Euro 2012 - Team profile: England

Thu, 07 Jun 14:42:00 2012

England return to the European Championship after an eight-year absence with new manager Roy Hodgson hoping to improve on what is a woeful record in the finals for one of Europe's traditional stronger nations.

Roy Hodgson John Terry - 0

England are the only European country to have won the World Cup but never be crowned European champions and following a spate of injuries, there are very few indicators suggesting that England's disappointing European record will improve this month.

Whether Hodgson, 64, named on May 1 as England's new permanent manager following the departure of Fabio Capello in February, can bring success remains one of the many unanswered questions facing the Three Lions this month.

In eight finals appearances since 1968 they have only reached the semi-finals twice: in 1968, when only four teams took part in Italy and in 1996 when they hosted the tournament.

Typically for England though, the build-up has been blighted by injuries, with Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Gary Cahill all sidelined while Rio Ferdinand was ignored as Cahill's replacement by Hodgson, who preferred Liverpool youngster Martin Kelly instead, provoking the first real row of his reign.

The responsibility for leading England to success passed to Hodgson only weeks before their Group D campaign kicked off against France in Donetsk, Ukraine, on June 11.

Further games against Sweden in Kiev on June 15 and co-hosts Ukraine in Donetsk on June 19 are also considerable obstacles for England to overcome.

One note for optimism perhaps is that England looked organised at the back in Hodgson's first two friendlies in charge which both ended in 1-0 wins against Norway and Belgium. They may not have been pretty displays, but England looked hard to break down at least.

The immediate target for Hodgson is to ensure there is no repeat of England's dismal performances at the 2010 World Cup finals where they went out to Germany in the last 16 after suffering their worst ever World Cup defeat - a 4-1 thrashing.

Capello was widely criticised for those performances and many felt he should have gone immediately afterwards.

However, he stayed on and England regained their self-respect as they cruised unbeaten through the Euro 2012 qualifiers for these finals, winning five and drawing three of their eight games.

The only real blemish in the campaign came 17 minutes from the end of the last one against Montenegro in Podgorica on October 7 when, with their place all but secured, striker Wayne Rooney was sent off for a senseless kick at defender Miodrag Dzudovic.

That ultimately resulted in Rooney, a player with undoubted match-winning pedigree, being banned for the first two matches of the finals against France and Sweden.

The Manchester United striker, who scored more than 30 goals for club and country during the season that has just ended, will be eligible to join the fray on June 19 when England play Ukraine, which could well be their last game in the competition.

There is no doubt that England's players, used to playing at the highest level week in, week out in the Premier League with some of the world's biggest names, have the capacity to do well.

Hodgson at least, who spent 15 months at West Bromwich Albion, does have previous international experience having coached the Switzerland, Finland and United Arab Emirates national sides in the past.

Tournament football at this level is not new to him either, having led Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States - their first appearance for 28 years.

Hodgson had two immediate dilemmas to solve when he took over - the relationship between John Terry and Rio Ferdinand and the captaincy issue.

Capello resigned after challenging the FA's decision to strip Terry of the captaincy because of his upcoming court case in which he will plead not guilty to racially abusing Ferdinand's younger brother Anton of Queens Park Rangers when Chelsea played QPR last October.

Hodgson announced he was leaving Ferdinand out of the squad for "footballing reasons" but just as that dilemma seemed to be over it was re-ignited this week after Hodgson ignored Ferdinand again when Cahill was ruled out.

Losing Lampard, Barry and Cahill to injuries has not helped the cause either and he now has to pep up a midfield which often looks one-paced and one-dimensional.

He has named Steven Gerrard as captain too and if Gerrard can reproduce his old club form in midfield, England could pose some problems for their opponents.

His striker options are also limited because of Rooney's two-match ban and a serious injury to Darren Bent that has ruled him out of the tournament.

So he has put his faith in Liverpool's expensive striker Andy Carroll, who had a good end to an otherwise forgettable season, while Danny Welbeck took his first goal for England well against Belgium but is likely to start on the bench.

Hodgson now faces the hardest job of his long managerial career but leading England to the quarter-finals at least - where they usually go out on penalties - might be a step too far after just a few weeks in the job.

England return to the European Championship after an eight-year absence with new manager Roy Hodgson fighting a number of fires. - 2

Reuters

Comment 1 - 21 of 21

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  1. Hodgson has already done better than Keegan.. he's­ shown how to NOT lose to pathetic sides.. Under Keegan­ England would lose to the local boy scouts side.­ besides, England losing some of the primadonnas might­ just do them some good, at least there will be some new­ blood who might just want to fight to keep their­ place... bit like Geoff Hurst in '66'.. he was­ a second choice who wanted to keep his place, look how­ that turned out!!.. don't rule England out, this­ might be the blend of good players, wanting players and­ new managers in this game notoriously wake sides up,­ all that with the non-expectancy, could also help them­ relax and play some good stuff..

    From Anthony, on Mon 11 Jun 12:15
  2. England has a bunch of very talented players but are­ handicapped by their inability to blend. Rooney's­ absence for the first two games will not help. The­ manager's non-inclusion of Rio Ferdinand has left a­ void in the defence. Let us hope that Mr. Hodgson will­ perform slightly better than Kevin Keegan as­ England's manager since they both share a lot of­ similarities in their choice and blend of players.

    From Eric, on Fri 8 Jun 16:11
  3. all the best to the three lions!! i believe they can­ reach QFs. thereafter, they may be able to realise­ their potential and win the cup...

    From Sumod, on Fri 8 Jun 10:31
  4. England have a slightly better chance of winning the­ tournament than Greece did at the start of Euro 2004 so­ you never know.

    From Ollie, on Thu 7 Jun 20:11
  5. Rooney is over rated and hot headed and is in my­ opinion not a good role model. Hodgson won't mess­ about he will out him I hope if he lets the team down. ­ It would be nice if Rooney could sing the National­ Anthem I would then start to have a bit more respect­ for him and that goes for all the team. Ferdinand­ needs to realize its not is given right to be­ automatically selected and has to earn a place. ­ Mardiness gets nothing.

    From Alan Howsam, on Thu 7 Jun 19:39
  6. When yahoo name Gerrard as England's star man and­ the with ratings they put up, of him then tha'ts­ when you know that England are baaaaaad.

    From John, on Thu 7 Jun 19:10
  7. The article misses the essential truth: England, as­ they do in all competitions, field a technically­ inferior squad to at least half a dozen teams in the­ competition. They can't hold on to the ball for­ any stretch because they lack the skills to do so. So­ they are reduced to defending and passing the ball­ backwards on those occasions when they can actually­ pass the ball out of their own end and try a buildup. ­ Having said that, they are good on the break and can­ give teams trouble if they can score this way and­ defend. This will work against the second tier­ European clubs, but they will be shredded by the better­ teams like Germany, Spain, and Holland -- just as they­ were in the last World Cup, when they were embarassed­ by Germany. Every doggy has his day, as my grandmother­ used to say, and England's day was a long time ago.

    From James Russell, on Thu 7 Jun 18:31
  8. 9 to the goalkeepers? yet no mention of them... Apart­ from Joe Hart no much to talk about... as for the­ Carroll haters, if he is well employed used to redirect­ the flow with his height then you have the goal scorers­ to break well built defenses... which won all the Euros­ lately... Here you go, England real contender if the­ wags mind their business.

    From Ben, on Thu 7 Jun 17:18
  9. Winners: never lol

    From Rahul, on Thu 7 Jun 16:56
  10. Please do not under estimate Roy ability to manage­ England. Please give him the chance to choose whoever­ he wants. He is not only manager but very experienced­ manager. Let him decide what is good for England.­ Believe me he will bring England to at least Semi-final­ if not Euro Final. As for Rio, please leave him­ alone. He is not the player two or three years ago.­ Furthermore, he will not be able to provide the­ necessary help or support which England wants at the­ moment. Go England go..

    From Mohd Yatim, on Thu 7 Jun 16:30
  11. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    JESUS CHRIST DON'T START WITH CARROLL!

    From Simon, on Thu 7 Jun 15:57
  12. Gerrard lacks creativity? Seriously? The guy is­ creative but tries to make the hardest pass go through­ instead of the easy option. That's Gerrard's­ main problem now, is that he's too creative.

    From , on Thu 7 Jun 15:47
  13. Enthralling

    From Christopher, on Thu 7 Jun 15:42
  14. Looks like terry & Roy in the pix! I have been a­ loyal yahoo reader! Hope that they have no bias or­ other agenda by posting this. England need a good break­ to prepare themselves for this. Three lions Go Go Go!

    From Commoner, on Thu 7 Jun 15:34
  15. "England return to the European Championship after­ an eight-year absence with new manager Roy Hodgson­ hoping to improve on what is a woeful record in the­ finals for one of Europe's traditional stronger­ nations." What? One of Europe's stronger­ nations? So a team with a woeful record is one of the­ stronger teams? That's like saying, "This­ guy who never won anything his whole life is one of the­ stronger competitors".

    From Friendly Skellington, on Thu 7 Jun 15:21
  16. i think Hogson should call Ferdinand cause of his­ experiance on the national side

    From David, on Thu 7 Jun 15:15
  17. Englanddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd­ dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd at least make it to­ the Quaters...at least

    From Benny, on Thu 7 Jun 14:43
  18. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    What a load of bollocks.

    From Mustafa, on Thu 7 Jun 14:04
  19. was re-ignited this week after Hodgson ignored Ferguson­ again when Cahill was ruled out. Don't mean­ Ferdinand?

    From nick marshall, on Thu 7 Jun 14:03
  20. gash

    From scott, on Thu 7 Jun 14:01
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