“England expects that every man will do his duty.”
“Cry ‘Havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war! ”
“But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive.”
The red tops will start to drag out all the cliches. God forbid we should meet the Germans at any point further into the tournament.
But for now, it’s Panama, and the narrative is already being framed that this is abattle between the fledgling, skilful heroes of England and the dastardly, rough, Masters of the Dark Arts that are Panama.
To me, they looked like a typical South American side. Very athletic, well-drilled defensively, with the ability to break and get up the field quickly. Just the type of side that might cause England a few problems.
The saving grace for this England squad, which might also perversely be its downfall later in the tournie, is that they are so inexperienced. They haven’t been imbued with the fear of failing for their country as so many have been before. The average number of caps per player, for all the squads attending the finals, is 34 (33.7 rounded). England have attained, on average, just 20.
They played with real belief for 25 mins or so against Tunisia, before retreating into their shell a little – not helped by Dele Alli being at around 50% for 60 mins of the game. Why Southgate didn’t sub him is beyond me.
Rashford looks great to me. Give the bloke a start and help him to build into the tournament. He’s a game-changer. Lingaard is frustrating: plenty of good runs but not enough end product. Sterling is the same. Can rip a defence part but finishing or picking the right pass is patchy at best. I don’t like Walker at RCB but I’m happy Tripps is getting game time.
Anyway, I’ll be on here later for the game and hope to see you here.