I love football tournaments and big Championships like this is no different. Teams have been competing hard and i have been pleased with the competitiveness of the nations so far, bar unfortunately Ireland who seem to have been torn apart somewhat. The other groups however have been very close and the gamnes have been exciting and competitive which as a viewer we want to see.
As for England, well after the build up and the low expectations of fans, many still venting a huge amount of frustration at the team, we have done surprisingly well. In my opinion anyway. 4 points from the first 2 games, more than what most would of predicted before the tournament began. Hodgson settling in nicely, the squad playing with a lot more heart than 2 years a go, and their seems to be a team strategy that every player knows exactly their role in the team.
FRANCE 1 1 draw
Tough opener for any team, especially for an England team without Rooney and a host of injuries to key players like Lampard, Wilshire and Barry. People forget that france are on the longest unbeaten run out of any International team in world football. They are a class act, on the up and tipped by many as a potential winner of the Euros.
4 5 1 against a tough French team was sensible and the first 30 minutes were fantastic. Poor after conceeding the goal, sat back far too much trying to protect their lead until half time, which was an error. But England scrapped and we knew it wasn't going to be the prettiest football, but it was effective none the less to ensure we didn't lose the game. People can criticise the manager and the players for the performance, but tournament football is very different and no one can deny that the way England played frustrated the French team.
A point, in my opinion, a very good start to the campaign.
SWEDEN 3 2 win
What a game! Considering many still believe England are playing unattractive football, no one can deny they were exciting against the Swedes, all beit by a lot of their own undoing. But 3 points none the less.
The game started with the change of Carrol for the Ox, one which I thought was a good move, as sweden are suceptible to headed goals even with their vast height throughout their team. a 4 4 2, not seen for a long while, but was a bold positive decision by Hodgson. Perfect start with the Carrol towering header and dominant first half display where we controlled the game and looked very comfortable, apart from when Ibrahimovich got on the ball.
2nd half though Glen Johnson falls asleep and doesn't push out with the rest of the team and then the whole defence falls asleep to allow a free header and a deficit. BUT positive immediate change by Hodgson again bringing on the inspired Theo Walcott for the rather lacklustre Milner. Changed the game very quickly back in favour of England and finished off with some lovely work to feed the sublime finish of Welbeck. Goal of the tournament contender no doubt.
I have read so much criticism by the display of England, and I don't get it. Criticise when they lose, no problem. But we have won! We have 4 points, are still in the tournament and have a great chance of progressing. There are improvements certainly, but that was a good win against a difficult Swedish side who as we all know have a good record against us.
I am not saying we will win it or getting above myself anymore than taking it game by game. Keep on doing that and you never know. immediate aim, get out of the group and then the Quarter Finals, Semis, you just never know what might happen.
Onwards and upwards and a big game on Tuesday. Get behind the team. Get behind Hodgson. COME ON ENGLAND