England v italy

We still believe: Could England win Qatar 2022?

Here’s a two-pointer pub quiz question: who was Bunny Austin and when, where and why did you hear his name mentioned annually until 2012? The brilliantly-named Bunny was, for an agonising 74 years of hurt, the last Briton to reach the final of the men’s singles at Wimbledon. He didn’t actually win it in 1938, like the better known Fred Perry had three times earlier in that decade. But his name came up in commentary and sports reports without fail every year for decades, in late June or early July, whenever the last Brit was knocked out or, on heady occasions, when one reached the quarters or even semis. Tim

Damian Reilly

Gareth Southgate doesn’t deserve a knighthood

It was some achievement of England’s, frankly, not winning Euro 2020 given the players we had. As I sat down before kick off and began the customary cursing at the inexplicable omission once again of our best player, Jack Grealish, my wife tried to console me. The fact Gareth Southgate very clearly had no clue which was his best starting eleven was really a secret weapon, she said. It meant other managers couldn’t second guess him. Hmm, I thought. The relentless corporatisation of the England football team over the last two decades has been an exercise in eradicating flair – that quality most hated in boardrooms because it is unquantifiable. Putting

England had it and they threw it away

England: 1 (Shaw)  Italy: 1 (Swarthy cheat) England had it and threw it away. Much the better side in the first half, finding acres of space along the right flank. But the Italian manager, Roberto Mancini, recognised the problem and changed the game. As Italy swarmed forward in the second half, Gareth Southgate had no answer: it was almost a re-run of the 2018 semi final in Russia against Croatia – he cannot grasp when a game is going against him and has no comprehension of what to do to change it. His substitutions were appalling: Henderson horribly off the pace, Saka horribly out of his depth. Two very bad