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Reffing Performance: Italy vs England

Interesting game last night, was expecting to see a lot of talk about the ref's performance in the media, but I haven't seen any mention of what I though was a very strange performance.

I was frustrated by the England team's inability to suss out the ref's intentions, he made it pretty obvious that he wasn't going to give them much time to restart play. Did they decide that the ref's stance was unreasonable so they would just carry on as normal, take the hit, act surprised and then act aggrieved. Either that or they just weren't able to read the ref at all, which I find hard to believe. I really do wonder whether there is a true leader in the team who can read the ref for the rest of these dolts and then get them to work the situation accordingly. The Italians don't need a captain to do this for them, each one of them can do it for themselves. The way they all ran in outrage at Shaw as soon as they saw him commit a technical foul opens a window on the different world of gamesmanship that they inhabit compared to England, masters vs rank amateurs in this regard.

That said, it really shouldn't be up to the players to work the ref out and then act up to his own particular foibles. I didn't see the ref applying the same swift restart critereon to either team in the first half and in the second half this quick throw in rule only applied to one side. There were a number of times where Italy took longer than either Shaw or Walker to restart play.

What was it about restarting play which was so urgent anyway when stopping play in the first place was going entirely unpunished? There were quite a few incidents where England were on the break in the first half only for an Italian to commit a deliberate foul to kill the move, but the ref did not see this as a sanctionable offence, whereas taking 20seconds to restart play was apparently beyond the pale. I thought that he was very unbalanced in his approach.


  • Not sure I'd call the England players rank amateurs with regards gamesmanship! They seemed very adept at it last night. I take your point about the referee's inconsistencies, but there's no doubting that the England players were partaking in a fair amount of time wasting and some of Kane's diving was cringeworthy when watching back the replays.

    There was a curious incident towards the end though that I think does back up your point. Italy took an absolute age taking I think a corner even though they were losing and there was only a couple of minutes left. I remember thinking that if the situation was reversed the ref would definitely and quite rightly have carded an England player. I guess it's not considered time wasting if the offending team are wasting their own time?

  • Are you saying the ref gave them everything and us nothing? 😁

  • Walker got a yellow at a throw for kicking a ball away and then getting a ball that was further away - deliberately delaying the restart of play. Completely correct decision

  • @Wendoverman What I am saying is that the ref failed to sanction foul play on Italy's part and did on England's part and moreover, his application of the rules seemed to change at half time. Do the laws of the game change according to the score and according to the team who is winning/losing?

    @Wycombe85 Yes, I know that England were indulging in gamesmanship, but as you point out, it was cringeworthy and obvious, rank amateur in my opinion. In comparison to Italy last night and I would say Spain, Portugal, Germany, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, we are so bad at adapting to the way the ref is handling the game as to leave me entirely bewildered.

  • I take your point. I mean Walker's yellow card was completely deserved and he can have no complaints. Shaw's first yellow could be deemed as harsh, but having seen Walker booked just a few minutes earlier, he was naive to think he could get away with any time wasting.

  • Good job that ref never officiated one of our games under Ainsworth.

  • Despite the win there was so much more wrong with England's performance than just their inability to play to the ref's idiosyncrasies.

    The slow start to each half was worrying, Southgate's choice of starting XI given certain players lack of form & game time, Southgates substitutions, the lack of onfield leadership when Henderson doesn't play; the inability to get any form of grip on the game in the second half against a very average Italian side etc.

  • Agree absolutely 100% on every word of that Errol, there was absolutely no leadership at all out there and the players were just sloppy and all over the place. I actually thought the ref was fine and all the players booked for time wasting were valid in my opinion. He’d made it clear he wasn’t going to stand for it and Walkers in particular was just stupid. It’s a good job they were up against a very average Italy or despite the half time lead they could easily have come away with nothing. Thankfully they held on but if they have aspirations of winning the tournament they’ll have to be much better than that.

  • On field leadership seems to have become extremely low-key generally. Kane is perhaps a good example of how skippers tend to lead by example these days. The vocal element and the hand-clapping from a crouched position is rarely in evidence. I suppose the answer is that players’ roles are drilled into them in training and pre-match in the dressing room. It’s the coaches/managers who do all the clapping and shouting (and plenty of arm waving) during games.

  • I only saw the first half. I thought the team were outstanding . Good attractive incisive football from a thoroughly likeable group of players. Best chance to win something over the next eight years or so in my lifetime (esp if there are a couple of CBS and a keeper coming through somewhere)

  • edited March 2023

    Maguire has to go before the Euros - CB probably our weakest spot, but the likes of Tomori and Guehi ought to stake a claim.

    If Walker's pace goes that's him done too - James theoretically the natural successor there, but his repeated injuries are a worry. Ben White another excellent RB option, though (and let's face it, they just spawn out of nowhere anyway).

    If the back four changes that much then there's a much weaker case for keeping Pickford - I think Ramsdale is too good not to come in sooner or later anyway.

  • I agree @ReturnToSenda I would have gone Ben White, Stones, Guehi, Trippier as the back 4 in front of Ramsdale, but what do I know?

  • I think White blew his international chances at the World Cup. Probably not worth a place anyway with Trippier, James, Walker and TAA ahead of him. Shaw and Chilwell are fine at LB. Not much between Ramsdale and Pickford. CB is perhaps the weakest part. I hear good things about Colwill on loan at CP - perhaps he will grow into a place in time.

  • edited March 2023

    Perhaps but he is fit & on fire for Arsenal at the moment & is building a real understanding with Saka in front of him that ought to be really positive for England. TAA seriously, he is a dreadful defender, great going forward & longer term his best position is likely to be RWB/ wide RM, Walker is clearly first choice whilst he holds onto his pace but is moving towards the end of his international career; James is probably the best of the young guns, but his injury problems are a real worry.

    At LB yes, Shaw is ok if a little slow by international standards & prone to the red mist descending as was seen the other night, Chilwell is decent but needs to be playing regularly for his club. I have struggled to understand why Rico Henry doesn't get a shot given his form over the last 2 seasons for Brentford.

    CB is where England appear to have the least depth, But as others have said Guehi & Tomori are decent shouts for the immediate future, along with the likes of Gomez of Liverpool & Colwill who is doing really well on loan at Brighton.

  • I’d go along with that although I’m slightly prejudiced in favour of Ben White by family members (Gooners) who constantly remind me how good he is.

    But one of those Gooners told me at the time of his appointment that Tony Adams would make an excellent manager!

  • I personally think Chilwell is twice the player Shaw is, can't work out why he doesn't get in

  • How can you drop Pickford based on his England form? Maguire has never let us down either

  • England beat Italy away for the first time in over 50 years. It's a great sign of how good this team is that the event passes with little comment apart from discussion of the referee and how to strengthen the centre back position.

    England play in Naples, a fixture anticipated (relished with anticipation in some quarters) to be a violent bloodbath in the streets. It's a sign of how good Neopolitans and English football supporters are that the event passes with little comment.

  • edited March 2023

    Maguire was directly at fault for Italy's goal on Thursday and basically doesn't play club football either. Even Southgate's system can only protect him so far. He's a very limited defender.

    Pickford has generally been excellent for England, but once the back three/four starts to change then he loses the benefit of familiarity and it's reasonable to at least consider other options - Ramsdale is a better goalkeeper, Pope a better shot-stopper but just not good enough with his feet.

  • Didn't a fan kickabout have to be cancelled because of threats from Italian ultras?

  • Yes?

  • Good job England won, I'd hate to think of the Apocalypse replies if we had lost!! 😆

  • Wow that's one of the maddest viewpoints I think I've seen on the gasroom.

  • Lol OK, had a few beers yesterday, maybe not twice the player, but I do actually think he's better

  • edited March 2023

    I can accept that my pal.

    Disagree, but can accept some see it either way. But Chilwell isn't the worldly he'd need to be to be double or arguably even considerably better than Shaw. Who without being saddled with looking after Maguire is having a strong season again.

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