XI Conclusions: England 2-3 Holland

Chris Wright

1st, March 2012


By Chris Wright

1. A well-oiled and largely established Holland side with a smattering of sporadically world class players beat a pedestrian England side with approximately none. Once again, it became very apparent early on last night that England’s only means of scoring at Euro 2012 will be set pieces and corners. Oi! FA! Get on the phone to Grant Holt.

2. Arjen Robben is one hell of a player when he fancies it.

3. Passing the ball around the back four for ten unencumbered minutes while your opponents wait for you to make some kind of meaningful progress does not equate to calm, consummate ball use.

4. Danny Welbeck is not up to leading an international line on his lonesome. While we’re on the subject – he may well have been tired/tweaked a hamstring early on, but Steven Gerrard was pap. Also, Ashley Young is a mimsy.

5. The most disturbing mental image of the night? It was a toss up between Scott Parker screaming after having his nads nudged by an unfortunately placed pitchside microphone and this; the moment Klaas-Jan Huntelaar went grass-to-mouth in front of 76,000 people…

6. Seriously though, the collision in the build up to Huntelaar’s goal was enough to turn the stomach. The Dutch striker cracked skulls with Chris Smalling and both were left lying sparko doolally on the turf. After five minutes spent stemming the claret, both players were subbed off; Huntelaar just about under his own steam, Smalling motionless on a stretcher. Thankfully the word is positive. Huntelaar ‘only’ suffered a busted conk and mild concussion while Smalling has been discharged from hospital after having stitches in a “very bad gash.”

7. Rather than admonishing the England defence for Holland’s first goal, can’t we just put it down to a great attacking move. Parker was a non-entity as Robben hurtled past him through the midfield but it was no-one’s fault – just a clever run from Huntelaar to pull three defenders with him and lightning pace and a lethal finish from Robben. Well played Holland.

8. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar contributed more in the space of three minutes for Holland than any of England’s strikers managed over the course of the entire night.

9. I’m 95% sure that Joe Hart’s flailing arm would’ve swatted Robben’s third goal clear had the shot not deflected off Gary Cahill’s back. Cruel twist of the knife after England had undeservingly managed to salvage the scoreline.

10. England’s two goals were impressive finishes, but they had a definite whiff of ‘training goals’ about them – they just seemed a little too easy. Holland definitely began easing off as the game wore on, but still managed one last flick of the switch to seal the win. You could replay that game 100 times and the Dutch would’ve won 85+ of them one way or another.

11. The ‘raises more questions than answers’ line trotted out after every single England friendly without fail is Grade A bulltwaddle. They’re dull, less than the sum of their parts and incapable of spontaneous creativity. Have been for years. It’s the unwavering expectancy of the English that’s the real killer.

Any thoughts folks?

Posted in Featured, International football, Opinion, Top 10s & lists

Share this article: Email


  1. Steve K says:

    Phil Jones was 4 when we beat Holland 4-1 and Euro 96…. I know Pearce played in that game, but ITV seemed to keep going on about it. Time to move on, those days have long gone….

  2. Wolf Haley says:

    The 2nd and 3rd sentence of No. 11 also describes the situation at Liverpool FC

  3. Arsenesbrasso says:

    The only way England have any hope of winning the European Championships is to flook it like the Greeks did in ’04.

  4. a says:


    God, thanks for the laugh !

  5. Lanthanum says:

    This review is unbelievably harsh to England. I really don’t think we played that badly, considering we were playing the second best team in the world. Gary Cahill did immensely well to stay cool under the presence of three defenders and a keeper and that first time pass from Jones to set up Young was just Xavi-esque. I know we won’t win the Euros, but please don’t write us off as completely useless.

  6. Stewart says:

    I think that was a very good summing up of the game. It’s pretty much how I saw it. It’s not about whether we can snatch a draw, it’s about wanting to watch an exciting, creative, assured England performance. It took about two minutes to see exactly how this game was going to go.

    I’ll admit I don’t have the answer. If I did I wouldn’t be sitting yakking on the internet I’d be the England Manager.

  7. Chimpo says:

    totally fair. we’ve always been less than the sum of our parts and now even those parts are pretty individually average

  8. Alex says:

    When watching the ITV highlgihts, was anyone else sick of Gareth Southgate’s pluralisation of the un-pluralisable (definately a word)? e.g. ‘the lampards, the gerrards etc’ or ‘the germanys, the spains’. Come on now!

  9. syndex says:

    personally I wouldn’t take a player over 25 to the euros, write the tournament off as a learning experience and a build up to the world cup. Whats the point in taking gerrard, lampard, terry and cole they are gracelessly meandering towards the end of their career like an alzheimer’s patient at an all you can eat buffet.
    Young players need to play in an england shirt to get better and we have a lot of raw talent in the youth ranks if they get hammered in the euros so what it not like the current team stand a chance.

  10. Al says:

    Your wrong on number 7 – the defence should be admonished, you can’t let a player of Robbens ability run at you like that, soemone should have took a leaf out of Van Bommels book and just smashed him.

    Other thoughts are that England are now officially a big, Sh*tty mess. Only a few months ago they were beating Sweden and Spain albeit the performances weren’t great but they were organised and were extremely hard to beat. Now the FA have complately ruined any hope of a succesful Euro’s, England won’t get out of their group. I’ve bleated on about it before but I’ll say it again, the FA are an absolute disgrace and are not only ruining club football in the country but are now destroying the national teams chances of ever doing well.

    The FAI here in Ireland are bad but they are absolute hero’s compared to the shams at the FA

  11. AJM says:

    Don’t know, I think there’s some potential. Replace Gerrard with Rooney, Young or Johnson with Sturridge, and Barry with Carrick and you have a decent side. A better balanced one than what was on display yesterday anyway. Too many attempts at Hollywood passes by Gerrard clearly were throwing off Welbeck…Rooney already has a good link up with him at United. Not much offered at all by Barry. The defense made mistakes but those can at least partially be addressed with more experienced players – you’d have to think Ashley Cole would know not to let Robben have the space to use his left foot.

  12. BuckyB says:

    So, England are not a “big ___ mess” because of the arrangement of the Premiership? It would seem that a setup that encourages unlimited scouring of the world for low-cost, quality talent with no incentive to develop or look for the home grown variety is the real culprit.

    Unfettered globalization of sport is the gift that keeps on giving for the England national team.

  13. lfc_man says:

    Thankfully I didn’t watch the game. I’ve hope for so long that England would play some form of attractive football, just seems mediocre.

  14. __wowza says:

    @Arsenesbrasso: greece winning a fluke?
    if you call beating the hosts, tying spain, beating the defending champions, beating the czech republic and then beating the hosts AGAIN, all while getting the second highest GD of the tourney a fluke..

    then by all means: “flook it”

  15. SouzaFaria says:

    @__wowza: never has there been and never will there be again such a crappy winner of the European Championships.

    All Greece did was defending and be very, very lucky. Yes it was a fluke, a complete fluke as there ever will be. I’ve watched all the games and it just hurt my eyes

  16. xav says:

    How can you complain about Welbeck? He was the only one player who was moving all the time getting into spaces. Holding the ball he did great. The bigger problem lies in the midfield. Walcot should have started the game and Johnson was better as a left winger.

  17. Joe says:

    Said it a million times but Huntelaar is absolute class. If only Liverpool had whacked about 10m on him instead of 35 on that lumbering quasi-footballer Carroll, they’d be laughing in 3rd place right now.

  18. Luke says:

    @Alex: Southgate’s punditry.

    Tell me about it — my flatmate wouldn’t shut up complaining about him.

  19. BuckyB says:

    @Joe: Yes! although maybe 4th place.

  20. Mr. Sparkle says:

    12. England stink, plain and simple.

  21. Ryan says:

    @AJM: ‘Carrick’ serious, are you high? He never plays well in big game pressure matches!
    @Lanthanum: Don’t know what game you were watching but Cahill was responsible for the goals, first one in particular. For the first one he points at Smalling to follow Huntelaar and then proceeds to follow him as well, leaving Robben to stroll into goal. The second one he is out of position and Smalling has to come crashing to try and cover. The third one, I’m just going to chalk up to his poor communication skills all night, who lets Robben drift all alone unmarked in the box. @Al is correct, England needed to Von Bommel/De Jong someone to keep them from coming thru the middle.

  22. Del says:

    We’re gonna win the Euros. Wait and see. ;-)

Leave a Reply