England’s Tuesday friendly with France likely to be cancelled

Roy Hodgson

The Football Association is waiting to hear whether England’s friendly against France on Tuesday will be called off because of Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

A decision is expected on Saturday and the FA will be guided by the wishes of the French football federation, with the early indications being the match will be cancelled.

“No decision has been made,” said the FFF media officer Philippe Tournon, although the situation is likely to be addressed on Saturday.

“It is a very serious and tragic matter,” an FA spokesman added. “If there is any update on the match we will announce in due course. We will liaise with the French federation over the weekend. The FA sends its deep condolences to the victims but to say anything else at this moment would be inappropriate.”

England had the game arranged as part of a series of friendlies to prepare for Euro 2016, the first of which was Friday night’s 2-0 defeat against Spain in Alicante. It was the first time England had lost since the 2014 World Cup and Roy Hodgson said he was disappointed by the overall performance.

“Spain, who had the lion’s share of possession and played well in my opinion, deserved to win the game,” England’s manager said. “If I am trying to be forgiving, or kind, to the 11 or 14 [of my players] out there, I thought they worked as hard as they possibly could and I don’t think they let me or my coaching staff down in any way in those terms. But to win the game we had to do better.

“We always knew it would be tough to defend against Spain. We knew how good they were at keeping the ball and moving it around and we knew we would have to work hard to keep them at bay. We were hoping on the counterattack we could cause problems but we didn’t profit enough from those moments.

“We didn’t pass the ball as well as we would have liked and we gave the ball away too often. You have to give Spain some credit for the quality of their pressurising. But we think we can do better in possession and we’ve got players who can be more dangerous in attacking situations.”

England’s first defeat in 16 games was compounded by a late injury to Michael Carrick that meant the Manchester United midfielder being taken off on a stretcher. “Michael Carrick doesn’t look good,” Hodgson said. “He’s got a severely twisted ankle, which normally means ligament damage. We won’t know that until he’s had an x-ray or a scan but it doesn’t look good.”

Mario Pérez, Spain’s right-back, opened the scoring for Spain with a swivelling 72nd-minute volley and a substitute, Santi Cazorla, added the second goal, having come on during the first half because of an injury to Thiago Alcântara.

Vicente del Bosque, the Spain coach, said his team had been “a little lucky” but Hodgson disagreed and accepted that England had come up short. “We played against a very good team. We needed to keep up a high level of defending right the way through the 90 minutes and we needed to be a little bit better when we had counterattacking opportunities, with our final pass or our final strike at goal. We did not do that.”

Hodgson was asked whether he thought England could possibly close the gap on Spain before the start of the European Championship. “The gap that you are referring to might be in terms of their style of play, which is very possession based, and our style of play which is probably less so. If you’re saying ‘Are we going to be able to match them in that unbelievably clever passing game’, perhaps we can’t. But we don’t need to do that. We saw at the World Cup that they, like ourselves, didn’t have a good World Cup. But they are a good team and we have a bit to do. I’m hoping that in the months ahead, and with a stronger squad to choose from, we’ll be better.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Daniel Taylor at Estadio José Rico Pérez , for The Guardian on Friday 13th November 2015 23.56 Europe/London

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