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Former England manager Sam Allardyce said that he would have been criticised for adopting a defensive approach against Croatia had he been the team’s manager. Allardyce was England’s manager for just 67 days as he left the position due to his participation in the 2016 English Football scandal.
Allardyce’s successor Gareth Southgate surpassed expectations by guiding the team to the semi-finals. However, Allardyce said that he would have made some tactical changes in England’s semi-final against Croatia. England took the lead through a brilliant Kieran Trippier free kick. However Ivan Perisic equalised for Croatia before Mario Mandzukic scored the winner in extra time.
Allardyce said, “It’s just a shame they didn’t get to the final. They were 1-0 up with 20 minutes to go against Croatia and it didn’t quite work out. You know me, I’d have got criticised for blocking it up and seeing the game out, because you’re not supposed to do that now. France won the World Cup because they did that against Belgium [in the semi-finals].
They saw what Belgium did against Brazil and even though (Didier) Deschamps was getting criticism from the French press for his style of play, they won it, which is what it’s all about. Defensively they were so solid, and that’s the basis for any success.
The former Everton manager added, “It will bring the pressure back on expectation because of the achievement. It was one of the youngest squads at the World Cup, so the experience will bode well but so many changes will happen between now and the European Championships.
It’s certainly changed from the one squad that I had and so many players have emerged, but will those players still be there?”