1. England put up a very good peformance in Euro 2020. Overall Italy deserved to win.

    Arguably tactics failed at the end by asking two young players who had been on the pitch for a few minutes to take penalties under massive pressure. It’s not a question of what they wanted to do, in my view. Italy found it difficult to get into their rhythm in the first half after going behind so early on. And against England’s attacking formation.

    Italy’s skill in passing at speed is very difficult to counter. Add to that the skill of their forwards and the experience of defenders – you can see why they have 34 games without defeat chalked up.

    Plenty for England to go forward with, but I am not convinced that Southgate has the coaching finesse at the highest level to win the World Cup. His manner and frames of reference outside football are exemplary, though.

    Fortune is sometimes very cruel. But the team spirit is exceelent.


    1. I think Southgate has shown himself to be a cautious coach, unfortunately a bit too cautious. A part of that must be because we don’t win major tournaments/get to finals etc…..

      I hope he eases off the handbrake a bit going forward as we have an abundance of attacking talent in the starting XI and on the bench, but suspect when it comes round to The World Cup he’ll revert to a similarly cautious style of play.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed Jamie. Southgate is a fine man, but he is too cautious. He’s also too reliant on his main men. Kane had a poor tournament. Henderson lacks match fitness. I thought the game was there for the taking, by either side in extra time. Italy responded by bringing on 3 or 4 players. I thought we should have gone for it with two from Sancho, Foden, Calvert-Lewin, Rashford early on extra time. Waiting for penalties is senseless.


  2. My main feeling at the end of the game was that of sadness for the players who missed penalties. Hard to bear at such a young age. I do think that the older players should bear that responsibility, at least in the first stage of the shoot-out. Southgate has taken responsibility, but indicated that the decision was taken based on the training in penalty taking. Yet, he of all people knows that taking a penalty in training and taking a penalty under the glare of millions, taking the “long walk”, etc, cannot be replicated in training. However, he is the first coach to have got an England team to a final since the year dot, so he deserves a lot of credit.

    As a Manchester City supporter, it is intriguing to see how Mancini has continued his successful (and varied) coaching career by welding a team together with very skillful players and an attacking mentality very much like his own as a player. He also used a number of very experienced (older) players as the backbone of the team.


    1. I think the team spirit Mancini managed to forget cannot be underestimated.

      I believe he gave all the outfield players a run out at some stage and one of the sub keepers as well (I believe this was based on his own big tournament experience where he was in the squad but never got a kick)


  3. Agree with the above comments. Whilst Italy have an inbuilt Tournament DNA with nine Major Finals V two for England they were there to be shot at. 5 defenders and 2 holding midfielders for England against a team who should not be scary. In the Champions League that Italian defence would not cope with the pace and dynamism of the English forwards but they only had Sterling to back off against. I know Rashford had a bad end of season but that Italian defence would not want to be up against him. Sancho had a poor season overall but got better by the end and would start in to any International side bar France. I am not sure if Greenwood is really injured as he would also have offered a different dynamic.
    Best to go down fighting and England should have made the assumption that their forwards could have run riot like they often do in the CL rather than regarding the match as a fine percentage 50/50 and aim to cancel Italy out. Football jargon talks of the fine margins and that is what Southgate seems to believe but sometimes you must trust the ability of your team to do wide margins.
    I am not knocking Southgate for trusting those youngster who came on but it’s a pity they didn’t have time in open play to run at tiring defenders. I am sure they will be mentally fine and score on the next shoot out. Rashford was 12/14 and Sancho 3/3 in penalties prior to the game but I don’t think Saka has ever taken a penalty at Pro level and when he approached the ball he looked like..well a 19 year old.
    Henderson is the Liverpool Captain and I don’t care how poor he was in penalties in training as that had to be the option over Saka. Also the Grealish option although I though beforehand he would miss if chosen.
    It is a high bar but would England not have run riot with Jurgen Klopp or Thomas Tuchel as manager?


    1. I do not really want to enter the critical arena about Southgate, as I have never managed even a five-a-side team. But I will, such is the fate of the keyboard coach. England has been managed over the fifty odd years since the last trophy win by many successful (international) managers under various training regimes without getting so far as it has under Southgate. So Southgate must get credit for what he has achieved. He has got the benefit of a squad of excellent players, tutored by some of the very best managers in the world in arguably the toughest League around and this has been a factor in the skill and tactical knowhow of the England team. Southgate did not achieve success as a club manager.

      So your comment about Klopp or Tuchel is apposite. One could think of others.

      But given the trajectory of progress, there seems little likelihood of a change before the World Cup, nor would it be a good thing, probably, for the team’s morale, which has flourished under Southgate’s coaching. As I said earlier (I think), I wonder what is the possibility of attracting a senior member, even joint coach(?!) to England’s coaching team who has a history of success and is able to advise on slightly different tactics and strategies. It may not be feasible. But the penalty taking sequence that occurred last night would probably never have happened, nor the substitutions at the very death of extra time undera different coach.


      1. I’ll have to get out of this Lounge as there is only me here, arguing with myself. But….I have just read Barney Ronay’s take on this penalty decision in the Guardian


        He argues the case for Rashford and Sancho, which I can accept in a way, but not in the circumstances where they had barely touched the ball in play after being late subsitutes. He argues a different case for Saka ending by saying,

        “Southgate has been praised, rightly, for giving a stage to younger footballers, for trusting them, offering an open door and responsibility, with all the jeopardy and hope that brings. Saka on penalties is entirely consistent with this. It is a Deep Southgate move, true to the team, true to the manager, a call made with only the collective in mind.”

        But I just do not accept that is a sufficient reason to put Saka into the firing line. Nor do I think Saka or any other player would think it was good basis for the choice. That choice must be made simply on the basis of the very best penalty takers in a situation of great emotion and huge pressure.


  4. Nobody likes that yo-yo approach of alternating celebrity “foreign” coaches like Eriksson and Capello with locals like Roy, Steve and Big Sam.
    Some of the best National Managers had paltry club C.Vs like Joachim Low.
    I do not think the WC or Euros has ever been won with a manager who has not claimed the same Nationality.
    The only major trophy England won was with wing less wonders and the footage of the England team from the 1970 WC shows a team much less functional, much easier on the eye but of course did not win the competition.
    I know keeping the handbrake on works as Deschamps showed at the last WC for France but as a football fan I prefer to see Teams leave in a blaze of glory.
    I think this new generation of England players have been so well schooled by their Academies including their attitude that they have to assume they are far better than the opposition.
    I think Southgate shouldn’t be sacked and he should be commended not just for the social impact his Team has commanded in England in the last 2 competitions but the fact that nobody really dislikes this England Team; they don’t look for easy fouls, no skullduggery, don’t talk to the ref, pick yourself and do the next thing right.
    I just think when a match looks like extending to extra time and penalties this is not good for England.
    Players like Sancho and Bellingham who take their careers seriously enough to have migrated to Germany as children for their development got no meaningful game time. I know am playing a game station but England should never have a Team on the pitch that allows itself to be set up to drift towards the inevitable English Football outcome.
    If Southgate plays the same sort of team choice and tactics in the WC it will be Q/F exit. He has to let this generation of players run free.


  5. It should never have got to penalties. England should have gone for it in extra time by bringing Rashford, Sancho and Grealish on at the start of extra time to take the initiative. I would rather this young side go out blazing than waiting for the lottery of penalties.
    And yes, I would have taken Kane off, moved Sterling to the centre and played Rashford and Sancho on the wings cutting in. Chielini couldn’t cope with them. I would not have brought Henderson and Saka on.


    1. I agree. And I think that would be the Italian way, too, certainly Mancini’s way. England has got some firepower and it is, I agree in extra time that it should be deployed in full. Uness there is a 2 goal margin to defend, maybe.


      1. Every second that Marcus is on this earth brings hope.

        Is decency, caring and respect for others going to be the new normal?

        We can but hope.


  6. I never felt true antipathy to the reign of King Louis Van Gaal under the Glazer Club and the blooding Marcus Rashford was one reason.
    He is going through a difficult second album phase.
    Honesty goes a long way.
    He was overthinking and holding on to the ball too long all season perhaps thinking he would become a different player like Ronaldo when the instinctive Rashford was alright in the first place.
    He has scored the most vital penalty in my very recent football history against PSG.
    My son has not removed his wall to wall posters of Marcus from his bedroom.


  7. On the subject of penalties. It should be fairly easy to determine. Obviously players get substituted or injured etc…. but have a list / ranking order of all the players in the squad, and the top 5 within the list are the first 5 then work you way down accordingly.

    Now, of the first 5 we have a ranking from 1 to 5 and that gives a total score of 15 (with 3 being the mean). I believe they should go in the following order:

    1 then 5 then 3 then 2 then 4 (as I think that balances the whole thing out nicely and you don’t have one your best penalty takers potentially not getting to take a penalty if its done by the final pen).


  8. Topic: Take SP or early price?

    A few days ago, someone referred to taking SP rather than a quoted price as when bookies pay extra places they do not give a best odds guarantee. I have certainly lost out to this several times. I have even taken to re-backing horses whose odds have lengthened significantly. One recently went from 33-1 to 66-1 (and won).

    However, it does work the other way…today, I have backed True Romance (2.35 Bath) when the quoted price was 5-1. I took SP as Skybet pays 4 instead of 3. However, it has now gone in to 6/4 favourite.

    Any thoughts? I suppose my thought is: if the quoted price looks good, just take it.


  9. I always aim for early price and I use 3 accounts to get the best price. This normally takes place on first shows, the day before or well in advance on ante-post. Then if the price drifts on the day I may go in again with a smaller bet.

    It may be interesting to extend this debate to current AP bets for something like the NHF. Joe normally has some sound thoughts on this. My current play is JP’s BENAUD in the Triumph Hurdle.

    Keep the chat going Quai, it’ S appreciated.


    1. I got a note from an old neighbour as follows today “I’ve started splitting my stakes on my multi bets, half on the offered odds and half at S.P. Last Saturday the set odds paid just short of £130, the sp £286.
      Years ago I would never take a price, until the introduction of the best odds guaranteed, but now with skybet offering so many extra place races on which they take away the BOG, you’re faced with a dilemma. Hence the splitting of the stakes.”

      It is one way of doing it. Of course it is not just Skybet which is doing this.

      Another topic I’d be interested in is the use of betting in running, which I have never tried. I correspond with someone who does it all the time and says it’s easy. He tends to bet a lot on outsiders and takes his profit, or cuts his losses during the race very often. However, it seems like a very tricky business to me.


      1. Especially with time lag from the course . Which is why the big boys in running are always on site , generally in a box.


  10. The betting in running stuff is open to abuse. In horse racing there have been issues with drones flying over courses and I saw a clip about it in tennis. Some geezer was saying how he makes hundreds of thousands a year by going to tennis matches wearing an ear piece and relaying to his mate at the other end etc….


  11. There are lots of strategies for in running betting.I am not smart enough to be able to overcome the time delay with my race reading .One thing that suits me is for example to back £10 @ 8/1 pre race then put a £10 lay keep bet on Betfair at 6/4ish,it does not bother me how much of a delay there is as I want the lay bet taken to leave a free bet.You would be surprised how many times the lay is taken in the in running backers rush to beat each other. This suits me as it can keep losing runs down but is not strictly in running betting.
    Another one I sometimes use these horses that usually place but rarely win,if one is between 4/1 and 10/1 pre race I might place a keep lay between evens and 2/1,again the delay does not concern me I only hope at some stage the horse looks like winning .
    I think it is only fair to say I am retired and only play for small stakes,I am not trying to pretend I am a high roller.I would like to read others views.


  12. The time delay is the big issue I think betting in running. You literally have no idea how far your behind.

    It just seems too much trouble for a small stakes punter like me. I tend not to bet enough to make it worth covering!


  13. Very interesting thoughts there from the excellent Mitz Fitgerald on atr re Danny Brock – not hard on the lad just saying he’s got into bad habits. Offering up Ryan Moore as a great example of a great rider who takes time to change hands etc to spur horses on rather than use whip. He’s a smart guy our fitzy and spends a lot of time with young Jocks as a mentor. one of the good guys. I enjoy ATRs coverage when work allows. Enthusiastic and intelligent where Racing UK for me is a bit dry.


  14. I missed the Danny Brock segment so I cannot comment on it.
    Mick Fitzgerald was one of my favourite jockeys and did me many a good turn over the years,but I do not like him as a pundit.On the other hand I rarely backed Seb Sanders when he was riding but I like him on ATR.Having started out in betting shops and the Extel commentary I really like both ATR and RUK as watching the race is the most important thing for me.


  15. The mention of The Shunter by El Gran Senor on the main thread today was timely with regard to Emmet Mullins, who trains the horses and was very bullish about clever he has been with it. That was in a Post article the other day – https://www.racingpost.com/news/interviews/we-try-to-keep-everyone-guessing/501990. (free to read).

    Mullins makes much of his expertise in placing horses versus the behaviour of ‘English’ trainers. I was bemused at his claims of how many people wanted to buy The Shunter for so long: it couldn’t win in 18 runs for Clifford, starting at huge odds in most of those races. His debut for Mullins was as a 2/1 shot. Just how poor a trainer is Clifford, and why would anyone send him a horse? He’s had 1 winner in the past 8 years. I cannot find early owner details for The Shunter and can only assume the horse was his? The Shunter runs in The Galway Plate today.


    1. Thanks for that Joe, very interesting article. To be honest, having read it, I don’t know what to make of him. Not signing his own name for a horse at the sales? What’s all that about? The point about ride out jockeys not knowing what horse they’re on is interesting, I suppose! He comes across as a “cute hoor”, as we say in parts of Ireland. I’d like to hear what others think…


  16. Emmet sounds an odd cove…..Jockeys don’t know what horse they are on?…That sounds like an excuse from the Jessica Harrington book from earlier in the week. rather than a training plan. Can we call him colourful for now to give him benefit of doubt as he’s still relatively young?


  17. I don’t know anything about Clifford. Maybe an amateur enthusiast who has diverse income streams; breaking in Horses, lessons,etc.
    I don’t think Mullins is reinventing the wheel.
    Jockeys are famously useless tipsters and probably only provide feedback to the Trainer that suits them after riding work. Will I be on this on Saturday or not?
    Famously Vincent was anxious when Lester rode work as he rode to real Race Physiology conditions at work to garner his choices in upcoming Classics.
    I think I would do the same as Mullins if I trained Horses. Tell them he/she is on Pegasus and the Co-Rider is on the Anti-Pegasus and receive feedback from both parties.


  18. Given the changes to the bookmaking industry, is there still a need for a Rule 4 deduction? And why only in horse racing?


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