Forgot Password




Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications

Login using

Email Reset


Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Uefa Euro Championships 2016

Franck Ribery © Reuters Images

England play 'as ugly as Chelsea'

England pronounced themselves more than satisfied with their 1-1 draw with France in their 2012 opener on Monday, delighted to avoid defeat against a side now unbeaten in 22 matches.

But the defensive nature of their performance drew criticism in many quarters, with several France players and newspapers saying it was "like playing Chelsea."

If England do as well in the Championships as Chelsea did in the Champions League, of course, they will not care what anyone says.

The English translation of Tuesday's headline in German newspaper Bild read: "Ribery stumbles into the Euros. England play as ugly as Chelsea" - finding a way to criticise Bayern Munich's Ribery at the same time as England.

France's Manchester United full back Patrice Evra told BBC Radio 5 Live that "at times it was like there were 15 bodies on the line.

"It was really difficult for us to find the space because they played in the way that Chelsea played against Barcelona.

"People laugh ... maybe they want England to play more football but, if they win the tournament like that, they will be happy."

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri, who scored France's equalising goal against England, echoed Evra's sentiments but said it was a fair way to play.

"We played against a good side in England, who played well," he said. "They gave us some difficulties to find a solution up front, because they play low (deep), a little bit like Chelsea."

With Wayne Rooney suspended for the opening two matches, England's options in attack were limited and manager Roy Hodgson had no qualms in admitting he was trying to make England hard to beat.

"I hope this gives us a good platform," Hodgson said. "We played well and I am obviously pleased for the players most of all. We were playing against a top team who ask questions of you when they get the ball.

"They are very patient with a lot of talented players. When they get the ball around your final third they don't panic so you have to be very disciplined in your defending.

"So to come away with a 1-1 and to have asked the questions we did, I have got to be quite happy."

With Theo Walcott and Andy Carroll left on the substitutes' bench, England's attack was centred around Danny Welbeck and Hodgson said he hoped to become more expansive as the tournament goes on.

"Sure, we need to improve our final ball," he said.

"The decision-making in the final third was sometimes a bit anxious, but we'll get better. The longer we play together, the better we'll become. I hope we've established ourselves as hard to beat."

England full back Ashley Cole, part of the Chelsea side that won the Champions League, said there was nothing wrong with being organised.

"If you look through the Premier League, the English players seem to be renowned for working hard for each other, always getting behind each other and I think it worked," he said.

"We tried to block the middle off to let them go wide, because we know they like to do one-twos, and I think it worked."

England goalkeeper Joe Hart said he was largely unsighted for Nasri's goal, a fine strike which crept inside his near post.

"If I see it, I'd like to think I save it," he said.

And Nasri said he would enjoy making fun of his Manchester City teammate when they return to their clubs later in the summer.

"I know that he knows me at training when I shoot, so instead of opening my foot I curled it in the near post and he was a little surprised," Nasri said.

"I am really happy that I scored and when we go back (to Manchester City) I can tease him."

In their eight appearances in the finals of the European Championships, England have yet to win their opening fixture and expectations, at least in the British press, remain low.

"Yippee, we got a draw," said The Sun.


Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
Mitre Monde Soccer Ball - White
Voted as one of the UK's favourite match balls


More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Sports Talk

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Rodgers must focus on the league
Many footballers arriving in the Barclays Premier League have been warned of second-season syndrome.

Sunday Oliseh
Dortmund's winning formula is killing it
I sat in Signal Iduna Park to watch Dortmund over-run Arsenal and wondered, how long will it take...

John Dykes
A Gooner or a gonner?
An International Break can do funny things to the mind. Mine, for instance was heavily engaged this...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Why can’t soccer be like rugby?
Sport is supposed to be sport; something we all do for the love of it, for recreational purposes,...

Neil Tovey
Backing Coetzee for Bafana
After three Afcon 2015 qualifiers, Bafana Bafana deserve credit for keeping as many clean sheets...

Carol Radull
Let's criticise to improve Kenyan football
Sometimes my fellow Kenyans make me angry. We are the kings of Africa when it comes to criticism,...