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Swedes 50p in Morrisons - overpriced?
#1
Delighted we won.

Good to see Dele Alli begin to have the confidence in his body to be himself and play his game after Harry Maguire's goal. Lingard's running is feature of his game and against Colombia he seemed to me to be permanently stumbling (with or without assistance) but here was himself and did well.

Sweden were pretty dire IMO. As I expected they handled Harry Kane well, because they want to come up against a centre forward, but he responded by coming deeper and setting up a number of attacks. Sterling was far from perfect, but he terrified them. Ordinary players like the Swedes fear pace and skill and Raheem does have those qualities (sometimes). I still reckon had Rashford been on the field too it would have been declared no-contest by half time. Jordan Henderson comes in for plenty of praise, but I still find myself hard-pushed to go beyond okay.

Harry Maguire did well, scored an excellent goal, but we should remember Sweden did have Berg up front who actually had his best effort on goal of the tournament. That gave him 7256 efforts on goal in the tournament without scoring - no wonder he was exiled to the middle east before he found the big money. Trippier yet again was excellent and Kyle Walker turned on the afterburners a couple of times to show how important his pace can be. Stones remained cultured and Ashley Young had his best game of the tournament, which was not surprising as Sweden had forgotten to bring an attack to the game.

As an ex-goalie myself I was interested in our second goal. I've seen the reaction of the Swedish keeper several times in my life to close range headers. A keeper big enough to pull off a reaction save will go under the ball, bending his knees as if ready to dive and end up reaching up for the ball. It seems a mad, counter-intuitive reaction to me, but you see it a lot in children's football and the women's game. In other circumstances the keeper will make him or herself big ..........

Probably I'm the only one who thinks this, but I reckon we are riding Jordan Pickford for a fall. he did very well and his peno and the long-ranger the other night were good too. Yesterday the save low to his right was the real deal, but hey the header wasn't that difficult, it's good he was knew where he was pushing it but it was pretty patta-cake and he could have got both hands there.

But the semis against Croatia, who'd have thought it? Brilliant! If we could sub Kovacic for Henderson, Rakitic for Lingard and put Dele Alli and Modric with them do you think that midfeld would destroy France or outplay de Bruyne and co? Kane up front and our defence?
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#2
Brilliant result for us. Completely outplayed the Swedes for long periods.
Like Devon, I too am unsure about Pickford. He does worry me with his shot saving. He always seems to push the ball back into the danger areas. Subosic is a better keeper, so I hope we don't go to penalties.
Kane was very ordinary on Saturday, but I put that down to the fact he ran his socks off for 120 mins v Colombia. He'll be ok for Wed.
Maguire was excellent again....liking him more and more as an International defender. The boy just looks more hungry than anyone else when he's trying to get to headers.
Sterling was excellent, but just couldn't get a goal. He just needs one to raise his game to another level in this tournament.
All the rest of the defenders were excellent. Thought Henderson was actually very good. He looked the real leader on Saturday as Kane was too tired.
Lingard and Alli were good too.
Overall a great win and now onto Croatia. Both their last two games went to extra time and pens. Are they going to be too tired? I hope so, but they will have long spells of possession to conserve their energy. Quite a close call, but I fancy England to nick it in normal time.
In beer there is freedom, in wine there is health, in cognac there is power and in water there is bacteria
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#3
Shep I have to admit I'm not the one to assess Henderson. I've spent too long being critical of him to reassess prejudice, or should that be judgement, quickly enough. As a defensive midfielder I don't think he is in the same league as Kovacic and he struggles for a start in the Croatia line-up, but I think how big a stride he takes forward or not tonight could be pivotal for us.

I thought Courtois got Pickford spot-on with the goal we conceded against Belgium - he said Pickford was too bothered about kicking his feet up in the air. I think several bigger keepers in the tournament, including Subasic, would have saved it, but then we might have had to beat Brazil ......... I don't worry about Pickford on penos. I think he's pretty good. I'm not sure he's sound enough to get us there though.

I'm not sure Kane will naturally trouble Croatia's centre backs unduly, but players like Sterling, Rashford, Alli and Lingard on form could give their defence more than they like to cope with .......... and Kane might feed on that. Equally Kramaric and Modric attacking from midfield will give our defence a tough time unless we can find someone to do a Kante in front of our defence.

I'm pleased we got this far and think we do have the basis of a good team. But I wouldn't like to forecast this one!

One thing I would say, IF we were to make the final I think playing France is relatively good news. I think players who Belgium A or B might nullify could actually cause France problems. Both full backs look vulnerable. Pavard mostly plays centre back and Hernandez benefits hugely from being alongside Godin and Gimenez every week at Atletico ...... but I don't think he's really as good as Mendy. I think Sterling and Rashford could cause them problems, and I think if we can get Kane up against Umtiti, rather than Varane, I could see chances of him notching his goal of a lifetime. At the back we have the advantage of one of the only two players in the tournament who might be quick enough to go with Mbappe - Varane doesn't need to prove it, but Kyle Walker just might. I'd have backed Belgium to beat us in the final, but France, well at least I can see ways they could be beaten ...... and not least amongst them is putting some pressure on Lloris who has done well in the tournament, but who certainly has a mistake in him.
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