luckily without the likes of Rooney or Lampard.
On another note, Ian and Steve are quite entertaining as always.
Final Score- France:1/England:1
Very exciting match. Loved the paced back and forth attacking, as it was engaging the whole ninety minutes. It seemed like a textbook football match. Some notes to make for both teams in the future.
England- Although I do believe that this defensive mindset was for France and other strong attacking teams, I hope they don’t make a habit of it. With so much attacking force, it will be disappointing to sit back like that against teams like Sweden, who aren’t known for their defense at all. This side will also be missing Rooney for another match but after that I think that England will feel the confidence surge a bit to carry them into the knockout rounds. Not much to say about this other than Gerrard needs to get out even more than he did the second half, but obviously will feel better about it with Rooney in the back. Sadly, this injury-struck team could do more with the likes of Lampard and Cahill (bias?). I do question the reason of not starting Theo Walcott, but maybe Roy has realized that. Sadly, like I hoped against, the game came down to Milner’s miss.
France- I can say even less about this side. They played some very pretty football all the way through the game and were, in my opinion, the stronger team on the pitch. Samir Nasri played like a big name should, but France needs to see more from Ribery and more importantly, Benzema. I am a true Benzema fan since his Lyon days, and he has been doing so well for his club, almost making the other veteran striker Higuain look like he was a novelty item. He did have some strong looks and looks promising, but I’m glad that he found his footing against England and hopefully he can take that into the rest of the tournament. By no means did Ribery play poorly, in fact I think he did a wonderful job, but a little more would propel this team to the semi-finals in this tournament. I do not agree with the Malouda choice over Ben Arfa, even as a Chelsea fan, but maybe that experience was needed on the pitch. Ben Arfa is one of France’s more creative players and giving that asset to Benzema could be vital. On a positive note, I loved Cabaye’s pace and prowess on the field. I truly believe he is a player to watch so as long as France is in the tournament. After this game, I believe France will be coming out on top of the group and exceeding England in this tournament.