England better prepared than Netherlands ahead of Euro 2012
Sharethematch.com looks at England's victory over Belgium, and the Netherlands win against Northern Ireland on Saturday
England will have learnt more than Holland in warm-ups
Off the back of Saturday’s results, the suggestion the Netherlands are in ominous form going into the Euro 2012 and that England look as flat as ever simply isn’t true.
England are by no means favourites, and there are four or five sides with better squads containing more match winners and arguably more self-belief.
But England haven’t been fancied going into a tournament for a very long while.
Facing a much underrated Belgian side, there were some encouraging signs that England will arrive in Poland and Ukraine looking more like a tournament team.
Joe Hart was barely troubled, and England looked defensively solid, forcing the opposition to play lateral ball after lateral ball in search of a breakthrough.
Hodgson’s men frustrated the pacey and eccentric Belgian attack and were able to deal with crosses and long-range efforts all day long.
Being hard to break down is an attribute that wins teams titles, championships and accolades, and it is one that England are beginning to show more and more.
Of course, we should have kept possession far better and Roy Hodgson’s midfield will be under far more stress against the top sides but the platform seems to be in place.
Minus Wayne Rooney, England’s attack lacks cutting edge but considering the time Hodgson has had with the squad we are in good shape.
On the other hand, the Netherlands demolished a frankly pathetic Northern Ireland side 6-0 with an attack that to most looks the best in the tournament.
But will it provide a stern enough test for a side drawn in the group of death against Germany, Portugal and Denmark.
England will have learnt far more and will benefit greatly from facing a confident side whose attack will more likely resemble that of Group D opponents France on 11 June.
Holt not acting his age
Grant Holt’s agent claims Norwich City have refused to offer the striker a new three-year contract as he is “too old” – and the Canaries have a point.
Holt has had an unarguably good season for Norwich and should have at least got a chance with England to see if he was worthy of going to the Euros.
But at 31, how many years does he have left as a top Premier League player?
Second-season syndrome is a genuine concern for both Holt and Norwich, especially as their talismanic manager Paul Lambert has now left the club.
Will teams have worked out how to play Holt – in a similar way to teams working out Andy Carroll hence his drastic dip in form – and lessen his impact?
If that is the case, at his age, he won’t have a lot of time to reinvent himself.
And Holt’s style of play must weigh heavily on his body as it is all blood and thunder – although he can look to Kevin Davies for the player he could become with age.