England’s UEFA Nations League ended with an unsurprising defeat against Belgium, meaning with one game left they can’t move up or down their group, just finish in third.
I said after England defeated Belgium in the home match that the world number one team wouldn’t be as bad again. They weren’t in the reverse fixture, they weren’t great but once they took the lead and then doubled it they did all they had to in making sure they didn’t cough up this victory.
Again as after the defeat against Denmark, Southgate was talking this up, taking the positives. Positives from sitting third with two wins from five games and a whole 3 goals to show for it.
Three goals and there was the rub in the loss to Belgium. England had most of the game, created numerous chances, yet the home keeper only had two saves to make, with one goal line clearance coming from an outfield player.
Belgium got their lead and shut up shop. Knowing that England struggle against a packed defence they just set up the red wall and watched England bang their heads against it.
Dier is getting the blame for giving the ball away for Belgium’s opener. Yes but Mount didn’t exactly fight for it, neither did the midfield pair or indeed Mings in his pathetic attempt at blocking the shot. Mings was equally pathetic for their second. Rice won and the ball and was unlucky to be penalised for it. But Mings just stood there in the wall watching the ball go over his head.
I said they missed Mertens in the last game. England didn’t miss those not available for this one. With Grealish having a good game and the calls for his extended inclusion rising, who is gonna miss out? Who are the pundits not going to pick because it’ll have to be one of the two sainted ones, Sterling or Rashford, because Southgate isn’t dumping his flawed system.
It’s not like he’s gonna drop one of his two holding midfielders, who neither hold or do anything worthwhile going forward. Christ, Winks for Henderson, there’s a real like-for-like swap. Garbage in, garbage out.
Made it so easy for those three Belgium centre-backs who knew that they just had to crowd Harry Kane, try and stop Grealish, slightly bother about mount and that was it, nothing was coming from elsewhere. Then try for the, cause with Mings and Walker in that defence, England are always vulnerable, just like having Maguire in there.
So with England it’s the same old story, the same old song and dance. When it comes to crunch games against top opposition, they are left wanting…who didn’t see this coming…