Echoing England: World Cup 2018 Part 5

Part 1 can be found here.

Part 2 can be found here.

Part 3 can be found here.

Part 4 can be found here.

In the last part we talked about our journey through the Second Round and Quarter Finals which resulted in solid 3-0 wins in both games against Senegal and Sweden respectively. These wins have spurned up on and sent us into a Semi Final matchup against an old nemesis in Portugal. At this point we have achieved both the FA’s expectation of reaching the Quarter Finals and my own personal target of reaching the Semi Finals to truly echo England. But can we now go all the win and win the World Cup?

Semi Final v Portugal

I went into the game v Portugal with a mixture of emotions. First feeling slightly nervous as this would be our biggest and hardest test to date and secondly feeling highly optimistic as we have been playing incredibly well throughout the earlier stages of the tournament. One big concern I had for this game was out fitness of the players. Most are now becoming increasingly tired and lacking match fitness along with numerous injuries to first team players. I had good reason to be optimistic as the team pulled off a positive 2-1 win with a late winner from Raheem Sterling.

The tactic still seems to be shaping up well however there are a few things that don’t seem to or won’t work within the game. The main one been the Centre Midfielder Right pushing up more to be close to in line with his Centre Midfielder partner however the tactic would normally indicate that both the Centre Midfielders and Attacking Midfielder should push in line with each other with the Attacking Midfielder being given freedom to roam. I have unfortunately been unable to replicate this as much as I would have liked although the final result seems to have worked well. For the good, the Wing Backs are still pushing higher up the field whilst in possession to create extra passing angles and further width to the tactic. Also the Defensive Midfielder is now sitting extremely close to the three Centre Backs which is exactly where we want him to be both in and out of possession.

Defensively, we are still having issue with the Wing Backs pushing higher up instead of dropping back into the defence to form a five man back line, although I still believe this is because we are playing more attacking than I normally would against the type of opposition given our recent form in the tournament and the general consensus of how we are playing. With Portugal playing a very rigid 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow, this did not seem to be too much of an issue as most of the play was centred around the middle of the field and in no way was the space behind the two Wing Backs threatened at any point.

With the 2-1 victory against Portugal we have setup a huge Final appearance against one of our biggest international rivalries in Germany.

World Cup Final v Germany

When I first started this Series I never once expected for us to reach the Semi Finals let alone the World Cup Final. In reaching this stage there was no other team I would have wanted to face than Germany; who were also out unfortunate opponents when we one our only real World Cup all the way back in 1966. Moving into this game I was again in full confidence that we can pull of a win as we have playing incredibly well in past games only conceding once across the whole tournament and again the result duly followed as we won the World Cup with an emphatic 3-1 result against the pre-tournament favourites. Two penalties via Harry Kane in the first 20 minutes of the game followed by a late goal by Eric Dier in the final 10 minutes ensured we finished the tournament unbeaten scoring 21 goals and conceding only twice.

I have thoroughly enjoying writing about the Echoing England series as my first foray into the blogging world and I hope that those of you that have taken the time out of your days’ to read have also enjoyed it.

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