Dele Alli Jamie Vardy Roy Hodgson England
England manager Roy Hodgson shakes hands with Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli after the goalless draw with Slovakia, June 20, 2016Reuters

When Roy Hodgson made six changes to his England starting XI against Slovakia, it was going to go one of two ways – "Oh brilliant move resting the big players, and making use of the depth of the squad" if England won or "What was Hodgson thinking, now is not the time to be making such experiments," if England failed to get the desired result.

As it turned out, England utterly bossed possession against Slovakia, without being able to find the net, and after Wales thumped Russia in the other Group B game, Hodgson's side could only qualify to the last 16 as the second-placed team in the group.

That means possibly playing a more difficult opposition than England would have liked – they will face the team that finishes second in Group F, which has Portugal, Iceland, Hungary and Austria, instead of the one that finishes third – but the manager has no doubts over the fact that he made the right decision, because, at the end of the day, the manner in which England played did not change.

"You can't do more than dominate as we did," Hodgson was quoted as saying by The Guardian. "When did England last come to a tournament and have three such dominant games in a row? It is a little bit embarrassing -- it has been attack versus defence in all three games and I never thought I'd see England dominate three games like we have done.

"We have taken the game to the opposition, we have controlled the play. Sooner or later we will get the reward for our play. Someone might find themselves on the end of a tough result. Soon we will make someone pay. We will score goals one day."

But, would those goals had come, had England stuck to a similar team, and probably only made the changes to the forwardline? Probably not, because Slovakia's defence was solid and bravely last-ditch, especially Martin Skrtel, with the likes of Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge unable to provide that spark in the final third. Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli came on, with nearly the entire second half to go, and even they could not change the outcome of the match.

"What would necessarily have changed (had England not made so many changes)?" Hodgson asked back when posed the "did so many changes hurt England" question. "Had Wayne started, would he have scored the goals the others missed from his left half position?

"Wayne and Dele Alli and Harry Kane came on and we still did not take the chances. It's certainly very disappointing to have all the play again and all the opportunities and not have been able to take one. That's frustrating.

"But the 'six changes' [debate] amuses me. We finished the game against Wales with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge up front and people said that was positive. And now it suddenly becomes 'six changes' with those two starting. It was four changes from the side, which finished the Wales game. If we'd won, this game people would have said we didn't miss those we'd left out, and when we don't they say the team selection is wrong."

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