Matt Holland (PA)

A thoroughly unHodgson-like win

By SportUK 15/06/2012 22:56

What an unbelievable game. England showed their vulnerabilities but also showed that manager might not be quite as one-track and predictable as many had thought.

England Sweden resembled nothing more than a Premier League game, which given the level of Premier League experience on show was perhaps not surprising. But it was very unHodgson-like.


Danny Welbeck scores England's winner

Exciting yes. Tournament winning no. England have already shown that they are able to frustrate teams technically more skilful than them and take home a result. Today they showed that they are less effective trying to take the game to the opposition.


It will be tremendously heartening for England fans to see their team not only score three goals but also come back after throwing away a lead that seemed so comfortable in the first half. I don’t remember ever seeing them bounce back from a similar situation. But the truth is that the explanation for the see-saw game lies in a worrying trait that Steven Gerrard and his team-mates seem to have picked up in recent matches.


When they go a goal up, rather than push for a second, they tend to drift further and further back. Combined with their habit of conceding possession, this leaves them facing waves of attacks and allowing opposition full-backs to forget about defensive duties and charge forward. We saw it against France and again today, albeit not until the second half. In many ways, going 2-1 down was a blessing because it galvanised the players to push forward, and led to the introduction of the hugely impressive Theo Walcott.


Walcott has the ability to change games with his pace, especially against tired defences - which is why I don’t think Hodgson will start with him next week. There will be other changes though, with Rooney almost certain to come into the team. Ashley Young, who I felt coming into the tournament could be one of the stars, looks vulnerable because he’s been disappointing in both games. Danny Welbeck, despite scoring, didn’t look half the player he was against France. But I think it will be Andy Carroll who finds himself back on the bench leaving the club strike partnership of Welbeck and Rooney together.


And don’t forget, while a draw will take England through, they’re likely to need a win by two clear goals to beat France to the top of the group and avoid a likely quarter-final match-up with Spain. So despite its limitations we could well see all-out-attack England again on Tuesday. That’ll be one to watch.

16/06/2012 03:01
well i must say it was an enjoyable game ,, i dont know what england have to do to please the fans ,, they went behind and showed grit and determination to come back and win,, dont get me wrong, it was not vintage stuff by any means ,, but it was better than the sqare passing style that we have seen for so long ,, it was a good end to end game in which both teams gave their all .. you must remember that we do not have an abundance of players to  pick from these days ,, and roy may surprise you by having rooney on the bench ,, a brave decision i know ,, but reward a teams display by leaving it be ,,too many managers in the past have changed a winning team to their peril ,, well  done lads ,, this will do wonders for your morale ,,,
16/06/2012 06:06

All the Naysayers were saying England would be going home after the group stages. Now it's SOON after the group stages.

After the group stages any team can go out at any time! It's knockout you idiots.

Are England likely to win? No. There are far better teams out there.

Do they have a chance to go to the Quarters, Semi's, Finals?  Increasingly less likely of course as the tournamanet goes on, but Yes!

This year has been a strange one. No one would have given City a chance with 6 games to go, or Chelsea a prayer when they lost in Napoli. Perhaps the 'unlikely winner' trend will continue???


Probably not, but I wish you would all just bin the negativity and support your Country.  

16/06/2012 02:54

Defos change young and milner for walcott and the ox next game with rooney just off welbeck. Take the game to Ukraine and hopefully finish top of group.

Before all you Liverpool fans and "NO HOPE" "englanders" with a liite "e" start giving me the thumbs down when i say future captain of England i dont mean the next i mean in the "FUTURE" Walcott showed he has the skill and pace to inject the life into a lacklustre English team all he needs is the ball, and when he scored he was humble and didnt gloat or bay at the fans for adoration, the team gave that to him anyway.
16/06/2012 02:05
Here goes anti Liverpool stuff again from the same bloke .  Look mate England won and the first goal came from ? oo let me see , and  the cross came from oo let me see ? Still next game as you say your two man u mates will be up front , and Rooney will be a better bet than Carroll .    You hope .
16/06/2012 08:17
Matt Hollands right, we do drop too deep once we score. How on earth did Young stay on the pitch? He was awful and Milner not much better. Get those two replaced with players who can contribute and England will look a whole lot better.
16/06/2012 07:47
I will still be happy with merely making it out of the group,given all our problems i think it will constitute a good result congratulations to Roy for giving us a chance of doing it .
16/06/2012 07:21
yeah shut up matt  holland,  how long will ireland stay in the championships,
england didnt and never have played a fancy sexy football, 
ive always said when we play awfully, we tend to win, 
it showed team spirit to get back after sweden scored 2, 
i dont want any glory hunting football players, we need unity and thats what i think we have now
16/06/2012 09:33

Everybody's waiting for Rooney, including the opposition. How long, during his comeback before he collects a red card?

The problem with England remains their dire levels of technical skill. When I see an England player who can collect a ball while surrounded by opposing players and use it rather than lose it, that will be a big day.

16/06/2012 10:26
Why do most of you want to slate England, would you all rather we play brilliant football and lose. Too many negative reports, if we do go out i suppose it will make you all happy stop moaning and get behind the team yes team because it is a team game and not about individuals.    COME ON ENGLAND       and yes I am PROUD to say Im ENGLISH.
16/06/2012 10:10
Scottish Dougie....cant hear you mate,what was that prediction......FANTASTIC,bitter sweaty.
16/06/2012 12:41

Ah get over yourselves people, England are doing us proud which is all we asked for pre tournament. England dont have a god given right to win the competition so stop deluding yourself in such ways. England arent the best team around that is obvious but who cares? They trying their best and deserve our pride - Take note of the Irish who are now out of the competition but still had 30,000 fans singing at 90mins against the Spanish. Win, Draw, Loose they were just HAPPY to be there. We should be HAPPY we have won 1 and drawn 1 so far, giving us a very good chance of progressing to knockout stages.


So come on people stop thinking England are this great footballing nation and get behind what we have, because what we have is a good team capable of doing ok!


Your doing us proud England, keep up the efforts and retun with your heads held high, no doubt if we progress we will play the Spanish and get beaten so everyone will moan - no idea of football.

16/06/2012 16:52

Nobody expects us to win this tournament and so the pressure is more or less off for the moment. The players can enjoy themselves for once knowing that virtually everyone has written them off. England can now play more or less as they like. and Roy virtually has a free hand. Of course the further we go the pressure will undoubtedly mount. But I think the team should change nothing. Just stay focussed on matters, have some fun, and basically ignore eveyone back here. They should certainly resist any temptation to take our venal banana skin chucking media into their confidences and keep them very much at arms length - pay no attention to any rachetting up of the hype, which will inevitably come if we get to the QF.


For once in a long while I'm actually enjoying these Finals. It's not been vintage, But it has been far better than that nonsense we witnesssed down in SA  a couple of years back. The fans are for real and there isn't much audiblr or visible sign of the attendant stupidity from the Governing Body , issuing silly pre-tournament guidelines and using a ball designed to be played with on a beach.


Lastly. I think all we can do is wish the team good fortune and for them to do their best. They haven't let themselves down yet.


My one big worry though is Rooney. For me he is that banana skin waiting to happen.

16/06/2012 18:03
Lol its amazing how many jealous people you get on here slating England even if they win. Its pathetic it really is. England were the better team end of. Sweden were just awful to watch. All i can say is they got lucky with the first goal and England fell to sleep for the second. Other than that England pretty much dominated in every area. The only player who i cant stand is talent and i dont know why he is picked still but other than that its all good. Great game from England and unlike most the **** on here i shall be cheering on my team and even if we go out the next game i will still say job well done.
16/06/2012 18:03
ENGLAND sent the SWEDES home!!! if you WIN a GAME its better than the alternatives...
CHELSEA beat the Italians. Spanish..zzzzzzzeee germannns and made lots of mistakes! were criticized and written off...they just kept wining games 
i dont care if ENGLAND dont play the best football on the planet i just want them to WIN!   
I agree with Matt in a way, England must always play attacking football, never rest on their laurels and always go for every ball. Attack attack attack England, keep worrying them in the penalty area, and I think you may prove all the critics wrong. Well done anyway, "Come on England."
Once  England substituted the Donkey Milner,, who by no ones reckoning could possibly be an International Footballer, Things started to happen. Now all we need is a left winger, and Rooney and Carroll in the middle, and even more will happen
16/06/2012 13:08
sweden where fighting for their lives to stay in the tournament and it showed that england young team yes but not a walk over so dont take them for granted they can win this  so kick butt england

Matt Holland what are you talking about!! Hodgson wont start Walcott in the Next game are you for real? Hodgson now knows who he needs to play from the start. Milner has been playing out of position for the last two games which is why England havnt had the pace to take opposition defences on, Walcott should have been playing from day one but Hodgson was never sure about him. The only reason he put Walcott on was because we were 2-1 down and at the point (sitting in the dugout biting his nails clueless) the idea pops into his head "oooh i had better make a change somewhere" Millner was the choice (becuase as just like in the first game he was playing out of position and totally inaffective but it could have been Ashley young who was disposessed or gave the ball away more times than i could count,

Steven Gerrard who's sole contribution was a free kick to score the first goal after that he fell apart giving the ball away with some of the worst passes ive seen from an  England with Welbeck and young on the same list. so Walcott comes on I would say more the assisstants choice than Hodgsons, as imsure he was looking at the Ox to go on, but hey low and behold after 5/10 mins of Walcott coming on (it took that long for the England players to realise that passing it to young was proving to be a mute point (pointless) someone had the brainwave??? Lets pass it to Walcott instead DERRRR!!! Then the game changed. and Matt Holland reckons he wont play from the start of the next game?

Well i could name a few England players who shouldnt start infact quite a few, but Walcott and the Ox ( who should have scored from a beautiful cross from walcott but gerrard messed it up for him) wouldnt be on the list..

Oh and PS what is Gerrard doing as Captain??? No direction, No inspiration, No control, and absolutely No idea, looks tired already infact he looked tired before he went. I did see one thing last night that is a huge positive, and i think maybe a lot of other England fans saw it as well. I saw the future captain of England come on and turn a game around.

16/06/2012 14:54

Name 1 player in the England squad that has skill and is of international quality? besides welbeck and hart. England find it very hard to compete at international level.

A lot of people will disagree with what i say. What is needed is more time for the players to gel together before an international competition. Perhaps the premiership needs fewer games.

It was a shock for walcott when he scored.

The England players are paid enough and should be proud to play for England but sometimes

you think that they just run through the motion of playing. It seems that they have no heart in the game.

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

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