For This Belgium Team See England Circa 2004-2010
This Belgium team are as fragile as the prickliest of England supporters after their embarrassing defeat to Iceland earlier in the week. They were cruising here in the first 15 minutes and then all of a sudden they just whimpered.
Wales found their feet in midfield. Joe Allen got on the ball, Joe Ledley ratted around and Aaron Ramsey put in an Aaron Ramsey shift. Slowly but surely they dragged themselves back into the game and Belgium just allowed it to happen. Exactly the same happened in the second 45.
There is so much talent in that squad that they should really be excelling on an international scale but they lack a plan and a vision. You can’t just throw the players on the pitch and hope something happens.
England suffered from the same fate when they possessed the likes of Beckham, Scholes, Gerrard, Lampard, Owen, Rooney etc. When it really mattered they fell away.
The Wonder Of Wales And How This Is Not A Miracle
Six minutes in Belgium threw everything at Wales. They looked destined to open the scoring, Wayne Hennessey made a superb stop and then two blocks on the line kept the Belgian’s out. At first, you thought it epitomised everything that this Welsh team are about. But then they conceded.
However, after they went behind they grew in stature and hit back with two goals, one an incredible one from Hal Robson Kanu that will be drooled over for years to come.
Chris Coleman’s team have been seen as a bit of a charity case at this tournament. ‘Oh, well done, you’ve made it to the knock-out stages’ etc etc. That is immensely patronising to a side who have been immense this summer. This has not happened by chance, they deserve all the plaudits.
Football is a simple game and Coleman has realised that. He knows what he has and he has found a system that allows everyone to thrive, not just Gareth Bale, as so many people wrongly presume. They are the team that you so crave to be your own, drink it in Wales fans, you deserve it all.
Defending Set Pieces Has Become Quantum Physics To Footballers
Call me old fashioned, but it felt like back in the 90’s, maybe even the early 00’s, far less goals were conceded from corners or wide free-kicks, nowadays it appears that every time the ball goes into the box the keeper flaps, someone is left unmarked or the defenders see the incoming ball as a homing missile.
It’s bizarre. Maybe it is something to do with the zonal marking vs man marking quandary. Which one do you go for? Do you use a mix? To be honest it doesn’t really matter, just defend the bloody ball. Players look confused by what they should doing, a hint of movement seemingly always result in an opportunity.
At this level, supposedly the highest possible, surely there should be some semblance of quality but this tournament has highlighted there really isn’t. Ashley Williams’s goal saw him left totally unmarked, with Belgium players staring at him, too wary of reacting for fear of leaving their zones. It happened again less than 10 minutes later when he headed over.
Note to defensive coaches, keep it simple and just let players defend, sometimes it is easier.
Jason Denayer Looks Primed For Project Pep At Man City
You could forgive Manchester City fans for not really knowing much about Jason Denayer. The 21-year-old defender has been around for the past two years but he has yet to play a game for the Citizens, spending time on loan at Celtic and Galatasary.
The youngster has impressed immensely at both of those clubs and Pep Guardiola has blocked any potential move away this summer, as the Belgian is very much part of his plans at the Etihad.
After this display it is clear to see why. He came in for the suspended Thomas Vermaelen and although he looked a little foolish from set pieces, he was excellent on the ball and put his body on the line on numerous occasions; he oozes class.
City have been heavily linked with a move for Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao but even if that goes through they will need further options, especially with Vincent Kompany’s injury issues. That new face may be one from within the club in the shape of Denayer. He appears made for a Guardiola outfit and he is certainly a player who will thrive under his stewardship.
Ramsey Missing The Semi-Final Is A Problem That Shouldn’t Exist
The one downside to this amazing achievement is that Aaron Ramsey, arguably their important player in this tournament will be suspended for their semi-final (yes, that’s right Wales fans, SEMI-FINAL).
Surely Ramsey picking up two bookings in five games and weeks apart at that, should not see him miss the semi-final? It is time for the authorities to make a change in that respect. Nut nothing, absolutely nothing can take away from this achievement right now.