On the final stretch to be finally tested with England on an international competiteion, I took The English Team to some tougher matches. We did ok, but honestly I was hoping we had done better, especially after the last two years I have been in command of the Nation.
Against Portugal, we managed to open a 3×0 advantage, playing very well and with Les Wingfield showing all his potential! But suddenly it seemed that we forgot how to play, and Portugal started playing well, but never managed to gain possession! They scored twice, but if they had more time, they’d probably would have tied the match.
Against the Ukrainians, again I was dissapointed with the form we handled our initial advantage. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoreboard, but then Yarmolenko and Kalitvitsev turned the match around after half time. Happily Ross Barkley tied the match, but we did not shake the net again. Danny Welbeck had a horrible performance, and is really more likely to watch Euro 2020 from his house.
Against the Dutch, I decided to play with Theo Walcott as my lone striker with a Deep Lying Forward duty, it worked well for the team play, but not for Walcott. It was a pretty close match, where the Dutch opened the scoreboard, and we had to fight our victory. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain really motivated in making the starting XI for the competition, is really impressing me. Adam Johnson has also gained my attention, and I do intend to have him in the 23 men to defend England.
Again playing with Theo Walcott as a Deep Lying Forward and this time I was happier, Walcott scored and assisted Les Wingfield. The biggest surprise for this match was that I came up with the same 352 formation I used to use with Arsenal. We dominated the Croats with a great midfield possession, our defense was a bit confused, and eventually leaked a goal. I’m pretty pleased on how the squad performed under the 352 on this first instance, and it will work well as a backup tactic.
I have decided to cancel the friendly against Spain, as it was a bit to close from our first game, against the Czech Republic. Just to remember, England is on the same group with Sweden, Czech Republic and Greece. I really think we have huge change of qualifying for the Round of Sixteen.