So far it is safe to say, the Three Lions have yet to convince many that they are capable of winning Euro 2016. Coming second in the group stages has done them little favours. Included in England’s side of the draw are the likes of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. However, even though this is the case the English are still in the last 16 of the competition. Now anything can happen. Performances are almost irrelevant next to the more important aspect which is England winning. Before dealing with the big boys, they take on a side that on paper at least looks a far weaker side in Iceland. Get past this game and it would set up a quarter final clash with the host nation France at their national stadium.
Euro 2016: England Winning is all that Matters
Every England supporter would like to see England not only win games but play good football too. Sometimes this isn’t possible especially in a major tournament such as this. Opponents will not always allow teams to play to their strengths. Remember, they are also trying to get something from the game. They will attempt to frustrate the opposition and their fans, look at the Slovakia game. England dominated for long periods but could not find the breakthrough. Slovakia got the point and progressed to the next stage.
A consistant formula has yet to be found that will win games for England when things aren’t going there way. This is something that must be worked on. Sometimes, you have to win ugly. Against Wales, changes had to be made to for them to win after going behind. Against Russia however, when they led until very late and against Slovakia where they came up against a stubborn defensive team, England struggled to convert possession into goals.
Learn from Wales
What matters most here are victories. If the performances are good too then great, but to win ugly can often feel just as good. Just ask Wales. They defeated a very organised Northern Ireland side who were the better side for long periods of the game. The Welsh manager, even though they were second best was happy. “We had to be patient and we hung on in there. The performance does not put a downer on it. I would rather be standing here, in the quarter-final, having not played at our best.” Will England fans complain if their side kept progressing in the tournament without playing at their best? It’s unlikely.
Manager Roy Hodgson is hopeful of a new contract and a win is a must if he is to successfully negotiate one. It has been made clear by the Football Association that they will base any decision on the National sides performances in France. However, exiting the tournament at the second round stage at the hands of the lowest ranked team left in the tournament will not go down well. Not only with the Football Association but with fans around the country. Hodgson will be mindful of the fact that a good performance but a defeat will get him few favours.
Wayne Rooney, along with Tottenham’s Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are expected to return as Roy Hodgson reverts back what appears to be his favoured side. The one recall which is less certain is that of Raheem Sterling. The Manchester City winger is England’s only natural wide man, however he has failed to impress when he has played. Daniel Sturridge, England’s hero against Wales is pushing to keep his place in the starting line up. Iceland have a fully fit squad to choose from.
At this stage of the competition, although a good performance and plenty of goals would obviously be great, it’s the result that ultimately counts. The nation expects a victory against a country with a population of just 330,000. But they cannot be underestimated, they are here in the last 16 of Euro 2016 for a reason. England may need to win ugly. If that is the case then so be it.