Comfort in being comfortable
This game had the potential to be a massive banana skin for England.
Wales had absolutely nothing to lose and will have wanted to beat us more than any other team at the competition but in reality, it was anything but.
Not once did England’s victory look under threat, and I guess Gareth Southgate and the players deserve praise for not getting drawn into a slog or for taking their foot off the gas.
I doubt it’ll be that easy against Senegal but you can only beat what is in front of you and all things considered, it was a very solid performance.
Henderson played his part
Rumours emerged on Monday that Jordan Henderson would start the game, and it was met with a negative reaction.
I heard Lianne Sanderson on talkSport talking absolute waffle on the subject (nothing new for her), and dismissing Henderson like he’s already in the retirement home and completely useless.
He’s the captain of Liverpool and until recently he was one of the first names on the teamsheet for England, so why anyone would be surprised that he’d not only play but do well is beyond me.
His experience and perhaps most importantly his leadership will be key as this tournament progresses.
Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice are fantastic players but they don’t have the top level experience that Henderson has, and their time will come in the future. For now, we still need players like Hendo involved because strong leadership is more vital than individual quality at times.
Another blank for Harry Kane
Nine goals for England at this World Cup so far, and none of them have been scored by Harry Kane.
Is that a huge problem?
It’s great that we’re sharing the goals around and that will stand us in good stead as the tournament progresses, but the lack of top class competition means Kane is guaranteed to start when fit, and it feels like he could use a bit of competition for his place in the team to keep him on his toes.
He still played well and got assists, but against better teams, we need Kane to be testing the goalkeeper if we’re going to win games.
A worrying lack of consistency?
I hate to be that guy, but where was this against the USA?
I was disappointed with the lack of urgency, particularly in midfield, and I thought we were lucky that the Yanks didn’t beat us.
I know that’s in the past now but that lack of consistency has plagued us with Southgate as manager and I worry about our ability to destroy the better teams who aren’t going to stick a goalkeeper as bad as Danny Ward between the sticks.
Jon Guy says…
Bellingham catches the eye
Once again he was the standout player on the pitch.
What a talent, and the way the team was set up to allow him to get involved all over the pitch was crucial. He’s shaping up to be a key player if we want to go deep into the tournament.
Passing the test
England got into their passing game and some of it was world class.
They wore Wales down and in parts the Welsh players were reduced to spectators. They gave us a glimpse of what they could be as a team.
Frustration for Kane
We have one of the best strikers on the world, and we seem to be set up in a way that forces him to play deep or wide.
We should look to get him into positions where he can hurt the opposition.
Possible selection dilemmas?
A good performance, but does Gareth Southgate know his best team?
You wonder if Phil Foden’s inclusion was a response to the media outcry after the USA match, and you have to hope that he believed Wales were so poor that he wanted to get minutes in the legs of some of the wider squad.
We’re three games in, and we can’t be certain which team will feature on Sunday.
Gary Engel says…
Top of the group!
Thanks to a great second half performance, England recorded a comfortable win which ensured we deservedly finished top of the group.
It sets up a game against Senegal on Sunday, and avoiding the Netherlands is never a bad thing.
Rashford & Foden show their ability
When the teamsheet came out, the biggest inclusions were Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford.
Most were excited to see what Foden could bring to the table, and whilst he didn’t disappoint, it was Rashford who had his ‘Psycho moment’, which went some way to atoning for the lowest moment of his career at last summer’s European Championships.
Rashford now has three goals at this tournament and is level with the best in the world right now.
Mixed fortunes for Kane
To win most tournaments, you look to your number 9 for a little twinkle that when the chance comes their way they will deliver.
In Qatar so far, Kane seems content to drop off and to leave the finishing to others. It might not be a bad thing as he set up a goal for Foden, but when a big chance comes, I want to know that Kane is ready to deliver.
Energy conserved for England
It suited England and we can’t complain too much.
However, if we wanted to test our mettle for later in the tournament, Wales were never going to provide that kind of opponent.
Did that make us look good, perhaps? We didn’t push ourselves too hard and hopefully the players will be fresh for Sunday.