Sports England must learn from debilitating errors that denied World Cup final spot

01:56  13 july  2018
01:56  13 july  2018 Source:

Belgium finishes 3rd at World Cup, beats England 2-0

  Belgium finishes 3rd at World Cup, beats England 2-0 Belgium finishes 3rd at World Cup, beats England 2-0Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard scored a goal each for the Belgians, who lost to France in the semifinals on Tuesday.

England 's World Cup dream is over — so how do we evaluate their run to the semi- finals ? Arsenal FC Unai Emery reveals Arsenal goalkeeping plans as Petr Cech and Bernd Leno battle for No.1 spot Cech lost his place as Arsenal No.1 last term to David Ospina after a string of errors .

The England national football team has competed at the FIFA World Cup since 1950. The FIFA World Cup is the premier competitive international football tournament, first played in 1930

a group of people standing in front of a crowd© Provided by YURI CORTEZ / AFP / Getty

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions will, quite rightly, return to England as heroes. A semi-final appearance was beyond even the most optimistic fans' forecasts, and it was a run that lifted the spirits of a country still seeking resolution after a slender majority voted in favour of Brexit over two years ago.

For once, there is no national team scapegoat. When David Beckham was sent off in the last-16 elimination to Argentina in 1998, the Daily Mirror published a dartboard with the Manchester United youngster's face in the middle. By contrast, Kieran Trippier, Harry Maguire, and Jordan Pickford are now national treasures.

Soccer-England beat Sweden 2-0 to reach World Cup semis

  Soccer-England beat Sweden 2-0 to reach World Cup semis Soccer-England beat Sweden 2-0 to reach World Cup semisCenter back Maguire connected with an Ashley Young corner to score his first international goal after 30 minutes as England had much the best of the first half.

John Stones spots Kieran Trippier sneak into his press conference. World Cup quarter- finals : All you need to know about Sweden. 'We have to go again and make the country proud': Harry Kane insists England must continue to push for glory

The teams who are heading for the 2018 World Cup finals have all been in action over the past week and while Germany and Brazil lead the way there are plenty of other sides who will fancy their chances in Russia.

However, just because England isn't rueing what should have been, it doesn't mean it can't learn from what could have been. Wednesday's exit to Croatia exposed the two biggest issues Gareth Southgate needs to address if England can make a habit of running deep into major competitions: the attack, and ensuring there is variety on the bench.

Related: England out after Mandzukic's extra-time strike sends Croatia to World Cup final

Re-shaping the attack

Before Saturday's unappealing third-place play-off with Belgium, Harry Kane's shot count of 12 is two fewer than Serbia's Aleksandar Mitrovic and one fewer than South Korea's Heung-Min Son. He only tallied one more effort than Wahbi Khazri, a member of the distinctly unimpressive Tunisian side. All three of those players left the World Cup at the group stage.

Soccer-France lead 2-1 against Croatia at halftime

  Soccer-France lead 2-1 against Croatia at halftime Soccer-France lead 2-1 against Croatia at halftimeFrance took the lead when Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic, who scored the extra-time winner over England in the semi-final, inadvertently headed home an Antoine Griezmann free-kick in the 18th minute for the first own goal in a World Cup final.

Coach: Ricardo Gareca Star player: Jefferson Farfán World Cup best: Quarter- finals 1970 Will be appearing at their first World Cup since 1982 after they Walker is battling with Trippier for the right-back spot (Getty). Manchester City full-back Walker is another England player who must be looking

England won their biggest international title since 1966 by beating Venezuela 1-0 in the Under-20 World Cup final . Woodman denied Adalberto Penaranda from the spot after the Malaga forward was fouled by Kyle Walker-Peters.

a close up of a man making a face for the ball© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC

Kane simply wasn't given enough chances. Southgate needs to rehash the on-pitch understanding between Trippier and Kane - it was one of the most fruitful links in the Premier League last season, with the former teeing up the latter five times - and the arrangement at Tottenham Hotspur where Dele Alli drifts in behind Kane as a shadow striker. Kane was impressive tracking back and winning fouls, but giving him the opportunities to shoot is the obvious priority.

There are also the overstated struggles of Raheem Sterling, a player who wasn't able to get to the byline and cut balls back to Kane, just as he does with great regularity at Manchester City. Unlike his club role, where Pep Guardiola has drilled him in the art of opening up his body on the half-turn and kicking up chalk on the flanks, he was shunted into the middle, where he was the intended recipient of flat, powered deliveries from Kane or lofted balls over the top from Jordan Henderson. When City opted for more of a route-one method, Leroy Sane was often the player cutting inside and latching onto those aerial passes.

10,000 tickets unsold for England game - but too late now

  10,000 tickets unsold for England game - but too late now 10,000 tickets unsold for England game - but too late nowBut even if fans caught the quickest flight now to Samara in Russia, at just over six hours, it is too late for them to get there for the kick-off at 3pm UK time.

The World Cup finals draw is on Friday, 1 December at Moscow's State Kremlin Palace concert hall at 15:00 GMT. You can watch it live on BBC Two and the BBC Sport website and app, and listen on BBC Radio 5 live. It will be hosted by former England striker and BBC Match of the Day presenter Lineker

Nicky Henderson and Nigel Twiston-Davies deny Ascot car-boot Southgate conducts England fans in Samara He told his players 'international success will be better than anything with clubs' after booking World Cup semi- final spot .

When England was in the ascendancy in the first half against Croatia, Sterling was working well to meet these balls but, as the team dropped, so did his performance. Southgate should have found a way for Sterling to attack the half-space and wide areas on the right-hand side, leaving space for Kane, Alli, and others to connect through the middle.

a screenshot of a video game© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC

Until the elimination to Croatia, the versatile Jesse Lingard had a fine tournament stitching the midfield and frontline together, and could potentially replace Marcus Rashford or Alli in this schematic. If England is losing a midfield battle - just as it was after half-time against Croatia - Eric Dier can be picked in the middle with Henderson, or even a 4-3-3 (a formation many in the team are familiar with) can be adopted to battle for midfield supremacy.

Need for variety

When Southgate was nearing the unveiling of his World Cup squad, he spoke up the importance of versatility. The subsequent selections of Dier, Lingard, Fabian Delph, Ashley Young, and Kyle Walker allowed Southgate to test various shapes and make in-game changes. However, he was reluctant to do so.

England soccer manager Gareth Southgate sought insights from the NFL

  England soccer manager Gareth Southgate sought insights from the NFL England soccer manager Gareth Southgate sought insights from the NFLThe country that is home to perhaps the best club soccer league in the world in the English Premier League has consistently fallen short of expectations over the past two decades on the international stage of the World Cup. The team failed to get out of the group stage at the 2014 World Cup, which served as their greatest disappointment since failing to qualify for the tournament in 1994.

England came in fourth-most likely to lift the cup , while Germany took the top spot . Southgate press conference LIVE: England boss explains World Cup squad. It is also an attribute that offers important lessons for investors to learn from successful football teams. Yes, submit this vote. Cancel. You must be logged in to vote.

World Cup Thousands more England fans expected in Russia for semi- final . World Cup 2018. Tireless Rakitic happy to be on the spot for Croatia again. Brazil going out hurts but Tite must finish work. Southgate's science sends England 's World Cup into orbit.

In the last-16 meeting with Colombia, his decision to call Dier off the bench knocked the whole system off balance and, eventually, the South Americans drew level in the dying moments. It was this near-failure - Colombia was the best side in extra time before England prevailed on penalties - that perhaps led to Southgate's tentativeness against Croatia after the Three Lions subsumed Sweden in the quarter-finals.

Sterling was replaced by Rashford, Young was withdrawn for Danny Rose, and Dier took Henderson's place in Moscow. They were like-for-like changes, and ones that didn't address the fact that England had withdrawn, granting space to Luka Modric and his gifted compatriots in midfield. Rashford was largely ineffectual - the issue was the deep-lying XI, not that Sterling's effectiveness had waned. Young was fatigued and getting skinned by Croatia's superb right-back Sime Vrsaljko, but he was still dangerous as the upfield forays from Rose left gaps behind. Dier, just like Henderson, was isolated in the middle. Southgate only made a clear tweak to the approach when Jamie Vardy came on for Walker, but by then Mario Mandzukic had scored the eventual winner. The change was made through desperation.

a man holding a football ball on a field© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC

Southgate's substitutes may be late and too careful, but the real issue may lie in his options among the substitutes. There was no Marouane Fellaini-esque figure to fire balls into - there was a small band campaigning for Andy Carroll to be in the squad before he succumbed to his usual injury problems - and no real incisive passer from the middle of the park. Creativity could have been supplied by Newcastle United's Jonjo Shelvey when there is space to operate, or Bournemouth's Lewis Cook when there are tighter confines to work in. You pick the strongest squad rather than the best individuals, and Southgate should bemoan the dearth of variety in the 23-man throng he took to Russia.

Croatia reaches World Cup for 1st time, beats England 2-1

  Croatia reaches World Cup for 1st time, beats England 2-1 When the final whistle blew and they knew they were going to their first World Cup final, the Croatians ran to their exuberant fans, jumping in their iconic red-and-white checkered jerseys. Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute and Croatia shocked England 2-1 Wednesday.Croatia, the first team in 28 years to come from behind to win a World Cup semifinal match, will play France for the title on Sunday in its biggest sporting moment since becoming an independent nation in 1991.France, which won its only title at home in 1998, will have an extra day of rest after beating Belgium 1-0 on Tuesday.

James Milner insisted no-one in the England squad is 'getting ahead of themselves' and already thinking of the World Cup finals next summer. Under fire: Rio Ferdinand has been criticised for defensive errors against Ukraine but Milner has backed his England colleague to learn from the

World Cup 2018. Football. UK politics. Tower Hamlets final council to declare – as it happened. Electoral Reform Society releases figure as local elections in England bring mixed results for main 11.16am EDT 11:16 Burnham says Labour must take 'much firmer grip' on antisemitism problem.

The World Cup was encouraging, but for England to improve on this performance and successfully integrate a talented contingent of youngsters - including Cook, Ademola Lookman, Ryan Sessegnon, Mason Mount, Jadon Sancho, and Phil Foden - Southgate needs to take this experience and ensure the same mistakes cannot happen again.

This team was assembled around the defence, and that was the most positive part of England's campaign. However, this team should have been built around Kane and Sterling's attacking talents, but both weren't able to exert their brilliance for the vast majority of the tournament. Then, among the reserves the standout attributes were very similar to those in the starting lineup. It was difficult to usher in a plan B.

Southgate has proved himself as excellent at integrating a holistic approach at St George's Park (the kind of work a technical director does), taking the weight of representing England off the players' shoulders (a triumph of his man-management skills) and, most impressively, making a disenchanted fan base care about the national team again (more of a public relations duty). At Euro 2020, it's time for Southgate to show he's a proactive touchline manager who can fully utilise his attackers' strengths.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

England reaches World Cup semifinals, beats Sweden 2-0 .
England reaches World Cup semifinals, beats Sweden 2-0Harry Maguire and Dele Alli scored with headers in a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday, earning England a match against either Croatia or host nation Russia for a place in the final.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!