England have failed to inspire confidence on the international stage since the turn of the millennium but Roy Hodgson’s men can defy recent history and go all the way to the Euro 2016 final this summer. The Three Lions have already shown their mettle in the build-up to the competition, coming from behind to earn a 3-2 victory over World Cup winners Germany before beating Turkey 2-1 in their most recent warm-up clash for this summer’s event.
On their day, England are capable of producing great things. Their victory in Berlin was a sign of promise but Hodgson’s men must remain fully focused on getting their consistency right. If England are to go on and emulate the World Cup-winning heroes of 1966, their younger stars must perform consistently well throughout the entire competition. The Three Lions cannot afford to carry any passengers – especially during the group stages.
Hodgson came under intense scrutiny after England’s woeful performance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but he now has the perfect chance to redeem himself in France this summer. While it would be unfair to state that England have to win the tournament, the Three Lions should be reaching the semi-finals. With the likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Chris Smalling in top form, there’s simply no excuse for failure.
England’s attacking prowess is clear for all to see. Premier League Golden Boot winner Kane and runner-up Vardy have both been sensational this season and the Three Lions are purring in attacking areas. With Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli in behind, there’s plenty of quality and Hodgson’s men should have no problem navigating through the group stages and securing a last-16 clash against one of the best third placed teams.
However, England cannot take their group stage opponents lightly. At the time of writing, England are priced at 23/25 with VegasCasino Sportsbook to beat Russia in their opening fixture – which is no easy feat. If Hodgson’s men slip up, it could hand the impetus to Leonid Slutsky’s men or even Wales to go on and secure top spot in Group B. From there, England could potentially face one of Europe’s elite nations in the first knockout round.
As previously mentioned, England are strong in attacking areas but their defence can be exposed and Hodgson will be looking to the likes of Smalling, Gary Cahill and Joe Hart to lead the Three Lions to glory. England’s central defenders are prone to errors whilst full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Danny Rose are both very attacking and could get caught out on the counter-attack.
England are a fantastic football nation but the Three Lions have consistently underachieved at major tournaments. However, this could be their year to finally make an impact on the big stage. England’s young stars are ready to take France by storm and Hodgson could become just the second manager to lead the Three Lions to a major trophy... if he gets his squad selection right.