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England vs Switzerland: Gareth Southgate Set to Switch to Back Three in Euro 2024 Quarter-Final

Southgate to Switch England to Back Three for Euro 2024 Quarters

Gareth Southgate is preparing to make significant changes to England’s formation for their Euro 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland on Saturday. The England manager is expected to switch to a back three, a strategy not used in a competitive match since the Euro 2020 final against Italy. This change aims to provide more width and maximize the impact of key players.

In this new setup, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham are likely to play as No 10s behind Harry Kane. Southgate has been experimenting with various formations and player roles in training, but has yet to finalize who will partner Declan Rice in central midfield. This decision is crucial to prevent being overrun by Switzerland.

The formation change is driven by two main factors: the suspension of Marc Guehi, England’s most consistent defender in the tournament so far, and Southgate’s acknowledgment that his current strategies have not yielded the desired performance levels in Germany. Although Kieran Trippier’s availability could influence a return to a flat back four, training indicates a back three is the preferred option.

The likely centre-backs are John Stones, Ezri Konsa, and Kyle Walker, whose pace is seen as essential for defensive coverage. However, Southgate is still undecided on the wing-backs, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bukayo Saka, Trippier, and even Eberechi Eze being considered. Luke Shaw remains a potential inclusion despite his long injury layoff.

England’s Attack Formation:

Southgate’s switch to three centre-backs leaves the formation open to 3-4-3, 3-5-2, or 3-4-2-1 configurations, with Bellingham and Foden in creative roles behind Kane. Accommodating Bellingham has become a challenge, as he may need to play deeper than his usual No 10 role for Real Madrid. Concerns about positional discipline and overlapping roles with Foden remain.

One option is to play Kobbie Mainoo or Conor Gallagher alongside Rice in a defensive midfield role, a common theme in Southgate’s tenure but one that limits offensive players. Alternatively, Ivan Toney could join Kane up front in a 3-5-2 formation, providing a valuable outlet and support in attack.

Wing-Back Decisions:

Choosing the right wing-backs is crucial. Saka, despite his preference not to play full-back, may be asked to switch wings from right wing to left wing-back. Shaw is also a candidate, eager to play after a week of training, though his lack of recent competitive football is a concern. On the right, Alexander-Arnold and Trippier are the main options, both accustomed to the role at their clubs.

Southgate’s final decisions will be revealed to the players the night before the game, as he continues to fine-tune his plans in closed training sessions.

England’s Path to the Final:

England faces Switzerland in the quarter-finals on Saturday in Düsseldorf at 5 pm UK time. A win would see them play in the semi-finals in Dortmund on Wednesday, July 10, at 8 pm UK time, potentially against the Netherlands or Turkey. The final is scheduled for Sunday, July 14, in Berlin, with an 8 pm UK time kick-off.

Southgate’s bold changes reflect the need to adapt and optimize England’s chances as they aim for Euro 2024 glory.

Credit: Sky Sports

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