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Match kicks off at 7.45pm, Sky Sports Football and Main Event
Here's how Iceland line up
Hammering the 's' key tonight.
— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) November 18, 2020
Will Phil Foden or Mason Mount play on the right?
— England (@England) November 18, 2020
We ought to have guessed where this dispiriting Nations League campaign was heading after that drab pre-season match in Reykjavík decided by Raheem Sterling's 90th-minute penalty. Some revenge for 2016 and the nadir of Roy Hodgson face-rubbing incoherence? To an extent but then the messing about afterwards in the hotel and the vilification and punishment of a couple of teenagers soured these busy and unloved trio of international windows.
Tonight England take on Iceland in a dead rubber match. There is precisely naff all at stake. Iceland have finished bottom of the group regardless of the outcome and will be relegated from the top tier for the next running of the competition, England are stuck in third. Hopefully that should encourage Gareth Southgate to experiment a little Most of his critics have been arguing the toss over whether he should set up with three at the back or four to ensure the team plays to its potential. I haven't yet read anyone offering the radical solution of playing both.
Pick a defensive midfielder with the ingenuity, technique and passing range to flit between sitting in front of the two centre-halfs and slotting between them. Kalvin Phillips could do it, possibly Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson. Eric Dier, we are told by Jose Mourinho, has the intelligence and warrior spirit for both roles but I'm yet to see the quality of his longer passing matching the other three. You would not need a double pivot arranged set up horizontally all the time. It could switch between planes as the position changes from sweeper, to centre-back to centre-mid during depending on what the opposition is up to.
I don't know if it would work but it has to be worth a try to revive some enthusiasm to those who are bored to tears with watching three flawed centre-halfs being chaperoned by two deep-lying shielding players. With the right coaching England could then switch from 4-1-2-3 to 3-1-3-3 or even 3-3-1-3 if you're bold enough to pick Jack Grealish as well as Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.
That's for another night, though. Tonight let us prepare ourselves for the end of the 2020 international calendar and hope for some bang! rather than the whimper everyone expects.