Qualification a formality but England have issues to fix to triumph at Euro 2024
The Euro 2024 qualifying match between Ukraine and England ended in a 1-1 draw, highlighting some issues in Gareth Southgate’s team selection. Although qualification may be a formality for England, this match showed that they still need to address certain areas if they want to become trophy winners next summer. Despite dominating possession with 69%, England struggled to create clear-cut chances and only managed four shots on target. On the other hand, Ukraine scored from their only shot on target, showcasing their ability to capitalize on opportunities.
The opening goal by Ukraine‘s Oleksandr Zinchenko was a momentous occasion, transforming the game into a national event for the Ukrainian team. England, on the other hand, seemed caught off guard and lacked the intensity and urgency expected of a team on their path to qualification. The equalizing goal by Kyle Walker before halftime salvaged a point for England, but it was a far-from-convincing performance.
Analysis and Issues
If England wants to turn Euro 2024 into a national event of their own, as Southgate has stated, they need to address the issues that were evident in this match. Firstly, the team’s formation did not work well with the players on the pitch. James Maddison, who has been in good form for Tottenham Hotspur, was wasted on the flank and needs a different role to maximize his impact alongside Jude Bellingham.
England‘s lack of attacking creativity and cohesion was apparent, with Southgate acknowledging that their attacking play did not click in this match. The manager emphasized the need to avoid leaving themselves exposed in counter-attacking situations while also needing to improve their offensive patterns. The performance lacked verve and players willing to take risks, resulting in a lack of runs in-behind and overall movement.
Following the match, both Harry Kane and Kyle Walker expressed their disappointment, acknowledging that the dressing room felt a little disappointed with the draw. Despite the result, Kane praised Walker’s performance and emphasized the importance of him dropping deep, highlighting his ability to make things happen and hurt the opposition with his passing. Kane also mentioned the attacking depth of the team and how such games can happen.
Zinchenko, the scorer of Ukraine‘s goal, referred to the result as “amazing” for Ukraine and expressed gratitude for the incredible support they felt during the match. He acknowledged the quality of the England players and emphasized the need for Ukraine to take each game step by step.
Ukraine manager, Serhiy Rebrov, claimed that his team deserved the point from the match and highlighted their strong defensive performance and character throughout the game. He also mentioned the importance of time for the team to adapt and improve under his coaching.
Editorial and Advice
Considering the Context
While the 1-1 draw against Ukraine may be seen as a slight stumble on England‘s path to Euro 2024 qualification, it is essential to remember the unique circumstances surrounding this match. Ukraine, playing on “home” turf in Poland due to the ongoing conflict with Russia, transformed the game into a national event and used the passionate support of their fans to lift their performance. This level of fervor and unity can undoubtedly provide a significant advantage for any team.
England, as a team, must learn from this match and address the issues highlighted. They have the advantage of having already secured a strong position in the qualification stage, but complacency is not an option. They should take the opportunity to closely analyze the formation, player roles, and offensive patterns, making the necessary adjustments to ensure a more cohesive and creative attacking play.
England possesses a plethora of talent and depth in their squad, and it is imperative for Gareth Southgate and his coaching staff to find the right balance and roles for each player. James Maddison’s recent good form for Tottenham Hotspur suggests he could be more impactful in a different position, where he can maximize his creativity and influence the game alongside Jude Bellingham. Southgate needs to identify the best role for Maddison to unlock his full potential.
Additionally, it is crucial for players like Harry Kane to continue embracing their strengths and playing to them. Kane’s passing ability, highlighted by his statement about wanting to be on the ball to make things happen and hurt the opposition with his passing, should be utilized strategically. The same applies to other players who possess unique qualities that can contribute to England‘s attacking prowess.
Developing Cohesion and Creativity
England‘s lack of creativity and movement in the match against Ukraine is concerning and needs to be addressed. The team must work on developing better offensive patterns and movement off the ball to create scoring opportunities. Stepping up their game in this aspect will allow them to break through well-organized defenses more effectively and capitalize on their attacking talents.
Individual players should also take responsibility for adopting a more risk-taking approach in their play, adding unpredictability and dynamism to the team’s attacking play. The combination of well-drilled offensive patterns and individual brilliance can lead England to success at Euro 2024.
The 1-1 draw against Ukraine in the Euro 2024 qualifying match highlighted some issues in England‘s team selection and offensive play. It is essential for Gareth Southgate and his coaching staff to address these issues, including the formation, player roles, offensive patterns, and overall creativity, to ensure success at Euro 2024. While qualification may be a formality, there is no room for complacency, and England must maximize their strengths, develop better cohesion and creativity, and learn from the passionate performances displayed by teams like Ukraine. With the talent and depth at their disposal, England has the potential to become trophy winners next summer.
<< photo by Bence Balla-Schottner >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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