Gareth Southgate has his plan, and he's sticking to itGareth Southgate has his plan, and he's sticking to it (Image: PA)

England View – Marc Iles

Another game, another few days of chatter about a tactical tweak that will probably never materialise.

It feels as though Gareth Southgate has chosen the hill on which he will die in Euro 2024, and it makes for a very difficult watch.

Pre-tournament we all wondered if Phil Foden’s talents should really be wasted out on the left and if Luke Shaw’s inclusion in the squad was a luxury. Four games in, those doubts remained.

The learn-on-the-job approach to Trent Alexander-Arnold in central midfield looked risky, and sure enough, it turned out to be a bad choice.

Now, with what feels like the whole country willing the England boss to change team shape, move decisively on Marc Guehi’s suspension and perhaps go 3-4-3 or match up the Swiss for 3-4-2-1, it once again feels like a lot of wasted words.

It has been reported that Southgate is considering the switch - and I'll take that as a plus - but it does feel like he has made up his mind on which players he can genuinely trust on the big occasion. And it takes a fair bit of mental resolve to stick to said gameplan when a landslide of criticism is heading your way, as it was several minutes from the end of Sunday’s game.

A degree of entitlement has emerged since England dropped into the favourable side of the last 16 draw and I still stand by what I said in one of our first columns here, this is not a world class team when you compare it to previous incarnations, in 2004, for example.

Who in this current team walks into the one which went out on penalties to Portugal?

You might make an argument for Kyle Walker to come in for Gary Neville, perhaps, or that Jordan Pickford is marginally better suited to modern football than David James. Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham would be bench players on current form and sharpness, especially against a prime Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

We are maybe getting the England team we deserve here. Southgate is potentially playing a bad hand as well as he can, dragging the game on for as long as he can, hoping all around him fold.

Switzerland have been decent so far but even Vanilla England have enough in the tank to beat them. Bellingham and Kane may not be in world class form but Sunday showed up they can still come up with world class moments.

Being conservative (small C, this isn’t a political column) is not a look which will gain you much popularity. It was what England needed at the start of Southgate’s reign, and he can still turn us on, but not without trying something a little more exciting. Oo-er.

Turkey goalkeeper Mert Gunok salutes the fans after the win against AustriaTurkey goalkeeper Mert Gunok salutes the fans after the win against Austria (Image: PA)

Euro View – Marc Iles

A brilliant save, sure, but those comparing Mert Gunok’s heroics to those of Gordon Banks back in 1970 are going overboard.

The Turkey goalkeeper came to his country’s rescue by pushing away a downward header from Austria’s Christoph Baumgartner with the last action of a pulsating last 16 clash in Leipzig.

It was a suitably exciting conclusion to a contest between two of the most watchable sides at Euro 2024. There is always one early knockout game that pits two entertainers together, while some of the dourest sides manage to sneak through elsewhere, but that’s tournament football.

For those who believe in such things as xG, Gunok had a six per cent chance of saving Baumgartner’s effort. I don’t know quite what to make of that statistic, yet there it is.

The save Banks made at the World Cup to push away Pele’s downward header in the heat of Guadalajara was better because there was more power on the initial effort and he had to cover slightly more ground to make contact with the ball just inside his right-hand post.

You might argue that the dry turf in Mexico might have slowed the ball down a little, and it is hard to see with TV technology of the time. On Tuesday night, Baumgartner’s header probably picked up some pace on a surface that was completely drenched.

Then there is the question of importance. Sure, it was last minute in the round of 16, but holders England versus arguably the greatest national team ever assembled? I’m afraid that wins hands down.

This Euros has had a little bit of everything and now we have got an all-time save to add to the list. But what really puts Banks’s save above Gunok’s is the celebration. Whereas the Turkish keeper was high-fived, hugged and back-slapped from all angles, Banks got a little tap on the back of the head from Brian Labone, as if to say: “Nice one, now get up, we have a corner to defend!”

Switzerland have brought great fun to Euro 2024, says Elliott JacksonSwitzerland have brought great fun to Euro 2024, says Elliott Jackson (Image: PA)

Euro view - Elliott Jackson

Any talk of reduced entertainment at this summer's European Championship is misguided, in my humble view.

Am I a fan of the 24-team structure? Absolutely not. It does remove a sense of jeopardy from the group stages.

After a win in the first match, England knew they were basically through. Three points was enough to get you into the last 16, with four points making you a shoo-in.

There's also the very weird dynamic of Ukraine finishing bottom with four points and therefore being eliminated. Slovenia went through on three points because they finished third. Is that right?

There is plenty still to be resolved on the set-up and I do believe an expanded tournament does lead to a watered-down product. We want quality, not quantity, which is my fear with a 48-team World Cup.

Nonetheless, I think the entertainment value at the Euros has been fantastic. We saw some belting first-round fixtures. Georgia's narrow defeat to Turkey was as good as anything, it was like a knock-out game.

Austria and Switzerland have brought us great fun, with the latter topping their group in impressive style. The Swiss deservedly knocked out the reigning champions, Italy.

It's only really England and France who have played low-margin football, despite, in many people's eyes, having the best squads in the tournament.

Maybe it's me, but I can't profess to have seen too many 'dull' games. Even the one-sided scorelines have been entertaining. Look how Georgia caused Spain, who have been the best sides by a distance, issues in the first half of their 4-1 defeat.

Even Monday night's goalless draw between Portugal and Slovenia was wildly entertaining. Not least because of Cristiano Ronaldo's insistence to shoot from every free-kick, regardless of the angle, like a kid in a playground.

There have been shocks, there has been attacking football and there's been plenty of entertainment. There's ten days or so left of this European Championship and we must savour it.