England managed to do what they’d never done before, win a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup, along with something they rarely do, win “live and exclusive on ITV” as they put out a dirty Colombia to advance to the quarter final.
The win record for England when they’ve been “live and exclusive on ITV” is atrocious, this was just the second victory in the last 20 years at World Cups, overall in all tournaments the win record is just over 25%.
This match was approached with great trepidation.
The mood lightened by the Colombian team news and the somewhat expected absence of James Rodriguez, again tempered by the England team news and the inclusion of Southgate’s weak links.
The thing is all those weak links are papered over with that first World Cup penalties success, because for a team that dominated their opponents for the best part of 80 minutes and only conceded two minutes into added time, England crated very little from open play. The Colombian goalkeeper had a quite night for two hours.
Harry Kane is the top scorer at the World Cup and he hasn’t had a decent ball into the box from open play all tournament. There’s no link and there’s well two culprits. Sterling and Southgate for putting Sterling’s precious confidence above the team.
Time and time again he ran into defenders and lost the ball. Those stupid stops and trying to cut back, that just cough up possession. Look at Mbappe when he won the penalty for France against Argentina. Picked the ball up and ran, knocked the ball past the defender and ran onto it, know that the only real option for Rojo was to foul him. What would Sterling have done? Well, he’d have run for a little, with no ball control, then stopped and tried to cut inside and needlessly beat the defender again and he would just lose the ball. Has he actually passed the ball to Kane in the three games they’ve played together so far in Russia?
But seeing this failure, for the third game, Southgate sat on his hands and didn’t take him off until the 88th minute.
But god forbid you criticise a player for being constantly being bad, the hipster cork sniffers will be shouting “Daily Mail reader” at you.
Southgate has a player who has played that position with Kane, knows Kane, knows his movements and his runs but no, play someone else their and move Dele back where he has become ineffective because Sterling just gets in the way, and Dele gets the abuse for his game not being right.
Sterling’s only real contribution was the barge he got from a Colombian official when coming off at half-time. Which is similar to Jordan Henderson, whose only contribution was getting headbutted uppercut to the chin. Though the gormless twat could have received a straight red himself for a stupid bit of retaliation with his head.
This was Colombia’s contribution for most of the match and my didn’t the ref bottle it. The butt on Henderson can only be a red card, there’s no yellow card offence here. The ref did get the penalty correct but one had gone earlier he didn’t spot. A typical bit of defending as Kane was yet again brought down. Commentators asking why do they still do it, knowing the consequences? Well we’ve seen some of them getting away with it and a footballer will try anything if he thinks he can get away with it and it has gone unpunished for years so its al they know to do now.
The exception was Davinson Sanchez, who knows how to tackle and didn’t get involved in the shithousing that his team mates were at throughout the game and that the ref didn’t get control of. Over three minutes from the penalty being awarded and Kane slamming it past Ospina. People asking what could the ref do, well a card to Falcao, who deserved one, would have been a start. A card for every Colombian trying to scuff up the penalty spot should have been next.
It didn’t matter to Harry.
Neither did taking one for the team, well when I say one I mean dozens. As time was ticking down and England were getting nowhere and struggling to get out of their own half, Kane took the leadership role of picking the ball up and running at those in yellow, knowing full well they were just going to kick him. Get kicked, go down, get the free-kick, run the clock down.
The second half was a typical post Southgate half-time team talk half of football. It was an awful ending as the back three of England went full sloppy mode. Well, if you don’t know Walker is gonna gift the opposition a chance, you don’t know football. His slack play saw and inept shot fly high and wide, as it looked like England were gonna get lucky for once.
It wasn’t luck when Pickford made a great save just into added time, was a cracker after the stupid criticism that came his way after the Belgium game. But he had no chance with the following corner. Trippier heading it into the top of the net. Don’t know what he was doing but it put a little dampener on an otherwise excellent performance, yet again. And yet again Harry’s goals robbed Trippier of the man of the match award.
One question has to be asked of Southgate though. Why was Trippier not taking the set pieces from the left of the pitch? Why did Young take them? His were hopeless over hit jobs that gave the players no real chance, while Trips has been fantastic. Young did nothing, again and when Rose entered and made one run into the box, from which he nearly scored it was more than Young had done in all his games so far.
Though to be fair to Young he did pull a number of England players back when they were getting a bit heated of the antics of various Colombians, when they really shouldn’t have. Trippier had the right idea, just smile and nod at ’em, winds ’em up something rotten.
Dier could have, should have won it near the death in extra-time, but he could get his big square head to put the ball on target and it was down to penalties, yet again, on ITV, yet again.
Harry dispatched his like we know Harry can. Rashford didn’t look confident but then does he ever but he banged his away like someone who is a season penalty taker, not someone doing it at senior level for the first time in the biggest game of his like so far. Henderson looked cocky and arrogant as he keepy-uppied his way to the box to put in a powder puff spot kick that was just perfect to save, even for a keeper of Ospina’s limitations. The next Colombian then hit the woodwork and up stepped Trippier in the pressure situation to hit the equaliser with a pile-driver, that was best of the lot really. Up next Pickford finally got a hand to a Combian’s kick, a strong hand and it was Dier to win the game, Ospina touched it but there was no saving it.
Donkey Adams had talked about the Spurs players bottling it for England yet here was three Spurs players scoring their penalties. Two of them standing up to make up for errors during the game, while others hung back.
For those wanting signs of “it’s coming home” this was a bit like the quarter final in ’66, though in a different round the South Americans were dirty and didn’t want to play football and the game should have finished 1-0 to England as it did then.
Sweden next, they’ve been dull and unadventurous. This is the best chance to get to a semi-final, if only Southgate was honest and said this wasn’t a great performance, great resilience and great fortitude under pressure in the spot kicks but not a great performance, or it wouldn’t have needed extra time never mind penalties, and made the obvious changes that need to be made.
Then there’s the fact the quarter final isn’t “live and exclusive on ITV”…