Three clean sheets, seven points, top of Group D. What’s not to like?
A lot, apparently. A cloud of pessimism hangs over England after they dragged themselves into the last 16 at Euro 2020 with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Czech Republic, a woeful goalless draw with Scotland, and a distant (but glorious) 1-0 win against Croatia.
So are the rest of Europe hoping to play Gareth Southgate’s side or quaking in their boots at the thought? We got the views from our Eurosport colleagues in Germany (who await in the last 16), Spain, Italy and France ahead of the knockout stage
England have been criticised for being too conservative – is that the impression across Europe?
Tom Mueller (Eurosport Germany): “I expected them to be a way stronger attacking force when you look at their quality. I like the stability, but it is noticeable that they stop attacking and being creative once they take the lead. I think this can become a problem against better teams, because I’m not sure if they are the typical counter-attacking team. What happens if they concede first?”
Daniel Garcia Ecija (Eurosport Spain): “We share the feeling that England could have been less conservative in their first three games. Only two goals in three games is strange for an attack featuring Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane. Although it’s true that the defence has been perfect, I think this security should have translated into more emphasis in attack.”
Carlofilippo Vardelli (Eurosport Italy): “Yes, at least in Italy many think so. England produced 0.00 xG (expected goals) in the second half against the Czech Republic and, considering the amount of talent available, it seems like a waste. I understand the desire to not take risks, but I don’t think this football is very profitable in the long term.”
Louis Gilles (Eurosport France): “So far, it seems like England have done the minimum required. England give the impression that they’re a very talented group, but struggle to create a team out of all their talent. It has not been a pleasure to watch them play.”