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We’ve been told by pundits that to win a major tournament you have to play your way into it, nobody really wins it be excelling in the groups.  Well let’s hope that this is the format the players are aiming for as with every game so far we have got worse.

I’ve seen for many seasons watching Blues players down tools when they no longer fully buy into the philosophy of the manager, the effort remains to an extend but the desire fades and with it the performance.  I said in the 1st report how this team are had a club feel to it, as the tournament goes on the togetherness and belief that we can actually go on and win this tournament seems ludicrous. 

They look lost, players as individuals as opposed to a cohesive unit who trusts everyone of their team mates to do the job they are required to do.  Everything is slow and methodical with no pace and purpose, even the skillful of players are taking the safe option as opposed to being brave.  Nobody more than Foden who has ability like no other player we’ve had for years, the level he plays at week in week out is incredible yet there was an instance in the 1st half where he broke down the left to the byline and rather than play the ball across the box at pace like he would for Haaland, he chipped it to the edge of the box to Kyle Walker!  It pretty much summed up where we are at as a team and squad.

As fans we hope this will change but the team are relying on someone to pull them out of it individually, a moment of brilliance from one of the world class players we’ve been told we have doing something that basically gets them from with a whimper.  People are now stating that Kane, Bellingham and Foden should be dropped and that we need to make changes as players on the bench are better, are they?  Do we really think that by taking off England’s all time scorer, the best young player in world football and the Premier League player of the season is the answer to success?

If anything what we need to do is find a way of getting these 3 players into the game more because if we are to have a moment then you want that moment to fall to one of them more than anyone else in the squad.  These 3 are our X factor, they can be the difference we just have to have the belief that they can be and help them along the way rather than waiting for them to do something out of the ordinary.

Somehow, we top the group and have found ourselves with a favourable route to the final.  Is Southgate a lucky Manager as opposed to a good one?  We keep seeing stats saying he’s our most successful Manager with more wins in knockouts than any other but when it actually comes to the crunch, does he have the knowhow to get us over the line?  The players don’t seem to believe it, their demeanour suggests they don’t.  The fans 100% don’t believe he can, the boos at the stadium are towards him and him only.  We know these players have the ability does he have the ability to manage this group and lead them to the final and bring it home?

That being said, we move onto the last 16 with a more than winnable game.  Surely this should be the catalyst performance and game that kick starts our tournament. A team ranked 45th in the world, surely even we can pull something out the bag?

One thing is for sure, the fans will do their bit.  I’m not sure how it looks and sounds on TV but the atmosphere was a good as I’ve known it in Cologne.  England had 35,000+ in the stadium, they didn’t stop all game and played their part in driving the team on.  It will be the same again in the last 16 where we return to the stadium of our only victory of 2024 to date, all waiting for that moment, any moment that kick starts what was meant to be a beautiful summer of football.

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