England football team returns into action. England manager Gareth Southgate has welcomed back his squad this week as they prepare to face Italy and Germany in the closing matches of the Nations League.
The Three Lions currently sit bottom of League A Group 3 and face an outside chance of winning the group as surprising leaders Hungary look to progress against the odds.
Southgate will likely use the highly-anticipated games to give young players experience against two quality sides in what will be a tense battle.
What’s gone wrong with England football team?
Quite simply, England hasn’t been good enough. Their opening game against the underdogs Hungary at the Puskás Aréna Park resulted in a shock 1-0 loss. The game was incredible even with both teams having clear chances to score until the 66th minute when Hungary won a penalty. Dominik Szoboszlai converted and led Hungary to their first win against England in over 60 years.
Southgate knew the next two matches against Germany and Italy couldn’t end in losses in they were going to progress and the team was going to have to dig deep to come away with some points. Germany dominated their first game and deservedly took the lead just after the half-time break through Jonas Hofmann. England pushed for an equalizer and was given a penalty in the 88th minute. Captain Harry Kane stepped up and put it away, stealing a point for the visitors to get their first points onto the board.
Just a few days later England welcomed the Italians to Wembley and turned in a much-improved performance, dominating possession and forcing the Italy keeper, Donnarumma, into multiple saves. Despite dominating, England couldn’t find a way through and had to settle for another draw, leaving them in a precarious position.
In the return fixture against Hungary, England and their fans were expecting a comfortable win but instead suffered one of the worst defeats at Wembley the team has ever had. In a show of how to counter-attack perfectly, Hungary gave England a lesson they wouldn’t forget as they put 4 goals past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale without reply. The result left England fans furious and many questioning how the team would do at the World Cup in November 2022 and whether Gareth Southgate was the right man to lead the team.
Waste of time?
The tournament was created to make European international football more competitive. When qualifying for the two major tournaments, higher-ranking European teams will often play against ‘easy’ teams that struggle to match the ability of well-paid professionals. This has caused some matches to appear more as friendlies, and pundits have questioned what benefits either team receives from this.
Young players in the squad such as Jarrod Bowen and Marc Guehi will be hoping to make an impression on the manager to earn a place on the plane to Qatar in November for the 2022 World Cup. Others, such as Ivan Toney who could earn his first cap against Italy, will be hoping to either consolidate their position in the squad or attempt to disrupt the manager’s decision.
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