Matt Holland (PA)

Everything's going right for Hodgson and England

By SportUK 19/06/2012 22:33

If you can’t be good, be lucky. England weren’t great but they got the job done in a performance full of heart, spirit and bodies on the line. They closed down when they had to, they won the headers they needed too, made the clearances and of course when a defender was needed on the line, John Terry was there (albeit a moment too late).


Roy Hodgson looks happyUndeniably, Ukraine were unlucky. But England were dogged and they’ve finished top of their group. Morale will be high now because they’ve met every challenge full on. They’ll also be feeling that luck is with them, maybe like Chelsea did in the Champions League after the penalty save. Sometimes as a player you just think ‘things are going right’ and it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


For me, the reaction of Roy Hodgson said it all after the game. He was smiling, applauding the fans and he looked absolutely jubilant. The way his big calls have worked out, the way he’s got things right and had that luck that he was always going to need, mean that he will be feeling settled in the job and has the fans behind him. And a confident manager equals a confident team.



So England are in good shape - but better still they will be facing Italy and not Spain. Obviously I got a good look at both teams in their matches against Ireland and I have to say, Spain looked very, very good. Italy on the other hand were vulnerable. They’re dangerous going forward but Pirlo in midfield on occasions looked a bit off the pace last night and Chiellini, their best defender, is out injured.


England can win and make the semis.


And I guess Hodgson won’t feel the need to change much. If he does it will be out wide where Young has been really disappointing, for reasons that I can’t fathom. Milner looked a little tired today as well, but he always offers good protection to Glen Johnson who can sometimes get out of position.




As for Wayne Rooney, he scored. Another one of Roy’s decisions that paid off. But he certainly did look rusty, and if I was going to criticise anything the manager has done it would be that he didn’t give the striker enough time in the two pre-tournament friendlies. But with 85 minutes game time, and a goal, behind him he’s only going to get better.




As for the goal that wasn’t, what can I say. It is getting ridiculous. We were told that the officials behind the goal would get everything right but I have only noticed one decision that was clearly wrong. Watching it on TV we saw straight away that it was a goal, even from a poor angle and a long way away. But right next to it, with nothing to do except rule on that, there’s a fully kitted-out official with a magic wand to stop the game and he doesn’t wave it. Absurd.

20/06/2012 08:34

Matt, you are just jumping on the sudden come-on-England bandwagon. Only a week or so ago you were on here spinning us the then-popular line that England would crash and burn, now it's as though you are England's keenest fan.

I love the fact that all the doom and gloom merchants are either conspicuous by their absence now or have had a sudden, devout change of heart.

England might get further, they might not, I support them either way because I am English and astonishingly proud of that.    

If Roy's tactics are "Dont get out of second gear" and "Defend Defend Defend" and "Let the other team run out of steam". They are certainly working. I have never seen an England side play so poorly yet not lose a game and then top the group??? And truthfully its about time England had a bit of luck. I wrote before this tournament that I dont care if England win every game 1-0 just as long as we win. "C'mon Englaaand" it might be  horrible to watch but its really nice when we win.
20/06/2012 02:02
Now is the time for all true England fans to get behind Roy and the players. Too many empty heads talking through their backside and offering nothing but criticism. Most like whoopee doo know nowt!
20/06/2012 09:22
Thought Rooney had lost his touch, ok he scored and thanks for that,but he was second best most of the time, yes we have to play him but did you see Carrol GO! when he came on,id give  him more time against the Italians, hes dynamic ,a great tackler and powerful in the air.
20/06/2012 10:10
We might of been lucky but that's nice for a change. People can talk all they want about whether all the ball was over the line (looked like about 1mm over) but at the end of the day the Ukraine player was 2 yards off side to begin with so if it had of gone in/been given it would of been a massive injustice against England. We have the run of green, two or three good performances now and who knows, COME ON ENGLAND!
20/06/2012 10:06
Someone on here said that "what was Parker doing on the field?"
  Are you crazy? Were you watching the same match? Parker was AMAZING!! Putting his body on the line, getting in the way of every strike - for flip's sake - he almost got knocked out when that ball hit him in the face!! Him and Terry were England's unsung heroes... yeah i said it - John Terry done a good job!! Without the flair players in the England squad, we need these workhorse types to put their body's on the line.
   Now I'm sure someone last week said that they would run naked through HMV Preston if England got out of the group stages... just got to find the mail... Go En-ger-land!!!

20/06/2012 11:23
we have got to stop "indulging" Rooney, he prances around like it`s a practise kick about,,if he`s the best we can come up with English football will never improve,,,,,,as for last nights game Ukraine out played us and were unlucky not to have won,,,we dont need a team to "dazzle" us we need a team that can restore some faith and get through on effort and heart and not just "luck"!!!!!!!!

20/06/2012 07:28
 Fvck my old boots were top of the group!,my flabber is literally gasted,the only thing that could amaze me more would be to see Danny Welbeck tackling back in our next game(s) .
20/06/2012 11:21
We won and we qualified so I dont see the issue.
Look back at our tournament history of good vs bad luck compared to some of the more successful nations. England have been unlucky on many occasions but this time its going our way. I cant imagine the Argentinian or Croatians turning their good luck into a negative.
The goal was offside anyway.
If we can manage a couple more weeks of good luck we might just fluke it, I dont think the competition is full of amazing teams to be honest.
I just dont see why the British do this, we turn everything into a negative.

20/06/2012 09:06
20/06/2012 10:52
Well done Roy its working so far. But what is Rooney doing on the pitch when we have players like  Defoe on the bench. Rooney was poor and his record in an England shirt is not impressive. Very few goals and lots of bookings.
20/06/2012 11:32

Gosh! I almost feel inclined to wave the flag.

My feeling on the J.Terry goalsave is that England have had so many duff calls against them-

i think we were owed one. Ref's decision anyway.

What an iron man Terry is! He and Gerrard equal men of the match in my humble opinion

Italys the next mountain tho'. Hope Rooney will be thoroughly 'thawed' out.


20/06/2012 10:50

 England were really poor during the group stage of Italia 90 but todays naysayers probably get dewy eyed with nostalgia when recalling the performances in the knock out stages .

 The Italians were similiarly uninspiring during the early stages in Spain 82 and went on to win a classic final .

 Im not saying this England team is of a comparable quality just saying that damning a team for not dazzling in the group stages is a bit vvankey .

20/06/2012 11:33

Who the **** cares what Matt Holland thinks, get an ex England player to write this rubbish at least we could have a laugh, how did Holland's ex team get on in the tournament ?


Roy Hodgson is just as daft, Wayne Rooney is our PELE, is he having a laugh, next thing he will be telling us is that James Millner is our RONALDO. Get real,  England are very lucky to be in the position they are in. We all hope their luck continues though !!.

20/06/2012 10:46

I think the thing that is really pi$$ing off our Scottish gainsayers is that for once there is no real hype surrounding England and any detrimental comments they make about the English team is like water off a ducks back to us. We know we're pants. We don't need Jocks to tell us this. Of course the other thing that is really peeing them off this morning is that for once it isn't us trudging home dejected after yet another inept refereeing decision costing us a vital goal - it's our luckless opposition who are ruing their bad luck.


So I say to our bitter Scots footy fans - just zip it for a while. I'm sure your time to gloat at our misfortune is not that far off. But just be prepared to suffer big time if England do pull off a miracle and win this year's Uefa Championships.


You'll be hearing about it for 40 yearsad nauseum.

20/06/2012 09:40
Nobody expected England to get this far, so I fail to see why we are having a go at them. They are not a good side but for once luck appears to be with them. I fail to see why any fans are now calling for a change. Roy is getting the very best he can hope for out of a very limited set of players, whose ball skills are so second rate compared to the likes of Italy, Spain, Germany and Portugal. Yes Ukraine deserved to win last night on the balance of play. As for the goal that wasn't. The less said about officials at these sort of events the better I feel. Nobody can lay that one on England in any case. We have suffered so often through refreeing ineptness, it's about bloody time we had  a break for once. Let's just hope the luck remains with us.

rooney rooney rooney  that's all we have heard for weeks now so he scored a goal . thanks to my man of the stage steve gerrard why dont we hear gerrard gerrard Gerrard from the pundits good luck england    but f--k rooney off record for england stinks

20/06/2012 11:17
The Players DO look tired,cos they ARE,They have just played a Long hard season in the hardest most gruelling league in the world.More games than most because they play for the most successful teams.STILL we can gloat at comments from (others who are not there) nothing to support,cheer and be happy about. WE CAN.Come ON ENGLAND, may your LUCK continue. SCOTTY PARKER is the Top choice for me so far.
20/06/2012 11:22

I am living in the adukt world gordon. And to prove it Im typing this message. I reckon I have hit the nail on the head in any case with you at least. You called our performance jammy. Well I agree with you. And I reckon that's what''s got your goat. England rarely enjoy any of the sort of luck that wins matches at these Finals and when we do it brings out the worst kind of anti-English sentiment (especially amongst the Scots and Irish fans).This time however those anti-English sentiments have less purchasing power because the pre-tournament lack of hype has sort of shot their fox.


My real fear is that we will start to get a bit carried away down here if we progress past Italy giving the anti-English voice more reason to surface again. The vast majority of Scottish football fans in particular hate any success we enjoy. They prove it time and again with their  comments on this and other forums forever having a pop and gloating at every failure we have had since 1970. If theequivalent proportion of  English fans had done the same in reverse there would have been a total outcry and accusations of racism being levied agaisnt us, especially in our silly bloody PC media.


Personally I would rather every embittered Scot just kept his big mouth shut and refrained from commenting unless it was to offer something  constructive. Because from where I stand most act in as you say a very childish manner when giving their heartfelt anti-English opinions. In any case it's provocative and merely ensures retalliation.

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  • Matt HollandMatt Holland

    Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Matt Holland talks all things football from the Premier League to the grass roots.

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