Euro 2012: Tactical view of England's win over Belgium

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport
Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck

England's win over Belgium at Wembley means that new boss Roy Hodgson has now secured back-to-back 1-0 victories in his two games in charge.

As with their win in Norway last Saturday, England's opponents enjoyed most of the possession, with Belgium able to boast 59%. Hodgson's team also struggled to transform from their defensive shape to attack in a way that would concern opposition defences.

The England coach pointed out afterwards that Belgium did not trouble the England goal too much.

But with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema expected to start for France in England's first game at Euro 2012, Laurent Blanc's team are unlikely to be so wasteful in front of goal.

Steven Gerrard touches against Belgium
Gerrard's touches against Belgium show how deep he played

Former England winner Chris Waddle on BBC Radio 5 live:

"Belgium had only had one player sitting in midfield: Axel Witsel. Moussa Dembele was the other one and he is not a defensive midfielder. The other four midfield and forward players, including Eden Hazard, moved around. Marouane Fellaini played down the middle, and did so with a lot of freedom.

"People will say Belgium lost 1-0, but they dominated possession and will grow as a team.

"England sat in a zone and played a very organised game. Going forward they didn't offer a great a deal and at times looked very rigid.

"Ashley Young played up front and I do not think that is his position. I would bring James Milner, who played out wide against Belgium, into central midfield. I would then put Young out wide and free up Steven Gerrard because the skipper has got quality."

The game's key statistics (via Opta)

  • Belgium had 59% of possession with a pass accuracy of 88% compared to England's 82%
  • The visiting team were wasteful though with 19 attempts on goal compared to England's 11
  • Danny Welbeck scored from England's only shot on target, whereas Joe Hart saved six efforts from the Belgians
  • Belgium's sole defensive midfielder Axel Witsel had the highest pass completion rate of players that started and finished the game (98.1%)

England statistics

  • Danny Welbeck scored from his only shot of the game
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was England's most frequent shooter with three efforts, all off target
  • Four of England's top five passers were defenders. In order they were John Terry, Glen Johnson, Scott Parker, Ashley Cole and Joleon Lescott
  • Steven Gerrard made the most interceptions for England with Scott Parker the most frequent tackler

Belgium statistics

  • Eden Hazard was the most frequent passer on the pitch, with 71 passes
  • Hazard had the shared the most shots for his side with Marouane Fellaini (4)
  • Hazard also made the most key passes (6) and only England's James Milner delivered the same number of crosses (6) and a better completion of them (3 to 2)

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