England leave it late against Tunisia in World Cup opener

Harry Kane pulled it out of the fire as England beat Tunisia 2-1 with a late injury-time strike.

The victory, plus three more points against Panama on Sunday, should see England through to the next stage of the World Cup.
Hopefully, all set fair for a showdown with Belgium a week on Thursday to decide who tops the group.

It took two old-fashioned England-style goals – corners headed on by first John Stones and then Harry Maguire saw Kane free and converting the opportunities.

His first with the boot, the second a clever header.

England made hard work of it – started magnificently and could arguably have been three or four up in the first 30 minutes.
But they spurned the chances, Jesse Lingard being the main culprit, and one feared the Three Lions might suffer for it.

And they did when Kyle Walker, a wing back playing centre back, was adjudged to have fouled his man in the penalty area with a wandering elbow. Sassi scored from the spot.

England were then aggrieved that two rugby tackles on Kane in the box went unpunished by an ineffective referee – disappointing because the men in the middle have been generally good so far. Where was the VAR system when England needed it?
For long periods of the second half a stuffy but toothless Tunisia looked like they would scrape an undeserved draw.
Cue Captain Kane to the rescue.

Kane, Henderson, Trippier and Stones were top quality for England. But Sterling lacked effectiveness and the laboured Dele Alli, seemingly injured, should have been pulled off long before he eventually was – a poser why Gareth Southgate failed to act earlier.

The manager will also be baffled how England could be so fluent in the first half and so ineffective in the second.
Plenty to work on but we are off to a flyer.

The Belgium game now looks like being a cracker. Especially as the Belgians easily beat Panama 3-0 with a beauty from Dries Mertens and two from Romelu Lukaku. Panama look as if they will be the whipping boys of the group. England must make sure they put them away, then bring on the Belgians.

Are you looking to watch England v Belgium in style next Thursday? Join Darren Farley and Peter Shilton at the Holiday Inn Birmingham with Eventmasters World Cup Live Screening.

Enjoy the occasion in style with our superb corporate hospitality package. With a delicious four-course luncheon to savour, cash bar and entertainment from the beloved Gary Newbon, Football Legends, including Peter Shilton OBE, and leading football impressionist Darren Farley, this package certainly promises to create a memorable experience for all.


Savour England v Belgium in Style with Eventmasters’ Live Screening

Join Eventmasters at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham this June for a marvellous live screening as England face Belgium in their final World Cup group fixture. Enjoy the game in fine style as you and guests sit down to enjoy a sumptuous four-course luncheon along with fabulous entertainment from Eventmasters’ Sporting Ambassador Gary Newbon.

The popular Sky Sports Presenter will be joined by a number of esteemed football legends, including England’s most capped International, Peter Shilton, who will be on hand to make your day a memorable one. Be sure to enjoy one of the football highlights of the year with our splendid hospitality package.

Peter Shilton - England v Belgium Live Screening Hospitality

Rub shoulders with England Legend, Peter Shilton.

Details of this year’s Live Screening hospitality package can be found below:

  • Superb four-course luncheon
  • Entertainment from Eventmasters Sporting Ambassador, Gary Newbon, with Guest of Honour, Peter Shilton OBE
  • Live screening of World 2018 fixture: England vs Belgium
  • Cash bar
  • Silent auction in aid of a nominated charity
  • Individual places – private tables also available

Sample Menu

The football action certainly won’t be the only thing whetting the appetite this year; our fabulous four-course luncheon menu will be sure to satisfy even the most refined palate. A sample menu can be seen below:

Free range chicken and pistachio terrine, apricot jam and toasted crostini

Sirloin of Finest 21 day aged Scottish beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables

Sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and ice cream

To Finish
Platter of cheese and biscuits

Those looking to book hospitality for a larger corporate group can be accommodated on tables of 10 and 12. Alternatively, places can be booked on a shared table basis, within a minimum booking of 2.

Make it an experience to remember this June with our fabulous Live Screening hospitality packages. Please click here for further details.


England beat Malta in Gareth Southgate’s first game at Wembley

Gareth Southgate started his reign as England’s interim manager with a win, but the pundits were unimpressed.

Beating Malta 2-0 at Wembley is frankly a bit feeble. It is easy to say that there are no easy World Cup qualifying games these days but Malta are ranked 176th by Fifa.

Southgate will have to do better if he is to have any chance of being taken on permanently. Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring after 29 minutes and Dele Alli scrambled home a second before half-time.

And that was it. There were boos for Wayne Rooney. Rooney played in midfield and did little to suggest he was worth a place there. Dare one say he is almost looking pedestrian these days?

Critics accused Rooney, who is 31 later this month, of spraying “Hollywood” passes left and right to the flanks but not providing any killer creativity.

You might almost say he is learning a new position and ask whether he should be indulged in such important games for England, particularly as currently he can’t get in the Manchester United first team.

So onwards to Slovenia tomorrow who beat Slovakia 1-0 on Saturday. Having missed out on Euro 2016 after finishing third in England’s qualifying group and losing a play-off to Ukraine, Srecko Katanec’s side have four points.

At home, they won’t be overawed so this will be a stern test of England’s credentials.

Bojan Jokic, Slovenia’s 30-year-old defender who played for Championship club Nottingham Forest last season on loan from Spanish club Villareal, said: “We are not a big country like England but we will not fear them.

“People always expect England to be the best and the players think they have to beat everybody. But we are confident.”

To be fair, England do have maximum points from their first two matches.

But they have on paper an incredibly easy group, and need to start showing who is boss.

Premier League Continues – Buy Official Corporate Hospitality Packages

After the international break the Premier League returns this weekend with fantastic games up-and-down the country – with Liverpool v Manchester United at Anfield on Monday evening the highlight fixture.

For more information please see our Premier League hospitality packages page for full details of all our official packages.

Big Sam Names First England Squad

England Squad Named To Take On Slovakia – Ross Barkley Misses Out

An interesting if flawed selection for Sam Allardyce’s first England squad against Slovakia on Sunday. Most critics will focus on the decision to leave out Everton’s Ross Barkley. Allardyce explained it thus: “For him it’s disappointing, for me, you have to make these decisions. The door will always be open for Ross, but right now I feel the squad I’ve picked is the right one.”

It is surely the wrong decision. England cannot afford not to play their most naturally skilled and creative players.

Barkley comes into that category, has started the new season in fine style, Everton lie fourth – he should have been chosen and he should be in the starting eleven.

Equally, I would have selected Marcus Rashford.

Rashford terrifies defenders when he runs at them. OK, he is only young and more often than not on the bench for Manchester United, but if you are good enough then you are old enough. He is just the sort who could make mincemeat out of Slovakia.

John Stones reminds me of 1966 England World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore the way he drives out of defence, producing telling passes. Stones is in the squad and should start.

Barkley and Stones were the only two outfield players who never got a single minute of football in four matches at Euro 2016. No wonder England were so hopeless and no wonder Roy Hodgson had to go.

At international level you need to mould a side around your most talented performers. Stones, Rashford and Barkley ought to be one, two and three on the team sheet.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw is in after recovering from last season’s leg break and proving his fitness and ability in the first three games of the season.

He is another who is top class and when fit should always play. 

Wilshere left out after slow start to the season

But Jack Wilshere is stuck in the wilderness – he should also be automatic for England but attitude and injury have meant he may never make the most of his natural abilities.

There is still time for Wilshere but there are plenty of examples of excellent players who for whatever reason never quite make it at the highest level.

With Shaw and Stones, the vulnerable England defence is looking stronger. Whatever Pep Guardiola thinks, Joe Hart should be between the sticks, though he has much to prove after a shocking Euro 2016.

What a pity Jack Butland is out injured – when fully fit he needs to make the position his own for the next decade.

Arsenal’s Theo Walcott is recalled and will add pace and poise. Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater will provide vision and bite.

A great occasion for Michail Antonio who joined West Ham from Nottingham Forest in September 2015, and began his career in non-league football with Tooting and Mitcham.

Difficult to see that he is good enough at international level but then managers up and down the country have questioned him during the course of his career rise. So far he has met every challenge.

“He scored nine goals in his first season and he’s a terrific athlete, a good crosser and a goalscorer,” noted Allardyce.

“I got slightly emotional when I found out,” said Antonio. “It’s just one of those things that I’ve always dreamt of playing for England as a kid, so now for it to happen after I’ve worked my way from non-league to where I am now, I am just so happy.”

England couldn’t beat Slovakia in the summer however with the amount of talent in the squad surely they should make a winning start to the qualifying campaign!

England squad:

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley).

Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Michail Antonio (West Ham United), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).

Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).

Big Sam Allardyce The Man To Lead England

After another unsuccessful tournament where England have again underachieved this time Iceland joining the long list of teams to knock England out in the knock out stages of the European Championships.

And with Roy Hodgson resigning after three failed tournaments and the usual immaculate qualifying record beating world beaters like San Marino!

The search for a new England manager has started in earnest what route should we take?

In the past we’ve gone down the route of English candidates, we’ve ploughed the depths of Keegan & McLaren whilst having various levels of success under Hoddle, Venables & of course Bobby Robson.

The FA have also appointed candidates from further afield such as Sven Goran Erikson who was embroiled in more then one scandal in the media & Fabio Capello whose disciplinarian tendency’s worked to demotivate the players.

After the resignation of Hodgson the main two candidates for the job to step forward were Steve Bruce & Big Sam Alladyce. Neither have managed one of the big clubs, neither have managed in the Champions League both have been sacked more than once.

Big Sam Stats

  • Allardyce has never won a major trophy as a manager
  • He has a 33.6% Premier League career win percentage
  • Sunderland’s average possession last season was 39.94%
  • 21% of their passes were ‘long’, compared with 14.4% at Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth
  • Sunderland were seven points adrift of safety at the start of January – but lost just one of final 11 games to escape relegation

Allardyce to succeed where others have failed managing the England Football Team?

But why does it matter? We’ve had managers with impeccable records at club level who have won everything under the sun. Yet we have been abject failures ever since Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup in 1966.

Big Sam now looks odds on to be the next manager of the three lions some in the past have called him a negative or defensive manager who favours the long ball. Which is unfair as Bolton manager he managed stars such as Anelka, Campo, Djorkaeff & Okocho leading his side in to Europe.

He has also had good stints with both Sunderland & Blackburn neither looking likely to go down under his tenure. The only real blemish on his record is the Newcastle job which has been a poison chalice for more than one manager.

But why not Big Sam there were no outstanding candidates Mourinho, Klopp & Guardiola are all in work & probably wouldn’t want the job.

Big Sam has the experience, knows the players & will pick his own team not who the media thinks he should pick. All in all we could do a lot worse than Big Sam after the embarrassment of this summer let’s give him a chance.

Premier League season which returning soon!

The 2016/17 Premier League season is now just weeks away. The most exciting league in the world will feature some of the finest managers on the planet this season with Jose Mourinho taking the reigns at Manchester United. Antonio Conte taking charge of Chelsea and Pep Guardiola arriving at Manchester City.

Can Leicester City mount a serious defence of their Premier League title? Will Tottenham Hotspur once again be pushing for Champions League football? Can Liverpool be the dark horses under Jurgen Klopp?

All will be revealed on the opening weekend of the season – Saturday 13th/Sunday 14th/Monday 15th August 2016.

For more information please see our Premier League hospitality packages page.