When you look across the banners at England games, you see the names of Grimsby, Exeter , Crewe and Nottingham Forest, teams that supporters do not expect to be winning much next year. Those supporters follow their teams not for the getting there but for the journey and (for the first time I can remember) they have a national team to support who deserve their loyalty.
England do not expect to win this tournament, they don’t expect to get out of the group, they are behaving like the other teams at this tournament, amazed and elated at playing on this big stage.
Even old timers like Gerrard and Cole seem to have been caught up in this new “lack of confidence”. Instead of the lethargy of South Africa, the England team seems to be alive and alert both on and off the field.
Best of all, I am actually enjoying listening to an England manager. I found myself on the edge of my seat wanting to read between the lines as Hodgson gave his post match interview. And there was nothing to read, Hodgson is so straightforward that you warm to him. None of Capello’s posturing or Sven’s evasion, you feel Hodgson is the manager you appointed, he appears to be talking to you, not because he has to but because he is living and breathing every moment of the game.
This new found “lack of confidence” is there with the players in the way that they worked for each other in last night’s 1-1 draw against France. The youngsters upfront Oxlade-Chamberlain and especially Welbeck played with spirit, I was particularly impressed at their restraint when repeatedly fouled (Hodgson was funny in his post-match comments on the Ox).
Lescot, my English man of the match was immense both in defence and in France’s box.
It was a difficult day for Hart,he didn’t look comfortable afterwards he will play better.
Milner (despite his miss), Glen Johnson , Terry and Cole all had good games as we played as a team with something to prove.
Even Rooney, , looks to have found a new smile (as well as a lot of new hair!). We missed him.
The territorial stats suggest we played most of the game without the ball (we’re becoming used to seeing English teams do this these days). However, the shots France had were rarely from within the box and we were up against a team playing at their best.
This was a quality game of football where England out-performed my expectations. I fear we haven’t heard the last of Ukraine and Poland’s sinister sides but on a day when England was swathed in rain, Euro 2012 and this different England Football team did us proud.
Oh and then there was Shevchenko and Ibrahimovich – but that’s another story!
- Expectation weighs on Hodgson (bbc.co.uk)
- France 1-1 England: Roy’s boys cling on for a point after taking the lead with Lescott header (mirror.co.uk)
- Form counts for nothing – Hodgson (thisislondon.co.uk)
- Hodgson backs England to improve (bbc.co.uk)
- France 1-1 England: Daily Mirror player ratings from England’s opening match (mirror.co.uk)
- France v England live! (skysports.com)
- Gerrard on criticism: We must all stick together (mirror.co.uk)
- Oxlade-Chamberlain to start for England against France (talksport.co.uk)
- Low expectations, Joe Hart and the five reasons why England can end France’s 21-match unbeaten run at Euro 2012 (goal.com)
- EURO 2012: France and England draw 1-1 (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- EURO2012: France and England play to 1-1 draw (enterprisenews.com)
- England football team arrives in Donetsk (itv.com)
- England football team to fly to Poland (itv.com)
- Good Luck England (richardaitkins.wordpress.com)