England will finally meet decent opposition

HIGHLIGHTS | England beat Senegal to set up World Cup quarter-final against holders France

after brushing aside Senegal.

England will now face France in the World Cup quarter finals, after overcoming a lacklustre Senegal team 3-0 in the round of 16, which again saw Southgate’s side be patiently dull for vast pasts of the game.

Of course another knockout victory over a nothing opposition had the usual happy clappers telling us how great Southgate is, how he got everything right and silenced his critics. While also gushing over certain players that the same pundits were saying caused England’s problems not long before.

Yes it was the usual pass it sideways and backwards from the back, with no one from the midfield being an option for most of the first half, yet here we have the pundits telling us how great Bellingham was. If he was that great then England wouldn’t have had bypass him by going long to get things going.

For the first part Senegal sat off and let England bore themselves to death. Then they started to press and they saw it brought dividends. Walker, Stones and Maguire looking like the dopey deer in the headlights they are – as I watched Walker attempting to stop Championship player Sarr by jumping on his back, I was reminded of one pundit saying how Walker will so easily handle Mbappe.

If it wasn’t for Pickford’s strong list England would have gone behind, but this changed England and all of a sudden goal-kicks were going long and England scored. From that moment Senegal heads dropped, on the pitch and in the stadium – there wasn’t quite as much volume from those that were dancing and don’t ever look like they’re watching the game.

Again it was Kane who had to be the creator. Bellingham and eventual scorer, Henderson, getting all the plaudits but if Kane doesn’t play that perfect ball to the former then it doesn’t happen. Anyone, other than Kane, gets that ball and it probably isn’t even going forward.

It was 38 minutes when that goal arrived. 38 minutes of dullard Southgate football. Saka inside, no overlaps, Foden doing nothing. Back and sideways balls.

Lee – headed a lot of footballs – then tells us if you feed Saka he delivers. After h’d just delivered two god awful crosses. The first one should have been a sitter for Kane, but it was behind him. The second would have flown over the head of a Harlem Globetrotter never mind the three foot six midget, Foden.

A couple of minutes into added time and Kane finally got a decent ball, for the first time in three and a half games. There was no way he was goona squander this chance to finally get a goal at this tournament. It came from them going forward at pace again. I was totally shocked that Foden passed to Kane and didn’t do his usual Sterling routine of run into trouble trying to work a shot for himself. One touch under control the bang past the Chelsea keeper. Of course he wasn’t to get another like that.

Senegal were gone. The game was done and dusted with that second. The third came not long after the break. Again Foden put a pass into someone in the ideal position and Saka dinked it over the keeper, for once he was in the right position.

As said, it was over well before this, but Southgate waited until after the hour before making changes and when they came they were so damn predictable. Was it not the ideal time to get some minutes in the legs of those that haven’t played yet? Well, yes it was but no Southgate replaces his favourites with his favourites.

Southgate doesn’t want to introduce someone who might just show his pets up. And when you’re talking about Mount being one of the pets then he knows most of those he won’t play will show Mount up for being a nothing player. Maddison was only in the squad to quieten the media, everyone knows he’ll never get on. Though, England 4-1 down to France, Southgate will probably bring him on in the 89th minutes, then talk about Maddison having not played so he couldn’t bring him on sooner.

So it is France in the quarters. The first decent opposition they’ll have faced. Now if you look at the teams England have faced so far, Iran scored when they actually played and went for England, Senegal nearly did when they bothered. The others didn’t even try. So when someone goes for England they are vulnerable, very vulnerable with that back four. Now France so far, when putting out their first XI, have gone for teams. I can’t see them sitting back and letting England pass it about sideways.

England themselves have scored and looked like scoring when they’ve gone for it. That French defence looks equally shaky in certain areas. But will they go forward, will they attack with pace and one touch play? Or will they have done for the vast majority of the World Cup and try and bore the opposition into submission…

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