Another qualifier victory as England top the group, still unbeaten but another performance that points to another embarrassment when it really matters.
Nothing changes for England’s football team, even when they change things. New manager, it’s the same old manager. New players, it’s the same old players. New tournament, it’s every tournament that has gone before.
Two managers after Roy Hodgson finally departed we’ve got Roy Hodgson Junior.
Dimly stood there with a permanently puzzled expression, interrupted by dances – dad dancing- of delight or frustration, Gareth doesn’t know what’s happening out there.
Well Gareth, what’s happening is we are seeing what happens when you pick the starting XI you pick. It’s not good.
You can just imagine the talk before Gareth decided on his starting line up, well actually he probably decided it well before any discussion happened, if any did.
So far he’s seen Oxlade-Chamberlain fail in the middle, he’s seen him fail on the right, most would see a pattern here but no Gareth decides he’s got to play O-C, so let’s crowbar him into the left. Now there’s a plan. Marcus Rashford shone on the left in the second half against Malta, it’s where he tends to play for his club but no, we’ll shunt him over the other side just to accommodate O-C.
It didn’t work, they eventually swapped sides. O-C failed on both wings, so where now will Southgate try and fit him?
There was those that quickly jumped on Rashford for the Slovakian goal, a couple of minutes into the start of the game which the visitors were dominating. Amazingly at half-time the brains trust in the ITV studio managed to figure out what went on.
Faced with three opponents, close to his own box, after some panic defending, Rashford had two options try and go through them which he did and failed. Or to play the ball the only direction he could to the huge space in the right-back area towards the corner flag. This though would have given the ball away as said right-back had decided with his usual positioning nous of roadkill to go on a Forrest Gump gallop up the wing.
It’s OK Marcus, we’ve got England’s number one to save the day… oh, that’s right, Gareth picked Joe.
Dimwit Walker would later get lucky after Cahill sold himself leaving Weiss through on goal, ah but the speed of Walker shut him down, the stupidity and lacking in tackling ability stopped him in his tracks. The ref waved a disapproving finger at Weiss, while everyone else waited for him to blow for the foul that happened and then the inevitable red card that should have been shown to Walker.
That’s two games running Southgate has got lucky with a ref that’s got it wrong.
Unlike Walker, Rashford made up for his error. A quick corner while the defence was milling about, well read by Dier at the near post for the equaliser. Then with his shot for the winner.
It was a pot shot night. Kane getting lambasted for his but hell if he hadn’t he’d never have had a chance. He certainly wasn’t played in by the likes of Henderson or Chamberlain. The latter taking shots that pretty much summed him up.
The back five all have errors in them that better teams than Slovakia will exploit – and well didn’t this game expose the myth that England will do better against teams that don’t just sit and defend. That passing about at the back, while being called good game management by some, is just inviting trouble when they’re so poor on the ball.
The attacking options are so limited while Southgate sticks with his favourites, he couldn’t wait to get Sterling on could he and christ in a few minutes he again showed why he’s not fit for purpose.
And that shows why Southgate isn’t either.
Oh and isn’t it nice that the media are doing their very best to get Dele banned for his one finger salute to… well I don’t know, it was a close up, I couldn’t see who it was at, could have been the ref could have been Walker, I don’t know, but the gentlemen of the press do and well they’re pushing it.
Anyway on with Groundhog day…