06/07/2024 164comments  |  Jump to last

Jordan Pickford will contest his third semi-final in a major international tournament after his penalty save proved to be the critical difference that saw England past Switzerland in another dramatic penalty shoot-out at Euro 2024.

The Everton star got down well to block Manuel Akanji's opening penalty after the game itself had ended 1-1 in Düsseldorf. All five England players scored their spot-kicks, booking Gareth Southgate's much-maligned side a date with the Netherlands in the last four next Wednesday.

After 75 goalless and tightly-contested minutes, Switzerland had rocked England back on their heels with the first goal when a deflected cross fell to Breel Embolo in front of goal and he held off Kyle Walker to force it over the line from close range.

England were level within five minutes, though, as Bakayo Saka took advantage of Declan Rice's decoy run to whip a low shot in off the far post from the edge of the box to force extra time.

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Pickford was almost caught out by a wicked corner that looked as though it might sneak directly in but it smacked off the angle instead. He then made an important save to deny substitute Almoudin as penalties loomed, a strong-handed parry to push away the Burnley man's powerful drive. 

Playing in his fourth shoot-out for England, Pickford added to his tally of three saves when his pre-game preparation paid off and he correctly dived to his left to save Akanji's placed effort off a short run-up.

From there on, England's penalty takers showed uncharacteristic confidence, nerve and skill to shrug off the nation's previous failings in such pressure situations from the spot to score all five penalties against Yann Sommer, and progress to the semi-finals.

Pickford admitted afterwards that the referee's threats to book him for his gamesmanship between spot-kicks meant he couldn't go through his normal process of trying to break the concentration of his opponents but images of his water bottle with researched directives over how to approach each penalty taker demonstrated the edge he used to help England through.

In the last match of the quarter-final round, Ronald Koeman's Netherlands overcame a 1-0 deficit to score twice in the space of five minutes and dump spirited Turkey out of the competition. 


Reader Comments (164)

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Neil Copeland
1 Posted 06/07/2024 at 19:41:31
Fabulous penalties from England and Jordan Pickford doing what he does best.

Another hard slog but it’s the end result that matters.

Colin Glassar
2 Posted 06/07/2024 at 19:43:05
Chuffed for Pickford and Saka!!!
Billy Shears
3 Posted 06/07/2024 at 19:47:33
Pleased for Pickford and a great goal by Saka but a pretty poor game in general.

Let's hope for better in the next one!

Ian Pilkington
4 Posted 06/07/2024 at 19:50:57
Our second greatest goalkeeper in club history
Roger Helm
5 Posted 06/07/2024 at 19:53:13
Well played, Jordan.

He had no chance with their slightly fluky goal and he made what turned out to be the crucial save.

Dennis Stevens
6 Posted 06/07/2024 at 19:57:01
Better than Ted Sagar, Ian?
Brendan Fox
7 Posted 06/07/2024 at 20:02:23
Another penalty shootout and another save from Pickford, the BBC pundits wanking themselves off over Trent scoring the winning penalty but not giving Picks the credit for getting the team the advantage in the first place
Ed Prytherch
8 Posted 06/07/2024 at 20:09:28
Brendan, did you really expect anything else? I am only surprised that Joe Gomez did not come on.
Andrew Merrick
9 Posted 06/07/2024 at 20:09:53
Bloody hell, thought picks was moonlighting for Holland then, same strip...haha

Made up for a reorganised England, and Jordan in particular.

Just hope the manager takes some positives from giving his young guns a go...cmon

Ian Pilkington
10 Posted 06/07/2024 at 20:16:28
Dennis I go all the way back to Westy.
I remember standing on the Goodison Paddock 60 years ago listening the arl fellas reminiscing about the great days of Dixie and Tommy Lawton
Sagar was undoubtedly the greatest of his era, but he it was often mentioned that he was miserable bastard!
Alan Corken
11 Posted 06/07/2024 at 20:22:39
England haven't played a decent team and they have looked dreadful against the third-rate opposition they have so far faced.

And yet, because the way the draw has worked out, they are in the semi-final. It is possible that in this semi-final Southgate will be up against Koeman, a manager possibly even worse than he is himself. So a place in the final is a distinct possibility.

I guess a runners up medal isn't too bad for Bellingham, Trippier, Terence Trent D'arby (or whatever the kopite dickhead is called) and a most of the others in the England team, who, let's face it, really aren't up to the level required in top class international football.

Paul Greenly Jones
12 Posted 06/07/2024 at 20:57:00
How come every other player taking penalties is referred to by their surname, with ‘Trent' being the exception?? Who's blowing whom?
Mike Keating
13 Posted 06/07/2024 at 20:58:57
Dennis @6,

I was about to say the same – my aunty took me to a pub (The Blue Anchor?) and got Ted Sagar to sign a beer mat for me. Unfortunately, I lost it.

ps: I hope Koeman & Co get twatted tonight.

Jay Harris
14 Posted 06/07/2024 at 21:17:56
Brendan #7,

Totally agree. They're now interviewing TAA as the hero of the penalty shootout. No mention of Pickford nor the other penalty takers.

Jay Harris
15 Posted 06/07/2024 at 21:19:55
Now they're doing the same with Van Dijk.

“Brilliant in both boxes!”

OMG, when will they stop?

Alastair Donaldson
16 Posted 06/07/2024 at 21:45:34
It's Trent as the dumbass pundits can't manage the double-barrelled surname!!

Pickford was always going to get to one of them.

Hopefully the RS contingent in orange get mullered by Turkey.. now there's an exciting team.

Andy Crooks
17 Posted 06/07/2024 at 21:57:49
Throughout the match, the lamentable Shearer suggested that Pickford was hitting long balls entirely of his own volition, somehow thwarting Southgate's instructions.

He hates Jordan and it is obvious why.

Tom Bowers
18 Posted 06/07/2024 at 22:03:38
So woeful Southgate gets out of jail yet again.

Having (yet again) picked the wrong starting eleven, Southgate's faves struggled exactly the same way as previous games and still got a lifeline. He was forced to use his subs who rescued a desperate situation.

Surely the gods are with us and surely we will win this trophy with this hopeless manager.

Colin Glassar
19 Posted 06/07/2024 at 22:23:59
Alan 11, Plodders vs Cloggers?

Andy, Shearer is such a biased shithead. The other day, he was moaning about goalies trying to play it out and not trying to hit long balls over high defensive lines. But when the lad from Sunderland does it…

Rob Halligan
20 Posted 06/07/2024 at 22:39:17
Trent Arnold can fuck right off. I wouldn't cheer anything any of those Red Shite gobshites do for England.
Tom Bowers
21 Posted 06/07/2024 at 22:46:35
Pickford has done as expected and has proved his worth but England are toothless (like Everton) despite having Harry Kane.

In the next match, they may need a few more goals to get to the final and certainly against Spain or France if they make the final.

Personally, I would start Eze and Toney but Southgate will stubbornly stick to his problem eleven.

Mike Iddon
22 Posted 06/07/2024 at 22:49:53
Good to see all the England haters out in force. If they are so shite, why watch them? Yet everybody does and then comments…

To say Bellingham alone is not up to the top-class level of an international footballer is just stupid clickbait.

Hate him if you must, but Southgate has won more knockout games at tournaments than his 17 predecessors combined going back to 1966; that's how shit England really were previously.

Ian Jones
23 Posted 06/07/2024 at 22:51:53
I love the criticism of Gareth Southgate. He's in charge of a team that has now reached at least 3 semi-finals. Must be doing something right.

The tactics may seem strange and player selections not to everyone's liking but somehow the team plod on and get results.

If England were to actually get to and win the final, he'll become Sir Gareth Southgate.

Jerome Shields
24 Posted 06/07/2024 at 23:06:54
Ian #23,

A lot of the play in this competition reminds me of Dycheball. It is not impossible that England may win this competition and Pickford becomes a cult hero.

Jeff Armstrong
25 Posted 06/07/2024 at 23:06:56
England have done well in recent tournaments despite Southgate, not because of him.

He is a terrible manager: negative, no bottle, and defends what he has at the start of the game. He's a Moyes disciple and will never win anything.

Oh sorry… Moyes won the Europa Conference League — the 43rd competition he's led a team into.

Colin Glassar
26 Posted 06/07/2024 at 23:18:22
Spot on, Jeff. England are where they are despite Southgate, not thanks to him.

The second-half capitulations against Croatia (World Cup) and Italy (Euros) showed his mettle in crunch games. His team selections and negative tactics mean he's a very lucky man to have so many great young players at his disposal.

Neil Lawson
27 Posted 06/07/2024 at 23:18:39
Would you naysayers prefer that England played with style and pace, attacking relentlessly, creating chance after chance, coming up against a negative defensive team with a goalie on top form, suffering bad luck, bad refereeing, and dodgy VAR, and ultimately losing?

Yep. Me too. 😁

Michael Lynch
28 Posted 06/07/2024 at 23:22:34
If you google England Penalty Hero, it's Jordan Pickford's name that comes up the most. Sure, "Trent" gets a few mentions, but not as many as our Jordan.

In fact, the biggest "Trent" arse sucker is Gary Lineker, but it's a rare day that he doesn't make an utter twat of himself, so it's not surprising.

Rob Birks
29 Posted 06/07/2024 at 23:36:32

Can we please, as Toffees, stop calling him 'Trent'!!!

Please, please!

Sean Kearns
30 Posted 07/07/2024 at 00:08:25
I still stand by my observation that he costs us as many points as he saves us… and he's off his head… and he's a wool.

The shite clearance in the last round for England when he almost got lobbed was just sheer luck that it didn't go in. Would have been 2-0 and game over.

I also will never forget the derby years ago which I can never forgive him for…

On the other hand, without saving Maddison's penalty, we would have been relegated – I have no doubts about that!! I'd shake his hand if I met the fella, just for never giving up on us and saving Maddo's pen. But, if we sold him this window, I also wouldn't be assed…

Also TAA is a good local lad who is genuinely sound, and also happens to be world class imo. I'm as bitter a blue as the rest of you and I hope their plane goes down on the way to their first pre-season game, but we can call him Trent on here like.

Takes a good northern lad to score a winning penalty apparently!! Saka, Southgate, Pierce etc etc etc… puffs!!!

Brian Wilkinson
31 Posted 07/07/2024 at 00:18:37
Wonder what the media will say if Pickford saves a penalty against St Virgil in the semi-final?

Could there be anything sweeter than him mugging Van Dijk off and sticking it right up him? Red Shites would go into meltdown…

George Stuart
32 Posted 07/07/2024 at 00:33:05
Genius tactics on Southgate's part to have Saka score a genuine contender for best-ever England goal to take them through to a penalty shoot-out.

Rapps to Jordan for his part. He deserves all the plaudits.

Kieran Kinsella
33 Posted 07/07/2024 at 01:43:15
Weirdly one newspaper on here that we may not mention hailed Pickford as the hero.

The wrap-up on Fox US, owned by the same magnate, said “TAA seals the win after Swiss miss.” Miss? Pretty sure it was on target and stopped from reaching its destination.

I guess the English tabloid hates RS even more than Everton whereas Fox caters to the casual global fan.

Kieran Kinsella
34 Posted 07/07/2024 at 01:45:30
Hate to mention our last penalty shoot-out win was against Switzerland when Pickford was also the hero. Then our next match we lost to Koeman's Holland in the Nations League.

That said it's time we settled some scores with that blonde man, as Graham Taylor might say.

David Baxter
35 Posted 07/07/2024 at 01:52:16
Sean Kearns,

You hope the plane carrying the Liverpool team to their pre-season game goes down!!!! You are one sick man.

I suppose you also hope it crashes into a children's hospital. You should be barred from this site.

Ernie Baywood
36 Posted 07/07/2024 at 02:47:32
Interesting reading here. Our support on here largely defended safety-first Everton going on a long winless streak. Whereas safety-first England progressing to a semi-final is heavily criticised.

Personally, I think Southgate is all in on the idea that playing well means nothing when you've got the kind of quality that can win crap games. Make the games tight and back your players to come out on the better end of limited opportunities for both sides.

Huge gamble. I still think there's enough talent to win through performance and quality. The risk is that England will at some point go out with a whimper.

Derek Thomas
37 Posted 07/07/2024 at 04:04:55
There's a top 6 in Euro-footy, so if you get out of the quarters – where the real tournament starts – you're in 'credit' so to speak and somehow England and Southgate have done that, so fair play to them.

Kane though? Sometimes players' legs just 'go', I'm not sure if it's a documented 'thing' but I'm convinced it happens, either that or he's carrying a knock, which is down to Southgate who needs an arse kicking for playing favourites and only sending out 10 fit men.

All the credit for the Red Shite (it was a decently struck effort though) but not much for Pickford. Players are supposed to score penalties and keepers aren't supposed to save them – not the other way around. Nothing changes.

Ernie Baywood
38 Posted 07/07/2024 at 04:19:15
Pleased for Pickford, and pleased for everyone who scored their penalty. I don't think the bitterness over who gets the credit does Evertonians any favours. In fact, I find it completely embarrassing.

As for Kane, that was pretty dreadful. I don't buy that he's not getting the service – there were plenty of occasions where he was the obvious ball into feet but he was just stood still with his marker. And some of those low cut backs into the box from Saka were huge opportunities that he's simply not on the move for. There's something not right with him.

Jerome Shields
39 Posted 07/07/2024 at 04:41:02
Taking about managers, The Dutch have the potential players to organise themselves and win anything, but won't because of Koeman, who left a trail of devastation at club level.

Southgate with his Dycheball tactics has got England through most competitions. He is doing it again. Defensively, they are sound with the addition of Pickford, who is getting a lot of camera close-ups.

Southgate does have players who can finish. They even look better attacking than France and Portugal. Even Ronaldo missed like Calvert-Lewin when he got a chance. Southgate even has them at the French level taking penalties.

Hope I am wrong, but England could win this competition.

Pete Gunby
40 Posted 07/07/2024 at 05:38:18
Kane drops too deep and doesn't make runs to the front post.

He is not a hold-up target man and doesn't have the pace to run beyond anyone; however, he'll never get dropped.

Annika Herbert
41 Posted 07/07/2024 at 06:46:16
I am no lover of international football but, no matter how bad they are playing, I always want them to win. I will never understand English people hoping they don't win.

I understand our British rivals not wanting England to win and I have the same feelings towards their teams.

But I do agree Southgate is a terrible manager. With the kind of talent he has available, we should be performing much better.

Jerome Shields
42 Posted 07/07/2024 at 06:54:40
Annilka #43,

Just in case you are referring to me, I am Irish and proud of it.

Mal van Schaick
43 Posted 07/07/2024 at 07:00:27
Sometimes we don't appreciate what we have. Pickford has been loyal to Everton and served us well. Long may it continue.

I know that sometimes he makes mistakes and his distribution can be wild, but he has more than made up for it with fantastic saves keeping us in games and winning us games.

Colin Glassar
44 Posted 07/07/2024 at 07:00:36
Sean @30, uncalled for and bang out of order, mate. Rivalry is one thing but that is a horrible thing to say.
Robert Tressell
45 Posted 07/07/2024 at 07:23:01
Ernie, Kane does indeed look out of sorts. There must have been 3 or 4 decent balls across goal that he didn't attack. He is also coming very deep at times into an area where we already have 4 central midfield players.

Watkins would probably offer more with this set-up because he's the most mobile. It also shows what a hard job Calvert-Lewin is expected to do for us...

Jerome Shields
46 Posted 07/07/2024 at 07:50:52
Robert #47,

A good point on Calvert-Lewin. I have noticed in the attempt by France, Spain and England to play Dycheball, attacking players with reputations, including Ronaldo, guilty of weak basic attacking football skills that I accuse Calvert-Lewin of.

I also have upped my opinion of Pickford who, like Calvert-Lewin is under the intense scrutiny of these forums in a basket-case club, may be a lot better than we give him credit for.

Actually, Pickford is a player who is well experienced in the pressure cooker of being up against it and surviving at Everton. It probably suits him to be constantly living on the edge. I doubt Southgate has to talk to Pickford about motivation.

Dave Abrahams
47 Posted 07/07/2024 at 08:52:47
Let's be honest here: if Pickford didn't play for Everton, we wouldn't have this thread!
Christine Foster
48 Posted 07/07/2024 at 09:22:28
I woke up as the first half ended with the BBC saying how much better England had played, but I thought the second half was very poor: posession football without penetration, few chances, England the better side overall but the quality or watchability was not the best.

By far the penalties by England were superb and Pickford made his save look easy. But he got it right and that laid the ground for the win so he more than did his part (again).

But I was mystified as to the almost total acknowledgement by the commentators or the BBC (other than lip service) to his save and the adulation given to Saka and Arnold. Fair enough they did good but so did Pickford.

Anyway, a few singled him out for praise, but regardless it was like watching Everton concede the ground and get behind the ball playing sideways and back rather than forward. (Apparently, they didn't do that in the first half?) Kane was poor, Bellingham was not much better...

Semi-Finals... I confess I would like us to do it over the Dutch because of Koeman but taking nothing for granted; will he drop Kane?

Tony Abrahams
49 Posted 07/07/2024 at 09:59:44
No fear Ernie, is here!

Come on Ernie, enlighten us please mate, (because it’s obvious you know the game) and tell us how you would have used Everton’s squad last season?

Football is all about opinions and mine is that Embolo, looked a lot better than Harry Kane yesterday, and also contributed to his team’s overall system, a lot more than one of the most talented English players, I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch.

Harry Kane, could come alive and score the goals to take England to another European final, but he’s not doing his job at the minute, and it’s definitely affecting the players around him.

Start showing for the ball to feet, further up the pitch Harry, do your job and go and play centre forward, would be my advice to Southgate and his captain, right now!!! Because he would never drop his captain imo, Christine.

Rob Williamson
50 Posted 07/07/2024 at 10:18:36
Christine, you were lucky to have missed the first half.

When the pundits came on and said how much better England had played, I thought I'd been watching a different game. No pace, no movement up front and Kane constantly dropping back leaving no outlet up front and cluttering up the midfield.

Will Southgate drop him for the next game? Sorry, I was distracted as I was writing that by a pig flying past!

And, like others on here, I felt that Jordan's save was almost overlooked whereas, by saving the first penalty, he provided the basis for the next England penalty takers to approach their kicks with confidence.

Still, what do I know? I've only been watching the game for 60 years.

Steve Brown
51 Posted 07/07/2024 at 10:21:11
I read somewhere that Kane may be carrying a back injury, which might explain his lack of dynamism and mobility.

Saka skinned the left-wing back in the first half and put a great ball across the 6-yard box. Kane was level with Saka at the edge of the box, but jogged into the box and ended up 10 yards behind him when the cross came in. Saka was fantastic all game.

Honestly, the 3-4-3 formation made England look more comfortable but not more threatening. I wondered what game Lineker and Co were discussing at half-time? The eulogies for Foden, a player I love, were over the top.

Bringing in Cole Palmer and Ivan Toney or Ollie Watkins for Kane and Foden would make this team far more potent in attack. There is zero possibility Southgate will do that though.

Brian Harrison
52 Posted 07/07/2024 at 10:22:25
I think the old adage of "If you can't be good, be lucky" certainly applies to Southgate, as I can't think of any other countries at the Euros with anywhere near the attacking options Southgate has.

But of all his attacking options his decision to stick with his captain and main striker looks seriously flawed. I said a couple of weeks back that Kane didn't look fit, and when you look at his all-round game, something is sadly missing.

He wins few headers has lost the ability to hold the ball and he has never had much pace but he looks very laboured in everything he does. Only injury forced Southgate to remove him, and bring on Toney.

I don't wish any injury on Kane but it would certainly help our cause if he can't play against the Dutch on Wednesday. I personally would replace him with the pace of Watkins which would give our midfield players greater options.

Brian Williams
53 Posted 07/07/2024 at 10:29:06
Interesting reading here. Our support on here largely defended safety-first Everton going on a long winless streak. Whereas safety-first England progressing to a semi-final is heavily criticised.

Totally different circumstances, that's why.

England have at their disposal an array of talent better then they've had for years. Everton didn't.

England go out of the competition and meh! it's no huge thing, they can try again in the next competition. Everton being relegated (a distinct possibility for a fair chunk of last season) would have been a total and utter disaster.

Everton just didn't and don't have the talent that England have at their disposal. If you can't, or won't, see the difference look again.

Alastair Donaldson
54 Posted 07/07/2024 at 10:40:40
It seemed obvious to this writer where the problems were from Match 1 and the previous friendlies.

But in fairness to Southgate, fat boy Shaw would have started if he'd been fit and the left side would have been far more effective.

What I can't understand is how Foden can't use his left peg when he's on the left!?!

Kane did nothing at the last Euros, until he started scoring, but he's too heavy and slow for 90 minutes, save him for the next shootout and start Watkins.

Anyhow, to the thread, Pickford is an outstanding player with all the weird habits you might expect from a keeper but he does his prep, loved the water bottle! And he is always likely to save a penalty, so big credit to him.

Robert Tressell
55 Posted 07/07/2024 at 10:56:46
Independent assessment of squad quality by Transfermarkt:

England: 1st (most valuable squad in tournament at €1.5B)

Everton: 16th (or 5th worst in division €330M compared to City at €1.4B)

The 16th most valuable squad in the Euros is Poland. We are the equivalent of Poland, hence a more pragmatic style of play...

What Southgate is doing is the equivalent of Man City or Arsenal getting everyone behind the ball against the likes of Brentford and failing to carve out any decent chances.

As for Harry Kane, although he is out of sorts, the real issue is team set-up. At Spurs, he was supported by blistering pace of Son – and exceptional wing-play. At Bayern, he is supported by the blistering pace of Sane – and exceptional wing play. All of this creates space.

For England, there is no-one running in behind – and the wing play (apart from what Saka can carve out for himself) is hopeless. Hence Kane looks shocking.

Christy Ring
56 Posted 07/07/2024 at 11:02:44
Delighted for Pickford, but I will say England are in the semi-finals despite Southgate.

Why Kane was left on, and only off because of injury is unbelievable – is he the same as Ronaldo, can't be subbed?

Watkins upfront with his pace would bring England to the next level, but Southgate's tactics and substitutions could cost them.

Bob Parrington
57 Posted 07/07/2024 at 12:08:22
Surely the problem here is not the England players but is the manager. The manager with no imagination and no balls to drop or pull non-performing players.

Or, realising that certain players are not performing to their level of performance because another player (or players) are not playing properly to allow them to fit in.

Personally, I feel we look much better when the coach finally decides to introduce subs who should have been on from the get-go.

Watching the side play in this competition has been both boring and frustrating.

Dave Cashen
58 Posted 07/07/2024 at 12:08:55
Ernie, Yep.

Southgate is being murdered for his pragmatic safety-first football, but I agree with you 100%.

He's thinking make sure you don't lose and trust one of your brilliant players to settle it. Simple ?

Jose Mourinho has done it successfully for years. A former Everton manager wins the Champions League every 20 minutes by employing the same principle. There is more than one way to skin a cat. You do not have to be Pep Guardiola to be a winner.

I'm not suggesting for one minute that Southgate is in the same league as Jose or Carlo but, if you are going to copy an idea, you may as well copy from people who have been serial winners.

Southgate has some of the most gifted players in the world at his disposal. He believes if his team can keep it tight, one of them will produce a bit of magic to win the game. He thinks he can win the tournament sticking with this principle. So do I.

Robert Tressell
59 Posted 07/07/2024 at 12:23:06
Dave, that is fair enough - but another way of looking at it is that we have been exceptionally lucky to beat Slovenia and beat the Swiss by only 1 penalty - and will only now start to face teams of any real quality. When this has happened in previous tournaments we have lost.

I also disagree completely with your take on Mourinho's tactics. He certainly placed a focus on team / defensive structure but his teams at Porto, Chelsea and Real Madrid were also highly efficient attacking machines with excellent full-back play, pace, width and movement. It was absolutely not a case of blanket defence against much, much weaker sides and hope a superstar comes up with the goods.

Tom Bowers
60 Posted 07/07/2024 at 12:24:30
Southgate is winging it and has done for years but he's getting lucky and getting away with it.

He has a nucleus of brilliant players who, under his direction, are playing awful as a team.

Geoff Lambert
61 Posted 07/07/2024 at 12:26:34
David #35,

Well said, some right sick bastards on here.

Christy Ring
62 Posted 07/07/2024 at 12:42:07
Dave #58,

So equalising with 20 seconds left, and winning in extra time, and winning on penalties yesterday, is that safety first and sticking with principle?

Switzerland missed a sitter on 90 minutes when their player took the ball off the other player's head with the goal at his mercy, and as for having some of the most gifted players in the world, they haven't shown up yet.

England are in the semi-final having played poorly in every game so far, even their own fans were booing them before Bellingham's last-gasp equaliser. Southgate has been lucky, and his decisions so nearly cost them, and even mentioning Jose and Carlo… unreal.

Dave Cashen
63 Posted 07/07/2024 at 12:51:57
We all see things differently, Robert.

Jose has managed some truly world-class players. All-time greats even, but I don't remember any of his teams (or Carlo's for that matter) being lauded for their all-out attacking play. I think both are essentially counter-attack coaches.

Southgate hasn't pulled this off, but it is clearly his plan and, with possibly two games against better opposition who will come at his team, his players may well still endorse his plan and play their way to Glory.

I'm not a fan of Southgate. I feel he could make far more of this squad, but I do sympathise with his position. Slaps on the back and howling criticism are only ever a heartbeat apart for managers, but he has to contend with ex-players (failures), TV pundits (clueless), and 50 million people trying to second-guess every decision he makes.

I know, that's why he gets the big bucks, but his position is truly thankless. If he gets knocked out, the anger of an entire nation will rain down upon him. If England win the tournament, his detractors have already decided it will be in spite of him.

I'm not an England fanatic, it is not like we are talking about Everton, but this tournament has been a very welcome distraction for Evertonians from the turmoil which has engulfed our club recently. I don't just want England to win the thing… I believe they will.

Sean Kearns
64 Posted 07/07/2024 at 12:54:48
Dave at 35, who the bloody hell said anything about a children's hospital!!?!? For Christ's sake!!! Who even takes it to that level?!??

I was thinking into an empty field or off the runway... 'Kin 'ell lad!… Also, it's all jokes, btw – before anyone has an aneurysm in here… big softies!

Edward Rogers
65 Posted 07/07/2024 at 13:06:56
Of the four teams left, only Spain have looked better than England in my opinion. France have yet to score a "proper" goal and the Netherlands haven't impressed at all.

Good luck, Jordan, I hope you bring home a winner's medal.

Sean Kearns
66 Posted 07/07/2024 at 13:26:54
We all know keeping it tight at the back and nicking a goal is a very fruitful way of playing. A la us this season finishing 12th, Mourinho winning trophies, and the Italians for as long as anyone can remember.

But when we have a team full of superstars such as England currently do, it's a shame not to entertain and out-score an opponent… nobody remembers how one wins it though, they just see the name on the Trophy!!

Burnley went toe to toe and attacked teams all last season but went down quite convincingly, Give me Dyche-/Gareth-ball and 12th all day!!!

Ian Bennett
67 Posted 07/07/2024 at 13:52:54
Spain the most impressive. France and England yet to play well but, if they put in two decent performances, they'll win it.

They don't hand trophies out in the group stages, just ask Austria.

Danny O’Neill
68 Posted 07/07/2024 at 14:17:01
I'm with you, Dave Cashen. I've just never bought into the England thing.

I like international football, but I don't really follow it. I'm waiting for Everton's first friendly and I see now we're likely to play Roma pre-season.

I watched England yesterday with my brother and son, but left with about 20 minutes to go. I left them to it.

Mark Murphy
69 Posted 07/07/2024 at 14:42:05
I'm totally with Dave A on this. My only interest in England is how Pickford plays. I just cannot identify nor emotionally attach myself with the National side.

I'm interested – the same as I am with Murray in the tennis and Hamilton in the car racing – but it wouldn't make or break my weekend like an Everton result does.

On the other thing, as a mere wool, am I allowed to throw the kopites one by one into the Royal Blue Mersey or is that a privilege reserved for the Uber Mensch?

Andy Meighan
70 Posted 07/07/2024 at 14:47:34
I'm no England fan by any stretch, but I wanted them to win only to keep a bit of interest going.

But when that Arnold stepped up for that penalty, I was dying for him to blaze it.

That 'Trent' caper absolutely makes my piss boil, and as for that brain-dead Geordie maggot Shearer, well… words fail me.

Another dismal watch and if they do go through it'll be in spite of Southgate not because of him.

On another note, where was the world's best centre-back when Turkey's players were queuing up to head in?

Virgil, my fucking arse.

Bobby Mallon
71 Posted 07/07/2024 at 15:17:36
I just don't get why people don't care about the national team in football or any other sport.

I want all English teams to win in whatever sport it is.

Stan Grace
72 Posted 07/07/2024 at 15:34:14
Mark #69,

"On the other thing, as a mere wool, am I allowed to throw the Kopites one by one into the Royal Blue Mersey or is that a privilege reserved for the Uber Mensch?"

You are, Mark, but being a wool, we'd have to throw you in afterwards.

Gerry Quinn
73 Posted 07/07/2024 at 15:36:39
Bobby, there were quite a few issues when England won the World Cup in 1966 – especially from those who watched all the matches at Goodison and Old Trafford... what the English have called "cheating" when it was played in Argentine and Mexico.

Having watched Portugal (Eusebio), Brazil (Pele, Garrincha) it was obvious to all scousers and Mancs that they were the best teams in that cup... only for the Semi-Final, Portugal v Engerlund, to be switched from Goodison to Wembley for "Safety" reasons – my chuffing arse!

I have never been so angry and felt so cheated that, at the age of 15, I refused to support Inger-bloody-lund again... cheating its way home.

Mark Murphy
74 Posted 07/07/2024 at 15:36:54
Hahaha - nice one Stan!
Congrats on being scouse by the way….
Bobby Mallon
75 Posted 07/07/2024 at 15:43:10
On the plus side, Gerry, I have all the tickets for all the World Cup games at Goodison in 1966.

My dad went to every game and got the quarter-final ticket signed by at the time England and Fulham captain Johnny Haynes. I think he broke his leg before the World Cup.

Gerry Quinn
76 Posted 07/07/2024 at 15:48:14
Yep, my brother and dad worked for Arrowsmith Tours (was in Bold Street) and had ordered 4 sets of the 6 match tickets for a Mexican group.

When Mexico were drawn elsewhere, our family got hold of them and we attended every one of those games in the Gwladys Street stand – and in front of us were St John, Hunt, Yeats and all the other RS players – which was the 2nd thing that pissed me off with that World Cup!

Stan Grace
77 Posted 07/07/2024 at 16:07:25
I'd probably have to throw myself in afterwards, Mark, as I haven't lived in Liverpool since the early 90s.
Shane Corcoran
78 Posted 07/07/2024 at 16:56:29
Love the biased headline. I know we all love bias.
Mark Murphy
79 Posted 07/07/2024 at 16:57:27
It never leaves you, Stan.

A mate of mine left Liverpool in the 70's and his accent is stronger these days than “just an ordinary lad from Liverpool” himself, John Bishop….

My wife says I go all “ee bah gum” every time I phone our mam!

James Hughes
80 Posted 07/07/2024 at 17:54:51
Everyone moaning about the poor performances from England has a point. The game as we knew it has gone and all teams play low-risk football. Dycheball if you want.

Spain are the exception as they play the same manner but in the opposition half of the pitch. England mess about in their own half

We need to look at the fact England now have the third semi final in the past four tournaments.

I think we had to wait 24 years until Italia '90 when we got to a semi-final. Then we did not qualify for USA 1994 due to our mate Koeman being a twat.

I used to love watching England but can't be arsed these days. I blame Sven & Capello.

However if we could stick it to golf playing, red bauble Xmas tree, "Everone knows Barca is my club" — fucking useless twat, then I may be happy.

Gerry Quinn
81 Posted 07/07/2024 at 17:59:57
All of my baubles are blue on my 8ft tree, James!
Gerry Quinn
82 Posted 07/07/2024 at 18:13:10
Mark, not sure my accent was that strong but must have been as it was noticeable in Southampton where I worked for 3 years (1968-71).

When I went back 10 years ago to watch the Everton v Man Utd game (their manager Moyes's sacking followed), my wife giggled as some of my sentences were super-scouse tainted deliberately so as not to sound "foreign"!!!

Colin Glassar
83 Posted 07/07/2024 at 18:31:54
Bobby 71,

I agree but we get the same people on all the time saying they don't care about England but don't miss a chance to repeat the same thing after every England game.

I want Everton to do the quadruple and England to win the World Cup and Euros.

Danny O’Neill
84 Posted 07/07/2024 at 18:33:20
On the accent thing, I've always had a softer Scouse accent.

A combination of spending so much time away and also coming from the south of the city. You can tell the difference with those from the north of the city, where it is a lot stronger.

It's funny though, whenever I went home or went to watch Everton, she used to tell me off for sounding like "Sammy scouser"!!!

Gerry Quinn
85 Posted 07/07/2024 at 18:48:11
Not sure my accent in the "north" of Liverpool was stronger, but then we always considered, and still do, that Crosby was designated as the "posh slums"
Kieran Kinsella
86 Posted 07/07/2024 at 19:01:43

It is a bit of a strange pastime to repeatedly enter discussions just to announce you're not interested in them.

I wonder if these folks do the same on other random sites they have zero interest in?

Mark Murphy
87 Posted 07/07/2024 at 19:10:44
Gerry, I live in Horsham, West Sussex, and am frequently labelled a scouser. I get all the “bants”.

Sometimes I correct them as to my “ethnicity” in which case the comeback is always, “Northern – same thing”. Then when I go the game, I am frequently (too frequently which is why I'm thin-skinned about it) called a wool, asked what it's got to do with me when I voice an opinion, and told to support Man Utd.

I just can't win. But even if some of you proper blues don't think I'm worthy, I'll support the Blues for as long as I can shout “Come on, Everton, these are fookin shite these!” By eck as like.

Stan Grace
88 Posted 07/07/2024 at 19:28:01
Gerry #81,

"All of my baubles are blue on my 8ft tree".

No need to brag, Gerry. Especially that you've got more than two baubles.

Danny O’Neill
89 Posted 07/07/2024 at 20:30:11
Mark go and wash your mouth out.

You are as proper a blue as anyone I know. We all are regardless of where we come from or live. Blue family.

Danny O’Neill
90 Posted 07/07/2024 at 20:42:38

For some reason, my wife used to let me have a blue and white decorated Christmas Tree.

We have a wooden reindeer that wears an Everton bauble. He's called Bluedolph!

Paul Washington
91 Posted 07/07/2024 at 21:24:49
Did anybody seriously expect any praise for Jordan?

I heard Shearer on the radio this morning lauding the 5 penalty takers, the first 4 by surname, then "Trent", and no mention of Jordan’s save.

Mike Doyle
92 Posted 07/07/2024 at 21:28:33
Mark (87), Don't feel victimised.

Despite being a scouser, 40 years of living in the south has softened my accent to the point where, a couple of years ago, when visiting the Childwall 5 Ways pub in Liverpool (my regular pub in my late teens) the barmaid asked me which part of London I came from.

Roger Helm
93 Posted 07/07/2024 at 22:20:23
Can't stand John Bishop, Mark.

Saw him twice at the Edinburgh Fringe, first time in a small room when he was a normal comedian, and quite good, second time a few years later in a big venue where his Scouse accent had somehow got much thicker.

His jokes weren't that good and twenty minutes of the sixty was a video of him playing for Liverpool at Anfield in a pro-celebrity football match! I wanted to demand a third of the ticket price back, but my wife wouldn't let me.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
94 Posted 07/07/2024 at 22:42:09
Roger just a third??????
Ernie Baywood
95 Posted 07/07/2024 at 23:00:38
Robert, the values don't mean quite as much at international level. These aren't teams assembled by transfer fees, you get what your nation has produced. Not to any particular style of play, not within a preferred formation.

If Switzerland are a second-tier team in international football, their key players don't get bought by a first-tier nation. The competition is very different.

But even accepting that England generally has better players...

I'm not convinced that defensive and conservative necessarily works better for lesser teams. It's not a golden rule of football and it comes down to far more than that. Plenty of lesser teams had more success by 'having a go'. Plenty of bigger teams do better by taking the Southgate approach.

This idea that Dyche had lesser players so should go all out defence, while Southgate has better players so should be sweeping all in front of them has no basis at all. This isn't a supercomputer simulation.

I actually think they took a similar approach for the very same reasons.

Dyche figured that if we generally kept things tight and got no more or less than the sum of our parts, then we should outperform the lesser lights in the league. After all, we do have a squad assembled with multiples of the wages spent by the teams that went down.

I think Southgate does similar in the knowledge that a low-risk strategy should get England past smaller footballing nations and to the quarters, which is enough to get them in the hunt... and then the rest is game by game with very fine margins. He then squeaked them through to the semis. At this point, they really could win it.

Tom Bowers
96 Posted 07/07/2024 at 23:22:37
Football should be re-named Keepball because that is exactly what it's become.

Most inferior teams play the same way as the superior teams with one major difference: they cough up the ball too often and too often in their own half.

Unless you are watching teams like Man City, the games are relatively boring exercises in 5-yard passes sideways and backwards.

Worldwide television etc has contributed to the way the game has changed with big money ruling the roost for those teams that are successful.

Ernie Baywood
97 Posted 08/07/2024 at 00:18:52
Tom, personally I don't find Man City that interesting to watch either. There's nothing better to watch than direct football in my opinion.

I just think the analytics side of the game has changed things. It's been developing for a long time (since that long ball guy) and now we've got teams playing to a blueprint. The equivalent of a counting cards system rather than playing on gut feel. More successful, but most would say less enjoyable.

England are in a position where the odds are in their favour before they start, so they can afford to play the percentages.

In terms of finishing in the top half, the odds are against Everton so we would need to gamble to have a chance - but the odds are in our favour in terms of not finishing in the bottom 3. The latter is probably going to guide this next season again.

In my view both are a bit cowardly. I'm a football supporter, not a statistician.

Don Alexander
98 Posted 08/07/2024 at 03:45:39
Danny (#90), you know full well why she allowed you such a Crimbo tree!

She loved you, even though you're a dickhead on occasion.

My missus for some bizarre reason tells me she recognises the condition....... go figure, it's beyond me.

Moving on to the enjoyability of the Euros and especially Ingurland's, erm, "performance", right now I can honestly say I'd prefer to watch two hours of Morris dancing whilst the rain drenches me.


Danny O’Neill
99 Posted 08/07/2024 at 06:10:26

You've now given me an image!

It's been dull watching England and they'll have to up their game against the Dutch.

Just to put a thought back in your head, I have leder hosen, braces and a Bavarian hat!

I like your wife's description of Everton being a condition. It is. It is incurable.

Geoff Trenner
100 Posted 08/07/2024 at 06:17:48
Really interesting and positive article in today's Guardian about Pickford's performance in the penalty shoot-out.

(I know The Guardian is an awful rag generally but the football coverage can be good.)

Paul Ferry
101 Posted 08/07/2024 at 07:05:42
Andy Meighan 70 - I'm no England fan by any stretch, but I wanted them to win only to keep a bit of interest going.

Sums it up perfectly for me.

Geoff T - and many others - I've always respected your posts Geoff, but this anti-Guardian ideology, for that is what it is, is absurd.

The Guardian and its writers are in no shape or form "anti-Everton". The Jordan article is no surprise to me at all. The clear majority of Guardian articles on our state of affairs have been realistic and often empathetic and accurate in how we got to where we are. And extremely critical of the North Wharf Road crew.

The cast of footy writers is better than any other rag. Unless, Geoff and others who trail this track, can show me a better line up.

Jonathan Liew might well be the best. But he might well embody some of the stereotypical features that seem to turn more than a few against Ken Barlow's rag instinctively: literary prowess, literary metaphors, sharp senses of contemporary and recent culture, highly educated, prosaic, mixing our footy with other aspects of the lived life.

But, then again, some people by dint of nature, don't like The Guardian, because it's Ken Barlow's rag, lefty, is nearly always on the right side of geopolitics and the environment, has a hefty cultural supplement, and is the sister of The Observer.

Remember, The Manchester Guardian. It's not all Islington, although I do really enjoy a summer in three in Islington.

Tony Abrahams
102 Posted 08/07/2024 at 08:11:47
Try and get the Bielsa video where he describes modern football perfectly imo.

I say 'modern football', but I think it's been a cautious sport from as far back as I remember, especially at international level, because off the top of my head, I can only genuinely remember a few teams that have really entertained us and also won.

I think the European dominance has been built on cautious play, and that's what we mostly watch now.

Paul Ferry
103 Posted 08/07/2024 at 08:14:07
Tony A,

"I can only genuinely remember a few teams that have really entertained us and also won."

Come on Grandad, who are they?

Bob Parrington
104 Posted 08/07/2024 at 08:46:50
Everton in Rotterdam vs Rapid for starters!
Ernie Baywood
105 Posted 08/07/2024 at 08:48:11
I'm not convinced any team in my years of watching has swashbuckled their way through the Euros. I just looked through the list of winners and they all remind me of teams who scraped through at times.

Plenty got an 'easy draw' too. Typically by winning their group while others failed. Incredible that teams keep getting lucky in that way isn't it?

The criticism of England's performance is somewhat justified, but nowhere near the extent it's being expressed. I'm still convinced that it's social media, clickbait articles and globalisation of the sport's fanbase that have changed rather than the actual entertainment value. The great entertainers don't usually win.

Brian Harrison
106 Posted 08/07/2024 at 09:02:08
I don't know why but, watching the Euros, it’s quite noticeable how reluctant teams are to put crosses into the box, yet most of the goals in this tournament have been with crosses into the box.

Only when a side is losing and time is running out that they all then put in as many crosses as they can, so obviously if they feel its the best way of scoring, why not do it from minute 1?

Bob Parrington
107 Posted 08/07/2024 at 09:02:38
Ernie, the reality is that the team has not played to anywhere near the standard that was expected with the 'supposed quality' of the players at Southgate's availability. It is Southgate that has to take the responsibility.

His substitutions have shown how members of the squad can play and have created a turnaround in the games. But he has some brain fade when it comes to keeping underperforming players in the starting line-up. Sir Harry Kane looks totally unfit and even Jude looks out of place at times.

The supporters have every right to be frustrated. For me, born on Merseyside and been a blue since 1953 (5 years old) but living in Australia for the past 28 years, I still passionately want England to win, as Bobby M says, in each and every sport (except vs Australia).

So, semi and final to go. Pick up your game, England. You can do it!

When you sing the National Anthem prior to the game, for fuck's sake sing it with gusto (showing that you actually do know the words) and show you are truly proud of your country. This should boost your adrenaline for the kick-off!

Mark Murphy
108 Posted 08/07/2024 at 09:05:52
Mike, I recognise that scenario. I was in the Junction Inn, a soulless shithole just 500 yards from where I was born and dragged up. I was approached by a particularly dodgy looking lad who demanded “giv us a figgy”. I replied that I don't smoke and he went all “ooo lahdy dah gunner Graham” on me asking where I was from! The nob (no K).

ps: John Bishop is shite and as scouse as I am - I was being ironic…

Geoff Trenner
109 Posted 08/07/2024 at 09:08:37
Paul @101.

I did say that The Guardian football coverage can be good and I made no mention of it being anti-Everton.

Part of my dislike of The Guardian more generally is certainly its political stance, diametrically opposed to my own, but I read it every day for precisely that reason. John Harris is an intelligent and thoughtful writer who I disagree with but respect, Polly Toynbee and Owen Jones on the other hand are just clickbait writers.

The Express and Telegraph also have good football coverage but are more generally jingoistic right-wing rags.

Neil Cox
110 Posted 08/07/2024 at 09:09:47
Mark @87.

Born in Sussex and grew up in Horsham, and now live in Horley. I started supporting Everton in ‘79 after I met my dad's scouse friend he regularly had a pint with.

I dont get to Goodison much and last saw us play at Palace last November. Always conscious I'm going to be seen as a dodgy southerner by travelling blues…

Mark Murphy
111 Posted 08/07/2024 at 09:16:00
Nice to meet you, Neil.

Ironically, my youngest son was welcomed with open arms by the scousers at West Ham the season before last. They thought it was brilliant that someone with a posh accent used the word “shite”.

I, on the other hand, at the same game, was told to fcuk off and support Man Utd.

You'll be fine, mate – you're not a wool.

Neil Cox
112 Posted 08/07/2024 at 09:21:34
Thanks Mark, all the Blues I meet are sound.

It's more about me wondering if I'm genuine or not. 😀

Dave Abrahams
113 Posted 08/07/2024 at 09:41:08
Neil (112),

As long as you are always being yourself, you have nothing to worry about. You seem very genuine to me.

Tony Abrahams
114 Posted 08/07/2024 at 09:59:59
The French team with Plattini, Giresse and Tigana, was one such team, (did they win it?) and the Danish team, that got there through default was another such team.

The World Cup, I can't really remember anyone? Maradona's brilliance in1986, I thought the Germteam that won with Lothar Matias, was definitely the best team, when they won, but I think the European model was started by those very cagey Italians in 1982.

They limped through the group stages, but then played some unbelievably good, counter-attacking football after this, after Paulo Rossi, came alive, and although Brazil, were very exciting, they never had a centre-forward, and this is something that most winning teams have, or at least used to have?

Danny O’Neill
115 Posted 08/07/2024 at 10:05:57
Neil your'e as genuine a blue as all of us.
Mark Murphy
116 Posted 08/07/2024 at 10:43:11
I don't recall the Danes being that entertaining. Tony.

The Spanish played decent stuff when they won it and I may be confusing the tournaments but didn't the Dutch play some cracking stuff too?

This time round it's been great to see the “unfancied” teams go hell for leather and “sin miedo” but they've all gone now so perhaps the big guns cautious approach is the way to win the cup, but not friends.

Obviously, although it won't bother me if we don't, I want England to win but I'd almost as much want Spain to win as I think they play just the right mix of attacking and defensive.

Robert Tressell
117 Posted 08/07/2024 at 10:53:54
As in club football relatively few conventional strikers in the tournament, Tony.

However, I think that the obsession with possession and more modern versatile forwards like Havertz is making teams more blunt in attack. In many respects they are over-complicating it and making it easier to defend against.

Personally I think Germany looked far better with Fullkrug making himself a handful and a threat from crosses. Similar with the Dutch and Weghorst.

The key thing (unlike England) is to make sure the wing-play is good and there are runners in behind to support the conventional striker.

Tony Waring
118 Posted 08/07/2024 at 11:06:24
I hope England win it but must confess that the most watchable team is Spain. They actually attack! Isn't that what football is all about... or at least supposed to be?

I enjoyed watching the Turks as well. They respected no one and just got on with the game!

Kane appears well off the pace and should be dropped and Watkins and/or Toney given a chance. Gripe over.

Pardon my ignorance but what is a "wool"? I'm Liverpool - well Everton - born and bred but I've never heard the expression before.

Gerry Quinn
119 Posted 08/07/2024 at 11:10:07
A wool is somebody from Wales – a sheep!
Mark Murphy
120 Posted 08/07/2024 at 11:49:29
Tony, it's a derisive term, shortened from 'Woolyback', used by scousers to sneer at anyone born beyond Huyton and Roby, the most hated being St Helensers. it would seem.

The origins (allegedly) are from the protective fleeces worn on the backs of dockers brought in by workers from outside the city when the local dockers went on strike but there is some uncertainty about that as even the locals wore those. (They protected the men's backs when carrying sacks of coal, etc.)

I think most scousers assume it means the same as 'sheep shaggers'.

These days, basically anyone with a different accent who happens to disagree with the scouser's own views on the team or a player is invariably dismissed as a wool.

Mostly I take it as banter, but not when it's being inferred that I'm somehow not a proper Blue just cos I don't roll my rrrrs and talk through my nasal passage…


Danny O’Neill
121 Posted 08/07/2024 at 12:38:51
Tony, you've reminded me of that Danish team. I watched that match on a ferry on the way back home from Germany.

Platini was a great footballer. Sad that even though he got cleared, he was tainted by scandal.

Raymond Fox
122 Posted 08/07/2024 at 12:59:43
Mark @ 120, you've really blown a fuse there.

I'm from Wigan, your arch-enemy, I know you support your home town rugby team as well as Everton. Wigan are just about winning the arm-wrestle recently.

I've supported Everton since 1970 and I too don't want some young dick telling me I'm not a real supporter, bloody cheek.
I don't know if scoucers are particularly proud of their Irish ancestry but most Lancashire people have Irish blood in them, I know I have on both sides of my family.

It used to be said that there were more Irish in Wigan when I was young than in Liverpool, I dare say St Helens wouldn't be much different.

Ed Prytherch
123 Posted 08/07/2024 at 13:04:38
Woolyback overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina is evidence that the original settlers in the area where scousers.
Ian Pilkington
124 Posted 08/07/2024 at 13:10:21
Mark @120,

Like you, I laugh at being called a Woolly but I tell Scousers that I was born 15 miles west of Goodison and that my mother came from Walton, 800 yards away. I do resent being called a Manc though because my accent bears no resemblance to theirs.

EFC was the nearest League club to my home village and, like many locals, I would have supported them without being half Scouse. Living since marriage a further 13 miles west I am surrounded by Bolton and Preston fans.

Finally, a message to all Scousers: Liverpool remains in the proud historic County of Lancaster. Don't forget it!

Danny O’Neill
125 Posted 08/07/2024 at 13:29:30
It's an interesting debate. I was born and come from Liverpool. We have the West Country Blues and supporters all over the globe who tune in religiously. I've sat next to Evertonians from London and Milton Keynes. Who cares where they come from? You are all the same as me.

By the way, I hate the phrase “wool”.

I've often said, sometimes Liverpool has often been quite insular looking. Tell Jamie Carragher he's not a scouser. Peter Reid. Because they don't come from within the city boundaries.

It's a lot better now with the City Region. Just for Mark, St Helens is Merseyside!!

Brent Stephens
126 Posted 08/07/2024 at 13:40:46
Ian #124,

"I tell Scousers that I was born 15 miles west of Goodison."

15 miles west of Goodison? I bet they certainly wet the baby's head that day.

Rob Halligan
127 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:04:56
Tell Liverpool fans they’re not from Liverpool, and 99% of them will agree with you!
Mark Murphy
128 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:05:39
I get you, Brent.

Personally I was born 12 miles (by car) east of Goodison Park.

Ernie Baywood
129 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:07:49
Bob, I'm similar to you. Spent half my life in Merseyside, half in Australia. I'm one of those wools born a bit under 3 miles from Liverpool.

There's no doubt England are underperforming compared to what this group of players could be, but I think that's true of every international team. You don't get cohesive national teams. No-one designs them, builds them, or spends enough time with them.

The crucial bit is getting to this point. For most of my life, England have performed bravely but gone out. Often against teams that were put under a lot of pressure but won through discipline and key moments of quality.

In the late '90s, I became resigned to not seeing an England trophy win in my lifetime. The English way of playing wasn't going to produce the type of players that could succeed and anyone with the kind of technique we wanted was coming from overseas to play in our domestic league.

Fast-forward and we've moved on. We've got incredibly gifted, highly technical footballers throughout the side. We keep getting to semi-finals... at some point, we'll win. I don't even really doubt it.

I don't get the clamour for England to win or lose in a blaze of glory. With the quality in that side, they don't necessarily need to take that many risks. I wonder how much we actually took pride in the blaze of glory stuff? Kind of like addicts being addicted to punishing themselves.

Jack Convery
130 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:10:59
It looks like Jordan will be in for a hot reception from the Orange Army on Wednesday. Dutch media stoking the fire again. Saying he's the most disliked player in the England squad, a nutter, mad and bringing up (yawn) once again St Virgil's sainted knee and Jordan's attempt to rip it open and feed on the contents during a derby match at Goodison.

Oh that a goalie should charge out to block an opponent about to get to the ball feet from the goal. That knee was probably injured before that incident. That's maybe, why he was so angry because he was playing with it, when he should have been resting it.

Remember he got tonked by Watkins and Villa the week before – 7-2 – he didn't look fit in that game. Stuff 'em, England. Jordan expects you to do your duty.

Tony Abrahams
131 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:15:02
I was born about two miles from the pier head, in Everton. 💙
Rob Halligan
132 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:18:30
Jack, Jordan can laugh in the face of 50K skunk maggots whenever we play up there, so I’m sure a few thousand tango’d Dutch won’t bother him!


Danny O’Neill
133 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:20:54
I don't know far away from Goodison, but I was born in the old Sefton General on Smithdown Road.

It doesn't matter to me where Evertonians come from. I converted my poor friend decades ago. He's from Warwick and he's passed it onto his kids. My fault.

I've mentioned this before, but Rob, you'll like this. I was at a derby at Anfield years ago, sat amongst Lucifer's Children. We won and the Irish Kopite next to me started lecturing me on how I should think about supporting my city!! We had a few choice words, but his young son was with him, so I kept it decent.

I think that's why my sister doesn't trust me anymore!!!

Rob Halligan
134 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:27:59
Danny, I too was born in Sefton General Hospital, and lived almost opposite the hospital in Granville Road.

My gran was a nurse in the hospital, so I was always guaranteed immediate attention whenever I was rushed there. From swallowing half a bottle of aspirin, jamming my fingers in the bathroom door, and falling off the outside toilet roof into the back jigger, my gran was always on standby as I was rushed the few hundred yards to the A & E!! Great days!

Jack Convery
135 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:38:24
Rob @132. I don't think it will phase him one bit but this incessant whinging about St Virgil and the Sacred Knee!!

I would like to point out that I was conceived on the Centre Circle of Goodison Park after a night match. So was my father, father's father and my father's, father's father.

My Great, great, greant, great grandmother slept with the EFC Captain when they celebrated leaving Mordor resulting in my father's, father's, father's, father's arrival. If that doesn't make me a Blue and not a woollyback, I don't know what would. Try telling that to your kids and they won't believe it!

ps: I was born in Mill Road, stamped royal blue and bloody proud of it.

Don Harris
136 Posted 08/07/2024 at 14:57:06
Agree with David Baxter (35) re Sean Kearns's abhorant comment about LFC. Lad, you sound just like one of those Kopites who bay joyfully about the Man Utd '50s tragedy.

Some of the analysis and articles on this site are brilliant. Yours made me feel sick – still, I'm an old lad who was first entranced by Goodison in 1960, so I am out of kilter with your sort of 'utterance'.

Kearns's 'comment' should preclude him from any further discussion on this site. Moderators – ban him now.

Ray Robinson
137 Posted 08/07/2024 at 15:02:44
Also born in the old Sefton General and lived on Smithdown Lane.

But I have lived outside the city for 50 years now, the majority of that time in Warrington. Am I therefore considered to be a woollyback?

Colin Callaghan
138 Posted 08/07/2024 at 15:05:14
Please don't ban anyone for their words.

From Philadelphia myself and have been following every since Joe-Max Moore. I was able to get to Goodison once vs Crystal Palace last year.

Mark Murphy
139 Posted 08/07/2024 at 15:36:38
Actually, I just checked my birth certificate. I was born in Whiston Hospital.

Does that count?? Surely it's as close as Speke? 😬

Tony Waring
140 Posted 08/07/2024 at 15:49:04
Thanks for all the info chaps. Actually shortly after I posted, it dawned on me that the full title was "woollyback". Should have realised it sooner!

I was born in Oxford Street - in the "ossie" of course not on the pavement, so I guess that makes me a scouser though I've lived in Devon these past 27 years.

Just hope I last until the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is open... and I can get a ticket!

Rob Halligan
141 Posted 08/07/2024 at 16:12:03

Whiston is in the borough of Knowsley, same as Huyton, Kirkby and Prescot, so I guess you qualify as a Scouser.

Welcome to the club!!

Paul Washington
142 Posted 08/07/2024 at 16:12:25
Ray #137,

I also have lived out of the city 55 years, moved out aged 7 to the overspill estates in Hough Green, Widnes.

I get the "Wool" stuff from family who are still in the city!!!

Jamie Crowley
143 Posted 08/07/2024 at 16:33:15
I was born 3,119 miles west of Liverpool.

Does that count? Or am I pushing it a bit?

Neil Lawson
144 Posted 08/07/2024 at 16:41:02
Ernie 129.

What you say makes perfect sense. However, the joy of winning is enhanced by the excitement of the journey getting to that point.

Sitting unemotionally and impassively in front of the tele (including in a pub in Cornwall) and struggling to stay awake in front of my own tele in Devon watching the dross served up does not generate any excitement or nervousness.

I hope that England win but, unless there is a sea change in approach on Wednesday (and Sunday), I will be pleased but not jumping up and down with joy. If they lose, then move on to the next big summer sporting event and not be disappointed because you get what you deserve.

ps: Born in Waterloo. Educated in Crosby. Qualified in City centre. Emigrated to Devon 1980.

Derek Knox
145 Posted 08/07/2024 at 16:44:57
Jamie @ 143, Shit man, you are one mile out! :-)

Hey seriously, as Danny says it doesn't matter where we live, were born etc, we are all part of the Blue Family, long may it continue!

Tony Abrahams
146 Posted 08/07/2024 at 16:53:07
With the quality in the side, England don't have to necessarily take that many risks, Ernie @129.

But then you think about the quality in the Everton squad, then one can only assume that Dyche is ultra-negative!

Mike Gaynes
148 Posted 08/07/2024 at 17:23:21
I've got you beat, Jamie. 3,779 miles from Chicago to Liverpool.

Or 3,693 miles from Columbus, where I was living when I was "born" as a Blue 39 years ago.

Neil Cox
149 Posted 08/07/2024 at 17:23:42
Cheers fellas. It always surprises me how far and wide Blues are found!
Barry Rathbone
150 Posted 08/07/2024 at 17:50:14
Born in Kirkdale, brought up in Walton, educated about a mile from Goodison, I'm about as anti "wool" as they come and I can't abide the term.

Sneering Scouse at its most obnoxious.

Paul Ferry
151 Posted 08/07/2024 at 17:52:30
I appreciate the reply, Geoff (109).

Sorry, I didn't make it clear that I was talking generically about the anti-Guardian voice rather than singling you out.

Kudos, for appreciating writing in a place that is not your politics. Not many do that!

Mike Gaynes
152 Posted 08/07/2024 at 18:24:49
Geoff and Paul, I happen to love the Guardian's football coverage, and there's a magnificent example of it today that every US-based fan will enjoy.

Aaron Timms's takedown of the hideous Fox Soccer coverage is a vicious work of art. Do not miss it:

In a scary world, the calamity of Fox Sports' soccer coverage offers a strange calm

Paul Ferry
153 Posted 08/07/2024 at 19:38:09
I loved that piece in The Guardian by Aaron Timms Mike. Everyone on the other side of the ocean should read it to see what we have to put up with.

Just to mention a few gems from a smart, dry, and dead witty column:

On Ian Darke: "America's most boring man, a commentator so aggressively dull he could have made the storming of the Bastille sound like a trip to the grocery store".

"Also in Germany for the duration of the Euros is Tom Rinaldi, who's been unleashed on Europe to make the old continent pay for its sins in a kind of reverse Marshall plan".

On Landon Donovan, who I have come to hate, who on the darkest of days teams up with Darke for two hours of ... words fail me: "The Covid pandemic will be nothing next to the mass extinction event likely once this man is set loose on a World Cup on home soil."

Kieran Kinsella
154 Posted 08/07/2024 at 19:47:33
Mike and Paul

In response to that on behalf of Landon Donovan, I'll use the phrase he uses every 5 seconds: "I can't tell you how difficult that is to defend against."

Mike Gaynes
155 Posted 08/07/2024 at 20:01:19

Donovan is evidence that, if you score enough, you can be a broadcaster, no matter how whiny your voice or smarmy your comments.

And I'll say this for JP Dellacrapola, the worst commentator in the solar system... at least he's been cured of his longtime addiction to screaming "Deflected!!!" every 8 seconds.

It was a joke in my old league 20 years ago that anytime someone on our team sliced a shot ten yards wide (a frequent occurrence with me up front), we'd all stand up and yell "Deflected!!!"

Ian Pilkington
156 Posted 08/07/2024 at 20:39:44
Brent @126,

Thanks for pointing out my daft geographical error in post 124.

Minor excuse: I was nodding off in a crowded waiting room, awaiting a blood test in Chorley Hospital!

Mike Gaynes
157 Posted 08/07/2024 at 20:46:29
Great comment by Taha Hashim in the Guardian:

...Jordan Pickford has normalised his excellence in an England shirt, establishing a reputation as a nerveless shootout operator who has the perfect combination of crazy and calm. But the sight of his water bottle, with the perfectly typed-up and formatted guide on where to dive, was something to lament, highlighting the formalisation of the spot-kick cheat sheet.

There was something more romantic about the old way, of a crumpled, sweat-stained, handwritten note tucked into the socks, as Jens Lehmann showcased at the 2006 World Cup against Argentina.

Nonetheless, the more refined approach is working out pretty well for Pickford, to the point that penalties should almost be welcomed by England as the final week begins. Away to the last four we go.

Mike Gaynes
158 Posted 08/07/2024 at 21:08:24
Full article by Barney Ronay in the Guardian on Jordan Pickford... lovely stuff here:

This is something new. England and shootouts have now become a distinct element, a carefully planned and executed set piece, like sending out the kicking team in American football. Once again the defining figure was Jordan Pickford, penalty captain and master of his domain, who produced a masterclass in planning and inventive disruption.

In the process Pickford confirmed his own status as an all-time England tournament animal, out there grabbing the game by the lapels, boggling his eyes in its face, bending the day to his will.

It is always foolish to over-praise a goalkeeper. This is a high-wire act. The inevitable moment of calamity is only ever a second away. But as he prepares to play his third major semi-final in Dortmund on Wednesday, Pickford can surely now be considered England's most successful tournament goalkeeper.

This England team is often accused of being lucky, even when there are stats and numbers to support its processes. Here are some more. England goalkeepers saved two penalties in shootouts between 1990 and 2012. Pickford has saved four out of 14 faced since 2018. This is cause and effect in action. It's skill, planning and a lesson in how to win; which certainly makes a change from baffled and tear-stained defeat.

More interesting is the fact Pickford has done it his own way. In the pre-modern age goalkeepers tended to be mute, glowering figures, confined to their netted lair while the humans did football.

Pickford isn't quite a hyper-modern sweeper-keeper. His thing is energy, agility and a very clear, interventionist personality.

But the qualities that might have made him a curious figure for some, the jitteriness, the open and vocal sensitivity to objects around him, have become super-strengths in these big tournament games. And most notably in a penalty shootout. Here is a man who has just played two hours of elite football, still energised, still digesting every detail, completely inside the moment.

So to the shootout, and that perfect sequence. Cole Palmer's opening kick was vital, and also unusual. He smashed it into the corner rather than rolling it, then celebrated in unbound fashion, deliberately engaging the crowd. This is now the diktat. Studies suggest teams that celebrate more win more. Causation versus correlation, whatever. This is what we do now. Amplify the moment.

At which point, enter Pickford. Much has been made of the crib-sheet stuck to his water bottle telling him what the Swiss kickers tend to do. The sheet was accurate too. But it was only ever one part of the staging.

Looking back now the first thing you notice about Manuel Akanji's opening kick for the Swiss is that when the defender steps up to take it Pickford is literally 40 yards away off to the right. Akanji is already fiddling with the ball. Pickford has to be ordered by the referee, Daniele Orsato, to take his place, which he does dutifully, almost tugging his forelock.

But first, of course, the water bottle must be fiddled with and a showy drink taken. And already drama is happening. Something is interfering with the way Akanji has imagined this.

Penalty takers really don't want to hear or see the referee. Pickford steps forward so Orsato has to tell him to get back on his line again. Unbelievably, Pickford then walks out to pat the referee fondly on a biceps and thank him for it. These are Eric Morecambe levels of physical comedy. At this moment you either love Pickford or you're being driven to distraction by him. And Akanji still has to take a penalty.

Pickford jumps six times on his line. Akanji stands still, staying cool, saying, yeah, I can wait too, but also, fatally, playing the game. Pickford is already moving as Akanji draws his leg back to strike the ball. Pickford knows Akanji isn't going to change direction that late, as a more specialist kicker might. The bottle said “Dive left”. “Dive” is the key word here. Not “Go left”, or just “Left”.

Sweetly, presciently, Pickford has visualised himself actually diving here.

The kick is weakly struck. The best part of Pickford's save is that he dives down as well as across, attacking the space beneath him as well. He smothers it, leaps up, puffs his chest, then literally salutes the referee as he marches past like a very happy 10-year-old boy taking an ovation in the school play, a moment that just seems to disarm Orsato completely.

From there England's sequence is near-perfect. Pickford doesn't save another kick, but his performance is key. Jude Bellingham's penalty to confirm the early lead is wonderfully free of tension. Immediately Pickford is back in the eyeline, never quite out of shot. As the next Swiss kick is paced out someone throws a plastic cup on to the pitch and Pickford makes a big show of picking it up and throwing it aside, waving at the referee, creating resistance. Oh, he's a boy, this boy.

Even with the kicks that go past him Pickford is on his knees playing up the moment, distracting from the celebrations. He then insists on locating and respotting the ball for England's takers. Not to mention getting in Yann Sommer's personal space just a little as they cross over, controlling the energy, the voodoo of the penalty area.

The only time Pickford is ever really out of the picture is when England have a kick to take, at which point he's a ghost, clearing the set. Bukayo Saka scores. Ivan Toney scores in the most ridiculously alpha fashion, just ambling up two steps, utterly in control, conducting the crowd bit, then walking very slowly past the Swiss kicker. Yeah. Your go.

By now Pickford is being ordered back again; terribly, terribly sorry for being so forgetful, then leaping up and respotting the ball before the ref can get there. With apologies, but only one man is in charge here. And he wears green and is from Sunderland.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has time to set himself, the moment teed up. He puts his kick in the left-hand corner, grabs the loose ball, hoofs it into the air, hugs Pickford. But England's celebrations are telling too. This isn't a pile-on. Nobody seems shocked or distraught.

It is instead controlled, the smiles knowing. Pickford hand-slaps and chest-bumps the backroom staff. A plan has been executed. Luck has fallen their way, but this is factored in too. England have been bad at quite a lot of things here. They're good at this.

Mainly, what a moment it was for Pickford. He has been England's most reliable player in Germany. The celebrations with the fans behind the goal after, or indeed just before the final whistle, have been very funny.

In between he has been reliably intense. His long-passing has been good, although perhaps seen too often. His short game can be a bit too urgent, but only one short pass has gone astray all tournament. Pickford has been decisive, has rescued England at times and has let in just three goals so far.

England have needed it too, because other players have gone missing. Harry Kane, another Southgate OG, was once again a strange, singular figure in Düsseldorf, a man having a long walk quite near an athletic event contested by other people. Kane has looked drained and peripheral for five straight major tournament games. The thought occurred: could this be a world record?

Kane still has a chance to put it right. The same goes for Southgate. England's players have looked tired in Germany, in part because of a system that chafes and drags on every movement, like a car in the wrong gear. The key has been in finding moments to push them through, cashing in the stored-up momentum of eight years of solid work.

This will only take you so far, of course. But Southgate does deserve credit for his management of that final set piece, the game after the game, and specifically for the use of specialist subs as penalty takers, dismissed as an absurd and impractical idea after the defeat by Italy three years ago.

By winning this way England have given themselves a chance to put other parts of their game belatedly in order. But whatever happens from here Pickford, as auteur, director and self-cast star, has his own perfect little eight-minute short.

Paul Tran
159 Posted 08/07/2024 at 21:18:24
Barney Ronay is fabulous Mike. Recently described watching England as "being methodically beaten to death by a binbag full of old meat".

Also described Southgate as "an infantry sergeant who secretly reads poetry". I'm enjoying him and Jonathan Liew throughout this tournament.

Ernie Baywood
160 Posted 08/07/2024 at 22:47:06
Neil #144,

I agree, it hasn't exactly been a joyful experience so far. Though coming to terms with England's limitations and how they're approaching the tournament does help. But I'm as conflicted as it sounds like you are.

I don't know whether it will feel that way on Wednesday or, in the event they get there, Sunday. I just don't have the experience of my team achieving success. It's been a long time since a team I support won anything.

I suspect that winning would feel pretty good, even if it's achieved conservatively. A moment to share with my kids who are similar ages to the last time I experienced a trophy win.

David McMullen
161 Posted 08/07/2024 at 23:30:20
It's terribly boring watching England: slow, negative… so no difference to watching Everton.

ps: I was born in Everton.

Eric Myles
162 Posted 09/07/2024 at 03:15:26
Jack #130,

I think I remember Klopp saying that St Virgil had a knee injury prior to that match.

As for "woollyback" surely it's just a reference to the farms outside the city being sheep farms?

Dave Abrahams
163 Posted 09/07/2024 at 12:24:27
Mike (158), the reporter never mentioned what was on the water bottle for the second and third penalties because Pickford looked like a Dickhead diving for them he never had a clue.

Nice article for Pickford fans though.

Ernie Baywood
164 Posted 09/07/2024 at 14:35:18
Dave, I think you've missed the point.

That he might not go the right way doesn't matter. What's written on the water bottle doesn't even matter that much.

The advantage isn't 'knowing' which way the penalty will be taken. If that could possibly be done then every team with the resources would have that information. In any case, randomly write down 5 guesses before a shootout - you'll get at least one right, probably more.

The advantage is being in control of the situation, or even just in control of the controllables. Every England manager prior to Southgate used the phrase "penalties are a lottery". Ever heard Southgate or his current players say that?

Pickford is particularly good at it. You get a sense that he genuinely believes he'll save one and that the shootout will be his moment.

Anyone who has been a goalkeeper or a regular penalty taker for a team will know how much goes on between the ears. There's far more than just a strike of a ball.

Dave Abrahams
165 Posted 09/07/2024 at 16:16:55
Ernie (164),

I agree with most of your post, he guessed right for the first penalty, dived too soon for the others and gave the shooters a free hit.

Yes, penalty shoot-outs are a lottery; in fact, I always think if they stood their ground instead of diving, they would save at least one penalty from a shot down the middle.

Has Jordan done very well saving penalties for Everton? Apart from the obvious one from Maddison?

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