Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : The Best Way for England to Approach Euro 2024? All-out Attack

Declan Rice will be England’s midfield shield while Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden can spark the attack. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
Declan Rice will be England’s midfield shield while Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden can spark the attack. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
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The Best Way for England to Approach Euro 2024? All-out Attack

Declan Rice will be England’s midfield shield while Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden can spark the attack. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
Declan Rice will be England’s midfield shield while Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden can spark the attack. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

All-out attack could be the way to go for England at the Euros considering the array of talent at Gareth Southgate’s disposal and the defensive uncertainty.

Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham, to name a few, have all had incredible seasons at club level and if they can translate that to the international scene, it could make England one of the most feared sides in the competition. However, getting the balance right will not be easy.

Southgate’s success with England has been built on strong foundations. He is a defensively minded manager and he cannot be criticized for that because it has taken England to a European Championship final and World Cup semi‑final but never before has he had such an exciting group of forwards to choose from. It is easier said than done when coming up against the continent’s best but it would make sense to change old habits and go for it. He may see it as a risk but it would be a calculated one.

Everyone witnessed how Foden embraced the responsibilities that are involved with being a No 10 for a top club and I would love to see him play more centrally for his country where he can do the most damage. England need to harness the form Foden has shown in the Premier League and give him the freedom to hurt opponents.

He was at the centre of everything within a fantastic Manchester City side, leading to a fourth consecutive title. Even if you had not seen what he had done all season, he managed to sum up his qualities on the final day as they won the title. These are pressure games and in the opening three minutes he had created a chance from nothing and thrashed a shot into the top corner to take City one step closer to the title. If he can have the same influence for England, it could be seismic.

Kane is a guaranteed starter and is another peaking with 44 goals in all competitions in his first season at Bayern Munich. Moving to Germany has not derailed his prolific scoring record and a year at a club like Bayern can only help his growth. He will be excited by the players behind him creating chances. Saka had nine goal assists in the Premier League this season and scored 16 as he continues to flourish.

This is the most exciting and attacking England squad we have ever seen. Bellingham has just won La Liga with Real Madrid. A lot of the season under Carlo Ancelotti he has been playing as a No 10 but also as a false 9 at times and is another attack-minded player in the mix. For all of his qualities going forward, Bellingham is not the best off the ball defensively but that is never going to be his strength, so trying to make him sit will not work. He has become one of the best in Europe thanks to his late runs that have brought him 19 La Liga goals this past season.

Any team with Kane, Saka, Foden and Bellingham would be exciting to watch. I would personally like to see Cole Palmer start because he, too, has been incredible this season after moving to Chelsea from Manchester City, enjoying 33 goal involvements in 34 Premier League appearances (22 goals and 11 assists). That would be with Bellingham dropping back to play with Declan Rice in a 4-2-3-1 but this might be too adventurous for Southgate. However I think when you have a group like this, playing those in the best form can make the difference. That front four exudes confidence.

Southgate, however, often prefers putting out an experienced team in major tournaments, knowing that those who have accumulated a large number of caps can cope with the occasion.

This will be a top-heavy team in terms of attacking players. That is where the highest quality is, leaving Southgate wondering how he can bring balance. He will need to be tactically astute to get the right answers and that is not straightforward when the squad is together for such a short period. The players are used to working in complex systems under Guardiola, Mikel Arteta and Thomas Tuchel, for example, but they will need to pick up their various responsibilities quickly.
The potential issues in defense add to the complexity of what Southgate has to navigate. He will need to decide whether to be more gung-ho to counteract being susceptible at the back or to offer extra protection. Without a natural second defensive midfielder, there will be a lot of onus on Rice to provide the protection the defense needs, especially one that will begin without a recognized left-back and with a centre-back pairing who have not played together regularly.

Southgate will need to be clever to ensure the liberation of his attackers does not make England excessively open at the back. One solution would be to play Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, although this would be a difficult choice to make because it would be tough to leave out Kyle Walker, or Stones at centre-back from where they can move into midfield next to Rice, giving Bellingham greater opportunity to push forward.

There are difficult choices to make for the back-up on the bench too – an indication of how good English players have been this season. Ollie Watkins would be my choice as Kane’s understudy. He scored 19 for Aston Villa and assisted a further 13, the highest in the Premier League, to help secure Champions League football for his club. Watkins is likely to be one of a group of forward-thinkers desperate to make an impact off the bench. We will potentially see Anthony Gordon, Eberechi Eze and Palmer in that role. They can all be gamechangers.

Every fan would love to see the England men’s team just go for it at a major tournament for the first time in a long time. It might make Southgate a little uncomfortable because it goes against what he has built in the past for England but it could offer the extra edge needed at major tournaments.

Karen Carney



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
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US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP

There was a lot for the US Olympic team to like on Monday. And a lot not to like.

Anthony Davis scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Tyrese Haliburton came up with a pair of late 3-pointers that helped stop a freefall by the Americans, and the US beat Australia 98-92 on Monday to improve to 2-0 in its five-game slate of exhibitions leading into the Paris Olympics.

Devin Booker scored 16 for the US, Anthony Edwards scored 14 and three players — LeBron James, Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid — finished with 10 for the Americans, who are playing host to a pair of exhibitions at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this week. They'll play Serbia there on Wednesday.

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported.

The US led by 24 midway through the third quarter, yet saw that lead cut to six with 5:05 left after Australia went on a 39-21 run. But Haliburton had the next six points on his 3s, pushing the lead back to 92-80.

Australia cut it to four on two separate occasions, but Booker went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 8 seconds to ensure the US would escape.

“Third quarter, we started turning the ball over," US coach Steve Kerr said. "We gave up a ton of points at the basket. Back cuts, offensive boards and so, the game shifted. It's a good lesson for us. Better to learn that lesson now than later. And this will be a good tape for us to watch. But I give Australia a ton of credit. They were great. They fought. They were really physical. Took it to us in the last quarter and a half and really made it a game.”

Second unit, again Just like in the Canada game, the so-called second unit — Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Adebayo, Davis and Booker — changed the game.

That was the group on the floor when the Americans took a game that was tied at 19-19 with 3:15 left in the first and turned it into a 39-23 lead — a 20-4 run in a span of just over 5 minutes.

Kerr used that group as his starting five to open the second half. But it’s become a clear trend already: when the US goes to its bench and can replace All-Stars with other All-Stars, it’s just going to be a massive problem for opponents who don’t have anywhere near that same level of depth.

“The strength of our team is our depth and we have to utilize our depth,” Kerr said.

It’s been something the Americans have used to their advantage in the past. Dwyane Wade led the gold-medalist 2008 US Olympic team in points, even though he was sixth in minutes on that team and came off the bench in all eight games.

Turnovers Here’s the big trouble sign right now for the US: turnovers.

FIBA games are shorter than NBA games, 40 minutes instead of 48 minutes. That means there are fewer possessions and makes it even more imperative to not give the ball away.

Which the Americans did. A lot.

After committing 15 turnovers in last week's exhibition win over Canada, the US had 18 giveaways on Monday and Australia used them to fuel the comeback effort — getting 25 points off turnovers in the second half alone.

“Our turnovers, it's all about focus and execution,” Davis said.

Injury watch Kevin Durant missed his second consecutive game because of a calf strain, and with only one practice between games it wouldn’t seem likely that he plays Wednesday against Serbia either.

Derrick White, who arrived in Abu Dhabi over the weekend and got into his first practice with the team on Sunday, also didn’t play. White replaced Kawhi Leonard — who deals with knee issues — on the US roster after the Americans determined last week that it wasn’t in Leonard’s best interest to play this summer.