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Euro 2012, Discipline Lessons and Farewell Arry, Farewell Orange?

England played with refreshing discipline against France.  Our players kept focus and came away with a  deserved point.  It was particularly pleasing to see the midfielders protect the defence properly.  Steve Gerrard didn’t stray forward and Terry and Lescott were solid.  If we continue to defend with such composure the kerfuffle over Rio Ferdinand’s absence will soon be forgotten.  Our forward play caused France problems, but we lacked that extra bit of craft and confidence on the ball to sustain pressure.  When Rooney returns against Ukraine he will provide our attacking play a much needed extra dimension.  It is worth noting however that despite France dominating possession, it was England who created the clearest chance of the game.

While lacking the style and panache of the 98 and 2000 sides, France have improved greatly since 2010’s catastrophic World Cup campaign. On Monday we got a draw against Europe’s in form team.  When he was appointed we knew that Roy Hodgson would put emphasis on shape.  It’s pleasing to see positive results.

When the draw was made back in December it was surprising that much of the media seemed to regard England’s qualification for the quarter finals of Euro 2012 as a formality.  Every side you face in a tournament will cause you problems.  When England beat Sweden in a friendly in November it was the first time we had defeated them since 1968.  If anyone becomes complacent and believes a corner has been turned, bear in mind that England have never beaten Sweden in a competitive match.  Ukraine are the final opponents and facing the hosts always provides an extra challenge.  We have made an encouraging start to the campaign but the notion that England will easily reach the quarter final is naive.  Long way to go.

Elsewhere in the tournament the Dutch appear to be on their way home.  For all their skill and style they have failed to defend properly.  Germany‘s two goals were brilliantly created and taken but their opponents helped them along.  For his first goal Gomez found acres of space between the two German central defenders. Schweinsteiger’s ball was incisive  but why were Holland so generous? They still have a chance of reaching the quarter finals but need to defend as a unit.  The rumours of player unrest in the camp hardly inspires confidence.

‘Arry has left Spurs.  Who could have predicted that at Christmas?   Fabio Capello’s departure co-incided with Redknapp being found not guilty of tax evasion  and it seemed his stars were aligned to light the path to manage England.   Unfortunately for Arry the speculation about managing England led to a serious dip in Spurs form.   He was sacked over a contract dispute.  Despite what he said it’s hard to believe Champions league qualification wouldn’t have helped his cause.    Will he manage in the Premier League again?   He may fancy a lucrative contract overseas.

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