Saturday 25 May 2019

'England are going to hit the floor hard' - Eamon Dunphy predicts looming disaster for Gareth Southgate's men

Southgate eight players from his side's final Group G game to ensure they are ready for Tuesday's game against Colombia (Adam Davy/PA)
Southgate eight players from his side's final Group G game to ensure they are ready for Tuesday's game against Colombia (Adam Davy/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Eamon Dunphy raised a few eyebrows when he suggested England could be on course to reach the World Cup final as they dropped into the bottom half of the Russia 2018 draw after Thursday night's defeat against Belgium.

A last-16 clash against Colombia could be followed by a quarter-final against Sweden or Switzerland, with that prospect fuelling hope among England fans that their time may be about to come in a World Cup after some many heartbreaks down the years.

Dunphy's claim that England could be contesting the World Cup final in Moscow on July 15th sparked plenty of debate, but he added a little context to his comments as he appeared on RTE 2FM's Game On show.

"I was only joking," he stated, after host Hugh Cahill quizzed Dunphy on his claims that England could be heading for their first World Cup final since they won the competition in 1966.

"They could reach the final if they had a decent team! First of all, Colombia will be really tough opponents, but they have a few things going for them.

"Harry Kane is a top striker and they have looked dangerous on set-pieces. They have brought a few set-pieces with them from the training ground and they have worked, but Colombia will be tough. It would not be hard to see England drawing and that game going to penalties."

Dunphy went on suggest England boss Gareth Southgate learned some lessons from his side's defeat against Belgium, on a night when he made eight changes to his first choice team and rested most of his big names.

"The Belgium game was an interesting experiment as it confirmed England have no strength in depth in their squad," added Dunphy.

"Ruben Loftus-Cheek was being hailed as a great player last week, but he was useless against Belgium and as for Eric Dier against Belgium...oh my God. So they have no strength in depth.

Eamon Dunphy is not a fan of Eric Dier

"Aside from that, the big problem for England is back three and that is not going to work. Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker at the back is not good enough against a top team. Maguire is playing on the left side of the defence and he can't kick the ball with his left foot, so that will catch up with them. Their defence is a calamity waiting to happen.

"I think England are going to hit the floor hard at some stage, but they could get to the semi-finals if they get past a tough, hardened Colombia team on Tuesday."

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