Three things we learned about England in their draw against Denmark
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Three things we learned about England in their draw against Denmark

20/06/24 18:47

England were poor, slow and sloppy as they managed to hold on for a draw against Denmark in their second group stage game. Southgate once again showed why he cannot be considered in the same category as some of the other managers in the tournament, such as Julian Nagelsmann, Luciano Spalletti and Didier Deschamps, all of whom have won major titles in their managerial careers.

Here are three things that we learned from England’s most recent disaster-class.

Southgate’s tactics are easily punished

For some reason, Southgate seems incapable of killing a game off. Despite not conceding against Serbia, the Three Lions were on the back foot for the whole second half in that game. Against Denmark, after Harry Kane gave them the lead in the 18th minute, England once again seemed content to let Denmark have the ball.

This was punished when Morten Hjulmand struck a beautiful long range effort which found the bottom corner of Jordan Pickford’s net. If England want to go far in the tournament, they need to find a way to get out of their own half against the stronger teams, because it simply isn’t good enough.

Even in the second half, England were sloppy and lucky not to lose the game. Mistake after mistake were just not punished by the Danes. Simple passes not finding the intended target, and an inability to hold onto possession has left England fans questioning whether the Three Lions can get far in the tournament.

Foden can’t play on the left

Before the tournament people already knew that Phil Foden was not comfortable on the left flank, so many had him on the right hand side over Bukayo Saka. Southgate has now played Foden on the left in the opening two games and the attacking threat from that side has been non-existent, especially as makeshift left-back Kieran Trippier is right footed.

Against Denmark, Foden came inside, often popping up just behind Kane. Despite this change, he was still unable to provide a meaningful impact to the England attack. He made a few good runs and even had a couple of shots at goal but his final product was lacking.

Is Watkins the answer to England’s problems?

With 20 minutes to go, Southgate took Kane off and brought Ollie Watkins in to replace him. Instantly, England seemed to have more attacking threat, with the option of going in behind and turning the three Danish centre-backs.

Watkins was able to get in behind on a couple of occasions, drawing a good save from Kasper Schmeichel and England’s first corner of the game. With 15 minutes to go…

General Impression

This was one of the worst England performances that I can remember watching. Worse than the two defeats to Iceland in recent years, worse than the defeat to Hungary, worse than any performance in the 2014 World Cup. With the players that England have, they should be the most exciting attacking team in international football. Instead, they seem content to just score once, and then sit back and that is entirely on Southgate.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Jake Martin

Writer

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