Let's face it, it was a poor game. When I saw that Sako was going to be dropped for a defender (Trippier) I suspected that Southgate was going to employ "Italian tactics" against the Italians. With three centre-halves, two wing backs and two deep midfielders "screening" the backline, England were about as negative as they could be.
I had recorded the Tour de France and watched it instead of the build-up, as there is only so much of Lineker and Shearer that any non-Englishman can bear, and I missed the first minutes of the match. I switched over to the BBC just as Shaw was putting England in front. I thought that would spur the Italians on to attacking England, but I was wrong. The Italians were poor.
For the whole of the first half the Italians looked bereft of ideas and confidence, but as any seasoned football watcher will tell you, England needed to capitalise and get the second before half-time. They didn't. In fact, England were just as poor as Italy. I lost count of the long balls that went into touch or directly to Donnarumma. My guess was that if Italy get to the break at 0-1 then they would "win" the second half and the game would go to extra time.
And that's what happened. Southgate stayed cagey and only introduced Sako after 70 mins. It did improve England and they looked the most likely at the end of the 90. Grealish was only introduced in extra time and failed to produce anything special and the inevitable penalties ensued. Southgate's decision to put on Rashford and Sancho for the penalty shootout backfired spectacularly as both missed their spot kicks and Italy held their nerve to lift the trophy.
On balance, Italy deserved the trophy as they were the best side in the tournament. It was great to see the smile on Chiellini's face lifting the cup, the old stager deserved it. England will rue the missed chance though. They may never get a better one.
This tournament will not be remembered for its quality of football. There were no stand out teams displaying real class. Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal fielded their weakest teams in recent memory. France, despite the hype, failed to produce like the French sides of Platini and Zizou before them. If ever there was a chance for England to win a trophy, you would imagine this was it.
Southgate got England to their first final in 55 years, better than Sven, El Tel and the rest, yet for me he was the reason they didn't lift the trophy. That may seem harsh, but England were too defensive and he didn't get the best out of his creative players. So, a massive missed opportunity for England, but at least we will be spared the gloating media!
As I predicted, Italy were the eventual winners and were good value for it even though Jorghino should not have been on the pitch to take part in the shoot out.ReplyDelete
The future is bright for England if Jack Grealish becomes a regular starter. Unfortunately as the experiences of Glenn Hoddle and Tony Currie show, there is historically an aversion to midfield creativity on the part of England managers.
Hopefully Marcus Rashford also becomes a regular also.
What happened in the aftermath of England's defeat was unpardonable, disgusting, nauseating - exhaust the dictionary if your wish. There always has been a section of the England support that is boorish, aggressively nationalistic and xenophobic. Brexit and the Johnson government's war on woke has created a massive lake in which this pond life swim.
But this England team in its diversity and its public commitment to opposition to racial and LTBQ+ discrimination is not that of the Brexiteer nativists, of the culture warriors, of the drink sodden "Engerland" lumpenproles. That is why I supported them as I do all club and national representative sides from the British Isles in international competitions.
Finally a shout out to Kalvin Phillips as a Leeds United fan. He did his club and community proud.
Anyone posting as Unknown will not have their comment published.ReplyDelete
England are not a first tier team despite getting to the final. The Italians were the first good side they met and played the much better football. Still, England came close to winning it. This can happen in the Euros in a way that it does not in the World Cup (82 being the exception when a weak and woeful Italy suddenly became good)). Weak sides like Portugal, England Greece can make it to the final and win - apart from England.ReplyDelete
But there is the making of a good side there. Defensively, they were the best in the competition. Yet, if they go our and capture a pawn then immediately Castle and defend the position ever after, they will not succeed.
The final was not good football but fascinating to watch as Italy probed for a weakness and eventually found it. I felt sorry for the players who missed their penalties but was glad there were three of them - that way no one player takes the hit. But the racism of those thugs who make up a section of the supporters is something else.
I think the sport's governing body should consider no more internationals in England until the problem is sorted out.
Southgate got England further than any manager since '66 but I don't think he has the ability to win the World Cup. Against Italy, after going 1-0 up they should have gone hard for a second, but they were set up to defend.
What happened to the 3 lads was just awful but not unexpected. England's support are wankers for the most part. I wrote about them on this blog after coming home from the last Euros in France.
Phillips was great the whole tournament. Bielsa has done a great job with his young squad.
it has been a long time since any England side had the ability to win the World Cup. The 1990 side were the closest and had they survived the semis they could have taken an under par Argentina. I would like to see them do it with the three lads who missed the penalties starring - just to put it up to the racists.Delete
There is worse racism happening in Eastern Europe and FIFA/UEFA do nothing. Twitter and Bakebook need to do more. Twitter is a sewer for the most part.
at club level certainly, but I am not aware of it on the international scene. Twitter is a scum magnetDelete
"Brexit and the Johnson government's war on woke has created a massive lake in which this pond life swim."
I don't disagree, but here in Scotland, for the first time, significant numbers of people (myself included) who would previously have been "Anyone But England" found themselves wanting England to win because of the calibre and personality of Southgate and a number of the players.
Their fortitude in the face of booing and hostility was inspirational.
I wonder if there if there is the beginning of a backlash against the backlash?
we would hope - if for no other reason I would not mind seeing them win. It has always been good craic to see them lose but this is much more serious now.Delete
I think that modern, diverse, liberal Britain is starting the pushback against rancid, nativist Brexit Britain (or should that be England?)Delete
There's a piece by Jerry Barrett regarding this which, hopefully, TPQ will be allowed to republish. Here's a quote:Delete
"So the racist abuse of the footballers who missed penalties for England was inevitably going to become the story of the week. It quickly became clear that, although there was, inevitably, abuse online, there wasn’t a lot. A nasty tweet was sent by an estate agent, and he quickly became a media demon, and was suspended from his job. Twitter reported they had deleted over 1,000 tweets. But that is a tiny amount, and can be generated by a few bots (or a few morons) in minutes. But it was clear, almost immediately, that most of the nastiest tweets were from overseas, and appeared in many cases to have been generated by bots.
This is not so surprising - we have known for years that Russian (and now probably Chinese) authorities make use of bot farms to intervene in pretty much any western political discussion, from Trump to Brexit. When the western mass media is desperate to report racism stories, it is incredibly easy to feed it the ‘evidence’ it needs. Long gone are the days of journalistic fact-checking or quantifying such claims. What we didn’t see this week was a “racist Britain” angrily punishing people of colour for Rashford’s and Saka’s penalty misses. The reverse happened - an outpouring of love and support for the young players. If only this had become the story, rather than the pathetic rantings of a few pathetic individuals.
Some years ago, I watched and documented an almost-identical moral panic unfold. That time, the story was about online misogyny rather than online racism. Then, as now, the media reported the story according to the needs of a political narrative rather than any regard for journalistic values. Then, as now, free speech via social media was identified as a threat to an ‘oppressed group’. Then, as now, the identified problem (which was so small as to be almost imaginary) was used to back calls for attacks on privacy and free speech."
I predicted nothing expect that as a Scot I'd be watching the latter part of the tournament without home representation and no particular allegiances to anyone, that said I did adopt the "anyone but England" mantra and for much of the tournament I was waiting for my worst sporting nightmare to come true. It'll come as no surprise that I've been searching for Italian roots online but other than the fact I like pizza and pasta I can find none. As I already stated on Mr Elliots piece I'm glad it's over and im glad it wasn't England .. I'm sorry Peter but "it's NO coming home"ReplyDelete
If Italy were 'poor' in the final what does that make England? They were bossed by Italy in the majority of the game. I would say Italy were excellent and didn't panic when conceding early. They stuck to their game and kept probing I.e they demonstrated what a good side they were during this tournament whether going ahead or going behind.ReplyDelete
As for the racism? Don't rule out agent provocateurs(77 brigade). It keeps the pot boiling and the public squabbling. Just saying.
Racists and racism exist and has been enabled no end by Brexit. Nothing to do with the 77th Brigade. You are invalidating the lived experiences of those, like the brave trio of the England squad, who suffer from the evils of racism, MickO.Delete
Caoimhin was close to the mark in his piece about Man Utd and the Stretford End. There is a lot of people in England who on any given Saturday go to football matches, only football is secondary. And every few months they all meet up to support England for the same reason a 'tear up' first and football is second or third on their list of things to do....
The English fans who booed National Anthems, booed their own players who took the knee, stormed Wembley quicker than the protesters who stormed Capital Hill, had street fights Are they any different to the English fans who rioted and shouted Nazi slogans in Landsdown Road 1995 or as Peter said rioted in France 98, France 2016, It has sweet fcuk all to do with Brexit or Bojo and his Clowns. It wasn't Chinese bots who set up Andrew Lawernce's twitter account and I doubt Russian hackers took over Nick Scott (football coach for kids) twitter feed. How The Donald factors into things is beyond me....Truth is there is a sizeable minority of English footy fans who are hooligans and racist. It is as simple as that.
Personally watching England lose on penalties , in their own back yard....Mana from heaven. Next's years world cup, if England qualify, I hope they either lose in the first round or again lose in a final......
There has always been a nasty and xenophobic element of England support but the current England team in its diversity and the promotion of social justice issues such as adequate school means and encouragement of children's reading by Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane's championing of LTGB+ equality represent the polar opposite to the lumpenprole dregs and will get my support next year along with any other British Isles team who qualifies.ReplyDelete
It is Brexit and the government's confected war on woke that has given space to and permission for the expression of racism (in France 2016 England fans would shout "We are voting out. Fuck Europe!) But this week the England team has started the pushback against the Trumpians in government and they represent the face of modern, diverse Britain; dare i say the 48%.
There are quite a few other nations whose football fans display far worse racism than the English. Think Russia, Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria. Too much negative energy goes into hoping teams lose.; to quote my all time favourite artiste Amy Winehouse (is it really ten years since she left us?) it really a losing game. I say this as a Leeds fan who stopped hating out long-term bete-noire Nan Utd and cheered for them in the 2017 Europa League Final after the Manchester Arena atrocity.
Brandon, I don't know what area of Scotland you are, I'm in Coatbridge and there was street parties when Italy won. Heard a lot of talk about Irish and Scots wanting England to do well, never met any of these people right enough, personally I was fucking delighted they got beatReplyDelete
the shock of England coming so close must have taken you out David. I can feel the palpable sense of relief in this comment!Delete
@ David - I'm in Edinburgh. And don't get me wrong, I'd imagine the bulk of Scots would still be either ambivalent or ABE, but a fair few people I knew either wanted England to win, or at least didn't really proactively want them to lose.Delete
Since about 2002, there's been an element within the Rangers support that wear England tops, but that's the opposite of the shift that I saw.
I think there's something completely inspiring about the spirit espoused by Southgate. I felt it was the perfect antidote to the clusterfuck that has been English nationalism over the past five or six years.
I'd love to feel similarly inspired to wish the Northern Irish team well.
Interesting comment from Christopher Owens - I'd quite like to see a standalone article on that subject, if I may presume to suggest someone has a go?Delete
@ Frankie, David
I don't disagree that England fans have an element that are frankly pathetic and despicable. But I think the Southgate effect can only work to reduce their power and reach.
I think we're having a cultural moment right now. I don't condemn anyone for wanting England to lose. Personally, a bunch of dickheads revelling in the success of their ideological and cultural foes is a price worth paying for a group of footballers winning who are fit and proper role-models.
As an aside, a fair number of Scots literally don't believe that I wanted England to win - they thought I was just being oppositional.
Perish the thought...
@david @AM this wee corner of Scotland certainly celebrated when the last Italian penalty was taken. The sense of entitlement that ran through the commenteries on both ITV and the BBC was nauseating. The Italians spared us the agony of years of "we told you so" and Atomic Kitten singing "Southgate you're the one"ReplyDelete
"I'd love to feel similarly inspired to wish the Northern Irish team well"
We don't want haters like yourself wishing us well. At the last Euros in France we had a catholic manager who loves NI and was adored by us. For over a decade now the IFA has had a strict zero tolerance approach to sectarianism in Windsor, no sectarian songs, no sectarian flags, no sectarian emblems. The atmosphere at Windsor is now electric and it is almost impossible to get a ticket. There are many more women and children, and, yes, catholics attending. On the Ferry from the Republic to France in 2016 we were greeted really well by the Republic fans. There was about 50 NI fans and we drank all night with the 1,000 Republic fans with zero problems. The French police said that the Irish fans, north and south, were the best of the tournament. There were 30,000 of us in Lyon with no sectarian singing in the stadium or in the streets, no arrests, no problems. The IFA have been superb at reigniting our love for our team after the hatred aimed at Lennon. The fans have been excellent, yet you can't wish us well? Says a lot about you.
Not wanting NI to do well is hardly what qualifies a person to be a hater. I grew up watching them so it is nothing for me to want them to do well. But there are quite a few teams I do not want to do well and I quite enjoy seeing them beaten even if only for the purpose of exercising bragging rights. It is just part of sporting rivalry and allegations of hatred should not be brought into it.Delete
I'm still kicking myself for not getting to Lyon but it was just too hard. Hopefully next time. Was it you saying before about the young Dub Ireland fan who was getting a lacing from others due to be separated from his mates while pished? I remember seeing the photos of NI fans who adopted him for the night , looked after him and he sung the praises of them on social media. I'll ask some of my mates who went, they know the story. I know they had an absolute ball with the FAI fans though. Great craic.
Lyon was one of the best days of my life. Never been prouder of the GAWA. Seems amazing when I remember the 90s at Windsor, UDA flags, sectarian songs aimed at our own players, empty terraces. The atmosphere nowadays at Windsor and the Kingspan is really positive.
the article will be going up soon.
@ Christopher Owens - looking forward to it.ReplyDelete
"We don't want haters like yourself wishing us well."
Genuine question: who or what do you allege I hate? I've asked you to substantiate it a few times, and you never do.
So, who or what do I hate? Perhaps, when if answer, you could reflect on your use of the word "us" - you deign to exclude me, on the basis of... what?
I'll make a prediction. You will either ignore this, at least my third request for you to substantiate your foolish claims, or you will respond without anything specific.
You accuse me of hatred and bitterness, and of being a "sneaky regarder" (presumably of the IRA) and I have never mentioned your being in the UDR, an organisation with, let's be charitable and say, a mixed reputation. You accuse me of hatred and bitterness, and being a "sneaking regarder" yet I expressed my disappointment on these pages at a former RUC officer being treated with what I felt was disrespect.
I described you, for example, of believing loyalist myths about Catholic church support for the IRA. I didn't accuse you of hatred: I accused you of believing myths.
Accusing someone else of hating is lazy. So show some confidence in your own ability to articulate and demonstrate who, or what, and how, I hate?
You feel inspired by Southgate but can't wish N.I. well? After all they did to irradiate sectarianism from Windsor and change the culture of a whole fan base, you can't wish well the team that your fellow countrymen and neighbours adore?Delete
There is hardly anything new in that Peter - all the time people refuse to wish well those their fellow countrymen and neighbours adore. Man Utd / Man City - Liverpool / Everton. It is part of football rivalry. I remember growing up hating Linfield not because I was a nationalist but because I supported Glentoran.Delete
Yes I used to hate Glentoran and then I grew up. Now I banter my cock'n'hens mates but wish them well in European games. To harbour a hatred of your neighbour's team at our age seems pathetic.
It's only a game nobody died. Everybody hates England except English people and or unionists. The racism was bang out of order and once again the fans of England FC have brought shame to the "beautiful game" (I say that without a hint of irony despite having to endure the last 12 months #AngeP) Let's all just breathe for a bit, wallow in our joy or sorry (can one wallow in joy?) it's only 12 months or so til we can do this all again. And FYI no England won't win the World Cup, even if part of me wishes they would for the young lads who missed, I'll happily go to the grave never seeing England lift a notable worthwhile trophy.ReplyDelete
I must've experienced every emotion in that game, relief certainly, I couldn't even gloat at the post match analysis I had go to bed, I was mentally exhausted. I enjoyed that tournament the only thing missing was individual talent lighting up the tournament, the reality is England are a top side who I can no longer just dismiss, they'll be contenders for a few tournaments to come I fear
As I predicted, you haven't substantiated your allegations of my "hatred" - you should either do that now, or withdraw your repeated comments.