Modern England finding success with a traditional method

By Laure James with England

The ‘new’ England’s maiden voyage in Russia 2018 has thrown up many positives, more excitement and several curiosities besides Harry Kane’s heroics. This was the first time coach Gareth Southgate had watched his young charges play in a game of any magnitude, something he eagerly made clear he was looking forward to on Sunday. 

A modern formation with a three-man backline, quick-witted wingbacks and more flair in midfield than England have treated fans to in some time all left those vocal supporters in Volgograd keen to see what the Three Lions have up their sleeves for Panama.

England’s victory against Tunisia, however, was underpinned by the homegrown model for success of set pieces. With 90 minutes on the clock, the game was won in a very English way. A predatory No9, primed in the penalty area for a sequence which Premier League coaches preach ruthlessness in using and the utmost care in defending; the corner kick.

“We have seen already in this tournament that the margins are so fine, so set play becomes a bigger thing for us to highlight,” Southgate said. “We’ve worked on that and tonight we got a reward for it.”

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