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European Football Championship: Gold becomes metal: Debates about England and the “chemist”

European Football Championship: Gold becomes metal: Debates about England and the “chemist”
European Football Championship: Gold becomes metal: Debates about England and the “chemist”

Dismal, without ideas, goalless: England’s performance at the European Championships is becoming more and more puzzling. Coach Southgate is being hit with cups from the stands. The only thing that gives hope is the table.

Flying cups, nagging experts, top talents barely considered: doubts about tournament favorites England with captain Harry Kane are growing more and more ahead of the start of the knockout round. Instead of being happy about winning the group and the supposedly easier half of the tournament without Germany, France and Spain the day after the completely boring 0:0 against Slovenia, there is great disillusionment and increasing skepticism on the island.

At the centre of the criticism: coach Gareth Southgate, whose departure as coach of the Three Lions is becoming more and more concrete in the days to come. The tabloid newspaper “The Sun” compared the 53-year-old to a “chemist who turns everything around”. Southgate turns the excellent staff, which the paper described as “gold”, into “metal”. And anyone who has seen the three staid preliminary round games of the ensemble with a total value of over a billion euros knows exactly what is meant by this before the round of 16 (6 p.m.) on Sunday in Gelsenkirchen.

Southgate himself sees “step forward”

Southgate, on the other hand, is practicing perseverance slogans and demonstratively standing up for his players, who have once again disappointed. “I understand the narrative about me and it’s better if I get it than the team,” he said. “But it creates an unusual environment in which we have to work. I haven’t seen any other team that qualified and received similar criticism.”

However, there was no other team that disappointed so much in the preliminary round – given the high expectations. Even if the ex-pro sees it very differently, especially after the group stage. “I’m proud of the players. We dominated the game, we’re getting better. We had a lot of chances. It was a step forward,” said Southgate, describing the 90 minutes, after which everyone was happy when the final whistle was blown.

More and more boos

On paper, the offensive around Kane, Champions League winner Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka is one of the best and most impressive that European football currently has to offer. But on the pitch, everything seems devoid of ideas and uninspired. And the fans are also turning away more and more, as was seen in Cologne. “I think of the previous tournaments. We often played our best football in the knockout phase,” said Kane with a good dose of optimism. The 30-year-old FC Bayern star striker has not been as effective as hoped.

Southgate politely applauded towards the stands, but beer mugs flew at him from there. There were also clear boos from the 20,000 or so Three Lions fans this time. For the heavily criticised coach, it is now a matter of not losing the support of the professionals after the fans’ love.

The experts have long since – and even before this European Championship – focused on the coach. For former international player Gary Neville, the scoreless draw against Slovenia was “hard to watch”. There was talk of “yawning glory”, and the term group winners did not fit the preliminary round performance at all.

Euphoria like the DFB team? Dominance like Spain? Completely absent. At least: England could meet these two teams, who have been so strong so far, in the final on July 14 in Berlin at the earliest.

Talents worth millions hardly used

Southgate would have every opportunity to make changes to the attacking personnel. Cole Palmer, Kobbie Mainoo and Anthony Gordon are highly gifted talents with a market value of 50 million euros and above. Under Southgate, they only play as substitutes for short periods of time – if at all. Gordon was allowed to come on in the 89th minute on Tuesday.

“We are happy with the substitutions. The way they played together, there were some fine moves. They get their share of the game,” said the coach. A photo remained from the game against Denmark showing Palmer (Chelsea FC) and Mainoo (Manchester United) staring blankly on the bench.

Despite the irritating performance, neither of the two young professionals got a chance. It is doubtful that Southgate will make any changes or even take any risks for the round of 16. From Sunday onwards, every game could be his last on the sidelines of the Three Lions.

Source: Stern

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