Harry Kane

Top Five Flops Of The Euros So Far

The Group Stage of Euro 2016 has now been and gone, so BenjaminWillsBlog has taken a look at five players who have as yet failed to live up to the pre-tournament hype.

1) Antoine Griezmann – France

When Antoine Griezmann came off the bench to head France into a last-gasp lead against Albania it seemed like the Euros was about to burst into life for one of the continent’s top talents, however it has not yet been the case.

Atletico Madrid’s main man suffered a frustrating 90 minutes on opening night as Olivier Giroud and Dmitri Payet were needed to rescue the hosts and Griezmann was promptly dropped for the Albania game.

His goal got him back in the line-up against Switzerland, but again the Frenchman was ineffective as he has yet to get a proper foothold on this tournament which is underwhelming from a man many backed to win the Golden Boot.

2) Harry Kane – England

Harry Kane has been the top English goalscorer for each of the past two seasons, the current Three Lions squad is attacking and exciting, so, put the two together and you have a perfect blend, right? It would appear not.

At his club, Tottenham Hotspur, boy wonder Kane is used to being the main man, he plays on his own up front for Spurs, but with his country he finds himself deployed as part of a three-man attack and has so far struggled to find his scoring boots due to lack of service and perhaps is not suited to others doing the dirty work for him.

After unexpectedly failing to win Group B England find themselves on the harder half of the tournament table, and Kane will need to remember where the back of the net is if the Three Lions want to make a serious impression on this year’s Euros.

3) Paul Pogba – France

Since 1996, the Player of the Tournament at the European Championships has had two things in common: they were centre midfielders, and their country were crowned champions.

Paul Pogba and France were both tipped for glory this summer, both still might get their crowning glory, but neither have been entirely convincing as yet. The Juventus man has shown flashes of brilliance, in the first-half of France’s 2-1 win over Romania and during the 0-0 draw with Switzerland, but for a man touted as one of the best in the world and expected to command a fee of £70 million, the mercurial midfielder has not quite been firing on all cylinders.

Pogba will need to kick it up a notch if he wants to emulate his childhood hero Zinedine Zidane, who was the best player as France won Euro 2000.

4) Thomas Muller – Germany

The Germans. Ruthless, clinical, efficient, and any other cliche you want to use, none apply to Thomas Muller this summer.

He may only be 26-years-old, but Muller is as experienced as they come. The forward has 32 international goals in 74 caps, and a World Cup winners’ medal, but despite this he has never scored in a Euros, and that stat does not look like being wiped out any time soon.

Muller’s role is that of a Raumdeuter – a ‘space investigator’ in real terms – Mario Gotze as a false nine is supposed to create space for the supporting Muller, but so far the mean defences of Poland, and especially Northern Ireland, have managed to snuff out the Bayern Munich man out, leaving him ineffective.

5) Robert Lewandowski – Poland

This is new territory for Robert Lewandowski. Since his first season as a professional in the Polish second division with Znicz Pruszkow in 2006-07 he has scored fewer than 15 goals in a campaign only twice, but now when representing his country his magic touch seems to have worn a bit thin.

Lewandowski scored 30 goals in 32 matches for his club, Bayern in the Bundesliga last season and went into the Euros in hot form but after four games in France he has scored no goals and had just the one shot on target.

Despite one of the world’s hottest strikers blowing cold Poland have made it to the quarter-finals, getting on the scoresheet a grand total of three times in the process, but they need their star man to show up sooner rather than later, otherwise a great opportunity for history may go up in smoke.

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Harry Kane’s Slow Start is no Surprise

He burst onto the scene in October last year and took the Premier League by storm after waiting six years to become an overnight success, but this season Harry Kane is off to a stuttering start, this should be no surprise, however.

Kane scored 21 goals in 34 matches last season, finishing the season as the top English goalscorer as Tottenham ended the campaign in 5th.

Spurs’ star striker was rewarded for his fine form in March with his first senior England call-up and repaid the faith Roy Hodgson showed in him by scoring on his Three Lions debut in the 4-0 win over Lithuania within 80 seconds of replacing captain Wayne Rooney.

Goals dried up for Kane after April, with his hat-trick in the 4-3 win over Leicester on March 21 ironically seeming to be the start of a downfall before his strike at Everton on the last day of the season.

As soon as Tottenham’s season ended, they jetted off to Malaysia to play a local League XI, who Mauricio Pochettino’s men beat 2-1 with Kane scoring both for the English side before they were clocking up the air miles once more, this time flying to Australia to beat Sydney FC 1-0 where Kane again.

Kane scores in Malaysia as he impresses in pre-season

Kane scores in Malaysia as he impresses in pre-season

The U21 European Championship followed three weeks later which Kane, a first-teamer for England, refreshingly put himself forward for where others have felt the under-21s have been beneath them.

England and Kane were lackluster, however, only two goals were scored in the three games played with Kane failing to find the back of the net.

Tottenham’s pre-season friendlies for 2015-16 started on July 29 with a 2-1 defeat to MLS All-Stars (Kane scored Tottenham’s goal), but more travelling for the north Londoners, this time to Munich for the Audi Cup, took its toll on the 22-year-old.

Real Madrid beat last year’s League Cup runners up 2-0, but they responded with a 2-0 win of their own against AC Milan, with Kane failing to score in both games.

Pochettino has already admitted the long pre-season has left his star “tired”, and his failure to sign a striker over the summer has led to him rushing Kane back.

Two bids for West Brom’s Saido Berahino have already been rejected and if Tottenham do not secure his, or someone else’s signature soon, they could be forced to keep burn out a talent whose career is only just starting.

Hull City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Livermore ‘8, Kane ’61, Eriksen ’90)

A controversial red card shown to Gaston Ramirez cost Hull dearly as Tottenham came from behind to rise to 10th.

Ramirez received for his marching orders for kicking out at Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen in an off the ball incident but there did not seem to be much malice in the coming together at all.

Ex-Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore rifled the Tigers in front after just eight minutes but Harry Kane equalized soon after the hour.

Christian Eriksen settled the occasion with an angled shot past Allan McGregor in the 90th minute to leave Hull fans cursing referee Craig Pawson.

Livermore’s strike against his former employers was an impressive one, lashing into the bottom corner from distance after Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross was headed away by a Tottenham defender but only into the path of Livermore who punished the error.

Hull could and should have doubled their lead soon after with a flurry of chances, first Robbie Brady was denied by Hugo Lloris who got down quickly to deny the Republic of Ireland International and then Hatem Ben Arfa blazed over from near in as a result of Lloris poorly pushing a Brady effort straight at the feet of the 27-year-old.

The red card inevitably put Hull under the cosh though and Tottenham eventually clawed one back when Kane tapped home Eriksen’s free-kick that came back off the post.

Roberto Soldado’s worries in front of goal continued too with his best chance coming when he glanced a shot wide 25 minutes before the end and he was substituted by Paulinho 15 minutes later as his wait for his first Premier League goal since March continues.

Hull City: McGregor, Davies, Dawson, Robertson, Elmohamady, Huddlestone (Rosenior ’64), Brady (Quinn ’87), Livermore, Ramirez, Ben Arfa (Meyler ’57), Jelavic

Subs not used: Harper, Chester, Sagbo, Hernandez

Bookings: Livermore ’62, Huddlestone ’63

Red Cards: Ramirez ’50

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Dier (Chiriches ’45), Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies; Dembele (Lennon ’59), Mason, Eriksen, Lamela, Kane, Soldado (Paulinho ’78)

Subs not used: Vorm, Ball, Ceballos, Stambouli

Bookings: Dier ’33

Red Cards: None

Man of the Match: Christian Eriksen

Tottenham 5-1 Asteras Tripolis (Kane ’13, ’75, ’81, Lamela ’29, ’66, Barrales ’89)

Tottenham finally earned their first win of their Europa League campaign this season, a five star performance thanks to a Harry Kane hat-trick and a delightful double from Erik Lamela.

Argentinian Lamela curled in a stunning Rabona effort from the edge of the box after 28 minutes for his first goal of the contest as he tries to justify his £30 million price tag.

His second, a volley from a tight angle, squirmed under Goalkeeper Tomas Kosicky at his near post to extend Spurs’ lead to three.

It was a home-grown product that gave the hosts the lead though as Kane scored his second goal in his third Europa League game this term with 13 minutes played.

The England under 21 striker struck home the opener from distance with his right foot into the bottom corner, leaving Kosicky grasping thin air as the underdogs went behind early on.

Kane tapped home his and Tottenham’s fourth with 14 minutes left on the clock, turning home a rebounded Moussa Dembele effort that gave Kosicky trouble, swerving away from the once capped Slovakia keeper and into the path of Kane who couldn’t miss.

He had his third six minutes after, provided by Federico Fazio’s cross, was headed home for 5-0. A triple against Tripolis capping off a successful night for Kane and his side.

An eventful night for Kane ended with him having to go in goal with Hugo Lloris being sent off for fouling an Asteris attacker. Substitute Jeronimo Barrales took the resulting free-kick which squirmed under the makeshift Goalkeeper.

Tottenham: Lloris, Dier, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies, Capoue, Dembele, Kane, Lamela (Eriksen ’76), Townsend (Lennon ’83), Adebayor (Chadli ’76)

Subs not used: Vorm, Chiriches, Stambouli, Soldado

Asteras: Kosicky, Lluy, Sankare, Zisopoulos, Panteliadis, Munafo Horta, Mazza (Bakasetas ’82), Usero, Rolle (Barrales ’73), Tsokanis, Parra (Alberto Fernandez ’80)

Subs not used: Theodoropoulos, Badibanga, Gianniotas, Kyriakopoulos

Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham

Four goals from Sergio Aguero secured three points for his side to ensure Manchester City kept up the pressure on league leaders Chelsea.

Two of his goals were penalties while the others were delicious finishes into the bottom corner past a despairing Hugo Lloris.

The Argentine also had another spot kick saved in an encounter that saw four penalties awarded in total by referee John Moss.

Visitors Tottenham were too handed an opportunity to score from 12 yards but a normally reliable Roberto Soldado was denied by Joe Hart in the second half.

Sergio Aguero will take all the headlines though and deservedly so with a spell-binding performance that began with an effort that he lashed past Lloris with 13 minutes played.

He had his second six minutes later when he sent Lloris the wrong way from the spot following a debatable foul on Frank Lampard by Erik Lamela.

It was three for the 26-year-old with 68 minutes on the clock, scoring his second penalty goal after three attempts after Federico Fazio pulled him down in the box, the defender was sent off for his misdemeanour.

Aguero’s fourth came 15 minutes before the end in similar fashion to his first, gliding a shot past the hapless Lloris.

SA

Despite the convincing looking scoreline Tottenham did put up a good fight against the champions. Hart needed to save low to deny Ryan Mason eight minutes in.

Cristian Eriksen’s goal materialised a quarter of an hour in after Soldado robbed a dallying Fernando in midfield and the Spaniard teed up Eriksen who smashed home first time past Hart off the underside of the bar 139 seconds after his side went behind.

Manchester City: Hart, Clichy, Demichelis, Kompany, Sagna, Milner, Lampard (Fernandinho ’28), Fernando (Toure ’77), Navas, Silva (Jovetic ’70), Aguero

Subs not used: Caballero, Kolarov, Boyata, Dzeko

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Dier, Fazio, Kaboul, Rose, Capoue (Dembele ’60), Mason (Vertonghen ’70), Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela (Townsend ’60) Soldado

Subs not used: Vorm, Stambouli, Adebayor, Kane

Man of the Match: Sergio Aguero

Tottenham 0-3 Liverpool

A Raheem Sterling strike, a spot kick from Steven Gerrard and a magnificent individual goal by Alberto Moreno earned Liverpool a 0-3 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Sterling tapped Liverpool in front after eight minutes and Gerrard’s penalty ensured that his team would be going back to Anfield with three points.

Alberto Moreno’s marauding run and finish ended any Tottenham hopes of a comeback.

Liverpool began the game in typically dynamic fashion, new signing Mario Balotelli had a header saved after just two minutes.

They did not have to wait long for their opener however as Sterling converted from Jordan Henderson’s squared ball just six minutes later.

The Reds began the second half much like they did the first, scoring three minutes after the interval with a Gerrard penalty. Joe Allen was bundled over in the box by Eric Dier who failed to win the ball but the contact was minimal.

Spot on: Gerrard's converts his penalty.

Spot on: Gerrard’s converts his penalty.

Moreno’s first goal in England sealed the win, a powerful unchallenged sprint down the left flank which culmiated in the Spaniard lashing the ball off the inside of the post and in. Lightly reminiscing the sort of goals Gareth Bale scored in the same stadium once upon a time.

Brendan Rodgers’ boys should have made it four after a jinking run but did too much and his final product was a tame shot straight at Hugo Lloris when it was arguably easier to score.

It could have been a totally different game though had firstly Emmanuel Adebayor flick over Simon Mignolet gone under the bar rather than over sixty seconds after Sterling’s opener.

Nacer Chadli also had a half volley superbly saved by Mignolet just before half time.

Tottenham’s game was summed up in second half stoppage time, being denied a penalty for a shirt tug on Adebayor.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose (Davies ’72), Bentaleb (Dembele ’59), Capoue, Chadli, Eriksen (Townsend ’59), Lamela, Adebayor

Subs not used: Friedel, Chiriches, Holtby, Kane

Liverpool: Mignolet, Manquillo, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno, Henderson, Gerrard, Allen (Can ’61), Sterling (Enrique ’86), Sturridge, Balotelli (Markovic ’61)

Subs not used: Jones, Toure, Lambert, Coutinho

Man of the match: Raheem Sterling