England elected to go with five defenders to start today’s Euro final against Italy, but that didn’t prevent them from opening the scoring.
It was a goal resulting from a full-field team move, the kind of counter that Gareth Southgate probably imagined when starting a lineup featuring two wingbacks in Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier flanking three central defenders. Both Shaw and Trippier played crucial roles, with Shaw starting and eventually finishing the play, while Trippier delivered the decisive ball.
It’s just beautiful all around:
WHAT A START FOR ENGLAND!!!
LUKE SHAW SCORES IN THE 2ND MINUTE 🏴 pic.twitter.com/yJVrDqLs6E
— ESPN (@espn) July 11, 2021
You’d certainly rather score the first early goal than have one scored on you, but there are still plenty of potential pitfalls. England needs to hang on now, but they need to balance that with a resistance to parking the bus (which is, ironically, exactly what Italy would do if the roles were reversed.)
So far they’ve done that, continuing to be the more threatening team. But Italy is a very talented group themselves, and they’re going to be going all out for the majority of the match. It should be fun!