Well at least we know what we are getting with Roy. First thing to know is that it's not going to be pretty. It's not even going to be passable given it's Friday night and you've had a skinful but at least she's interested and vertical. It's going to be turn over, take one look and run for the door with your clothes bundled up in your hands.
It is going to be simple though. Hodgson understands, and he's the first manager or even pundit to do this in about twenty-five years, that English footballers aren't all that good. They can keep a ball like a three-year-old keeps a secret. Ask them to interchange positions in a free-thinking way and they'll all end up pretty much in the same place. Hence my own philosophical treatise on England's midfield which many of you will recognise as the Gerpard Conundrum.
Given that the ball is such a transient passenger in the lives of an England footballer, it seems only sensible to ask the players to concentrate on what happens when we don't have the ball. And Hodgson is good at this. Keep your shape. Get behind the ball. And it worked against France.
Well, that is apart from their goal when no one closed Nasri down. But we'll forgive Parker that, given that he was flinging himself in front of everything remotely goalboung like someone auditioning for Kevin Costner's stunt double in The Bodyguard.
France helped a lot. They seemed to be adopting that old-fashioned 5-a-side rule where you're not allowed inside the D. Benzema preferred to trot out somewhere near the centre circle and hammer it - quite threateningly it must be said p from distance.
Ribery once again proved to be a scuttling idiot. Quite how this bloke earns rave reviews is beyond me. He's part of this absurd vogue for right-footers to play left-wing (and vice versa) which leads to (a) all the width of an attack being sacrificed as Franck blunders inside and into his own players; or (b) he stays wide and with his wrong foot hits a cross so puny that an a goldcrest* could clear it.
I'm longing to see an old-fashioned get-to-the-byline merchant tear some full-backs to shreds. The bloke who got closest to it was Debuchy, a definite plus for the French, whose performance in the opposition half was in mared contrast to, say, that of John O'Shea. As Ireland tried to press to get a second equaliser the Croats wisely gave O'Shea all the time in the world to do what he wanted with the football, and he duly gave it back to them. O'Shea is a full-back from a bygone age: honest, loyal, consistent and shite.
England's overlappers failed to bomb on but Glen Johnson had one of his better defensive displays and Cole confirmed what a top player he is. Upfront England managed five shots. Yep. Five. I'm sure Hodgson was outraged. ("Why so many, boys?"). But he did dare a little, did Roy, and Oxlade-Chamberlain was a delight to see, if only because his energy and fearlessness was such a contrast to those nervous ninnies that usually patrol that flank.
The main thing is that everyone did their job well, even if Young could've been a little smarter, Milner should've scored, and Jordan Henderson's appearance served to underline why we must not get ahead of ourselves.
I reckon it could've been better with a referee who thought that every sneaky Gallic trip was to worry about. Cabaye clipped more ankles than a runaway strimmer but remained without caution.
Me, I reckon one of Lennon or Adam Johnson is going to be desperately missed when Roy needs summat to happen from off the bench. I watched the Swedes and while there is officially 'nothing to fear' in them (I seem to remember Germany dscribed in the same way in the last World Cup - oops!) there's no chance of Hodgson's team comfortably beating anyone.
Ibrahimovic remains as easy to predict as an English summer. He's perfect casting for Abenazar in Aladdin. He's a bit of a magician too, but a fecking lazy one - the proper adjective I believe is Berbatovian. Mind you it's not like Shevchenko does a whole lot either, apart from (yawn!) scoring goals. (When I was a kid I despised Gerd Muller cos that was all he could do n all.)
Of the other teams, well only Russia have impressed, but then they always do until they don't, and then they're out. Holland were the big losers, squandering opportunities to profit like so many public-school stockbrokers.
Spain look fine, but the beauty of taka-taka grows stale with its familiarity. And Torres still looks like he's not the man to put the cherry on top of the approach play. (If he is, there's going to be a lot of lost cherries).
All in all, though, there's been the usual mixture - a bit dull at times, very cagy, but enough to keep you in its thrall - in fact, I am officially as happy as a pig in shit.
Maybe it's these austere times, but I dunno, I feel good watching England without the schizoid delusions of the recent past. As my mate Tony Thompson said last night, just after he'd agreed with that sentiment: "And you never know, Robbo, with a bit of luck and a fair wind, we could nick this tournament."
*Goldcrest - Britain's smallest wild bird, excluding like really titchy baby birds n that.