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WC 3rd place play-off - Belgium 2 England 0
Not too many changes made by Southgate or Martinez for this match although I was surprised that the England manager gave Sterling another 'start'. Belgium obviously the better side based on quality and experience and it occasionally showed. Two well taken goals by Meunier and Hazard but my 'big moment' of the match was in the 79th min when Belgium 'swept forward' from an England corner kick with fast one-touch and two-touch forward movement that ended with Meunier hitting a first time volley that Pickford did very well to save - a pity the goalie saved it because that world class move and goal would have 'brought the house down' - awesome!!
It's coming home. Blush
I thought that was a good game to watch. No real pressure on either team and both teams seemed prepared to go for it a bit. No cynical tactics, dives or bad challenges. Belgium have two world class players in Hazard and De Bruyne, an area of the field where England are currently lacking but do have some promising youngsters coming through, aside from that I think the teams are very similar.
Yep! I thought Lukaku would've made the score more significant if he'd taken advantage of some great defence-splitting passes by de Bruyne - lacking the fine touch control to finish off a great attacking move.
Belgium have three world-class players at least. But at least two of them didn't look very world-class against France a lot of the time.

The thing I don't get about Raheem Sterling is throughout a first half in which attacks foundered on his lack of control or persistence in going for the most difficult option available he never once looked upset or downhearted. If Joe Hart made that many mistakes in a game he'd be hanged by the neck until dead. But truth is Sterling can sometimes rip defenders apart ...... but not when his only partner is SO plodding and ponderous. Can Rashford and Sterling never be on the pitch together? Does the grass wilt? Wouldn't Kane benefit from them pulling the defence apart?

And Phil Jones, why bring him into a match like this? If we needed a point to qualify for the next round, maybe yes, but a be-nice-to-each-other-play-off ..........? Yet Alexander-Arnold who would have been more-suited to this game than the first Belgian encounter is left out.
Belgium were the better team, but encouraging signs from England. Battered them for about 20 mins in 2nd half. Should have been level before they got their 2nd.
But Belgium must really be kicking themselves. Best team in the world on paper imo. Just froze at the semi final stage.

However the future is looking bright for England generally. Recently England are U17 World Champs, U20 World champs, U19 Euro winners, and senior team got to Word Cup semi final. Keep Southgate as manager, get some of these players playing regularly for their clubs, keep the players progressing through the ranks of each age group, and we might just see us at a few more semis/perhaps finals in years to come.
Remember the Euro's are in lots of countries in 2 years time, with both semi finals and the final to be played at Wembley. Keep going the way we are, and we have to be regarded as one of the favourites.
In beer there is freedom, in wine there is health, in cognac there is power and in water there is bacteria
I think we need a schemer, someone with a bit of artistry to come through into midfield. I keep hoping Jack Grealish will do that, but he seems to want not only to remain a bit of a joker but also to be slightly peripheral as if he daren't take a chance on seeing how he'd do as the main man.

Jack Rodwell once looked as though he could anything and has actually done nothing. Wilshere looks the part until you get him on stage ....... We seem to specialise in hyping these players and hastening their fall, who next Foden and Mount, Hudson-Odoi?
This recent word of "Number 10" seems all the craze at the moment, false nine, central winger, withdrawn forward, playmaker, trequarista etc

Perhaps we should do what we usually have done when we have a creative and individual talent-play them on the wing! (David Beckham, Joe Cole)
failing that we lump them in a 4-4-2 where they cant display their skills as they have too many defensive duties (Glenn Hoddle, Trevor Brooking, Frank Lampard, Paul Gascoigne)
Then the genuinely wasted Matt le Tissier, Tony Currie, Stan Bowles etc

The legendary Jack Rodwell is currently on trial at Watford which is superb over-achievement given how his career nose dived

I dont think creativity is the problem, and I see some superb young players coming through my only reservation is their route to getting game time, the biggest problem for so long is we have been stuck in the same way of playing football. It`s only now we are finally catching up to playing different formations and playing a player in a specialist role, dont worry we aren't the only country either, tactics and systems are changing constantly it`s now this time were up-to speed or at least getting there.
The blessing is if Hoddle or Le Tissier were about today we would play them in a playmaker role, we could play Ferdinand as a sweeper correctly, its certainly a long way from pass to teh winger and wait for a cross
I think what I mean is we need someone who is perceptive and dares actually to be creative when using the ball. A player with vision who didn't swallow everything the coach told him. That's why I like Grealish. He has retained his originality. He could be that fashionable No 10, BUT he'd rather work his magic round the edges, maybe he lacks the character to think I'll run this game, I'll be Zidane. I think he wants to be the smartest boy in class and still sit at the back throwing ink pellets at the teacher.

Some players do run the game.

By the way I thought Tony Currie was wonderful. I was there when he sat on the ball and beckoned the opposition to come and get it! I also saw a brilliant player who should have been a pro, in my dad's local amateur football team, do the same thing. And HE used to play in a hairnet so concerned was he how he'd look that night. (Signed for Mansfield Town, but only lasted a few weeks before he decided he couldn't be arsed to train.)
Interesting that neither Italy or Holland have a number ten sort, Holland have even gone to 3-5-2 rather than 4-3-3 due to not having one
Argentina didn't have one they played their most creative player as a centre forward, unusual times!
Have the real creators, enigmas and magicians being stifled by managerial tactics?

Be interesting to see if Ross Barkley can turn his career around

Think there is the obvious amount of good young players coming through but next season can we expect Cardiff`s Bobby Reid to shine? I mean if Welbeck is England`s third choice striker, maybe Charlie Austin can hit the goal trail with a new manager?
Will Hughes has been touted for years, can he make the squad?
I guess we are expecting Sessegnon to replace Rose and Young but what about Ben Chilwell ? Luke Shaw also might prove Mourinho wrong!

Heard great things about Joe Worrall at Notts Forest also, next Michael Dawson
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