It’s turning into an ongoing nightmare for England. Marco Verratti in the Euro 2020 championship game, Luka Modric in 2018 and now Antoine Griezmann. Depressingly frequently, players who can control the game’s flow with the ball at their feet are eliminating the Three Lions from big competitions. For the best sports betting opportunities check out CasinoDaddy!
And world champions France became the newest team to oust England with a 2-1 victory over England at Al Bayt Stadium, with goals from Aurelien Tchouameni and Olivier Giroud.
This time, Gareth Southgate’s players at least mustered the will to come back against Les Bleus in the World Cup quarterfinal after falling behind 1-0. England held the lead and the momentum against Croatia at Russia 2018 and Italy at Euro 2020 but lost both games. Modric controlled the game for Croatia in the semifinal in Moscow, while Verratti assisted Italy in turning the tide at Wembley around a year and a half ago.
At Al Bayt, though, despite tying Tchouameni’s goal with a Harry Kane penalty, England was unable to fully resolve the issue that Griezmann kept posing. Check 18bet out for top sports casino offers!
The focus leading up to the game was on how England would stop Kylian Mbappe, who is leading the Golden Boot race with five goals, but Mbappe relies entirely on bursts of speed and skill. Griezmann sets the pace, and England much too frequently let him occupy the space between midfield and attack.
The crucial goal, Giroud’s header to score it 2-1 in the 78th minute, came from the Atletico Madrid midfielder’s superb cross from the left. England would have tied the game after Kane’s failed penalty, which he skied over the crossbar, but it would have typified up his team’s labored approach if they had forced extra time on the strength of two spot penalties.
It was the same old England in the open play: sideways passes that took their time, predictable moves, and crosses to the penalty area. Yes, they gave it a go, but in major competitions, teams with such a simple game strategy only advance so far, so here England is once more, getting ready to leave.
Prior to the World Cup two years later and the Euro 2024, there are two possibilities that it may alter. One of two things can happen: either a player emerges who is so obviously England’s playmaker that he is added to the squad, or the managerial philosophy changes, either under Southgate or his replacement, should the former decide to step down after six years in the position, and a player is given the chance to be the Three Lions’ Griezmann.
Phil Foden may take up the part. In most games at the World Cup, the Manchester City star has provided a strong offensive threat, but against France, he was ineffective on the left wing.
The 22-year-old might have harmed France in the same manner that Griezmann injured England had Southgate been courageous enough to place Foden in the pocket between Kane and the midfield, potentially playing without Jordan Henderson as the handbrake alongside Declan Rice. Foden has been allowed the flexibility to play that position occasionally for City, but doing so for England would provide a different challenge since at the Etihad, he is surrounded by more technical players on a side that controls the ball.
However, together with Jude Bellingham, who is 19 years old, Foden is England’s future. The issue with England is that the future never materializes. What matters is the now. They cannot keep advancing the ball to the following event, which will take place in two years.
James Maddison could now be given the chance to play as England’s No. 10 if Foden isn’t the answer. In order to be included in Southgate’s 26-man squad, the Leicester City midfielder was summoned from the international wilderness; however, an injury suffered upon arrival in Qatar prevented Maddison from participating in the tournament.
Although Southgate has only given Maddison one cap, one gets the impression that the manager isn’t entirely convinced on the player. The same could be said of Jack Grealish, who has only served as a substitute on occasion throughout this World Cup. Both of them have shortcomings, but Griezmann also, which is why France’s coach Didier Deschamps prefers to highlight the former Barcelona player’s strengths.
Did Southgate really need Henderson, Rice, and Bellingham to defeat Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot? Too frequently, he opts for the safer choice. It all comes down to choices, and Southgate tends to be risk-averse rather than believe in the saying that fortune favors the courageous.
But who can say what might have happened if Kane had converted his second penalty to force overtime? With a victory, England might have advanced to the semifinals, where they would have faced Morocco as heavy favorites.