England were knocked out by Italy. Outplayed for most of the match apart from the first 20 minutes of the first half (normal time). Possession statistics are quite damning. The facts speak for themselves. Pirlo was in total control of the match and England seemed to think defence was the best policy.

Does the type of football typified by England really work in modern tournament football? I suppose looking at the way Chelsea FC’s victory in lifting the Champions League this type of football has got its merits. The belief that the end justifies the means comes to mind. However,the main disadvantage is that neutral supporters get turned off easily. Moreover, ‘parking the bus’ as this style of football is euphemistically called makes a mockery of the  sobriquet ‘the Beautiful game’. There is no beauty in the display. The only ‘beauty’ I suppose is seeing  the not-so-appealing team winning and their supporters screaming in utter jubilation. The end does justify the means.

England will need to go back to the drawing board and find a way of improving on the performances displayed at the EUROs. Players will have to be more technically adept, and they above all else will need to have total belief in their own abilities. Theat belief seemed to be lacking. Psychological support may be needed here. There are some excellent players in the Prem League. Admittedly a significant number of the exceptionally good ones are not English. However, the likes of Ste Gerrard, Lampard, Terry, Ashley Cole, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Hart, Glenn Johnson, just to name a few are good enough to grace any national team. And win the major trophies.  There will be some tricky matches on the way to the World Cup and these players will need to make sure that these choppy waters are overcome. The Coach has wide-ranging experience plus an expert knowledge of different systems, so therefore the future should be rosy.

One area though I feel the FA & the clubs need to address is how the young boys are taught to play football. Technical skills must be made the be-all and end-all. There is no place for hoofing the ball upwards, in the hope someone will head it in. Players must be made to understand importance of possession football, defending as a unit and above all be able to beat the opponent  with easy. It has taken Spain a few years to get to where they are now.the Germans keep working on improving their systems, and the other European countries are becoming technically more proficient. Croatia were quite impressive, even Russia and Poland. The future is here and we have to make sure our fast-paced football can cope with the  tiki takas of this world.

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