m4rkb wrote:it's put the dampers on an otherwise decent WC run and made me (at least) feel like we've actually gone nowhere and achieved little.
Think that's a bit harsh, m4rk. Belgium are a top side and deserve to be in the final ahead of Croatia. No disgrace in losing to them. The group game was effectively a meaningless reserve tie.
I think that winning a WC penalty shootout was a big psychological breakthrough, and the players will be better for the whole experience.
Spot on, sub.
I know Belgium are a decent team, and to be fair we played them twice and lost twice in non games. I had them down to win the WC myself with the rematch with us in the final ,not playing for a bronze medal.
I know I'm coming over unduly pessimistic here and in reality we have made progress under southgate mainly by axing players who almost anyone could have named in the England line up and put younger more enthusiastic players in who will eventually go on to form a very coherent team.
The main point I'm getting at is my disappointment in racking up losses in games which were ultimately meaningless as served no purpose other than to create momentum. There's probably still a valid argument in there which questions whether we could still beat Belgium if we'd have played them on an occasion which did actually matter.