England’s Stalemate in Euro 2024 Qualifier: Signs of Concern or Simply a Hiccup?
A Night in Poland, A Memory Etched
Amidst the shadow of the ongoing Russian invasion casting a gloomy backdrop, the Euro 2024 qualifier between England and Ukraine played out in Poland’s confines. With the dust settled, a 1-1 scoreline punctuates the record books.
“We’re not going to win every game by fours and sevens,” Southgate mused. While the draw seems an anomaly, given that it’s only England’s second non-victory in 23 attempts, it’s essential to dissect the minutiae.
Finding Rhythm, or the Lack Thereof
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ukraine’s dynamic force, punctured the net first. But England, not to be outdone, found a hero in Kyle Walker. His maiden international goal equalised the proceedings, and possibly, his internal demons. Southgate acknowledged the attacking hiccup, admitting that the side didn’t “quite click.”
“That was a really good test – away from home, very passionate atmosphere, quite a few changes forced from the last game. Sometimes, especially with attacking play, it doesn’t quite click. We know that the patterns that we worked during the week are what we always do, so it’s not that we approach the game in a different way,” he elaborated.
England’s Almost Invincible Record: A Glitch?
Southgate’s men had previously maintained a pristine win record in Group C. But even this slight derailment leaves them comfortably seated at the summit, leading second-place Ukraine by a handy six points.
The roaring 40,000 fans in the Tarczynski Arena might have intimidated many, but England’s boss seemed relatively unperturbed. He appreciated the control his team showcased amid the charged atmosphere.
“I thought we played with real composure up until the final third and then I think by the time we scored the goal we’d had over 70 per cent of the ball but that was our first attempt on target,” Southgate observed.
Time to Reckon for England
Dion Dublin, a voice from England’s yesteryears, cast a shadow over the team’s recent performances. “It is time for England to win something,” he commented on Channel 4. The subtext? Good isn’t good enough. Greatness demands trophies.
Dublin further expressed his yearning for more. “I want to see more from this England side, They are fantastic players but more is needed. There has to be more to come.”
Walker’s Milestone Moment
Amidst the critique, a silver lining emerged in the form of Kyle Walker. The Manchester City full-back’s joy knew no bounds as he notched up his first goal for England. Recounting the build-up with Harry Kane, he said, “I’ve played with H [Harry Kane] for a number of years now and I know he likes to drop deep and spot that run. I saw the gap. I am pleased I could contribute at that end but my main job is stopping goals.”
Kane, ever the jester, jibed, “We have a joke about it for every camp and I said before you retire I’ll give you a penalty. I am delighted for him.”