Football is coming home - Unified Sports

Football is coming home

England, the mighty three lions, will they bring football home? After all the hype created by English media during the 2020 Euros, the team seems to have fallen flat on its face in the recent nations league. Tensions are high after failing to perform well in the recent year, with expectations that this squad is becoming the new golden generation of football to the fans. Football in this nation is like a festival, where the whole nation shuts down to drink beer and watch the football when it’s on.

In this post, you’ll Read about
Brief History Of England At The World Cup And Major Competitions
Manager Profile
Tactical Analysis
Strengths
Weaknesses
Road To The World Cup

Brief history of England at the World Cup and major competitions

Let’s look at what England have achieved in the past. The team has won only one World cup (WC) in1966, which they reminisce until now. Outside of that, the team really hasn’t given much for the fans to sing about. The recent 4th place finish in the 2018 World Cup and 2nd place finish at the 2020 Euros, serve as a glimmer of hope for the nation this time around. On the contrary their abysmal performance and relegation in the 2022-23 nation’s league have sent a shiver down the spines of the English faithful.

Manager Profile

Gareth Southgate has been the English manager since 2016. The 4th place finish at the 2018 World Cup and 2nd place finish at the 2020 Euros are his best accomplishments with the side. Southgate has no trophies as a manager to back him, but his English sides have shown promise in the past. Gareth Southgate managed Middlesbrough before becoming the English manager.

Tactical analysis

Southgate has always preferred a 3-4-3 set up but has experimented with a 4-2-3-1 in the recent nations league, after fans cried out for a change in tactics. The new system looked to have gone poorly, leading Southgate to switch back to his 3-4-3 set up. This formation allows England to play with a lot of possession against weaker teams and lets them set up to play on the counter against stronger opponents. The English team has had decent success against smaller teams and have struggles to score goals and win games against stronger opponents due to this counter attacking set up, stopping the team to build up play from the back and create chances going forwards. This system has also forced wing backs to play in more attacking roles, with Luke Shaw having 3 assists and the most crosses per 90 (5.0) in comparison to any other player. He also has the most non penalty goals (0.84) per 90, indicating a lack of scoring options for the team. They have also topped their World Cup group with 8 wins and 2 draws in 10 games, having an easy run of fixtures.

national league of football

Strengths

The main strength of the English team comes through their captain Harry Kane who is their leading goal scorer in all recent competitions, making him their obvious goal scoring threat. He also ranks in the 94th percentile in the world for shots taken in comparison to other forwards. Ranking in the 92nd percentile for xA, he can drop deep and create chances for wingers making inverted runs into the box. This has helped Raheem Sterling become a viable goal scoring threat for England. The English team also has excellent squad depth in each position, to a point where the manager is spoilt for choice. His decisions on the 23-man squad for the WC will be crucial in predicting their campaign. The double pivot role played by Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice is one of the most underappreciated roles to play, ensuring interceptions and progressive passes forwards, leading to chance creation. Jude Bellingham has the third most interceptions per 90 and the second highest number of tackles per 90 in the Nations League. His goal scoring form in the current UCL season serves as a bonus for goal threats in the English national squad. The players look to get along well with each other, off the pitch and this is a good sign compared to the original generation, which was united by England, divided by clubs. England also have an exceptionally good goal keeping unit, with all their keepers in sublime form. Jordan Pickford has gained himself a reputation for saving penalties for England and this could prove to be their game changer in the knockouts.

playing football

Weaknesses

The problem of choice has created a problem of chemistry between players, with players being rotated heavily for the sake of experimentation and opportunity in various positions. This has led to at least 20 players playing over 100 minutes in the nations league, this could cause a disruption in the pattern of play and playing style. England also had a 55-man short list before the tournament with most players uncertain of making the squad. It has also become increasingly hard for Southgate to leave players out after their consistent performances for their respective clubs. Another weakness of the team stems from Harry Maguire, though he leads the stats for most aerial duels won and ranks high on the pass completion scale, he is also extremely error prone defensively, due to poor decision making and positioning. An example of this can be seen through two goals England conceded against Germany in the nations league 3-3 draw. He has also lost his spot at his own club, reducing his playing time, which is a negative sign before a World Cup. Another dilemma Southgate faces is choosing the player to play the RWB position with having multiple world class options like Reece James, Kyle Walker, Trent and Trippier. Reece James has been the preferred choice for the English side whilst Kyle Walker has made the right centre back role his own as he used to sitting back at RB for his club as well, eliminating him as an attacking threat. With injuries to both these players and Trent in poor form, Southgate will have to either change the formation to suit the player’s original positions at RB or will have to find a replacement RCB with no practice games left to play.England also have a history of poor penalty shootouts, winning only 3 out of 10, they need to be clear on the main penalty takers and practice on taking penalties before the world cup. England also go into the world cup without a 2nd left back, as Ben Chilwell has been ruled out of the tournament. This adds a lot of pressure on Shaw who will not be rotated or rested at any stage of the tournament.

Road to the world cup

England have a reasonably easy group to qualify for the knockouts. Their main challenge will be their ancestors from the best in USA. This will be the game of football vs soccer. Following this, they could face Netherlands in the Round of 16 and then either Argentina or France in the quarters, which could prove to be too much for them. England have the capability on paper to win the world cup, but it will only depend on tactical outputs and player performances as the world cup is never won on paper. An interesting factor is that the only times England have reached the finals of major tournaments, it has been on home soil. Fan support in the stadium will have a huge role to play in their success.

Players to Watch

Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Declan Rice, Mason Mount and Luke Shaw

Young talent to keep an eye out for

Bukayo Saka, Trent Alexander Arnold, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden

football

By: Ved Birdi

Date: 15th Nov

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