Friday, 22 June 2012

Del Bosque defends formation

Spain boss, Vicente del Bosque, has defended his decision to start his side’s opening game against Italy without a recognised striker. The champions dominated possession in Gdansk, but looked blunt in the final third, after Del Bosque had opted to start midfielder, Cesc Fabregas, ahead of the likes of Fernando Torres, Fernando, Llorente, and Alvaro Negredo. Following the injury to David Villa, the big question surrounding the camp was who would start as Spain’s main striker at the tournament, with many tipping the resurgent Torres to lead the line, after previously starring in La Furia Roja’s successful Euro 2008 campaign. However, Del Bosque caused a major shock by playing without a recognised frontman, preferring to play Fabregas in a ‘false nine’ position, and, although it took the Barcelona man a while to adapt to the role, he did manage to get on the scoresheet. The veteran boss eventually introduced Torres to the fold and, despite missing a couple of chances, the team did look better with the 28-year-old as its focal point. Whether the Chelsea man will become a fixture of the top scorer betting, this summer (, remains to be seen. Del Bosque has now argued that the reason for his selection was so that his team could dominate the midfield, but says he is unsure whether he will continue with his experiment. Fans who watch football live will no doubt have opinions of their own (, regarding Del Bosque’s tactics. "We wanted to have superiority in the midfield so that we could have possession and arrive higher up the pitch. David Silva, Cesc, and Andres Iniesta arrived very well from the second line of attack, and I think they did very well in a lot of moments", said the 61-year-old. "The plan didn't go badly; Cesc did very well in this position. When Fernando Torres came on, the match was much more open. We had more chances to score, but so did they and we can't forget that. Time will tell whether this is a good point or not.”

Monday, 11 June 2012

A positive start for England

England began their Euro 2012 campaign with a hard fought 1-1 against an in form France. Little was expected of Roy Hodgson's side before the tournament with realism perhaps replacing the typically optimistic approach of England fans going into major tournaments. A draw in the opening game of the tournament hardly suggests that we should expect too much success later on in the tournament but did give fans a few positives to take from the game. Before the game even started, I was feeling more confident than I had done previously. The inclusion of Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain may have been a risk given his lack of experience at this level but, to me it was a sign of Hodgson's willingness to take a gamble and too put his faith in youth. It also showed attacking intent which some may have expected to have been sacrificed for a more defensive approach. Although England had to do their fair share of defending they did it well while another youngster, Danny Wellbeck, provided a genuine threat upfront. Another positive was England's defensive display. Many may have been worried about the calibre of attacking players that France had, particularly given that England's injury hit preparation to the tournament had meant a reshuffle in defence with Jolean Lescott replacing Gary Cahill. However, England's defence, protected by the tenacious Scott Parker in midfield, coped fairly comfortably with Benzema, Ribery and co. It ws Lescott, in fact, who was the unlikely hero for England with a header from a Gerrard freekick. Samir Nasri replied with a low drive for the French which beat Joe Hart at his near post. With Rooney set to return for the third group game and then hopefully for knockout games after that, maybe this tournment won't prove to be the disaster that many expected it to be.
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