Monday, 25 June 2012

European view: England are 'boring'


Manuel Manero - Spain
We know that England have been one of the best national football teams in the world, but their recent story doesn't allow for much optimism ahead of big tournaments. In this European Championship they have displayed one of their most important values as team: competitiveness. The absences of Cahill, Lampard and Ferdinand have made them weaker, but the hunger to not disappoint the country again helped them to beat Sweden and make a good fight of things against France. Obviously, the return of Rooney is great news for the team, so I think they could give their best from now, until they meet Spain at least...
Alessandro Brunetti - Italy
We know Roy Hodgson very well, and he knows our football well - so it could be a small advantage for England. Hodgson knows our style, and how to counteract it. England have a lot of qualities thanks to Hodgson's system, but above all thanks to Capello's management. It's a pragmatic team, physically strong and with good defensive organisation... in my opinion it is more Italian than the Italy team! In the end, Hodgson is not Capello: he isn't a winning manager like the Italian, and does not have the same experience in big matches - that is a limitation. Also, Hodgson's focus on defence means he is not taking advantage of his forwards' incredible potential.
Ilya Minsky - Russia
I actually like what I've seen from the English side so far. England managed to get good results in the first two matches without Rooney which means that they are strong as a team, and Hodgson is obviously not as bad at coaching as everybody had claimed. Terry is solid as a rock, Cole still dynamic, Young is no diver and Gerrard is simply brilliant, being one of the best players at the tournament. England may well beat Italy provided that somebody can get under Balotelli's skin so badly that he gets sent off for reacting.
Cedric Rouqette - France
It does not matter if England play restrictive football to get through. Points for artistic impression don't exist in football and, as long as you respect the rules, you are free to test your the opponents in any way you see fit. One of England's problems in previous competitions could have been to try to play in a continental way. It’s okay for their clubs, with foreign coaches and foreign players adding their value to native players, but it’s not natural for British players. Kick and rush, go on, that’s your way.
Bartosz Rainka - Poland
Watching England's matches at Euro 2012 is a real pleasure. Their team is clearly getting more harmonious with each match. Unexpectedly solid in the defence, the team makes perfect use of their creative forwards in attack. Before the tournament only few believed in Poland that England could win the group. But now it seems that the Three Lions are favourites for the quarter-final against Italy.
Michael Wollny - Germany
When you consider how they started, England have indeed been a surprise. The first game against France saw some poor football from both teams, but that didn't matter to England. For them it was only crucial not to start with a defeat. Against Sweden they turned the whole game around, which should have resulted in new self-esteem, but against Ukraine England weren't able to satisfy their new expectations. It could have turned out badly if the officials had spotted the ball had crossed the line. England still lack stability and creativity. Maybe they will improve with Rooney's return, but Italy should be too solid for England to reach the semi-finals.
Jens Dahlkvist - Sweden
In Sweden the tables are about to turn. For a long time many Swedish fans, at least with half a heart, supported England if Sweden were out. But this tournament most of the Swedes fancy Germany or even Spain more, despite the fact that Roy Hodgson is in charge. I think the fact that English club football is no longer the only TV option in Sweden, and the extremely boring style of play Hodgson has introduced, are key to this change. England v Italy? Well, I do not think it will be a glamorous match – and I hope Italy will win. Mostly because John Terry is such a jerk.

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