England will play the second placed team in Group F on Monday June 27th in the round of 16. Screened by the BBC or ITV at 8 PM UK time. England opponents are to be confirmed and will most likely be Portugal or Hungry or even Iceland or Austria. More will become clear when Hungry play Portugal Wednesday 22nd June at 17.00. Iceland play Austria at the same time.
UEFA have introduced 24 teams instead of the normal 16 to take part in the tournament in France. Two thirds of the teams have qualified for the knock rounds which is more than normal making it unusually easy to get through the group stages. England have played well as fair as dominating possession is concerned and produced over 20 attempts on goal against Slovakia. The only thing missing from Roy Hodgeson’s side is goals. Critics may argue that England and other teams have had an easy group stage aided by the extra teams in the tournament. If England continue to miss-fire against their next opponent the dreaded penalty shoot out will be needed to decide the matter.
Diamonds aren’t forever
Roy Hodgeson has been experimenting with his side and moved away from the diamond formation against Wales. Which required some clever substitutions towards the end of the second half to win the match. Goals where secured by Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge. Better late than never against Wales. Roughly a third of euro 2016 matches have been decided by a goal in the last 20 minutes. A great statistic for people trading the draw on Betfair.
Against Slovakia Hodgeson’s experiments continued. Pundit’s argue that his tinkering has been reckless especially as he has he changed right and left full back positions against Slovakia. The players in defensive positions need time to learn to play together and defend together. A total of six changes against Slovakia resulted in no goals being conceded but no goals being scored.
Clyne replaced the excellent Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) at right-back and put in a good performance with some decisive runs into the box. Ryan Bertrand replaced Danny Rose at left-back and completed more crosses than right back Clyne taking up the slack for the lack of Walker (who is also prolific and crossing the ball).
Jordan Henderson replaced Delle Alli. Henderson played well but possibly does have the ability to finish and create chances in the box like Alli. Henderson was linking up with team mate Clyne in the same sense that Alli is used to playing with team mates Walker and Kane.
Jack Wilshire gave Wayne Rooney a rest only to be replaced by Rooney in the second half. Wilshire made some mistakes but so did Rooney after coming on to replace him.
Daniel Sturridge replaced Raheem Sterling, and Jamie Vardy was in for Harry Kane. Hodgeson has 5 forwards in the squad but has not had the opportunity to find a winning combination as yet.
Any criticism regarding England’s lack of goals and coasting into the round of 16 due to the increased number of teams in Euro 2016 may be misplaced. It has allowed Hodgeson to play a range of players in his squad and get them ready for the more testing games. Could it be too late for making big changes like he did against Slovakia?. Hopefully he’ll decide on a winning combination because England will meet France if they progress to the Quarter Finals on Monday.