England 1-1 Russia: Thoughts

Credit: Indianexpress.com

Knee-jerking helps nobody

After conceding a last-minute equaliser, social media was quick to start bitterly reacting to seemingly another England failure. Amid some of the amusing observations, there were criticisms flung around so aghast and exaggerated it were as if England had left the tournament already. Negative reaction is fine and understandable, but to see significant media voices already bemoaning crippling player performances and timid management is excessive and unhelpful. Their thoughts may hold nuggets of truth, but are the product of a last-minute error in a game that, in truth, England dominated with significant examples of recent tactical advancements. There were also encouraging performances from Dier, Rooney and Lallana in particular. Errors change games though, and certainly alter the media and public mind-set with devastating ease.

Vardy Party against Wales?

While the lynch mobs should settle down, there is no denying that changes will probably come in the wake of what was ultimately two points dropped. The error makers – Hart in particular – will be fine, so it is elsewhere that the ‘necessary changes’ will surely come. Top of the list, most likely, is Raheem Sterling, who showcased the blend of brilliant promise and final-third failures that have defined his last few months. In truth, there is no knowing whether Vardy starting instead of him would have been better, especially when remembering his impact-free showing in the last friendly and their similar skill sets of rapid counter-attacking. However, Vardy is a media-loved champion in better form, so it would be no real surprise if he gets to try and have his party against Bale and co. later this week.

Fan media circus needs a proper response

The press has been adorned with the clashes between police and fans in the build-up to this game, with both media narratives and French police tactics suggesting the early-eighties perceptions of football fans are far from dead. They reached a scary nadir at the end of this game, as Russian fans entering an English section sparked a frightened rush, with people visibly trampled under a woefully inadequate security watch inside the ground. For many outside of football, these stories serve as a good stick with which to beat the majority, and many inside the game simply dismiss them as isolated, over-reported scuffles. The truth is a need for better responses all round: football authorities to properly control the types of fans travelling to tournaments; UEFA and local security to properly secure and implement safe, decisive protection of spectators and bystanders, and for the horrifying lessons of past football troubles to stop being lost in repeated narratives of thick-skulled, drink-addled exceptions.

I’ll tell you what Clive, that was a terrible (commentary) decision

“Justice for the England 11”, as uttered by the terrible Mr. Tyldesley, just makes the world ache for Barry Davies to return…

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