Do you know that feeling of waiting for paint to dry ? As exciting as football can be , it does produce such moments too. The Sight of a tubby French supporter asleep in the stadium during the England - France game is worth a thousand words . These two Power Houses of world football served us cold steak and chips in their group D encounter in Donetsk . The respective managers were not helped by their teams being at embryonic stages of development , with quite a lot of players on both sides lacking big tournament experience . Anyone who watched a re-broadcast of the match ought to be forgiven the thought that the video of the game was on "slow-speed ". Not to worry , your agony was not due to some technical malfunction .
SNAP SHOT OF ENGLAND : Manager Roy Hodgson was perhaps as daring as could be with his team selection , especially in attack by picking 18 year old Alex Oxlade Chamberlain , and Danny Welbeck in a 4-3-3 formation . I give the manager full marks for that . Joe Hart had a good display in goal , the defense individually and collectively competent was England's strongest department . The midfield was the weakest : Gerrard was the best of the three , he played with more imagination , but lacking in ability at this level to initiate proceedings in a methodical manner . Parker failed to disprove my theory he can be more than just cannon fodder in midfield ; while james Milner remains an enigma with a performance that straddles hopelessness at invention, but with a required tactical defensive balance to midfield. The three upfront can be summed-up as the good , the bad and the ugly . Ashley Young had no influence and penetration ; Oxlade-Chamberlain is learning the difference between wanting to take the game by storm , and actually achieving that . He was rather impetuous , and needs to do the simple things first , and the lethal ones further down the opponents half. Danny Wellbeck gave an encouraging exhibition . The first time in a long while i have seen an England centre-forward with skill , grace , and technique . As a team , England were adequate . Or you'd say they were like an orchestra without music , nor a conductor . Solid enough , never looked like disintegrating , improvement is needed in ball possession , distribution , offensive positional play , and passing angles in synchronization .
SNAP SHOT OF FRANCE : Laurent Blanc has built a new side after the shambles of the South Africa 2010 world cup . Defense looks to be their weakest department. Strange how Philip Mexes can be their top central defender . A player in his thirties , just gained regular foot-ball at international level having been in the squad for so long says it all. He looks uncertain , and uncomfortable . England did not cause them too many problems as there was never sustained pressure to deal with. All the same , easy to detect it's the weakest sector of the team. France deployed the 4-3-3 formation - Alou Diarra kept it together in midfield , flanked by Yohan Cabaye and Malouda - they generated fluidity and useful passing angles , but once the mid-field gets the ball up to the forward 3 - Benzema , Nasri , and Ribery , as a trio , they scarcely worked out the spark or cleverness to puncture England . They were slow, monotonous, and lacking in conviction to break England down . If England were an orchestra without music and a conductor , France were an orchestra with music , ready to play but no conductor.
As a team , the fundamentals are being correctly placed - they build attacks from back to front , but my critique will state they cannot trouble too many teams at this pedestrian pace. They lack a proper fantasy player too , and please do not tell me Nasri is - I bed to differ....
FOWARD LOOKING : France and England need to up the tempo and intent in their next game to build on the gains of the 1 point they both share in the group . Ukraine may not be that easy when they they come up against France - One thing the Co- hosts do not lack is vigor and motivation . They attacked with pace against Sweden , and would certainly concern the French. Laurent Blanc's men will have to up their game considerably .
For England , Playing Sweden is what the Doctor ordered . The sort of opposition they can handle , and are familiar with . Terry against Ibrahimovic ; Larson against Ashley Cole; Wellbeck against Melberg , and an England manager who has worked extensively in Sweden . My only suggestion would be to swap Defoe for Young . I believe Defoe is cleverer , more nimble , explosive , and a secret weapon England could use. In tandem with Welbeck , England would keep the ball better in the last third of the pitch , and possess an augmented potential to score goals .
The moment of truth beckons in Group D.... we are in the throes of an end game here , let's see how it unwraps.
To everyone who reads my blogs , i say a big thank you for your readership . Stay Close .