After managing to win the last six matches without exception, England boss Roy Hodgson reckons that the Three Lions will be heading to the Euro 2016 as one of the favourites to win the trophy.
England are still searching for their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup. They suffered yet another embarrassment at a major tournament after being knocked out of the World Cup 2014 at the group stages. Since then, England have undergone several changes with Hodgson bringing in fresh blood in the form of players like Raheem Sterling.
They have been a major reason behind the wins in both Euro 2016 qualifying matches and friendlies in the last few months. More importantly, England have also been playing much better football compared to recent years. Read more »
Ukraine have been one of the surprise packages of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign for far. They were not expected as one of the contenders in the group, especially when they opened the campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Slovakia. Since then, however, Ukraine have notched up three consecutive victories and it has propelled them to a great position in the table. Manager Mykhailo Fomenko, who took charge of the team during difficult circumstances, says that he is extremely happy with the discipline shown by the players. The latest win came in the form of a 3-0 score against Luxembourg.
Admittedly, Luxembourg were not expected to get anything from the match, but still Ukraine played well and will be taking a lot of confidence into the upcoming matches. Slovakia continue to lead the table after getting four consecutive wins. They have a three-point advantage over Spain, who are only ahead on goal difference. Ukraine are stll rank outsiders for the European Championships, at 100/1 (England can be backed at odds of 12/1). Read more »
The chairman of the Football Association (FA) Greg Dyke has admitted in saying that the grassroots game in England are in need of major changes and there are plans of making these changes happen as this can hugely improve the future of football in England as well as even helping out the development of rising stars in the country.
“If you go to Germany or Holland we are miles behind in terms of facilities and the number of coaches. It is clear we have a real problem with pitches. Local authorities’ budgets are being squeezed and most of the pitches are owned by them. The maintenance of these pitches is not as good as it used to be and over the last two years there have been swathes of games called off, so it’s a real issue’’ Greg Dyke told reporters.
The main plan of Greg Dyke is to help increase the facilities in which football is being played with better pitches and boost the number of top quality playing grounds as well as expand the number of coaches between different teams and clubs.
By the year 2020, there have already been outlined a number of goals that Greg Dyke and the commission are hoping that will be accomplished which includes:
Increasing football hubs of 30 cities as well as upgrading the pitches of urban areas by establishing state of the art artificial grass pitches.
Having more than 150 new football-owned and managed football hubs to support the delivery of FA, County FA and professional club youth development and coach education programs.
Establishing more than 50 per cent of all mini-soccer and youth football matches and having about 3,750 matches per week.
All of these goals and changes are expected to provide England with a better suited place for homegrown players to be developed and consequently increase the possibility of having younger players added into the main team of England.
South Korea, Ghana, Iran, Honduras, Japan, Australia, Cameroon and England were the nations that endured going through the worst campaigns during the 2014 World Cup as any of those squads managed to claim a single victory in the group stages of the worldwide event that concluded a few months ago.
England’s recent string of disappointing results in big tournaments and matches is a factor that has really started to affect the nation as fans are getting increasingly agitated towards their performances.
This is a nation that has well known players such as: Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, Joe Hart and Gary Cahill just to name a few. These are players that are performing in some of the top clubs in Europe and play high level matches every single week but when it comes to representing and perform for England everything comes crashing down as they are not able to pick up good results.
Michael Owen is a retired football player who managed to make over 80 appearances for England during his playing time as well as performing in top European club such as: Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool. He has voiced out his opinion concerning the current situation of England.
Owen stated that the fans and supporters of the English national football team have lost faith in them due to all of their series of underwhelming performances.
“Everyone in this room, the fans, us, we have all lost belief in the national team. I don’t think we will get that back until we do something significant at a major tournament. It has been pretty poor for a while now. One good result doesn’t just change that. But there were chinks of light there against Switzerland and the encouraging thing was there were players that will be around for many years to come.” Former player of Liverpool, Michael Owen said to the media.
Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu says that he is astounded by the fact that England have not achieved success in the last four decades despite having some of the best facilities in world football. Barcelona recently brought in defender Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia for £ 16 million, thus making him the world’s most expensive defender about the age of 30. He is also the club’s first signing in the centre back position since 2009. He has been part of the Barcelona team that trained at the St George’s complex – a purpose-built training facility by the England football Association.
It is reported to have cost the England FA more than £ 150 million, thus making it one of the most expensive in the world. After having been amazed at the facilities on offer, Mathieu says that he is lost for words considering that England have not achieved anything at the international stage since the 1966 World Cup victory. England were recently knocked out of the World Cup at the group stages, which was their worst performance in a World Cup since 1958. St George’s complex was built in order to replicate the success achieved by Germany, who had built a facility of their own following disappointments in the late 20th century.
“I don’t know why, having these lovely facilities, England haven’t done well – it is something I cannot answer. The English team would be the right people to answer that question. We only can say that we have enjoyed so much the great facilities and the amazing pitch. All the team have been so happy to train together and to get to know each other much better,” said the 30-year-old. It is expected that Mathieu will be replacing former Barcelona captain Carlos Puyol. He will partner Gerard Pique at the back.~