Being Sunderland fans we have all experienced games like the England vs Slovakia game, albeit usually the other way around. So I was quite surprised to discover the frustrations associated with coming up against a team with no intention of attacking. How did England manage to totally dominate a game but only manage a 0 -0 draw?
Total Possession - England 61.9% : 38.1% Slovakia
My first impression of the total possession stat is that of surprise. I can't really recall Slovakia touching the ball, never mind having nearly forty percent of the possession. I felt we dominated this game more than the Wales game, yet in that fixture we had 72% of the total possession.
Opposition Half Possession - England 73% : 27% Slovakia
This is starting to look more like the game I remember. Slovakia barely entered the England half.
Final Third Possession - England 85% : 15% Slovakia
Now it makes sense. Slovakia possession is almost entirely in their own half. This shows that England did, in fact, dominate this game and the majority of Slovakia possession was defensive.
To reinforce this argument we can take a look at the total touches. Slovakia only had two touches in the England penalty box all game. England, on the other hand, had fifty touches in the Slovakia penalty box. So why is it that out of those fifty touches, we didn't manage to score a single goal? We need to take a look at the goal threat stats.
Attempts - England 29 : 4 Slovakia
England had 29 attempts on goal, the most of all of their Euro games so far. This is quite shocking in a match that ended 0 - 0. Either their keeper played a blinder, or something was amiss.
On Target Attempts - England 4 : 2 Slovakia
I think we've cracked it - four shots on target in a game they had 29 attempts. That is diabolical accuracy. Admittedly, shots were flying from all over in a desperate attempt to win the game late on, but we still managed fourteen shots from inside the box. To only have four on target is quite honestly disgusting.
I wouldn't begrudge anyone for placing the blame on the strikers for this monstrosity of a stat.
But, digging a bit deeper, they may not be the villains after all. England's crossing in this game was pathetic. Jordan Henderson attempted eleven balls into the area, with only two finding a teammate. He wasn't the only one. Wayne Rooney came on and made seven crosses, with only one finding another England player. I don't know how we can expect two prolific English strikers to put balls in the net if they are receiving poor service from their midfield.
Eric Dier had more touches of the ball than any other player (115)
In my opinion, it is the midfield that need to improve if we are going to progress any further in this competition. Roy picked a narrow team and is trying to use the fullbacks to get balls into the box. They are doing a good job so far of getting up the channels, but they are getting tired and can't keep it up for ninety minutes. It was glaringly obvious at times that the midfield was too congested in the middle.
Finishing second in the group gives us a fixture against the runners up of group F, which could end up being Portugal. If by some miracle we do get through to the quarter-finals, we'll most likely face the hosts France.
All I can say is that if we continue providing our strikers with the kind of service they have been receiving so far, we might as well pack our bags now.
All stats are taken from WhoScored.com