England kick off their European Championship campaign this evening as they go head to head with Russia. After winning all three of their pre tournament warm up matches then you would imagine optimism to be flying high but that hasn’t quite been the case
After England’s win against Portugal last Thursday it’s fair to say that the result gave us more questions than answers. It was a lacklustre win over a Portugal side that played the majority of the game with 10 men after Bruno Alves sending off.
What we learned from that game is that Wayne Rooney at the point of a diamond wasn’t a success and Dele Alli as one of two Central Midfielders wasted such a prodigious talent. The question now is whether or not Roy Hodgson is brave enough to drop Rooney to the bench
There has been a bit of a scare in the week in terms of defensive personnel with Chris Smalling picking up a small knock in training but he is expected to be fully fit and be one of the centre backs with the decision now whether John Stones or Gary Cahill goes alongside him
Jamie Vardy has grabbed all the headlines this week as his protracted move to Arsenal is nowhere nearer being complete. He has to make sure that his focus his solely on Euro 2016 and not a big money move, then again the better tournament he has the more money he could make for himself come the time for contract negotiations
With so many different formations tried during the three warm up games, it’s anyone’s guess as to which will be picked but whatever one has been tried hasn’t necessarily got the best out of both Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy at the same time. With Kane surely starting upfront the decision may now well be whether Vardy goes up alongside him in a 2 or whether his one of the wide men in a 4-3-3
For Russia they will to envoke the spirit of 2007 and the Luzhniki Stadium when they beat England for this time ever, that was back in qualification for 2008 a tournament that England failed to qualify in so they will no doubt look to exact some revenge for that
Russia’s preparations for the tournament have been mixed. Their last two matches has seen a draw with Serbia and defeat to Czech Republic so not ideal by any stretch of the imagination. Can they improve once we reach the tournament proper
England have failed to win an opening group game in their last 8 attempts, they may now be known for starting slowly but it would do their cause a great boost if they could get off to winning ways this time around. With expecting too much I think England will win this, then again it’s the hope that kills you.