Bronze?

Posted July 14, 2018 by Rod
Categories: World Cup 2018

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With Trump visiting the UK it’s tempting to speak about fake news, but it’s reality – England’s World Cup dream was ended on Wednesday night by Croatia.

From the offset it felt like we could do it but it wasn’t to be.

That leaves us in the same position as in 1990, deflated with one match to play.

So, it’s all to play for is it? Will the 3 Lions have the bit between their teeth to take the ‘Bronze’?

We’re on a roll…

Posted July 11, 2018 by Rod
Categories: World Cup 2018

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It will be France that we meet in the final assuming we beat Croatia tonight and listening and reading we’re going to.

The 3 Lions have never, in my lifetime that I can remember, been so relaxed and upbeat at this stage of a major tournament. 90 and 96 were heady heights but it was more nervy. Yesterday morning the England warm-up before the training session was running around hitting each other with a rubber chicken.

World-Cup-England-uses-rubber-chicken-in-training-before-semifinals

Would that have happened under the leadership of Fabio Capello? Very unlikely.

The waistcoated Gareth Southgate has brought together a group of youngsters without nerves that believe in themselves and are ready to take on all comers. No bagage filled with mistakes and fear, a penalty-shootout victory, the Golden Boot leader, a heatwave back home and worldwide TV stations with ‘Football’s coming home’ playing in the background when showing England footage.

Gareth Southgate’s job is much more secure than that of Theresa May. In fact maybe he’d get her job if there was an election now.

So tonight is the night…

Croatia 1 – 2 England and a place in the final for the first time since 1966

One step beyond…

Posted July 9, 2018 by Rod
Categories: World Cup 2018

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It’s from a sunny Edinburgh that sees England advance to the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since Italia 90. Maybe not the euphoria of England but you could hear ‘it’s coming home’.

It started like expected, a bit nervously, but England had the best of the ball with Captain Kane narrowly missing the target early on. England’s passing was a bit off and even with the majority of possession it was hard to break the Swedes down.

Our breakthrough came after half an hour through yet another set-piece play. Just before the corner the two Harrys were exchanging words in the box, and it was Maguire this time not Kane that nodded in decisively to put the 3 Lions deservedly in the lead.

The second half saw Sweden try to mount a comeback, but Pickford was more than up to the job making some classic saves that elevated his status even higher than after the penalty save.

England’s second goal came from Dele Alli just before the hour mark and we knew we were heading for the semis for the first time since 1990. Lineker and company kept a check on the celebrations back home, and the hail of plastic glasses and beer spray

The evening quarter-final required penalties for Croatia to knock out the hosts Russia and set up a semi-final against the 3 Lions in Moscow on Wednesday.

90 minutes of football and we could be in the World Cup final for the first time since 1966!

 

It’s coming home

Posted July 7, 2018 by Rod
Categories: Euro 2016

Everyone seems to know the score, they’ve seen it all before

But that’s history

The Swedes… again

Posted July 6, 2018 by Rod
Categories: Euro 2016, World Cup 2018

Tags: , , ,

Since moving to Sweden 18 winters ago it seems like we’ve met them so many times in qualifiers and the finals of tournaments. They’re a team we haven’t had a fantastic record against historically but that all changed in 2012, remember 3 Lions fight together .

Tomorrow afternoon Sweden will almost certainly play like they have so far, accept that they defend for the bulk of the game and hope to hit on the counter attack. They’ve kept a few clean sheets, and scored three against Mexico!

The 3 Lions will need to be patient but also to enforce their dominance on the game early on.

Svennis, our old coach is already tipping the game to be a draw and another penalty shoot-out. Sorry Sven but there’s a lot of people don’t think that’ll happen.

They all seem to know the score…

3-1 to England and a place in the World Cup semi-final

Just another day…

Posted July 4, 2018 by Rod
Categories: Euro 2016, World Cup 2018

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But how different it feels. England have won a World Cup penalty shoot-out to fix a quarter final against Sweden.

It was a familiar scenario, this time it was Jordan Henderson that was to be the ‘scapegoat’, but then everything changed. Colombia hit the bar and then Pickford saved to give Dier the chance to send the 3 Lions through. And he did! The skeletons were taken out of the cupboard and smashed convincingly.

I watched in Auld Reekie, surrounded by the all too familiar ‘we’ll support anyone against England’. When will that subside and disappear? You could feel and hear the atmosphere building when Colombia attacked.

Now though we’re all thinking and singing ‘It’s coming home’. 3 weeks ago if you’d been told, as an England fan, you’ll have Sweden to play to get a semi-final place against Russia or Croatia, you would have thought ‘you’re having a laugh’. On top of that Germany, Argentina, Spain and Portugal are out. So that’s the size of it now, 52 years of hurt never has stopped us dreaming!!

It felt like we were on familiar ground when the clock showed 72 mins and passes were straying a bit and the time wasting tactics weren’t winding the clock onto 90. It felt surreal, can we win in normal time and progress, and the answer was inevitably no.

30 minutes of extra-time and still deadlock.

Penalties – oh no, but this time we’re prepared, remember, by Gareth who knows how it feels. We’re ready!

At 3-2 down with Henderson’s being saved it felt like so many times before, I remember only too well Italia 90, and the rest. Then the crossbar, then Pickford’s save. Next, to send us through, Eric Dier.walked from the centre circle and put his penalty in the net!

It’s coming home!

The biggest match in a decade!

Posted July 2, 2018 by Rod
Categories: World Cup 2018

Tags: , , , ,

That’s what Southgate is billing it as, and I suppose he’s right.

Lose and we’re going home, again, along with Germany, Argentina, Spain and Portugal, win and the prospect of a semi-final gets that much closer.

Colombia is no mean feat and England have only beaten Ecuador and Denmark in knockout phases in the past 16 years.

Now that Ronaldo is going home Captain Kane will be looking to extend his lead in the Golden Boot.

Four of the eight quarter finals are now over and two were settled by penalty shoot-outs. Oh no!

Gareth is so aware of that fateful moment in his career that the 3 Lions have apparently been practising at each and every training session, including the walk up from the centre circle. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Will England be able to cope defensively with Falcao and Cuadrado, as it is at the back where we have been seen to be vulnerable.

Assuming, if we can, that we get past Colombia it’s the winner of Sweden v Switzerland that is the obstacle to securing a semi-final place, a semi-final place against Russia or Croatia. You’ve got to fancy it, haven’t you!

England to win 2-1 in 90 minutes and Harry Kane to add at least 1 more to his Golden Boot tally.