Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
The world’s most hotly anticipated football tournament is finally here.
Yes, it’s the World Cup!
Thirty-two nations from five confederations will clash over the next month as they battle for football’s ultimate prize. Will Germany retain their title? Can Brazil, France or Argentina dethrone the holders? Or could this be the moment England finally end 52 years of hurt? It’s time to find out!
Part 3 will follow our journey through the Group Stages with games against Panama, Belgium and finally Tunisia. Can we go further than IRL and finish top? Or are we going to flounder and not even finish 2nd?
Game 1 v Panama
Game 1 was as you would expect a resounding easy 6-0 victory against one of the tournament minnows in Panama. However, after watching the game twice I was really not happy with one aspect of out game: our Shooting. The images below shows that we pretty dominated the game and were the much better team, however Harry Kane’s 13% Shots on Target Ratio and the amount of shots from inside the box off target seems absolutely dire (to me anyway). Hopefully we can look to change this for the game against Belgium which will be our biggest test of the Group Stages.
Game 2 v Belgium
The big game arrived and safe to say I wasn’t feeling too optimistic about our chances of a result. With Raheem Sterling and Danny Rose out with a leg injury and a suspension respectively and Harry Kane still not in the best of form I genuinely felt like this game was already lost. But 90 minutes later and a fair few nerves later we had done it! A 1-0 win! A sublime left foot finish by John Stones from an indirect free kick early in the game sealed the deal in the 6th minutes. A much better team performance this time as the lads pulled together to grind out the win after sitting on the backfoot for most of the final 15 minutes of the game. Before the game I was concerned that we may be lacking on the left hand side with Luke Shaw debuting for the injured Danny Rose however he put in a performance of the highest quality walking away with the Man on the Match award after running for nearly 10 miles and provided 4 key passes. Another area was impressed with was our Pass Completions. Every player provided over 80% Pass Completion, with Eric Dier completed a huge 94%. Next up, Tunisia. A win here should guarantee top spot in the Group Stages.
Game 3 v Tunisia
Another good win for the team, with Harry Kane finally founding his pre-World Cup form and scoring a hat-trick in a 3-0 win in the final Group Stage game v Tunisia helping us to finish top of the group. Again I was concerned before the game about the left hand side as I realised afterwards that Luke Shaw’s yellow card meant he would be suspended for this game; with Danny Rose still out injured and no other Left Wing Back Nathaniel Clyne was brought in to fill the gap. Although Clyne did not seem phased as he achieved the third best rating among the team. 3 games, 10 goals, 0 conceded. At this point, I am fairly happy with how the tactic in performing and the team also seem to be enjoying it with three good performances. The only change I have made to the tactic to reducing or increasing the mentality between Standard, Control and Attacking depending on the course of the game.
The World Cup Second Round Draw has matched us up against Senegal, a game I feel should be easily winnable given the performances over the last three games. Stayed tuned for the results of this in Part 4!