But before they crack open the fizz and cut the cake, here’s Paul’s extremely entertaining review, cleverly pulling in some big industry names as well as pointing up key moments of the match. And please remember, we’ll be back with another industry review of England’s quarter-final game.
Now over to Paul...
Pre-match we all knew Southgate’s gamble of not trying to win the Belgium game would be judged by the result of this game. Would the outcome be as disastrous as Countrywide’s ‘Retail’ gamble, or as successful as the Advertising Standards Authority’s continued reigning-in of Purplebricks adverts?
The big news prematch was that Dele Alli - who coincidentally has the same name as my local sandwich shop - was in the starting 11.
England dominated the first half. We used our attack to create good set-piece opportunities, including corners and free kicks just outside the box.
In the Premier League one in three goals come from set piece plays, yet 72 per cent of England’s 18 shots in the first two World Cup games came from dead ball situations (that is 13 from 18 for the stats nerds like Mal McCallion of agency consultancy Growtion).
This is a deliberate tactic from England and in the first half allowed us to create good opportunities, forcing Ospina to punch the ball out on a few occasions.
When Colombia did win back the ball they struggled to get the ball forward. When Colombia did make it into the final 3rd, the trio of Quintero, Cuadrado, and Rock Me Amadeus’s Falcao struggled to create meaningful attacks.
What these three did do well after losing the ball was to press England’s defensive build-up diamond of (back three and Henderson), forcing us to pass around the back, particularly (and worryingly) in front of goal.
When we faced Panama, at the times when an England defender pushed forward, Panama kept two wingers high-and-wide pinning back three players from England’s back line. Colombia also did this, leaving Falcao and Cuadrado forward even after the defensive diamond-4 had moved the ball upfield.
However, most of the time England only left two defenders to monitor the two Colombians - demonstrating the team’s confidence and demonstrating the great support from Lingard and Alli who’d asymmetrically drop back to support Henderson and create more passing options.
Due to England’s dominance, Colombia resorted to using their strength to win over Sterling and to generally intimidate England - for example the chin-but on Henderson and the shoulder-charge into Maguire. This ‘Championship’ style did not overly worry England, however.
In the second half, England continued to push for dead-ball opportunities.
Sure enough, the repeated tactic of having Kane, Stones, and Maguire move in different directions in corners to create space for a specific player to attack the ball worried Colombia enough to concede a penalty to Kane. 1-0.
The build up to the penalty and the following five minutes were a particularly dirty time - as provocative as Russell Quirk’s attempts to merge Emoov with Countrywide! The fouls continued even after Falcao and substitute Bacca received yellow cards.
Once Colombia settled down they created a few genuine chances, in particular an opportunity for Cuadrado just after Alli was substituted, and they went on to dominate the final 10 minutes of the game, including an extra-time long-range shot that lead to a corner and Colombia's equaliser.
Maguire, Stones and Trippier kept their cool in this period of pressure but could not prevent the goal. The thing about Maguire is that he doesn’t really look like a footballer, he looks more like ‘your mate down the pub’. I get the feeling he could be a skinny version of Reapit’s Simon Whale: you just know Maguire will have taken his team-mates for a post-match pint of vodka. 1-1
Extra-time substitutions resulted in removal of Sterling. His absence meant we were less effective and less aggressive in the final third. We also did not push up in numbers. While I know this is the best way to play Vardy, it allowed Colombia to push forward and be the stronger team for the first 15 of extra time.
Given momentum was with Colombia, we have to question the effectiveness of these transfers, just like we questioned the effectiveness of Yopa’s YMCA adverts.
When Young was removed, we had the odd chance, but we did not dominate extra time like we did the first 90. I’d describe England’s ET performance as more of a ‘smouldering Lancashire moor’ than a ‘raging bonfire’.
But England win on penalties!! Yesss!!
- Like most #PropTech innovations, VAR was hardly used;
- Pre-match question on my mind was: “Can England create dangerous attacks during possession play?” It was encouraging to see England turn more of their possession into dangerous shots, however, our route forward seems to be to the most of dead-ball situations...perhaps even penalties!