There’s a desperate need for a view on England v Sweden that’s less influenced by the colossal pile of BS spouted on the BBC yesterday by the overexcitable commentator and the ra-ra pundits (surely Klinsmann was whipped up by the mass hysteria?).
However, the facts are that Pickford made three outstanding saves and England never made the Swedish goalkeeper make a single one. Without Pickford England would have been 2-1 down immediately after scoring the second and could quite conceivably have lost.
Had Sweden levelled then surely Southgate would have had to end his indulgence of playing a striker who can’t score and bring on one that can (Rashford). Actually, I thought Sterling had a better game than his previous efforts – he made a few runs forward without losing the ball – but his hopeless hesitation when given several opportunities at the end of the first half was just embarrassing.
As for Henderson being the most indispensable player after Pickford, this is just Liverpool-loving bullshit. He’s a liability. There are three or four players in the England team who are being carried by the rest – Walker, Sterling, Henderson, Alli (for most of the time). Kane, Pickford, Trippier, Lingard and Maguire are the only ones who’ve played well. Young and Stones have been OK. (Without Trippier and Young’s excellent set-piece delivery England would have been out before now — and the pair make the 3-5-2 system work.)
That said, I’d rather England are facing Croatia than Russia. Like England, Croatia are a team that over-thinks, whereas Russia went fast and direct. I doubt our defence could cope with that.