Euro 2016

England 1 Russia 1: Talking points


England have still not won their first game at a European Championship, and this was really a wasteful draw given how dominant they were.

In the end, this was actually a result for Wales to cherish from afar. Russia are an ageing outfit who must take on the Welsh last. Chris Coleman will be licking his lips at the prospect of his team confronting them in Toulouse. For England, this was a missed opportunity in every sense.


There were, of course, reminders that England are a young and, essentially - Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart aside - inexperienced side long before Vasili Berezutski looped in his stoppage-time equaliser at the end.

The defensive worries that have haunted this team for months resurfaced when Sergei Ignashevich benefited from a free header, and better opponents than Russia might have made hay on the counter.

Yet it was their own profligacy that undermined England most of all. For long periods, they were bright, inventive but blunt and prone to overplay when it really mattered, not least with Harry Kane marginally off the pace.

England are going to have to learn fast.


Manager Roy Hodgson had attacking options on the bench as England toiled to turn superiority in possession and chances into a goal. But he trusted his starting XI after their impressive start and resisted making changes until a goal in front.

The phoney war, and a week of speculation over team selection ended as most had expected, with Rooney in the midfield of a young, inexperienced line-up that had no place for Jamie Vardy.

But it was hard to complain about the tactics or philosophy adopted by the manager.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2016, with the headline 'England 1 Russia 1: Talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe