Tag Archives: Harry Kane

England win but football loses

Its not often you come away from a tough away game with a 6-0 win and feel sad and disillusioned with the game. But for many last night, the sad scenes in the stands in Sofia overshadowed what was a very good England performance and threw the game into disrepute. 

There had been much speculation about the behaviour of the Bulgarian fans, after a number of incidents in recent years highlighted the large racist undertone within their fan base, and England captain Harry Kane had spoke of leading his teammates off the field if there was any sniff of racially motivated chanting or jeers.

From the get go England’s black stars were booed every time they touched the ball, attackers Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford as well as debutant centre back Tyrone Mings. But it wasn’t until the 28th minute play was put on hold with discussions taking place on the sideline, and a stadium announcement being made over the speakers warning fans the game would be stopped if this behaviour carried on.

However, this did not stop the chants, the boo’s and the abhorrent monkey noises being made, and the game was then stopped again in the 43rd minute, this time with Southgate talking with the referee before the game was again restarted.

Further racist incidents continued into the second half, caught on pitch-side microphones, but play was not stopped for a third time, which would have been crucial as UEFA’s three step racism protocol states if a match is stopped for a third time the match must be abandoned.

Further footage shows fans doing Nazi salutes and one fan holding up a “no respect” jumper. Debate has been rife over the best course of action in a situation such as this, is it best to walk from the pitch refusing to stand for this kind of abuse? Or is it best to play on and not let the racists win? England chose the latter last night, and with Rashford and Sterling both scoring, as well as Ross Barkley who’s grandfather is Nigerian, well and truly silenced the racist scum in the stands.

If this was not bad enough, Bulgaria’s own manager Krasimir Balakov seemingly defended his fans post match, claiming he did not hear any racist chants towards the England players and actually blamed the England fans for unacceptable behaviour. When the man at the top is seemingly just as bad as the racists in the stands, it is concerning for all involved and something UEFA must take a serious look at.

With all of the focus being firmly set on what happened off the pitch, it is important to remember just what the England players achieved in representing their country in such difficult circumstances, standing up to racism and doing our country proud in the process.

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Can England Qualify Against Bulgaria?

Tonight sees England play Bulgaria in a game that should England win, will see them qualify for the Euro 2020 finals.

Now it also sees a scenario similar to the game England played on Friday against the Czech Republic. Win, and England go through.

In total England have met Bulgaria 9 times and have an excellent record against them.

Since the 0-0 draw in their first meeting in June 1962, they have met a further eight times. England have won 5, the most recent of which was 2010, when a 4-0 result was the outcome, thanks in part to a Jermain Defoe hat trick.

In between times. there have been 3 draws and its in two of those draws that Bulgaria have scored their only goals, 2 in total against England.

England’s goal scoring average against Bulgaria over the 9 games is 2, so going on that statistic alone, tonights game should represent a comfortable enough platform on which to secure qualification.

That said, it will prove interesting tonight, because Bulgaria, employ a variation of the 3 5 2 system that England used to play and appear to find diffculties playing against, by playing a 5 3 2 formation, so in theory have 5 defenders and rely on the counter attack.

Overall taking that out of context, Bulgaria are bottom of the group and have only two points. Confidence will not be high for them, and should England start the same they did against the Czechs by scoring early, and maintaining throughout the game, then England have a good chance of recording their highest score against them.

Where did England Go Wrong?

On Friday night in the Czech Republic, England faced the possibility of winning against the Czech’s and qualifying for Euro 2020.

Top of the group and unbeaten in this campaign so far, it all looked very rosy for England.

With a strong line up, in Gareth Southgate’s now preferred 4 3 3 formation, with debut’s for the Chelsea pairing of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, against the less fancied Czechs. lining up in a 3 5 2 formation. Everything looked like it would go England’s way.

The opening exchanges went well for England, with strong attacking football, which saw Raheem Sterling win a penalty in the 5th Minute, swiftly converted by Harry Kane.

We expected the performance to increase and a comfortable victory to follow, ensuring qualification.

However, the penalty seemed to not only galvanise the Czechs, but it was almost like a bee had stung them on the backside.

They woke up and raised their game significantly, helped by the formation they were playing, 3 5 2. They piled pressure on England, going close a couple of times. These were wake up calls for England, but they quickly pulled level and deservedly so, just 4 minutes later.

The only surprise was that it took that long for them to equalise…

From that point on for the entire match, England laboured and toiled much harder than they needed to.

So,

What went wrong for England

To get the answer to this, you only have to look back to the last Premier League Weekend, when Wolves travelled to the Etihad Satdium, home of Manchester City and beat them in their own back yard 2-0.

But what has that result got to do with England losing in Czech Republic?

At face value, nothing, but upon closer inspection, quite a lot.

You see, just as in the Czech Republic, Wolves employed their favoured, tried and tested 3 5 2 formation, against Man City’s 4 3 3 and came away with the right result.

Now on paper it shouldn’t matter which formation you play, the result should be a positive one, if you have a good game plan.

England had a game plan, it is a tried and tested one, but, when pitched against a team playing 3 5 2, then it can prove significantly difficult to penetrate, because in a 3 5 2 formation, the opposition will have numbers over, if the players do their jobs correctly.

The Czechs executed their jobs perfectly, faster, pressed better, had players over and England were left frustrated and arguing amongst themselves, because they couldn’t create the space they required to break through and so drew blanks every time.

It will be interesting to see how Engand fare against Bulgaria this evening in their next qualifier, because they commonly line up in a 3-5-2 formation as well. What will Southgate have to do to overcome them, and secure qualifying?

If England can raise their game and also eliminate the poor decision making and passive play they employed against the Czechs, then they will come away with a good result and qualification will be assured.

Too many times, through poor decision making did England let the Czechs in.

Tonights match should be an interesting one…

Tweet us your thoughts on tonight’s game @247FootballUK

Who should win PFA Player of the Year?

It is the time of year that the PFA Player of the Year nominees are announced, and there have been some excellent players exceed expectations and have been performing out of their skin consistently for the whole of the season.

Manchester City have recently been confirmed as champions, and Pep Guardiola has seen three of his players be nominated for the Player of the Year award: David Silva, Leroy Sané and Kevin de Bruyne.

On the other side of Manchester, only David de Gea has been nominated from the Old Trafford squad. Meanwhile, the other two nominations are the league’s two top goalscorers, Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

A lot of fans, players, managers etc have said in interviews and on social media that the award should be either between Kevin de Bruyne or Mohamed Salah.

de Bruyne leads the assist chart with 15 to his name, along with seven goals. He has averages 73 successful passes per match and has been the key to Manchester City’s incredible success and will earn his medal more than any player in a sky blue shirt.

Salah joined Liverpool for £36.9m from AS Roma and in his first season at Anfield has seen him score 30 goals and easily able to break the record for most goals in a season, and has guided the Reds to the semi-final of the Champions League and third place in the Premier League.

Behind the stats, the two have been incredibly impressive with their performances and pride they show for their respective clubs, and have attracted the attention the world.

It is almost impossible to decide who wins this award, but to nearly break a goalscoring record in his first season, and to be the most crucial cog in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool machine, it would have to go to Salah, but it’s fair to say there would be no complaints if de Bruyne were to claim the award.

Football fans do you agree Salah should win it? If not who should get the award? Let us know in the comments section…

Who should be England’s World Cup Captain?

England’s star man Harry Kane has worn the armband for this international break and has done a good job, scoring both goals in the Three Lions’ two 1-0 wins. However, should the Tottenham frontman be captaining his country for the 2018 World Cup?

England have notably a very young squad with talents such as Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling. Looking at the past few England captains, they have all had experience: Rooney, Gerrard, Terry, Ferdinand, etc. However, England have also notably not done very well at tournaments, so is it always right for the captain to be the traditional leader, hard as nails, shouting player? Maybe not. Perhaps it is time to give somebody young the armband. Somebody who is actually putting in good performances for their country as well as their club, like Harry Kane or even Rashford, who recently for England and Manchester United has been unstoppable, albeit against teams who may not be qualifying for the World Cup.

Kane has captained England three times, these two recent matches and against Scotland in June. In all of those three matches, the Spurs striker has scored and England are undefeated. He is also putting in performances for the Three Lions and showing the passion and dedication required of an England captain, so why shouldn’t it be Kane?

Maybe this is the tournament where England move away from the traditional captain figure, such as Terry or Ferdinand and look up top, and who knows, maybe this tournament could be different for England over this decision.