Gareth Southgate is the Dopey Joe Biden

HIGHLIGHTS - England v Slovakia | #EURO2024 | ITV Sport

of football.

And just like Dopey Joe the media are finally waking up to the fact Southgate is a vegetable but as their extra time victory over Slovakia shows his media mates are happy to let the result paper over the cracks.

“Gareth Southgate is his own biggest critic” so said the commentator. Nope. No… he’s not, not as long as there is breath in my body.

Of course Gareth watched his side not work and decided to go with 10/11ths of it again. Just like watching Gallagher not work for a half and then starting him in the next game, we had Trippier and Walker not working again, we had Saka not working again, Bellignham not working again, Foden not working again. This time they were joined with Mainoo, who was obviously tasked with making it all knit together.

It didn’t. Mainoo showed energy and a forward movement but he was surrounded by people who were stood still and intent on passing backwards.

But Southgate did change things up with the fact that England didn’t start well, get a lead and drop off. They didn’t start well. They were awful for the first 25 minutes, only managing to pick up three yellow cards, before Slovakia opened the scoring. In that time the Slovaks were running past Walker for fun and then with a hump up the park a nod on Walker running back with the turning circle of the QEII he played the scorer onside before he put the ball past the dithering Pickford. Having watched Schmiechal junior the previous night, I’m pretty sure him and his father would have come out and smothered that, not let it past them with such ease.

And look at ’em all waving arms and blaming each other. It’s not a team.

But that team thing was also well highlighted knocking on for half time, when Foden “scored”. He runs off after knocking it in from three yards. “It’s all me… it was me… I did it all on my own”. Well, yes Phil, it was all you that needlessly got offside and had your goal chalked off. All you Phil.

Amazingly Foden actually put in some decent set pieces during the game. It’s all he did. As he again joined the rest in doing nothing. Something matched by the manager who stood there looking confused and thought, yeah I’ll send this lot out to do this all again for the second half. After a first half when they didn’t manage a single shot on target.

Even his media mates had had enough by now. Screaming out for him to actually do something. As you watched his sidekick, his Phil “yes boss” Neal look shit scared that this is it, gravy train gone, not getting another gig after this.

Shortly into the second half it could so very easily have been 2-0. As England manage to fuck up a free kick in the Slovakian half by passing it backward, so very Southgate. Pickford well off his line, very lucky that the long range attempt curved past his post.

Southgate finally made a change not long after the hour, with Palmer replacing the injured Trippier, Saka now moving to left back. This of course finally meant there was a left footed left back but of course this didn’t mean the left back would get forward, stay wide and put crosses in. no, it meant more of the same as Saka, facing inside, came inside all the damn time. Palmer was making a difference, by actually doing something, actual crosses and passes forward, he obviously didn’t get the Southgate message.

England’s first shot on target came in the 95th minute.

The 95th minute of the fourth game in this Euros, in Kyle Walker’s 87th cap and all of a sudden he has a long throw. For three games and 95 minutes and the previous 82 games Walker has thrown the ball backwards – normally back to Pickford within three passes – especially if the throw is level with the opposition box. But all of a sudden he’s got a long throw and used it to a great effect. First one got another throw the next one gets a nod on and Bellingham’s overhead kick saves Southgate’s skin.

England’s second and final shot on target came shortly into extra-time. Palmer’s dangerous free kick was punched clear, where Eze took a swipe, his shot going nowhere when it was headed back across goal to the back post where Kane was making the run, with nobody near him, to nod in the winner.

England now disjointed due to Southgate’s changes, that sees Saka as right wingback, Eze as the left one, with a back three. Harry and Toney up front. Which would change at the break, with both Kane and Bellingham removed. Yeah, all Slovakia needed was an equaliser and what would Southgate do for penalties?

They didn’t need them, they hung on. They were luck, lucky that after taking the lead Slovakia did an England and didn’t go for the throat when they had Southgate’s team down. They saved Southgate’s hide, just to watch him put that same starting XI out against Switzerland.

It was frightening watching Spain later thinking what they’d do to Southgate’s England. But then wondering if they could sack Southgate, Ask Willy Sagnol if he’d fancy a few more games, I mean the flag is almost the same…

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