UEFA Euro 2024

IIRC, this upcoming Spain game is going to be the first time English men have ever played in a final abroad.

The 1966 World Cup final and 2021 Euro final were both in the UK.

Is 2018-2024 (Southgate) the greatest period by any England manager in history? No championships, but getting to a World Cup semifinal, Euro final, World Cup quarters, and Euro final again is more consistent than any period I can think of.

England finally turned up. Fantastic first half, the second half was more about moments of quality, with that disallowed goal and the fabulous winner. The Dutch looked so threatening from set pieces but couldn’t show the quality when they had some space in England’s final third. Spain will be different and will be big favourites. But it seems you can’t write this England team off.

The results probabilities are almost certainly calculated via a mathematical model for goal scoring likelihood combined with time left. 538 has a pretty good explanation for their models that I’m too lazy to look up, but basically each team gets an offensive and defensive rating, and when combined you can define a Poisson process to model goals scored. You can then figure the likelihood of any final score.

So wow, just wow. Got to experience this in a pub in Manchester U.K. and I’ll remember this forever.

Regrettably, I have to fly home to the USA on Friday

Which pub were you in (I’m wondering if it was the same one as me!)?

The Paramount (Wetherspoons) on Oxford Road near my hotel

I didn’t think spoons showed football but I suppose these games aren’t on subscription channels and they know they will sell plenty of beer. Going to a spoons is probably a unique British experience all on its own - cheap and cheerful.

Sunday will be interesting. Spain are undoubtedly the best team in the tournament. They have won every game so far and If they win on Sunday they’ll have beaten every European World Cup winning nation on their way to the trophy. Will a team have ever deserved it more?

England however never seem to know when they are beaten and have a winning habit and (as well as Spain) have players who can win games on their own.

Spain don’t have many weaknesses, but perhaps their defence is not as strong as England’s however England need to get the ball first, and after that past the ridiculously talented defensive midfielder Rodri to get anywhere near it. I also think England have a much stronger bench than Spain so might be stronger if the game is tight at the end.

However it’s hard to bet against the Spanish: they look like a really fearless team who are well drilled. They can keep ball forever, they have a great press, and they can counter attack with speedy wingers. Will they sit deep and play on the counter? Or will they try to dominate with the ball? Either way worries me as an England fan.

And as an England fan I don’t give a damn about how we play. Win ugly if we have to win ugly - I’ve never seen us win anything and I don’t care how we do it. Stopping Spain from playing and keeping it tight is probably England’s best chance. If it’s 0-0 after 80 minutes I’ll honestly be very happy.

You mirror my thinking, Astronaut. Spain has absolutely been the most dynamic team in the tournament but, despite the presence of two pretty good CBs, they were vulnerable to both France and Germany on set pieces. Both those opponents got way too many clean headers off for my liking.

England did indeed save its best effort for its toughest opponent so far. If they can win the possession battle, and they have the midfield to do it, they can win.

Coin flip imho. Hope it’s a great game.

Southgate must be the luckiest International manager ever.

Until Wednesday’s defeat of the Netherlands (FIFA ranked 7) the highest ranked team England had knocked out of a major tournament was 15 (Germany in Euro 2020). Of the teams that knocked England out, Croatia (2018 WC SF) was ranked 20 and Italy (Euro 2020 F) was ranked 13, and France (2022 WC QF) was rank 4. Of those only in the France game were England not considered heavy favorites especially given the Italy game was at Wembley.

Spain are the significantly better team, England improved in the Semi but are still well short of Spain’s performances. The low scoring nature of football however means the better team does not always win, I would make it something like 65:35

The flip side: if Spain wins while beating Germany, France and England along the way, they will definitively have earned the trophy.

FIFA rankings are meaningless. Southgate’s teams have been ranked much higher than England teams of the 80s and 90s so they would be favored in more matches. He’s the best England manager of my lifetime and it’s not close.

It might just be me being an ultra-pedant, but is anyone else slightly bugged by Spain being credited with winning every game (sorry this is not aimed at you Fiendish Astronaut, I’ve just heard it a few times the past few days!)? They drew in 90 minutes against Germany, albeit won in Extra Time. To me, the nerd, this does not count as a proper win (it would’ve been a draw if it was a group match). Brazil in 2002 are the only side I can think of in my lifetime that won a major tournament with 100% record in 90 minutes.

I actually forgot this game went to extra time. Had I remembered my wording would have been different as I definitely wrote my post thinking they HAD won every game! Thanks for the correction.

England have certainly been fortunate in games, but successful football sides need to have that intangible quality of being able to win when they are playing badly or in a losing position. This involves some luck but it also needs a very strong mentality and probably a bunch of other factors. I’ve never known an England team to have that before, and we’ve had so much terrible luck in past tournaments we’ll take anything we can get!

That’s the spirit!.

England has a lot of talented players, and Brigadoon also shows up every century. Foden did so for the first half of the fourth game.

IIRC They were victorious 2-1 over Slovakia and the Netherlands and tied Denmark and Switzerland 1-1. Solid defence, and some skilled penalty kicks, but the lack of definitive wins reflects their possession-based playing style.

I would like to see England beat Spain. They certainly have the talent. I don’t think they will, which will require several star players showing up at the same time for the whole game. But I am often wrong and hope I am here.

No worries, just me splitting hairs really!

Spain clearly the best team at the tournament, but this isn’t a league so the best team doesn’t always win…

If you enjoy thinking too much about things, there is this…

Seems England’s best bet would be to play for penalties. Play keep-away for full-time and extra time, then take their 50% or better chances in the shootout. After winning two PK shootouts under Southgate (and, arguably, should have beaten Italy as well if it weren’t for those three players inexplicably ALL missing,) the PK gorilla is off of England’s backs.

FIFA rankings are not precise but they give a reasonable indication of the quality of a team, a team ranked 5 on the world is better than the team ranked 20 usually by quite a bit but they are reactive rather than proactive, Belgium having lost their best players of the past to retirement and others are past their best are are probably rated too high and Spain is much stonger as Nico Williams and Pedri have started to mature and Yamal is taking the world by storm

The England team are good, compared to most teams of the past, I remember the 70s when England didn’t qualify for the 1974 or 1978. (They actually didn’t qualify for any world cup between 1962 and 1982 but they were hosts in '66 and holders in '70), but they have also been lucky.

Winning (or at least progressing) without doing well is one thing but another is the luck of the draw, in my opinion the best 4 teams of this tournament were all in the top half of the draw, but they have had similar luck in 2018 and 2020:
If England had beaten Belgium in the group stage of the 2018 world cup the would have played Japan in the 2nd Round, a team comparable to Columbia but would then have played Brazil in the Quarters and France in the Semis, they found a much easier route to the final of Sweden and Croatia, they were able to get over the first hurdle but not the second
In Euro 2020, the bookies favorites were France, followed by England, Belgium and Portugal, once again England found themselves in the opposite half of the draw to all their biggest rivals.

The England team of the 80s was also good but for them luck went the opposite way most notably in 1982. They were drawn in a group with a highly rated French team along with Czecheslovakia and Kuwait, they won the group by winning all 3 games but N. Ireland had a shock win over hosts Spain resulting in them winning the Group and Spain came second, this meant that the in the mini groups of the second round England were with Germany and Spain while France were with Austria and N. Ireland with only the winners of each group progressing to the semi. England drew both their matches and Germany beat Spain resulting in England’s elimination after a tournament consisting on 3 wins and 2 draws 0 defeats without even the chance of a penalty shootout.