Some things we have learned from England’s 1-0 win against Belgium at Wembley.
- It wasn’t a high quality performance with neither side displayed a cutting edge although both sides hit the woodwork. It’s clear that England are set up to close down space for the opposition but Roy Hodgson will be aware of the potential for Gerrard and Parker to be overwhelmed in midfield by better sides playing a lone striker.
- England can look rigid and inflexible in a 4-4-2. Outnumbered in midfield at times without their second striker dropping back to help out, and with little inventiveness on the flanks. One thing they will take from this game is a good defensive performance despite allowing a few chances towards the end after many changes of personnel at the back. The experience of the Chelsea players will demonstrate to the others just how a strong defence, teamwork, a slice of luck and clinical finishing can win you the biggest prizes.
- Profligacy in possession is something that must be cut out, however, as losing the ball is more likely to end in a chance for the opposition when it comes to playing against France, Sweden or Ukraine. The ball must not be wasted when England have possession, especially if the heat is on.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is not afraid to have a go – despite slipping for one effort and blazing the other first half chance over. He has strength, pace and movement. Eden Hazard might not pulled up trees for Belgium yet but it’s clear to see that he is a quality player.
- Danny Welbeck is a viable England alternative and has earned his place in the squad. He remained level headed when put through on goal after a sumptuous pass by Ashley Young and he opted for finesse over power to put England 1-0 up. Jermain Defoe’s cameo also showed that he is not to be ignored even if he remains as an option from the bench.
- Injury worries for John Terry, Gary Cahill, Joleon Lescott, Steve Gerrard and Scott Parker could still derail England.