Euro 2016: R16 – England v Iceland

I would do an analysis, but honestly, what’s the point?  Everything that could be said will be said in the mainstream media, and no doubt for many months to come.

I predicted England would go out in the last 16 in a BBC Sport poll done before the tournament stated.  I wish I had put money on it to compensate for the hours spent watching England’s toothless performances that I will never get back.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I had long ago given up an emotional connection with England.  They can disappoint you only so many times before you stop having expectations.  Nowadays, I wish them well and hope they do justice to themselves.  And when they don’t – it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t surprise.  I can discuss their travails with detachment.

So, the only thing that interests me is curiosity about the preparation and decision making.  All I have are questions.  Because I am truly baffled by how the England set-up works – or rather doesn’t work.  So here goes:

  1. How can England go into a major tournament not knowing their best team?
  2. How can England go into a major tournament not knowing their best formation?
  3. Why after previous bad experiences do we persist in taking unfit/injured players?
  4. Why after previous bad experiences do we persist in taking out of form players?
  5. Why after previous bad experiences do we persist in playing players who play in the same position in the same team?
  6. Why do we persist in playing players out of position?
  7. Why do we persist in playing unfit players when it becomes obvious they are unfit?
  8. Why do we persist in playing out of form players when it becomes obvious they are out of form?
  9. Why do we persist in selecting players who have played poorly in previous matches?
  10. Why do we keep pacy centre forwards on the bench unused when playing opponents whose defenders are slow and ageing?
  11. Why do we never have a Plan B?
  12. Why did we make 6 changes before our final group game when the group wasn’t won?
  13. Why do we persist in selecting players who have played poorly in previous matches? (Yes, it’s an annoyingly repetitive habit.)
  14. Why did we wait until the 85th minute to bring on Marcus Rashford, when we were 2-1 down and on the verge of going out of the tournament against Iceland?  What exactly did Roy think a precocious teenager, let alone an experienced and proven match winner, could do in 5 minutes?  Or had Roy’s watch stopped half an hour earlier?

When the FA conduct their latest post-mortem, they may wish to consider these questions and find some answers for a change, otherwise it will be Groundhog Day all over again at the next major tournament.

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