Why did Roy Hodgson change his winning formula?
This is the question millions of England supporters are asking each other on a humdrum morning after a 0-0 draw with Slovakia.
Against Russia, England played well; dominating the game and creating chances. They were unlucky not to win.
There was no outcry for wholesale changes – perhaps Harry Kane looked a bit ‘leggy’ but that was about it.
Against Wales, despite starting with the same eleven players, the manager acknowledged two forwards needed to be swapped at half-time; replacing a tired looking Kane and Raheem Sterling with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge.
A very good, reactive move from Hodgson, which earned due praise as both Sturridge and Vardy made an instant impact.
Twenty minutes later when Adam Lallana was replaced by Marcus Rashford – England performed admirably.
In that second half they scored two goals and got a deserved victory over a spirited and robust Wales outfit.
Surely any person with the smallest understanding of the game could tell you the side which played in the second half against Wales, in what was the best half of football across three warm-up matches and two tournament matches, should have been the team to start against Slovakia?
Wales may have set up to defend, but a goal-shy England side needed to be creative enough to break them down. It worked and England won.
What changed in the mind of the manager four days later which meant over half of the side needed to be pulled out?
The argument that players may have needed a rest is absurd as they had over four days between matches.
The argument that Hodgson still doesn’t know his strongest line up is an even worse prospect. Centre forwards aside, the team virtually picks itself.
Or did he simply underestimate Slovakia?
Did Hodgson include the likes of Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere because he hoped or believed they might do something to warrant their inclusion ahead of Captain, Wayne Rooney and youngster Dele Alli in the next round? I highly doubt it.
Even in domestic football, it takes time for a team to find some type of cohesion. As Louis Van Gaal would put it; you need match rhythm.
Sometimes it takes five to ten matches before teams find their best form. Roy, having managed at club level for numerous years, should understand this.
Players cannot turn form on at the drop of a hat. They need to get into a routine.
This decision has ultimately cost England top spot in the group, and whilst the prospect of facing Hungary, Iceland, Austria or Portugal in the next round may not be overly frightening; the fact the side now has to wait another week to play their next match seems ludicrous.
For Danny Rose and Kyle Walker who didn’t see any action against Slovakia but we expect to see back in the starting line-up – that means an eleven day gap between matches.
Nothing about the selection policy against Slovakia made sense.