It’s a sad day for England fans when Three Lions suffered a 2-0 defeat against Belgium on Saturday in the third-place play-off. England’s World Cup 2018 may have ended, but English national team has learned some lessons in their Belgium defeat.
England Has Gained Back the Respect of their Fans
There was a truth in the critic’s belief that England had an easier half of the draw. Even their manager Gareth Southgate had believed it. Hence it was concerning when they lost to Belgium who has been an underdog.
World Cup 2018 has more shares of positives than negatives though. One of the biggest positive moments of this year’s tournament is that England may have won their fans back. They may not be the greatest individual players England have had, but the connection that they have established with their fans were more than any England squad has for a long time.
Why is it that fans love this particular bunch?
Many believe that the primary reason is because this group of players is far more likeable due to their grounded and down to earth behavior. Many are not products of elite school whose main purpose of playing soccer is to live an outlandish and extravagant life. They are not shallow heads; instead they are really proud of what they are doing for their country. They feel that it’s a huge honor playing for their beloved motherland.
Unlike the past squads, the current group of players does not appear to have ginormous egos. These players have worked hard to reach their current position, and they are grateful for the opportunity. While others started in lower leagues, some enjoyed multiple loan spells from their Premier League clubs.
It’s really nice seeing England players so relaxed on and off the pitch. And a huge credit goes to Boss Gareth Southgate for creating such atmosphere in the camp.
Click here to get to know Gareth Southgate more.
New Regulars Have Emerged for England
Before the World Cup, there was a massive question mark as to which players will occupy the positions. Players that emerged as England regulars are the likes of Harry Maguire, Jordan Pickford and Kieran Trippier.
Instead of picking the regulars, Southgate took a gamble and gave inexperienced players their chance. He must have faith in the trio since all three players have made an impressive performance in the recent seasons. Barring injury problems, all three are likely to be regulars in the England squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Southgate is not done making England a stronger team yet. The goal to build an English team capable of competing with world football’s superpowers has just started. The Three Lions are still learning and developing and they are using their defeats against Croatia and Belgium to evaluate the team and create better strategies.
According to media reports, Southgate has a plan to bring some of the youngsters from the successful under-18 and under-20 teams into the international fold in the new season. The likes of Jadon Sancho, Ryan Sessegnon, Phil Foden and Ademola Lookman are more likely to be in the Three Lions squad in the near future. The team is eyeing for these youngsters who have impeccable potential and brighter future.
Things We Learned in the England vs. Belgium Match
Gareth Southgate swapped out all three of his central midfield players. This was probably his way of trying something new as he looks to future. This strategy may not have worked though, even though they have already shifted their personnel, England still struggled against Belgium. As Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard flitted between lines, we are reminded that England lacks such midfield talent to compete.
Loftus-Cheek seems to be the future
When England were feeling the heat against Croatia, Southgate brought on a substitute in the person of his most gifted midfield talent, Ruben Loftus-Cheek. During their match against Belgium, Loftus-Cheek played tidily without really impressing himself on the game. The 22-year-old seems to have full potential and England needs him if they are to put up a fight against opponents of this caliber.
It’s almost certain that Harry Kane will win the Golden Boot, but that does not mean that we should not scrutinize his performance in this tournament. Though he had a good start against Tunisia and Panama, he faded through the knockout stages. He did not score since his penalty against Colombia; he did not even muster a shot on target against Belgium or Sweden.
Many feared leaving him out against Belgium in the group stage for the belief that the team would lose momentum. What’s quiet obvious is that he has played too many minutes without giving much contribution on their games against Sweden, Croatia and here against Belgium.
England’s football revolution may have been a myth
World cup has dominated the social media. One tweet that caught the attention of soccer fanatics is that England playing out from the back is a myth.” This tweet is not pointless, especially when you watched how England tried to pass their way through treacle against Belgium.
The team showed how confident they are as evident to the flowing move at the end of the first half by Dier, Delph, Sterling, Kane and Loftus-Cheek. England undoubtedly tries to play from the back under Southgate, but the final steps through midfield and into the final third remain a work in progress.
Looking to Euro 2020
England boss Southgate has shared his mission to make England qualifying for Euro 2020. England is at odds of 8/1 to win the European Championships.
England still has a long way to go to catch up to teams like Germany, France, Belgium and Spain. They are way ahead of the Three Lions when it comes to tactical nous from their coaches and quality of players.
However, Southgate and his whole pack will be all the better for their time in Russia this summer. They may go home without the trophy, but their defeat in the 2018 World Cup has pointed them on how to move to the right direction. The future for the England national team certainly looks brighter.
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