England vs Russia Euro 2016, diamonds are forever - Lets

An exciting start to England’s Euro 2016 campaign will see Russia taking on the three lions in the fourth match of the tournament.  On the international stage Russia have been getting better and better.  Going on to play Wales in week 2 and Slovakia in week 3, the first 3 games will prove to be the best stage to see how Roy’s formation will work.

England v Russia

Euro 2016 Group Stage

Saturday 11th June, 20,00 hours

Stade Vélodrome

England’s encounter with Portugal proved to be the best test of the diamond formation with Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and captain Wayne Rooney.  A partnership that proved on this occasion to be pedestrian at best.  Rooney was pushing up the centre in an attacking position squeezing Kane and Vardy out wide.  England’s new strike partnership had resorted to running up and down the wing.  Obviously Rooney is used to playing attacking football as a striker and was playing on instinct.  Against Russia with Rooney playing the tip of the midfield diamond instead of playing a centre forward position Hodgeson’s formation may flourish yet.

Against Portugal, down to 10 men and without talisman Chrisiano Ronaldo, relief for England occurred after Milner and Vardy came off being replaced by Sterling and Wilshire. Some good football by Kyle Walker culminated with a free kick taken in the Portuguese half, cleared by Wilshire and with a goal glanced of the head of Chris Smalling.

Delle Ali has shown a lot of flexibility playing midfield for Tottenham Hotspur and should adapt to Rooney playing in his proper position (as per the Hodgeson diamond formation).  If Rooney sits back rather than taking the lime light and pushing forward the team will get more from Kane and Vardy.  Rooney will also need to gel with Ali to provide the service that Kane and Vardy need.

Against Russia we’ll really see how this England team will perform in a competitive environment.    Rooney’s days may be numbered if he can’t sit back.  He could end up getting switched with Ali’s position which would allow better linked up play with Kane.  The permutations of who would play better with who and in what formation are many.  Let the games begin and we’ll see what happens.

Most recently with the preparations for playing  Russia Hodgeson has moved Smalling to be partnered with Cahill forming the backbone of England’s defence.  Providing the much needed experience to steam the goals England being conceded in international games this year.  An important change to defence against Russia’s bear (6ft 5ins) Artem Dzyuba.  The St Petersburg attacker has been highlighted as one of the biggest threats on goal in this Group B opening match.

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