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I've decided to do a short England save ahead of the upcoming Euro 2020 competition in the summer, basing my team selection on how the players have performed in real life so far this season rather than how they performed in the simulated season in the game. In my other ongoing story, F.C. Valdelavilla, I experimented with a tactic that I really think might work with the England squad so I decided to do a brief story with the national team to try it out!

EURO 2020 - The Three Lions


Amazingly, England have emerged as Euro 2020 favorites with a number of young players impressing in the Premier League and abroad over the last couple of years. After experimenting with a 5-2-3 tactic in my other ongoing save, F.C. Valdelavilla (https://sortitoutsi.net/careers/story/51487), I decided to do a short Euro 2020 save/story with England to try it out because I really think it could work. I've selected my team based on how the players have performed in real life rather than in the simulated season, causing some unrest in the Football Manager media, but I'm happy with the balance of the team.


Deciding on the preliminary England squad was difficult, with a number of great players like Kyle Walker, Harry Winks, Callum Wilson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and many others missing out on the 30-man squad. The 23-man squad decision was even tougher, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Danny Ings, Fikayo Tomori, Jack O'Connell, James Ward-Prowse, and Aaron Ramsdale missing the final cut.


The tactic I'll be using is a balanced 5-2-3 formation with an emphasis on pressing and high tempo counter-attacking play. Jordan Pickford will likely start despite his unimpressive season with Everton so far. He's the type of sweeper-keeper I'm looking for and he has a track record of stepping up for the national team at every opportunity. Joe Gomez and Harry Maguire will start as defensive ball-playing center backs with John Stones acting as cover in the middle of the back 3. I was originally going to have Maguire in the middle of the back 3 with Stones on the left, but I decided the less aggressive Stones would be better suited to the "cover" role in the middle. Trent Alexander-Arnold will be freed up to create more chances going forward as a complete wing back with instructions to cross more often, take more risks when passing, and to pass more directly. Jordan Henderson will act as a box-to-box central midfielder on the inside to cover and support Trent in a similar way to real life. James Maddison will be the creative influence on the left side, with Ben Chilwell acting as a more defensive inverted wing back to cover the central areas and free up space for Maddison. Raheem Sterling will likely start ahead of Marcus Rashford on the left as an inside forward, with Jadon Sancho starting on the other side as more of an attacking winger. Harry Kane will start as a deep-lying forward, holding up the ball to create chances for Sterling, Maddison, and Sancho as well as himself, with the "attack" duty meaning he won't hold back in front of goal. Overall I think this tactical set-up is the most balanced system for our national team. Let's see how it plays out!


I couldn't find a database with the real Euro 2020 groups, so they were randomized when I started the save in May 2020 (custom start date). I was handed an interesting group including Scotland, Switzerland, and Turkey. I'm excited for the Scotland match as I'm sure they'll be up for it just as much as we will!
Good luck fella.

Bring it home.
Twitter - @ManUtdTarrant
Medium - @JamieTarrant

The Group Stage

The Turkey Match


We were the better team but failed to grab the 3 points in the opening match of the competition, with the game finishing a scoreless draw. Alexander-Arnold was player of the match with 4 key passes and a match rating of 7.2, but the team failed to make their chances pay. Ben Chilwell, Jadon Sancho, and Raheem Sterling were very poor and I decided to rotate Marcus Rashford in for the next match against Scotland.

The Scotland Match


I swapped Rashford and Alli in for the Scotland match to revitalize our attack after struggling against Turkey, but that seemed to open us up a bit as we conceded twice and ended up with yet another draw. Harry Kane won player of the match for keeping us afloat by scoring both equalizers after Scotland went up early, but our defense and particularly the wing backs struggled against the rigid Scotland 4-4-2. Sancho struggled again while Rashford was injured very early on in the match, with Sterling coming on to play most of the game in his place. We were the better team overall, but failed yet again to take advantage of our superiority and we now go into the final group stage match treating it as a must-win.

The Switzerland Match


Tammy Abraham and Chris Smalling started against Switzerland over Kane and Gomez to give them some rest ahead of the potential knockout round, with Maddison returning to the starting lineup after Dele Alli's disappointing display against Scotland. Switzerland put up a tough fight, but super-sub Jack Grealish scored the match-winning goal just 4 minutes after coming on. Overall, it was a somewhat disappointing performance but we got the 3 points and that's all that matters in the end.

The Table


We finished 1st in our very tight group, with Turkey and Scotland also qualifying while Switzerland failed to reach the next round. Elsewhere, France finished last in their group behind Germany, Croatia, and even Ukraine!

The Knockout Stage


Croatia are becoming something of a modern rival for England with the increased frequency of matches scheduled between the two countries over the last couple of years, previously meeting in the World Cup, the UEFA Nations League, and now the EUROs as well. While Croatia came out on top during the World Cup, England were the better team in the Nations League so hopefully we can continue that in the next match. So far I'm not thrilled with how the competition has gone but I'm glad to still be in it so hopefully we can finish strong and bring it home!

What a poor performance overall really in the Group Stage, but the main thing is that you got out of it in 1st position!

A tough matchup against our foes Croatia though...
The Second Round


The Lineup


I decided to rest Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho for the Croatia match, and I rotated Dele Alli in for James Maddison to partner Henderson in the midfield. Tarkowski made his first appearance of the competition and had a solid game, while Jack Grealish started after his impressive contributions off the bench in the group stage. Harry Kane and Ben Chilwell didn't play particularly well, but the rest of the team put in good performances.

The Result


We dominated the match and came away with the victory following a first-half goal by Sterling and a second from substitute Tammy Abraham in the 75th minute. It could've been a more comfortable victory, but we never looked like losing at any point during the match and our game plan worked effectively. It seems the squad might finally be gelling in our new system so hopefully we can keep up this momentum going forward!

The Other Results


Portugal and Spain were the surprise casualties of the Second Round, getting knocked out by Czech Republic and Turkey, respectively. The Spain result certainly made me feel better about my draw with Turkey in the opening match of the competition! Italy, Norway, Belgium, Germany (fully licensed), and Serbia are the other teams to advance to the Quarter Final. There are some strong teams in there but all things considered I like my chances!

The Next Match


We've been drawn to play Belgium in the Quarter Final, bringing memories of the World Cup back to mind as England were beaten by Belgium in the group stage and the third-place playoff. Hopefully get one over them and advance to the Semi Final despite Belgium being designated as favorites ahead of the match!
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