James Eastham – @james_eastham
Given that France are England’s nearest mainland neighbours, it may come as little surprise that media on the other side of the channel have given the Three Lions scant praise so far.
“Gareth Southgate’s players really struggled to beat Tunisia,” said leading sports daily L’Equipe after England’s 2-1 opening-game victory. “In giving away a penalty, Kyle Walker reminded us that he’s really a full-back and that picking him in a back three is a very risky bet,” proclaimed the paper in a comment that summed up the tone of their verdict.
Far from getting carried away, L’Equipe remained cautious after England’s 6-1 triumph over Panama. “England’s big winning margin is counter-balanced by the fact that Panama were astoundingly naïve,” wrote Pierre-Etienne Minonzio. “Even so, some England players – such as Sterling, who did everything wrong other than his assist for Lingard’s goal, and Loftus-Cheek – still managed to produce poor performances.”
Adam Digby – @Adz77
Nope, they’re not just ignoring that kickabout in Russia this summer.
“Prince Harry demolishes Panama,” proclaimed the front cover of CorrieredelloSport the morning after England’s 6-1 rout of the Central American minnows, going on to add that Kane was “the King of the Hitmen” after moving to the top of the goalscoring charts.
Clearly they weren’t the only ones in Italy enamoured with the Tottenham striker either: La GazzettadelloSport’s front cover the same day ran with a “Kane parties with the Lions” headline. Inside the pink paper, columnist Stefano Boldrini proclaimed that the first half of that game was “a slaughter”, going on to add that the resounding win “ensured safe passage the knockout stages for Gareth Southgate’s band of young stars”.
Emanuele Gamba of La Repubblica labelled England’s third goal in that game “a beautiful piece of skill from the right foot of Jesse Lingard”, enjoying the Manchester United man’s long-range strike. In the same newspaper, his colleague Fabrizio Bocca tempered the enthusiasm around England somewhat, noting that Kane’s hat-trick goal “was completely unintentional and somewhat fortunate”.
Marcus Alves - @alves_marcus
Brazilians still remain more concerned with losing fans to Premier League sides, but it’s safe to say that England’s form at the World Cup has impressed everyone. Perhaps for the first time in decades.
For so many years, one word has been used to describe the English football style: ‘chuveirinho’ (a slang term for crossing balls inside the box repeatedly). Suddenly, it seems out of date and can barely be heard. Great work, Mr Southgate.
“England are not as hyped up as Belgium, but can reach the semi-finals as much as the Belgians can,” wrote Paulo Vinicius Coelho, one of Brazil’s most important pundits. Much of this has to do with Harry Kane’s five goals, obviously: he was on the cover of the three biggest local newspapers (Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo and Estadão) after crushing Panama.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, Kane was asked by a Brazilian reporter for a song to play on leading TV show Fantastico – a tradition for anyone who scores a hat-trick in the country. Suffice to say, Kane is known all over Brazil now – and not only for his killer instinct.
“Besides all of this, he is handsome,” Brazilian commentator Milton Leite gushed. “Do you really think so?” replied pundit Mauricio Noriega.
“I do – the blue eyes…,” Leite concluded, laughing. Oh, Harry.
(Other things on their mind.)
Jason Marquitz – @soccermexicana
Three Lions chatter in Mexico has been limited during this World Cup so far. Milenio, a major Mexican newspaper, dubbed England “the giant that seeks to awaken”.
Before the World Cup kicked off, Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio was widely reviled in the local media; a villain despite his near-perfect record in World Cup qualifying.
Why? Because Mexican football fans judge their national team when facing opposition outside of CONCACAF. Osorio lost the ‘big’ matches against South American and European sides – hence, in the eyes of many, he was a failure.
So while England impressed in their showing against Panama, Mexican supporters won’t be vaulting them to a higher level off the back of such performances. A leading Mexican football site, Mediotiempo, said: “Panama’s disastrous defence practically gave away the match.”
Ultimately, it’s Panama. It’s CONCACAF. Mexico will wait and see what England do when they’re met with stiffer competition. When the giant truly awakens, they’ll talk.
Marcus Alves – @alves_marcus
“Yes, they Kane”, “Citizen Kane: the world under his feet” and “Captain, my captain”: three different ways of referring to England’s successful campaign and their impressive No.9 in Russia so far. If Kane continues to score like this, Portuguese media will probably run out of puns by the knockouts. And that might not be something to mourn about – Kane has been in almost every headline.
Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manha says he’s in “exterminator mode”, but definitely not alone. Jesse Lingard has been described as a “perfect bodyguard” for the Tottenham striker. Will that be enough to go far this time?
“This England can call the shots in a race where rhythm is important,” wrote Antonio Tadeia, one of Portugal’s main pundits. However, that depends if Southgate’s men can put their pace to good use and bring more ideas when the going gets tough.
Martin Mazur – @martinmazur
“Kane has shown that this is undoubtedly his big year,” said newspaper La Nación.
ESPN pundit Miguel Simon talked about geometry. “There’s a solid pyramid in England. In 2017, they won the U17 and U20 World Cups. Last year, they won the Toulon tournament. Beyond the good start in Russia, nothing that happens at the top of that pyramid will be casual.”
Most of the coverage, however, was focused on the episode of England’s ‘starting XI’ being leaked ahead of the Panama game – which coincided with what happened in Argentina, where the FA president asked journalists to support the team and not publish its formation.
Michael Yokhin – @Yokhin
Ahead of the tournament, the focus was mostly on English fans. Just as English media were mainly worried about Russian hooliganism, the hosts were discussing a possibility of “revenge” for the events of Marseille at Euro 2016. This is no longer the case, though.
"We were expecting that some of the Marseille events could be continued, but everything is peaceful so far and attention has switched to football,” says SportExpress journalist Filipp Papenkov.
“We are only talking about the game itself, and that is great. England are taking part in the football festival on our soil, and the first impression is very positive. Naturally, Tunisia and especially Panama are not the strongest rivals, and it is early to make serious predictions.
“But many Russian fans like the way that England managed to beat the Africans late on and thrashed the debutants from Central America. If Harry Kane keeps on scoring, England could go very far.”
Martin Mazur – @martinmazur
Uruguayan newspaper Republica published an evocative match report after the 6-1 win over Panama, calling it: “An uneven match that should not hide the evident improvement of England, an ordered and direct team, with the effective leadership of Kane and lots of work on the board for set-pieces.
“In Kane, England have a leader they lacked for a long time; someone whose influence also marks a behaviour pattern off the pitch. Southgate projects something modern but a bit classic at the same time. His side plays with its socks well up beyond the knees, like cricket pads.”
David Cartlidge – @davidjaca
The view of England from Spain has certainly changed for this tournament. Previous Three Lions teams had been viewed as superstars underperforming under the burden of great pressure.
Now, however, there is intrigue surrounding this youthful England team. Rather than referring to them as superstars, the Spanish press have chosen to focus on the unity and freshness that is in the team, and that they could be growing into this competition. They know the mood back home is good.
“Gareth Southgate's modesty and attempts to keep expectations at a manageable level for this young team have not lasted long after two victories in the World Cup,” tooted AS. “There is euphoria in England for this team.”
Harry Kane gets a lot of attention, largely down to those Real Madrid links. The Spanish can’t stop referring to the ‘Hurricane’, and Marca recently ran an article on the Spurs striker praising his quiet, homely lifestyle and his shying away from the spotlight.
"Whatever happens, England will continue to feed their hopes in Russia, increasing their aspirations,” Marca’s post-Panama match report read. “In football they need little to get excited as they look to forget their chronic failures… and dream of glory."
Cadena Cope journalist Juanma Castano tweeted a neat summary. “England’s games are like far-west movies,” he said. “They could be good, regular or bad, but there are always lots of shots. Guaranteed.”
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