Andy Gray: It’s time Lady Luck smiled on England at a tournament

Sharethematch.com ambassador Andy Gray looks at England's win over Ukraine and their next game against Italy

roy hodgson
Roy Hodgson's side made it out of Group D unbeaten PA Photos

roy hodgson

It might not have been pretty but I doubt England fans will care – and let’s be honest now, it was about time Lady Luck smiled on the Three Lions.

England have enjoyed enough bad luck in the past, with Sol Campbell’s disallowed header against Argentina, David Beckham’s sending off in the World Cup and Frank Lampard’s goal that never was at the last big tournament against Germany.

I’m neither here nor there about whether Marko Devic’s strike should have been given or not.

Michel Platini’s attitude is that these officials don’t make mistakes because there are so many of them – but this just proves once and for all that it’s not as straightforward as that.

Even with a human eye so close you still can’t get it right, so it’s no surprise to me that Sepp Blatter has come out and said that it’s not if, but when goal-line technology comes in.

Should just be goal-line technology and nothing else? I’m not an advocate of too much intervention but I’m certainly in favour of goal-line technology for big tournaments.

What’s done is done, and England might only be at best a fairly average national side but they have a very good team spirit, they work hard for each other and defend very well. They are hard to beat.

Steven Gerrard got most of the plaudits after the Ukraine game and quite rightly, too.

Steven’s had a fantastic tournament. England are not playing that well and need inspiration and I think the skipper has provided that.

He looks fit and looks like his old self, rampaging around the pitch. He can make anything happen which is a rare commodity in the England team right now.

Wayne Rooney was grabbing the headlines before the game and I think the one thing we can take out of it is that he needed the game for his fitness.

That is the reason I would have played him in the friendly games. I think Roy Hodgson has done everything right since he has taken over as coach but that’s the one thing I would have questioned.

Wayne was desperate for a game and I would have given him the whole game against Norway to keep himself match fit because it’s now four or five weeks since Wayne played a competitive game.

That showed against Ukraine, but he’ll be better for playing. It wasn’t his best but he scored a very important goal and you can’t take that away from him .

Up next for England is Italy in the quarter-final. I have seen quite a bit of Italy and actually thought against Spain they played very, very well.

They got a 1-1 but might have won it. They played three at the back as they did against Croatia but they changed it to four at the back against Ireland, which I thought they would do because of the nature of the team and the fact they needed to win it.

However, I’m not so sure they will do that against England and they might revert to three at the back, with the five in midfield and two up front.

If Italy play as well as they did against Spain then they can run England very close, but I’ve seen Italy play less than great against the Irish.

There won’t be many chances as, like England, they know how to defend. I can see it being a really, really tight game and this might actually be the first game of the competition to go to penalties. I think there is a real chance this could go either way.

I can see Germany beating Greece fairly comfortably, and Portugal should get past a dangerous Czech Republic side if they play like they did against Holland. Spain will come out on top of an exciting tie with France.

But England versus Italy is too close to call but I wouldn’t be surprised to see penalties. If so, let’s hope England’s luck continues to turn.

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