ANALYSIS: Kenny flexibility augurs well for the future

Alan O’Brien 

No one does confirmation bias quite like football fans. In the aftermath of Ireland’s unfortunate Euro 2020 exit on Thursday night, two highly hyperbolic camps re-emerged to insist on what they had just seen: one camp loudly hailing a swashbuckling display of attacking, free-flowing, possession-based football, the clear beginning of a new Stephen Kenny-led dawn for Irish football; the other damning an ineffectual outcome from a no-name manager they never rated anyway. Predictably, however, neither polarised group got it quite right — even if the plethora of journalists and broadcasters ensconced in the former might convince you otherwise.

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Euro 2016 Day 6: France’s 4-2-3-1 flops; Russia’s midfield muddle

France’s 4-2-3-1 flops

Didier Deschamps’ last dalliance with 4-2-3-1, prior to May’s warm-up friendlies, saw his France side crash to an embarrassing 1-0 defeat to Albania in June 2015.

The French manager’s memory must be as short as his passing range, as the same configuration completely failed to threaten the same unheralded opposition in the first half at Stade Vélodrome on Wednesday night. Continue reading

Euro 2016 Day 2: England full backs show France how it’s done

Walker and Rose show France how it’s done

Like France’s Didier Deschamps, England manager Roy Hodgson selected a 4-1-4-1 system with inverted wingers for his side’s opening group game against Russia. But while the host nation’s narrowness played into Romanian hands, with ageing full backs Bacary Sagna and Patrice Evra unable to regularly provide the requisite width, their younger cross-channel equivalents looked far more dangerous. Continue reading