English Attack As Good As Anyone While Dutch A Real Threat
Mick McCarthy said before Thursday’s game with Switzerland that he’d be happy to take a draw and, luckily for us, we managed to get it.
Momentum with Irish After Swiss Draw
The performance wasn’t the greatest in the first 70 to 75 minutes. Once we conceded it did spark the team into life. Ideally, we would have loved a reaction in the first half to get the team up and running. As the game progressed, Switzerland will probably feel a bit hard done by not leaving Dublin with the three points.
Overall, it was a good point for the Republic of Ireland and it sets us up for the last two or three games now with a really good momentum going into them.
Mentally, it’s been difficult for Scotland coming into this qualification campaign knowing that a play-off is already guaranteed from their Nations League exploits. It’s been difficult for them knowing that if they don’t make the top two, they’ve always got that to fall back on.
Personally, I think they should have hit the qualifiers with full momentum but Scotland haven’t necessarily done that. Once they went in front against Russia on Friday, they lost momentum and Russia probably should have won more emphatically. They created numerous chances and the Scots didn’t look the greatest.
Another Bale Out For Wales
I think Wales got out of jail a little bit, with that man Gareth Bale stepping up late on to get them the winner. They’re still in a great position in the group.
England look like they’ve qualified already. Northern Ireland have put themselves in a great position against some decent opposition, while Wales are in a decent enough position themselves even though they’re not playing particularly well.
Qualification for England is usually fairly routine. They haven’t necessarily had too much competition in qualification campaigns. They’re cruising through this group, with three wins from three games and plus thirteen goal difference.
They’re absolutely flying with the performances they’ve put in and the Bulgaria game was pretty much the same. I didn’t expect too much from Bulgaria in terms of coming out and seriously going at England. They created a couple of chances and probably should have scored when it was 1-0. England’s performance in the second half certainly went up another couple of gears.
Rashford came to the fore after the interval, having been fairly quiet in the first half. Sterling got himself another goal and created goals, while Harry Kane bagged a hat-trick. England’s forward players are all putting each other under pressure. On the bench, you have the likes of Jadon Sancho to come on, which he did on Saturday and made an impact on the game. So, they have so many variations up front.
It’s in midfield where you’d probably question whether they have the creativity to open up big nations at tournaments. That would maybe be the one area where you’d think whether England have enough in midfield to open up sides.
Up front, they’re as good as anyone in world football.
Sensational Dutch A Real Threat
The Germany v Netherlands clash was a classic game. It was quite low-key in the first half after Germany went in front. Germany played a different sort of football to what we’ve seen from them in recent years, they went more defensive and tried to play in a counter-attacking way.
Whatever Ronald Koeman said to his side at half-time they came out and they were sensational in the second half. Some of the players like Memphis Depay, who we’ve seen in the Premier League, were just superb.
Gini Wijnaldum was absolutely tremendous in the second half. Looking throughout that team the Dutch look a real threat going into major tournaments.
There’s a chance for Northern Ireland against this German side. They look vulnerable on set pieces, which Northern Ireland should be a major threat from. It’s got to be an area that Michael O’Neill and Northern Ireland look at because Germany didn’t look as effective as they have done in recent years.