England 1-0 NorwayJake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
In an uninspiring display, England scrambled towards victory in their friendly against Norway last night. What does this performance mean for the young team with their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign starting on Monday when they play Switzerland?
In their first game since the disappointing World Cup display in Brazil, Hodgson’s men were thoroughly unconvincing at Wembley on Wednesday night with Rooney’s penalty on 22 minutes the only highlight.
The Man United striker, who was replaced shortly after scoring for Danny Welbeck, commented on England’s ‘sloppy’ performance:
“I thought we could have done better –we all could have done better,” he said. “It’s the first game after the World Cup and it was important that we got the win tonight, especially going into the game on Monday.
“In the first half we moved quite well but they made it difficult for us; sat back and created a few opportunities. In the second half we started really sloppily and that was disappointing, as we wanted to go out and really take the game to them.”
Harry Redknapp was also keen to give his verdict on England’s dull victory against Norway, commenting that “half the players don’t give a toss.”
Writing in the Sun newspaper, the QPR manager remarked: “Here we go again, a few months after a disastrous World Cup; yet another massive let-down for everyone.
“It is disappointment after disappointment. Half the players don’t give a toss. The fans can’t be bothered to watch them. I don’t blame the supporters for not being interested in England at the moment. Why should they be?”
Attendance at Wembley on Wednesday was just 40,181 which is less than half its capacity and the lowest recorded attendance since it was rebuilt. The crowd was at points so quiet that fans could reportedly even hear the players shouting instructions at one another.
It doesn’t bode well for England’s chances on Monday when they face Switzerland in the first of their Euro 2016 Group E qualifiers. When asked if he might be changing his tactics for the game, Hodgson answered, “Switzerland will need to beat us, if anything, we might be Norway on Monday. We might be pushed back and can’t attack and dominate for long periods, as we did today. I don’t know.”
Hodgson certainly doesn’t appear to be a man ready to inspire his team, or the nation, to glory. Not for the first time since he took over as England boss, fans are calling for more dynamic and innovative leadership rather than Hodgson’s softly, softly approach defined by managing expectation rather than the pursuit of perfection.
If you’re brave enough to back the England team in Monday’s game, Betway is pricing them at 9/5 to win which would return £28 for a £10 wager.