Football is easily the most played sport in the entire world. Despite being renowned as the home of football, purchase with ‘the best league in the world’ success has been elusive for the English national team at major international tournaments. England’s only victorious campaign was in 1966 when they won the World Cup. While they have come agonisingly close on several occasions, England have been thus far unable to add another major trophy to their collection. Could the 2016 European Championship, on the 50th anniversary of their sole World Cup triumph, finally be the tournament where England end their drought?
The main reason why English football fans think 2016 just might be their year is that their squad has the most fearsome attacking options of any side at the tournament. For the first time in many years, the top two goalscorers in the Premier League, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and champions Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, were English. Both Kane and Vardy were named in the England Euro 2016 squad alongside a host of other quality forward players, including Man United captain Wayne Rooney, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and wonder kid Marcus Rashford.
With so many options going forward, England will be confident that they can outscore any opponent that they encounter. The sheer variety of strikers in the England squad will make for a tricky tactical conundrum for any opposition manager. How do you make a solid game plan to deal with the speed of Sturridge, the experience of Rooney, the power of Vardy, the youthful exuberance of Rashford and the killer instinct of Kane?
Should England somehow be stuck for goals, they can employ Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling as auxiliary forwards. Lallana is well known for his precise shooting from deep, making him a real wild card in terms of England’s attack, while Sterling is a pacey trickster who cuts in from the wing, providing pinpoint crosses and direct running which can cause panic among opposition defenders. Tottenham’s Dele Alli and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere provide a creative spark that will feed England’s strikers, meaning that the team should be able to creat plenty of chances in every game.
At the back, England have one of the world’s best goalkeepers between the sticks in the form of Joe Hart. The Man City stopper has won many trophies in his career and will provide a commanding presence which should galvanise England’s defence. In front of Hart, Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling will form a centre back pairing that is both strong and mobile. Speaking of mobile defenders, on the defensive flanks are Kyle Walker and Danny Rose. These speed merchants will allow England to quickly change defence into swift counterattacks, turning the tables on the opposition in no time at all. Providing an extra layer of cover in front of England’s defenders is Tottenham Hotspur’s holding midfielder Eric Dier, an unsung hero with an uncanny ability to break up the opposition’s attacking plays and move the ball to his more creative teammates.
With what appears to be the most balanced squad at Euro 2016, there won’t be too many people surprised if England emerge as champions of Europe and end their 50 year wait for a major international trophy. There’s never been a better time to grab that footy kit and wear it with pride. Whatever the outcome, Euro 2016 looks all set to be a feast of summer football!