David Beckham getting sent-off, Sol Campbell having a perfectly good goal disallowed and England going out on penalties.
You always think you’ve reached peak-England.
And then you have several other penalty shootout exits, a Frank Lampard screamer that crosses the line but isn’t awarded, failure to qualify for the European Championships all together and then you have the last-minute equaliser by Russia despite having all the threat of a piece of paper in a gunfight.
It was just so bloody English, you didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The general feeling on the full-time whistle was one of anger, but more frustration, with Roy Hodgson’s substitutions – got to hope that the people critisicing Wayne Rooney coming off don’t miss the irony in them, no doubt, being the ones to say the Manchester United captain shouldn’t even be starting. However, the truth is, the Three Lions gaffer cost England the game with the starting XI.
When the line-up came out, social media was awash with surprise at how attacking the XI that Hodgson had selected, was. And sure, playing Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney in midfield centrally gave England a greater attacking impetus, however, playing Adam Lallana wide right totally counteracted the all-out-attack mentality.
The last time the Liverpool midfielder had a good game involving the Reds was probably when he was playing against them for Southampton, so his inclusion in the final-23 is lucky, let alone making the line-up for the opening game.
Adam Lallana's first half highlights https://t.co/FOlDGfJCGm
— GeorgeWeahsCousin (@WeahsCousin) June 11, 2016
If you’re going to play 4-3-3, the whole point is for the formation to be balanced. And perhaps Hodgson felt he was balancing the side by including Lallana’s style play as an offset to Raheem Sterling’s lighting pace (but inability to beat a man, cross the ball or control it).
Lallana is used to being a more central-minded midfielder, and that showed, with England’s best outlet down the right being Kyle Walker (who was arguably England’s Man of the Match) but there’s only so many times the Spurs man can bust a gut to get up and down.
The former Saints man’s desire to tuck in meant England were top heavy down the left-hand side and that saw the nothing short of useless Raheem Sterling having a lot of the ball – Sterling’s woeful performance really does make you question why England’s only naturally winger, Andros Townsend, was one of the three to be cut.
Lallana is a tidy little footballer, has a lovely touch and rarely loses possession but the 28-year-old slows the game down too much, doesn’t have that ability to link the midfield and attack seamlessly and just looked out of place all night.
Liverpool’s £25million man’s performance was probably more a poor reflection of Roy Hodgson’s tactics and formation setup, because Lallana doesn’t pretend to be a right-winger.
Hodgson f*cked it against Russia, and he’ll continue to do so whilst he remains a weak-minded, out of touch boss, as well as a man.