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July 08, 2018


Maurits Pino

England, Croatia, Belgium, France. Is Eu-membership a necessary condition for making it to the semi finals?


I believe Arsene Wenger once, surprisingly at the time, described Gareth Southgate as "a very gifted manager" way before Southgate was appointed as England manager.

Perhaps Arsene was correct, after all?


"In this sense, he is the diametric opposite of so many characters who dominate and deform our public life – those who seek what MacIntyre calls external goods of wealth, fame and power."

Its the curse of democracy - when anyone can be the leader you tend to find that the narcissists and borderline psychopaths are prepared to put in far more effort to get to the top than the normal people, who will give it up as a bad job relatively quickly.

Which ironically is why we'd be better off run by an absolute monarch or hereditary governing class as in the old days, because not all of them would be psychos, by dint of DNA's random walk. Whereas we see that democracy pretty much throws up nothing but psychos..........

Dave Timoney

I think the reference to MacIntyre is interesting in this context as Southgate has clearly been presented by a starstruck media as a man of virtue and thus an examplar of more than just managerial savvy. That said, I think one element of the good fortune he has enjoyed was to become manager after Big Sam.


"We might well have lost the penalty shoot-out against Colombia"

lots of stuff around about how throughly they prepared for penalties; Pickford giving the ball to the takers so they didn't have to run around getting it. Practising the walk to the penalty spot. Taking time after the ref blew the whistle because studies show players who hurry fail to score more.

"were it not for some great saves by Pickford.". That's not an accident. That's an England player playing well.

One thing I found out during my career working for trading desks. When desks make money they know exactly why they are making money. When desks are losing money they just think they are having a bad run of luck in the markets and they tend not to understand how other desks are outsmarting them.

Luis Enrique

"Using shots [that hit the post], taken from a similar location on the pitch, as counterfactuals to scoring shots, we estimate the causal effect of a lucky success (goal) on the evaluation of the player’s performance. We find clear evidence that luck is overly influencing managers’ decisions and evaluators’ ratings"



'nobody knows anything'

A very good reason for the old, conservative, good sofrosine.

Not Trampis

really interesting article.

For mine the world cup is France's to lose as they are easily the best team still in it.

Can I you poms why southgaste never picked an attacking midfielder in his squad?


Great article,have a close look at Dier's penalty he scuffed it ,little direction ,practically no speed.

The apparently inherent belief that given enough facts one can analyse to the point of near ertainty the result of a sporting event which in reality will in large part be down to luck is exactly why sporting and financial web sites provide such comprehensive information free - think charts ,past results etc.

They know that most people who gamble believe that the more information they have the more they are likely to believe they can correctly predict a result even when chance plays such a big part. So make facts readily available put info like how many years has it been since Arsenal last beat a team managed by a successful butcher from Dagenham,married to a former nun with a wooden leg and suddenly the mist of uncertainty begins to clear and out comes the credit/debit card and another punter's hopes bite the dust.
In the word's of the song ..." when will we ever learn,..."


"Nobody knows anything" - except we do know somethings, we particularly know about process over outcome.

Roy's lot could have played for hours against Iceland and not broken down the defence.

Southgate has a team which is admittedly limited, but between Kane's predatory instinct, Sterling's speed and movement, Lingard and Alli's ability to find a goal now and then, we have a team that reasonably be expected to beat more limited teams and give the better teams a competitive game.

Pretending that this is not progress really irritates me. It's the argument of people who don't understand the game enough to reach reasonable judgements.


There is significant outcome bias in this and any analysis. However the following is true: England managers in 2014, 2010, and 2006 had better players available than Southgate. They ended up with worse teams.

For the first time since 1996, this England team is greater than the sum of its parts. And the major credit for that surely should go to Southgate.



Not Trampis

I should have said before great blog indeed a must read (red?)

I heard our national netball coach talk about meeting Southgate in the old dart and how he had talked to a number of national coaches to get their opinion on how they get national teams to gel.

I also wonder why your only world class player is forced to play midfield at times because of no attacking midfielder selected.

It won't be coming home. If you get past Croatia France is a very strong team even they are only allowed to play in 2nd gear at best

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