England will face the Ukraine on Saturday after sending Germany home with an incredible 2-0 victory at Wembley, while Prince William, Ed Sheeran and David Beckham all eagerly watched from the stands. The age limit of 70 for an FA chairman is also made to look ridiculous when David Bernstein, who reluctantly was forced to stand down three years ago, is now heavily involved as an Aston Villa director. FA chairman Greg Dyke’s heavily contested reforms package will be the subject of another debate at the next FA council meeting on April 6, when a lot of the proposals will end up in the long grass. The county FA opposition remain united in refusing to accept losing their stakeholder majority or having 12-year terms limits imposed retrospectively, a move that would see most of them ousted from the council. Also, some of the Euro 2016 stadium layouts make it easy for spectators to move around the ground, as they could in Berlin.
Having picked five strikers: Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford, one of the biggest decisions Hodgson has to make is which player(s) will occupy the forward position(s). But the north London club’s fifth player to make the squad – Kyle Walker – ostensibly faces the biggest challenge for his place in the starting XI. That doesn’t compute. When almost every club will operate on massively reduced budgets, for one or two to be able to spend £200m on a player feels wrong. He has a No 9 shirt with Ronaldo on the back from Arsenal Football Club. Origi was signed from Lille in 2014 and spent a season back on loan at the French club before scoring 21 goals in 77 appearances for Liverpool over two years. Roberto Mancini’s side went into the final game of the season ahead of Manchester United on goal difference, and needed Aguero’s drilled effort at 93:20 – which sparked wild celebrations at the Etihad Stadium – to confirm their status as England’s best club that season. But with England’s record-goalscorer and captain Wayne Rooney in the ranks, the manager has a vital choice to make, considering the Manchester United talisman scored just eight league goals.
Since breaking into the Red Devils’ first-team fold, 18-year-old Rashford has scored eight goals in 18 appearances and was rewarded with a place in the 23-man England squad. However, with the teenager now renowned for having an instant impact on the pitch (his first shot in the Premier League: a goal; his first appearance in the Europa League: two goals) he could be a dangerous option coming on. Having been handed the No 9 shirt for his debut in the country’s match with Australia in Sunderland last Friday, Rashford scored with his first shot after just 138 seconds. World Cup watch: Number eight Akira Ioane, whose speed, size and ball handling could be a difference in Japan, was sent a message from the All Blacks selectors they had run out of patience with him last year when he could not make a 51-man squad for the end-of-season tour. The FA, who are paying the major share of laying a new pitch at their Chantilly training ground, will be hoping better care is taken of it after Euro 2016 than has been the case at the Urca military base in Rio, where the FA put down a new surface ahead of their brief stay at the 2014 World Cup.
The Urca pitch is already in very poor condition owing to a lack of attention, according to those on the Team GB reconnaissance in Rio this week. Made his comeback ahead of schedule for the reserves last week. The Belgian has gone on to become one of the best midfielders in the world and is an integral component of Pep Guardiola’s City team, helping them to the Premier League title last campaign. World Cup watch: All Blacks’ openside flanker Sam Cane’s recovery from a broken neck will keep him on the sidelines until at least the midway point of Super Rugby. Cane has said rugby was the furtherest thing from his mind when he suffered the injury and the focus will be on whether there is any trepidation in how he approaches the game upon his return. There is concern within the FA about the way fans who were not members of the England Supporters Travel Club were able to infiltrate their designated part of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin during the game against Germany. The FA have almost sold out their official allocation of tickets for the Euro group games, with 11,000 accredited members of ESTC heading for their first game against Russia in Marseille.