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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