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England vs Russia a few quick thoughts

  • Once again we learn that Football can be such a cruel mistress
  • Roy Hodgson’s men looked like set to come away with a deserved win in their Euro 2016 opener but were frustratingly pegged back by an injury time Russia goal
  • A draw but in all honesty it feels like a defeat
  • With Jamie Vardy left on the bench it was left to Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana to provide width
  • Lallana had one of his better games in an England shirt, while Sterling had one of his worst
  • England can take comfort from the many positives that they showed last night but they will no doubt be a gloomy atmosphere in the camp this morning
  • Wayne Rooney played off Harry Kane and gave an impressive performance before being subbed off for Jack Wilshere with 12 minutes to go
  • But this was against a lackluster Russia side, will he be afforded the same time and space against Wales on Thursday
  • Harry Kane was disappointing in the solo striker role that he usually plays so well for in a Tottenham shirt
  • I like most of the nation were bemused as to why he was taking corners last night
  • For all of England’s attacking endeavour and impressive levels of pressing high up the park they couldn’t deliver a knockout blow to Russia in the first 45 minutes
  • Lallana and Rooney having the best chances of the opening half but Igor Akinfeev was largely untroubled
  • Russia came out with more energy in the second half and seem revitalised after the half time break
  • They were causing more concern for Joe Hart and the back four in front of them
  • But still you felt that England were the team more likely to go ahead
  • There were periods of frustration though mainly when Raheem Sterling had the ball out the wide, he was mainly ineffectual last night and will now be sweating on whether he has done enough to feature against Wales
  • The chance of the game so far then fell to an unmarked Wayne Rooney at the edge of the box
  • 99 times out of 100 his powerful drive would have nestled into the net but Igor Akinfeev made a world class save to tip the effort onto the bar
  • The rebound fell to Adam Lallana who subsequently hit the post but he was offside anyway
  • Heroics in the Russian goal and the scores were still level
  • The longer England went on without a goal the frustration grew
  • But the frustration was finally alleviated with 17 minutes to go when Eric Dier managed to talk Wayne Rooney into taking the free kick
  • And the decision paid dividens, Dier’s fantastic free kick was curled over the wall and past a hapless Akinfeev to England a deserved lead
  • All England had to do was see the last period of the game out
  • But this is where Roy Hodgson’s negativity came into play
  • Rooney was bought off for Wilshere in a bid to protect the lead and then Sterling was hauled off for James Milner
  • But that plan cruelly backfired two minutes into four minutes of stoppage time, Vasil Berezutski soaring above Danny Rose at the far post to send Georgi Schennikov’s header looping over keeper Joe Hart.
  • If anyone had to come in for criticism for that goal it was James Milner. Giving away the corner and then all at sea in the build up to the equaliser
  • A cruel end to the game and two points snatched away from England when a victory was nearly in reach
  • But Roy Hodgson’s men don’t have time to dwell on this they now have to dust themselves down and prepare for The Battle Of Britain on Thursday
  • A win then and this result is forgotten about, a draw and the Slovakia game becomes must win, a defeat and all of a sudden we have a crisis on our hands
  • It’s certainly going to be an interesting a few days
  • But supporting England is never simple is it
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