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Tonight
#11
(07-11-2018, 10:30 PM)Sw4Baggie Wrote: Tournament came a year too soon. Southgate has done wonderful work embedding a team into a group of players for the first time in a couple of decades, but he has only really embedded one way of playing.

We played well, achieved more than expected, but had a lot of luck, and in fairness given who we’ve played, probably fell a little short.

Massive credit to Southgate and the lads, they handed pressure well, killed the penalty monkey, and United a disinterested and broken fan base, but we’re still some way behind the top 4-5 teams.

We have a young squad, lots of promising youth and a real feel good factor. If we can produce a genuine creative midfielder the future is bright.

One day it’ll come home, and it feels closer than it has for quite some time...

Can’t argue with any of that. As I’ve said elsewhere, God knows where, we were a ‘Gazza’ away from getting to the final.

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#12
For all Croatia's ball retention was better than ours second half, we were undone defensively by conceding two goals that you just have to defend better if you want to win the world cup. Walker for the first and Stones for the second have to be more switched on and deal with the situation. Croatia got on top, but ultimately won the game because they defended better than we did.
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#13
Ultimately you have to ask the question what expectations did you have going into the tournament and did they meet them.

In my case they exceeded my expectations, not massively, I was always they would give a good account of themselves.

In the end it was as I feared when a team started coming at us, we inevitable morphed into a back 5, with very little in central midfield. But I don't think Southgate messed up, he made the very best of what was available to him.

Key now to take this experience and ally it to the success we have had at various youth tournaments and keep going.
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#14
They did deserve the win, but the ref in the second half didn’t help us one bit.
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#15
Once Modric and Rakitic got on the ball more and more you knew what was coming, for all their effort Lingard, Alli and Henderson struggled to compete with a central midfield that has won five European Cups in the last five seasons. They'll all learn from this and be better for it.
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#16
(07-11-2018, 10:13 PM)Dreamkiller Wrote: Southgate’s almost made a virtue of saying “This is how we’re going to play and we’re not changing it.” The concern is that there appeared to be no plan B once it was obvious that Croatia had been dominating the play for a long period.

In truth though, beyond the first team, there wasn’t really much in reserve to alter the game. Too much of our hope rested on Rashford, and it just didn’t work. This may or may not be an ongoing theme with the lack of English talent in the Premier League to pick from. 

So near, yet so far.

Agree totally . Once they changed after half time , we were slow to react  . We ended up a five at the back , with the three midfielders having to cover way too much ground . The amount of time they had on the flanks to cross the ball was a problem . Our wing backs just never got forward at all after 50 minutes .The Rashford change didn't work . As you say , what could Southgate have done to alter it ? Not too sure . Maybe he's rigid in his thinking or maybe he didn't have the players to change things anyway . Bit of inexperience at that level on his part perhaps . Possibly he's just plain stubborn .

Don't want to be too critical though , him and the players performed far better than expected . The way forward and next step has to include a Plan B with the players he has available .

Croatia were better than us and deserved the win , especially after conceding so early .
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#17
(07-11-2018, 10:04 PM)Duffmon Wrote: What is there to say?

On one hand we did well to be there. On the other we were within reach of the World Cup final and we blew it:

This is not meant as a pop at Southgate, he and the squad have been brilliant all tournament, but IMO he got it wrong tonight.

I think we blew it too - didn't learn from the Colombia game trying to sit on a 1-0 against a dangerous team. A bit too conservative resulting in not many attempts on goal when the team I think would be better playing like the first half and going for more goals. I wonder if we will see a different approach against Belgium or if the team will be too deflated?
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#18
It was clear that Croatia were getting a grip 10 mins before half time,and with the chances that we missed early on, I felt we were in trouble. Southgate had 15 mins to sort it, he didn't ! Croatia came out more aggressive, nasty perhaps ?, I said to my missus there would only be one winner, and it wouldn't be us,! Pretty obvious really . They'll get over it, and hopefully learn. There's only one objective in football. 
Score more than them.
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#19
In a way it reminded me of us when we went up in 02. It came a bit too early and we didn't have the experience and nous to handle the bigger sides.

The first half was our best performance in years - but that is our undoing. We really should have gone in at half time 2 or 3 nil up. I don't want to be too critical of Southgate, everyone knows the fantastic job he's done, but I don't think he saw the Crotian resurgence. Everyone thought they were going to be the team that would tire first. I also thought taking Sterling off was a mistake, he looked on it and would've made sure we still had an attacking impetus. He had them on the back foot every time he had the ball.

Croatia did very well, very shrewd and streetwise in their play knocking it into the flanks and breaking up the play staying down after fouls etc. Fair play to them, but what a chance we have thrown away.
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#20
(07-11-2018, 10:13 PM)Dreamkiller Wrote: Southgate’s almost made a virtue of saying “This is how we’re going to play and we’re not changing it.” The concern is that there appeared to be no plan B once it was obvious that Croatia had been dominating the play for a long period. 

In truth though, beyond the first team, there wasn’t really much in reserve to alter the game. Too much of our hope rested on Rashford, and it just didn’t work. This may or may not be an ongoing theme with the lack of English talent in the Premier League to pick from. 

So near, yet so far.

Croatia had pushed there winger up onto Trippier which meant that he played very deep and took away our main threat. In hindsight he should have put Walker out to full back and pushed someone back alongside Stones to play 4-4-2, that would have allowed Trippier to play further up the field. Unfortunately, as you say, we stuck at the formation for too long.

Southgate is a young manager and he will learn from this. The players will also learn a lot from the experience, don't forget this is the first major tournament for a lot of them and they can play in 3 or 4 more over the next decade.

We need that star in midfield - A Bale type player that can just turn a game on his own.

(07-11-2018, 10:28 PM)Dreamkiller Wrote:
(07-11-2018, 10:23 PM)TheUnit Wrote: Hard to critise really as they all played their hearts out.

Walker was the weak link in defence.

The needless booking seemed to unhinge him a bit. A shame, I think he’s done really well overall.

I said that at the time, his head went and for their second goal his positioning was really poor. The ball was half cleared and he stood still watching rather than look around for the threat. His pace during the game was something else though - that initial 10 yard pace is amazing.
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