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Euro 2012 - England Performance Review

England Performance Review

 

What now for England and Roy Hodgson after the Three Lions quarter-final exit from Euro 2012

Nobody ever really expected the current England side to set the continent alight at Euro 2012 this summer and so it was as Roy Hodgson’s men clung on for dear life against Italy in the quarter-finals only to exit the tournament once again via the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

Even the most biers England supporters would have found a reverse outcome unjust however, as despite the bravery and tenacity of the players, the Azzurri were quite simply a far better outfit both in terms of quality and fitness.

England began their campaign against the French and looked on the up after taking an early lead through Joleon Lescott.

It was hoped that such a positive start would drive the team on to attack further and create more chances but the goal appeared to cause the exact reverse.

England retreated deep into their shell and handed the initiative to Les Bleus who blasted in an equaliser through Samir Nasri.

The opener finished 1-1 – a decent result for England but it was evident that the team had a little to find with France who themselves were hardly considered to be realistic contenders for the tournament outright.

Hodgson seemed to bring about some improvement when England faced old rivals Sweden in match day two as they again hit the front through Andy Carroll after a strong first half showing.

But disaster struck not long after the break as England fell behind and were on the brink of an early elimination.

Thankfully, another defeat to the Scandinavians was not to be as goals from Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck gave England a thrilling 3-2 success.

Consequently, a draw was all that was needed in England’s final group game against co-hosts Ukraine and they obliged with a victory courtesy of a simple tap in from Wayne Rooney.

England topped the group, but the signs were still not great after being dominated by Ukraine for the majority of the ninety minutes.

For all of England’s shortfalls in attack, their defence was perhaps the real strongpoint at the championship and Messrs Cole, Terry, Lescott and Johnson did a remarkable job to keep a flowing Italy at bay.

It was Cole’s penalty miss that put the writing on the wall however and England must now move on swiftly ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign which begins later in the year.

Hodgson was relatively pleased with the effort turned in by his squad and in many ways there is a lot to be positive and optimistic about if you are an England supporter.

With veterans such as Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand set to give way, Hodgson has a chance to blood and mould a fresh, younger team worthy of mounting a challenge in Brazil in two years-time; with Jack Wilshire the likely star turn in the heart of the midfield.