Eamon Dunphy: 'England will be home before the quarters'

Eamon Dunphy: 'England will be home before the quarters'

Former Irish footballer Eamon Dunphy believes that England were fortunate to beat Serbia in their opening game of Euro 2024 and has also predicted a quarter-final exit for Gareth Southgate's side.

England have come into the tournament as favourites alongside France. Many believe that the current England team is the most talented side they have ever had, while others don't believe they will go all the way.

A plucky 1-0 win on Sunday night means that England started off their campaign with a win, but it was far from convincing. Jude Bellingham's header in the first half was the difference between the sides.

Dunphy, writing in his Irish Mirror column, believes that there is no evidence to suggest that England can end their major tournament hoodoo and win their first ever European Championship.

"Can this be England’s year?" said Dunphy in his piece. "Not on this evidence.

"While they have more attacking talent at their disposal than ever before, it takes more than talent to win tournaments. You need to keep your nerve. England couldn’t even keep the ball last night."

On paper, England should have beaten Serbia quite comfortably, but Serbia held the majority of possession in the second half and could have nicked a goal late on. Had it not been for Jordan Pickford, the score could have been very different.

Dunphy added that Southgate's decision-making has to be questioned, and playing Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield isn't the answer. Dunphy now expects a quarter-final exit for England.

"England has way more talent than them. Yet they forgot to show it," he added. "They were rudderless in that second half—nervy, sloppy, and awful to watch.

"Compared to Germany and Spain, England has looked the worst of the favourites so far. Questions have to be asked about Southgate’s decision-making.

"Like, why did he have Trent in midfield? Why is Luke Shaw in the squad if he is not fit? Why was Foden on the left?

"As a coach, you need courage to make the right decisions.

"Can Southgate do so? Put it this way, he has to, because if England doesn’t get their act together soon, then football won’t be coming home. But England will... before the quarterfinals."

England's next game will be against Denmark on Sunday.