A View From the Chez Lounge – Green Shoots as England win Group?

Posted on June 26, 2024

England vs Slovenia: Match Report

First Half: A Scrappy Start

Early Struggles and Disallowed Goal

So, after a barbecue on a scorching afternoon, it was back to the Chez Lounge. During the first 20 minutes, Slovenia (ranked 57 in the world) appeared slightly better in a depressingly scrappy start to the game. England’s early showing was marred by a host of unforced errors, reminiscent of a Sunday pub team still shaking off the effects of the previous night’s session. However, after 20 minutes, England did manage to score a well-worked goal finished by Saka, only for it to be correctly disallowed for offside. A catalyst for better times ahead?

Continued Sloppiness

Following the disallowed goal, England’s all round play remained as sloppy as my granddaughter eating spaghetti, with piss poor passing and a lack of sharpness in all areas. Despite having possession, they posed no real threat – a bit like a tiger but with no teeth. The game then opened up slightly after half an hour, with Kane having a shot comfortably saved, but the errors continued to flow like a Shakespearean tragedy.

Few Bright Moments

On 33 minutes, England won a free kick, and Foden unleashed a semi-decent effort that was well saved by the goalkeeper without ever looking like it was going in. Slovenia then applied pressure of their own, putting England on the defensive for a short period but not a lot happened. On 40 minutes, a fantastic cross by Trippier narrowly missed Kane and Gallagher, proving that going close only really counts when lobbing hand grenades. Shortly after, Kane’s deflected shot led to a corner kick that, predictably, amounted to nothing. Despite these moments, England were only marginally better – but that’s not saying much. A bit like saying Harold Shipman was a better person than Peter Sutcliffe.

End of the First Half

The first half ended without much excitement, with Phil Foden being the brightest spark in an otherwise dismal performance – like finding a candle during a power cut. A half-time Adidas advert featuring Jude Bellingham as our saviour seemed a bit ludicrous given his recent performances, making it feel more like a comedy sketch. Hey Jude, where have you gone? Our shooting star is suddenly a satellite…is it wrong to wish on space hardwear?

Second Half: Marginal Improvements

Positive Changes

In the second half, Mainoo replaced Gallagher and immediately impressed. He was involved in much of the early pressure that included a couple of corners and better possession, though a weak Foden effort ended this borderline exciting spell with a degree of predictably. England continued to show slight improvement but still lacked the confidence to create anything palatable enough to get anyone excited – like a chef on Hells Kitchen waiting to be screamed at by Gordon Ramsey.

Continued Pressure and Missed Opportunities

A goalmouth scramble on 57 minutes yielded nothing for England. Despite the sustained pressure being a positive sign it was more often a mirage in the desert that turned out to be nothing. Slovenia then briefly threatened but failed to trouble Pickford, who could have brought a deck chair and a hamper for all the work he had to do. England continued to press forward but lacked end product, resembling a Maxi 1750 with its revolutionary gear box trapped in neautral. Kane’s opportunity from a free kick at 72 minutes was wasted, and Rice’s subsequent effort from a one two with Foden blazed wide, continuing the evening’s theme of missed opportunities.

Late Efforts and Final Whistle

As time ran out, lively substitute Palmer played in Kane, who laid off to Mainoo, who crossed to an empty box. GOAL! Erm…no actually. Apparently, all the England strikers had left the scene, leaving it like a footballing equivalent of the Mary Celeste. Another corner from a blocked Kane cross also came to nothing. The game grew scrappy again, with Palmer winning a free kick on the byline that for the sake continuity, came to nothing. In the final moments, Palmer’s effort was comfortably saved. He could have done better but remembered he was playing for England just in time. Alexander-Arnold’s shot fizzed over just before the final whistle blew on another poor performance – mercifully ending the ordeal for the fans who hadn’t slipped into a coma.

Positives and Outlook

Key Takeaways

Despite the poor performance, there are some positives (I think?).

  • England topped their group, avoiding a tougher side of the draw – see, luck apparently does play a big role in football.
  • The introduction of Palmer and Mainoo brought some semblance of a decent team – a small mercy in an ocean of mediocrity.
  • Phil Foden and Declan Rice showed improvement, offering a faint glimmer of hope. After it’s the hope that kills us so bring it on.

Comparative Performance

No team, except perhaps Austria, Spain, and Portugal, has looked exceptional. Germany, France, and the Netherlands have also struggled, providing some hope for England – turgid, miserable, depressing performances are normally for English eyes only but in this tournament loads of them are it. These international tournaments, rather than a festival of football, seem to be full of players that are knackered from a long season. If they were racehorses their owners would be reported to the RSPCA.


While it’s hard to envision England progressing far in the tournament based on this performance, they have secured their place as group winners and have a five-day rest – time that might be better spent practicing the basics like passing to each other, making a beeline for the opposition goal and kicking the ball at it. This tournament is a marathon, not a sprint, and there’s potential for improvement – theoretically, anyway. England can get better, or so we hope.

Man of the Match

Phil Foden: Despite the team’s overall poor performance, Foden was the standout player at least until Mainoo and Palmer made an appearance.

No Replies to "A View From the Chez Lounge - Green Shoots as England win Group?"

    Got something to say?

    Some html is OK

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.