20/06/2024 34comments  |  Jump to last

England were frustrated by Denmark in their attempts to book passage to the next phase of Euro 2024 as Morten Hjulmand cancelled out Harry Kane's opener with a long-range effort in the two countries' 1-1 draw in Frankfurt.

Everton's Jordan Pickford set a Three Lions record for tournament appearances at 21 but was denied the distinction over Peter Shilton of having the most clean sheets when the ball was given away at a throw-in and Hjulmand capitalised with a crisp shot from distance than cannoned in off the post.  

Gareth Southgate ignored the criticism levelled at him for his team selection against Serbia by persisting with Trent Alexander-Arnold but appeared to be vindicated when Kane profited from predatory work by Kyle Walker and a couple of favourable bounces to place a shot past Kasper Schmeichel.

But England sat back and lapsed into a disjointed display, paid the price and then couldn't find a foothold in the game long enough to reclaim the lead.

Article continues below video content

Southgate eventually withdrew Alexander-Arnold but also took off Kane in favour of Ollie Watkins and the Aston Villa striker went closer than anyone in white to grabbing the winner but his shot was deflected behind.

In the other Group C game of the day, Slovenia were seconds away from winning their first ever match at a major tournament but Luka Jovic plundered a stoppage-time goal to equalise for Serbia to ensure that contest ended all square at 1-1.


Reader Comments (34)

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Christy Ring
1 Posted 20/06/2024 at 21:21:23
Listened to Southgate's interview after the game, the reason for another poor performance? "We haven't replaced Kalvin Phillips" … unbelievable?!

Kieran Kinsella
2 Posted 20/06/2024 at 21:56:55

In Fairness it has only been two years since Phillips was regularly playing football. Another chestnut from Southgate:

"Our press wasn't intense enough and it meant that our backline had a problem with the players dropping either side of our pivots. So, that's something that has to be better. We know with the profile of players that we've got, we don't feel the way to press is really high up the pitch.

“I don't think that's the physical level of the team at the moment either. But we've got to find a way of being more compact and more difficult to play against than we found in the last three halves of football.”

So we are playing a pressing game poorly because our players aren't fit enough? OK so why are we playing a pressing game then. Also Harry Kane said players "aren't sure" where to go. Brilliant tactical masterpiece here.

Jack Convery
3 Posted 21/06/2024 at 01:22:05
Thank God he left Branthwaite at home. Playing with that lot wouldn't be good for his mental well being.

Next game.

1 Pickford
2 Walker 5 Stones 4 Guehi 3 Trippier - where is the fit left-footed left-back?
6 Rice 8 Bellingham
10 Foden
11 Bowen 9 Watkins 7 Gordon

If Bellingham has a calf injury, which it looked like he had to me, then leave him out and put Palmer there.

No pundit mentioned that if Slovenia beat us and Denmark win against Serbia, England finish 3rd!

Bobby Mallon
4 Posted 21/06/2024 at 07:15:08
Kieran, being more compact. We need to play with our wide players out wide. Did you watch the Spain game. Their wingers did what they are supposed to do stay wide and take people on. Their forwards pressed high up. Infact sit the fuckers down and make them watch that Spain game
Ian Jones
5 Posted 21/06/2024 at 07:28:04
I think the comment about not replacing Kalvin Phillips is a valid one. Probably it would have been better had Southgate kept his thoughts to himself rather than voice them after such an insipid performance.

Partnerships in teams are important and Phillips and Rice have played well enough together in recent tournaments and to be fair England have been reasonably successful in these tournaments with them at the heart of the midfield.

And before people jump in with their but this, but that etc, I appreciate perhaps whilst England could also have done better in the tournaments, who is to say that without Phillips and Rice together, England may have fared worse.

And yes, there should be players able to step in to replace players as and when needed without there being too much negative impact but life is never that simple.

Of course, the worrying thing, for England fans, is that the team just looks unbalanced and disjointed. Not quite sure of the tactics just yet. If it's to hold back the team and not tire them out for the knockout stages, then the cunning plan is working okay.

Jerome Shields
7 Posted 21/06/2024 at 07:57:07
I just hope that their performance gets them through to get hammered in the quarter-finals. Then Southgate the bullshitter will be able to bullshit himself into the Man Utd job. That would please every other Premier League team's fans immensely.
Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 21/06/2024 at 07:57:23
Isn’t football like life Ian, where the successful and talented people keep trying to evolve?

He hasn’t got Phillips, but he’s got Cole Palmer instead. He could use another wide player, and push Foden inside and closer to Kane.

He’s using a quarterback (Arnold) but playing a centre forward, who doesn’t want to run in behind.

Hopefully England can grow into the tournament, like we have seen both the Germans and the Italians, do many times, but you could see after 20 minutes of the Serbia game, that the English system was wrong, and yet the manager never changed things for the Denmark game.

Be brave Gareth, because it’s not as if you haven’t got the players, who can cause any team problems, imo.

Colin Glassar
9 Posted 21/06/2024 at 08:07:31
Reading the back pages today I love the hand-wringing of our football journalists. The same journalists who for months now have demanded the inclusion, anywhere on the field if necessary, of the Liverpool right-back.

A player who's not particularly effective as a defender and is even worse in MF. I get it that he's a brilliant passer of the ball and has great vision at times but he doesn't have the runners as he has at club level.

Southgate, like Sven, is ruining these players. Sven obsessed with Beckham and Southgate the same with Kane, ie, play them whatever their physical condition. It must be soul-destroying for the players on the bench knowing quite well that, unless one of his untouchables is injured they'll never get a chance. No wonder Ben White told him to get stuffed as he was never going to replace a semi-fit Stones.

I've never liked Southgate. I make no bones about it. He was always a well-spoken, media friendly, yes man as a player. He has fine tuned that toadiness as a manager. He allows the media to pick his squads and play their favourites.

After Christ knows how many years he's been manager, he's still faffing around trying to find a blend and formation to get the best out of this crop of excellent players.

I'm getting to the point that I even think Dyche could do a better job.

ps: Pickford was MotM.

Ian Jones
10 Posted 21/06/2024 at 08:11:43
Tony, can't argue with anything you say. We do have a fantastic squad of players, just not a great team yet.

I feel bravery is one of the things missing from Gareth Southgate's armoury.

And this is not the start of a Phillips/Rice love in, but if anyone has the time to read this article, it's an interesting one and probably explains Gareth Southgate's thinking:

'Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips: England's dynamic duo with a partnership forged of silk and steel'

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
11 Posted 21/06/2024 at 08:24:20
Once again an England team made up of the 11 best players being asked to play a system where some are out of their natural position and are not as good as a lesser player would be if they were playing that position.

We haven't replaced Kalvin Phillips. Why? Is that because the only English quality holding midfielder is Declan Rice? Is there no other? So if you want 2 holding midfielders, pick two in the squad and face the wrath of the press by leaving at home someone who doesn't fit your tactical plan.

Apart from Luke Shaw, are there no other left-backs who are
English? No, let's put a right-footed player over there do they cannot defend anyone going outside them, cannot overlap but always come inside.

Want to play with two wide men? But then always pick for one of them someone who normally plays inside and then be pilloried because we didn't have two wide men.

Sadly, the vitriol from the press means the manager picks the team based on the least amount of flak he will get from not picking a good player who is slightly less good than someone who plays in exactly the same position. Tell the better player he is only on for 60 minutes so don't spare yourself and then the less good he will come on for the final 30.

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 21/06/2024 at 08:24:34
I was unimpressed with England last night, but I thought Denmark were really good, especially in the second half.

Watching and listening, it was like they were reporting on Everton when we sit deep. If England want to succeed, they need to be bolder.

Germany and Italy are masters of tournament football. Get through the group stages. Germany have always done it.

Both have won 4 world cups. Germany on 3 Euros, Italy with 2. I still fancy France for this one. Maybe Spain as the dark horse.

Ian Jones
13 Posted 21/06/2024 at 08:56:35
Listening to the sports bits on Radio 5 live, they are reminding people of the last 2 tournaments England have competed in... and especially the second games of the Group stages... so I took a look at the reports.

Edited low lights from the BBC reports of those matches. Key findings are similar to the last 2 games at this year's Euros.

World Cup 2022: England 0-0 USA - Three Lions labour to goalless draw

'Gareth Southgate's side were second best for long periods as they failed to match the energy and intensity of the USA..'

'...this was an undistinguished display that carried none of the attacking verve that saw the Three Lions thrash Iran in their opening game...'

'Instead, this was a lacklustre effort that drew loud jeers from supporters at the final whistle '

'Jude Bellingham was unable to provide the drive that was a highlight of the Iran victory...'

England 0-0 Scotland: Impressive visitors claim point at Wembley

'It was The Tartan Army who were elated at the final whistle while England's players heard the sound of loud jeering from their supporters.'

'England, who were sluggish and disappointing...'

'England were efficient rather than spectacular in victory against Croatia...'

'Instead, England faded badly after a bright start. '

'That does not mean Southgate can be satisfied after what was a very disappointing night – especially as he faces a dilemma he could not have been contemplating before this tournament started.

Captain Harry Kane was poor before his substitution against Croatia on Sunday and was equally anonymous here. He looked sluggish, off the pace and short on threat. It was no surprise when he was replaced by Marcus Rashford with 16 minutes left, even though England were desperately chasing a winner.

In his defence, Kane has been starved of good service. To suggest his place is in question is unthinkable but there can be no doubt Southgate wants and needs a lot more from his world-class captain.'

Rob Halligan
14 Posted 21/06/2024 at 08:58:40
Yet again, Trent Alexander-Arnold stunk the gaff out, just wandering around like a headless chicken. Players such as Conor Gallagher and Cole Palmer must be sitting on the bench wondering how on earth a bang-average full-back can be shoehorned into midfield before them?

The only decent thing he can do is strike a dead ball, sometimes even then not very well. Get him out the team, Southgate, otherwise we've no chance of winning this tournament. Mind you, after that garbage performance last night, we've no chance anyway.

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 21/06/2024 at 09:08:54
That dilatory number seven for Denmark spoiled my night, cocked it up for England’s goal was very poor throughout the game and nearly gave another goal away early in the second half before he was finally replaced.

I’d have skull dragged him off after that 18th. minute dream walking blunder.

Southgate suits the English FA he’ll never say anything out of place, except if it’s about football where he is out of place, we’ve had some beauts in charge of Everton’s teams in the last few years, Southgate wouldn’t be out of place alongside them.

Dave Cashen
16 Posted 21/06/2024 at 09:23:22
The TAA "experiment" had mixed results according to Southgate. He must have meant a mixture of shite and shiter.

I thought all those "important" friendly's were to give him his opportunities to experiment.

We cant keep going on about the individual talent within our squad. Germany, France, Portugal, Spain and Belgium all have world class players too. They all look stronger as a unit. They all play their players in their proper position and they'll have all done their experimenting long before they arrived at this tournament.

Disappointing doesnt begin to cover it.

Dave A

"Southgate suits the English FA".

There lies the problem mate. That`s always been the case. You will remember they didnt have the courage to give Cloughie the job when he was just about the best manager in football. They were more worried about him upsetting somebody than actually winning stuff

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 21/06/2024 at 09:47:43
Because Clough wouldn't have taken any shit Dave. Just like the Premier League now, they would have feared Clough and his choice words!!
Colin Glassar
18 Posted 21/06/2024 at 10:20:46
For the first time yesterday even the talking heads started to question Southgate and his selections and tactics. Even Garry “Southgate is our best English manager over the last 40-50 years” Neville admitted that his beloved Gareth got it wrong.

If Mike Barrett is unavailable then it’s Ted Lasso for me.

Jimmy Salt
19 Posted 21/06/2024 at 13:22:30
With respect to our beloved TTA could it be that simple that the directive is to have at least 1 red shite player on the pitch.
Money talks and sponsorship, overseas sales of TV and merch come way before giving a shit if we win (for a select but influential few).
The midfield is the giant elephant in the room as I believe Kane can still do a job (if someone gives him the ball)
Its all reminiscent of the Beckham, Lampard, Scholes, Slippy England midfield that for some reason just didn't work. wonder why?
Dave Richman
20 Posted 21/06/2024 at 13:39:31
Jimmy Salt @ 19 I just posted the same thing on Facebook, but it could be solved by dropping 'Trent', picking the 10 best players in the squad and then plonk Joe Gomez in there somewhere maybe left back. (Do I have to put lol in case this is taken seriously?)
Frank Crewe
22 Posted 21/06/2024 at 13:57:39
This is England at every tournament. We have a squad of individuals but no team and a manager who really doesn't know what his best eleven actually is. We reel off the names of our latest collection of golden boys and always end up trying to figure out how to fit them all in.

I still say back at their clubs these so called superstars are surrounded by top continental talent who make them look better than they are and have managers who are used to winning. Southgate is not one of those managers. All he ever did was get Boro relegated.

He was an average player. A below-average club manager and the only reason he is the current England manager is because the FA ran out of options. They knew he wouldn't rock the boat and he's English. Which appears to be enough for a lot of fans in this country.

Mark Murphy
23 Posted 21/06/2024 at 13:57:47
“For the first time yesterday, even the talking heads started to question Southgate”

And you may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?

And you may say to yourself, My God, what have I done?

Barry Rathbone
24 Posted 21/06/2024 at 14:08:23
Frank Crewe @22,

Thanks for saving me the trouble it is exactly as you say. It happens at every tournament.

Sooner or later people are going to twig that English players removed from their foreign comrades aren't really as good as claimed.

Kieran Kinsella
25 Posted 21/06/2024 at 14:20:54
Why did Southgate bring Mainoo, Wharton etc if he is seemingly unwilling to play them? It reminds me of Sven with Walcott. If these guys aren't trusted to step on the field against modest opponents in the first round, would Southgate really decide to drop them in V Portugal, Germany etc? I doubt it. Which begs the obvious question: why bring them? If it is a matter of having someone "experienced" then he could have brought along his old favorites Dier & Henderson, not to mention all the attackers he excluded. He has dug a hole for himself by brining half a dozen players he is afraid to use so he has no options to change things up.
Tony Abrahams
26 Posted 21/06/2024 at 14:30:45
I started reading that link, Ian@10, but I got bored if I'm being honest mate.

My attention span isn't the best but having watched England live playing that semifinal at Wembley (in attendance) and then the final against Italy on the television, it was clear to me that, when England are under pressure, they never have anyone who might stretch the game.

Two defensive midfielders, and a forward who keeps coming towards the ball, simply won't work against the better teams, because it condenses the play in the middle of the park, and continental footballers, are usually better at the short game than the English, have ever been, imo.

There are definitely ways around this now with the current crop of players in the England squad but Southgate knows his back four isn't the strongest, so he seems to be concentrating on this rather than trying to get his very exciting and interchangeable players higher up the pitch and into the danger areas. That's how I see it, anyway.

Liam Mogan
27 Posted 21/06/2024 at 14:42:19
You only need to watch some of the smaller countries with less talented squads to realise that having a clear plan (whatever that may be), well-drilled players playing in their normal positions and a team ethic is vital in international football.

Southgate gets a lot of stick (often unfair - he was a penalty shoot out away from Euro victory) but this squad looks disjointed without any clear strategy or way of playing. You can watch most teams and see what their drilled patterns of play are or what they have worked on. This England seem under prepared and aimless. Exemplified by playing the world's most overated RB in CM.

Edward Rogers
28 Posted 21/06/2024 at 16:36:03
Mark (32),
They have to realise this is a 'Once in a lifetime ' moment, lose the next game and they're on the 'Road to nowhere '
( Mark 32. sounds like I'm about to recite something from the Bible)
Christy Ring
29 Posted 21/06/2024 at 18:04:57
England's performance against Iceland should have told Southgate he made a mistake with his team, tactics and squad. He should have brought Branthwaite, started him and used Stones as defensive midfielder, where he has played for City this season. He's not up to the job and never was.

Tom Bowers
30 Posted 21/06/2024 at 18:16:23
Southgate is what is wrong with England.

He has many class players at his disposal but always starts the wrong eleven.

A right back at left back and an average right back in midfield. It failed in the first game and he went for it again only to fail. Omitting Maddison and Grealish from the final squad was a big mistake and not starting Eze yesterday was a very poor decision. Only dreadful defending by Denmark allowed England to score and quite honestly Denmark deserved to win overall.

Obviously a win against tough Slovenia will get Southgate out of jail for the tie being but surely most will agree that winning against the likes of Germany or Spain doesn't seem on the cards right now.

Dave Cashen
31 Posted 21/06/2024 at 18:28:31
Thought I'd check in on Royal Ascot highlights between matches. The only thing Royal about it is the arse kicking the Irish are giving us.

Serious question; Is there a sport that we actually approach with expectation, excitement and flamboyance, or are we just a nation of arrogant, pompous,conservative fucks. Too frightened to lose. Even more frightened to win

Brian Harrison
32 Posted 21/06/2024 at 19:03:17
I wonder why no journalist asked him after the first game, why have you suddenly decided to play Alexander Arnold in midfield. He hardly picked him at right back and his club manager when asked about playing him in midfield said he is not a midfield player. He played Foden wide on the left, when he has performed brilliantly this season for City in the number 10 role. He has at his disposal probably the best midfield and forward squad we have ever had, apart from the 66 world cup squad. Yet uses not having Phillips or Henderson as an excuse, cant remember the last time Phillips played for England and Liverpool knew 12 months ago Henderson's legs had gone.

Then for Harry Kane who has been poor so far to say the team didnt understand how they were suppose to press, says everything about Southgate as a manager.

Anthony Hawkins
33 Posted 22/06/2024 at 09:02:10
I’ll never get why the England managers won’t make the difficult decisions to pick players based on their best positions and chose one player over another. This time around it’s Foden vs Bellingham. Previously it was Gerrard vs Lampard. Playing both means they either get in each others way or are played out of position when there are better players for that spot. It becomes detrimental to the whole team. The alternative is to play one and bring on the other as a direct replacement when they get tired. The shape remains the same and everyone knows what’s happening.
Bob Parrington
34 Posted 23/06/2024 at 05:40:21
There were just 2 shit performances in the game vs Denmark, IMO. One was the pitch itself, which was relatively dangerous in the way the turf ripped up so easily. The second was the entire England team except for Jordan. What an absolute load of crap. Timid, some lazy. I feel Bellingham should have been taken off during the first half as he looked like he didn't have the heart to continue.

Soi disappointing!

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
35 Posted 23/06/2024 at 06:42:32
Horribly sad injury news coming from the England hotel this morning.

TAA is fit to start on Tuesday.

Roger Helm
36 Posted 23/06/2024 at 13:25:59
I heard Southgate’s the next Eric Morecambe - listen Sunshine, I am picking all the right players. Not necessarily in the right positions.

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