England have no shape, no identity, no hope
Hodgson's plodders have no shape, no identity, no hope
England's continued involvement at Euro 2016 has now lapsed into masochism.
Only a partisan minority can take serious pleasure from Roy Hodgson's bumbling presence in France.
As the Three Lions stumble blindly into the knockout stages, as if trying to dribble around training cones in the dark, it's worth questioning their existence.
The foaming tabloids here called the wretched 0-0 draw with Slovakia yesterday morning (Singapore time) a "stinker", but the overwhelming mood is one of apathy.
This is England, a team quite breathtaking in their peerless ability to bore the pants off an audience, thanks to a bafflingly incoherent line-up.
There are better squads than the Three Lions. And there are certainly worse. But none come close to England's ingenious knack of assembling a collection of household names only to take monotonous football to a whole new level.
Hodgson and England's apologists continue to drone on about possession.
The Three Lions dominated possession, in all three Group B games, but especially against Slovakia.
Possession is, of course, nine-tenths of the law of idiotic punditry.
Marek Hamsik was essentially accompanied onto the field by 10 buses painted in Slovakian colours.
The defensive mentality could not have been underscored any further had Martin Skrtel handed out shovels and tin helmets and ordered the Slovaks to dig trenches.
England didn't dominate possession. It was given to them.
But they squandered the gift-wrapped opportunity to steal the points like a nervous burglar tripping on his swag bag after being handed the keys to the safe.
Hodgson was expected to take a risk or two against lesser opponents, but this was tantamount to tactical suicide. Rather than move a knight or two into a bold position, he threw the chessboard in the air and blew a raspberry at his audience.
He spun the wheel of fortune off its axis and came up with six blanks.
Giving six players their first Euro 2016 start in a game England needed to win exceeded recklessness and tiptoed towards madness.
After two years of qualifying and three tepid group games, England remain 11 players in search of a team, rotations in search of a formation and a manager in search of a rational thought.
Hodgson appears to have lost his tactical mind.
England were as hazy as the sunny afternoon in Saint Etienne. They started with a 4-3-3, but drifted towards a 4-4-2 and then meandered to a 4-1-3-2.
England were all of the above and none of the above, displaying the solidity of a strawberry jelly.
The inevitable tedium no longer surprises anyone familiar with Hodgson's colourless routines, but the lack of progress is slowly turning apathy into anger.
Unlike Graham Taylor in the early 1990s, Hodgson is working with the best attacking players in a generation, with Tottenham in particular leading a renaissance in youth development.
And yet, infuriatingly, England's lack of wit, ingenuity and creativity remain hallmarks of Hodgson's stodgy teams.
The Three Lions, in the final analysis, are just too drab to watch.
It's an unforgivable criticism for a side blessed with the enterprising talent that dazzled at Tottenham, Leicester and Liverpool last season.
Over in the table-topping Welsh camp, Chris Coleman's precise use of Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen only further undermines the haphazard, inconsistent duties handed to the unfit Jack Wilshere, Adam Lallana and Jamie Vardy.
At Leicester, Claudio Ranieri turned Vardy into a fast, furious goal machine, oiled by the rapid cogs of counter-attacking football.
Hodgson doesn't do counter-attacking.
But then he doesn't do defensive football, or rely on wide men, or incisive wingers, or a pivotal playmaker, or anything faintly recognisable or consistent.
Hodgson's England just exist. They hang around for a bit, rather like an irritable cough, until superior nations spare casual viewers further discomfort.
And now the unlikely road to glory is fraught with obstacles.
Victory against Slovakia would have been rewarded with a local trip to Paris, not far from the training base, against a lesser light.
Now the Three Lions face the Group F runners-up in Nice. Hodgson must find a cohesive first 11 with a solid shape by Monday. In other words, go where he's never gone before. The odds are against him.
But the broader point to consider at this juncture is England's overriding purpose and performance at Euro 2016.
They're not underdogs. There are no romantic backstories or Cinderella men in the group, Vardy's familiar tale not withstanding. Their football is instantly forgettable, if remembered in the first place, and played in monochrome.
England are stodgy and sterile and have so far brought nothing to the party.
Euro 2016 isn't entirely dependent on endlessly brilliant spectacle, but it really doesn't need such a boring team drifting towards another early exit.
'We'll make someone pay'
Roy Hodgson watched England labour into the knockout rounds of Euro 2016 with a stalemate against Slovakia yesterday morning (Singapore time), then warned possible opponents there is much more to come from his side.
The England boss changed six of his starting 11 for the final Group B match in St Etienne and, while they dictated play for long periods, they could not produce a finish worthy of the points.
Jamie Vardy had a one-on-one chance saved and substitute Dele Alli had an effort cleared off the line, but that was scant reward for their control of possession and territory.
A point left them behind table-topping neighbours Wales in the standings and should hand them a tougher draw - starting with one of Portugal, Hungary, Iceland or Austria in the last 16.
But Hodgson was happy with much of what he saw and feels the missing ingredient - precision in front of goal - is close at hand.
"We're not doomed yet," he said.
"We can't do much more, we dominated the game from start to finish, we had so many chances and one day we will put them away.
"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 will be criticised for not taking chances, I can't deny that, but the time will come when we will take those chances, and some team will be on the end of that fairly soon.
"Soon we will make someone pay.
"But we'll wait and see; we're in the knockout phase which is where we wanted to be."
Hodgson appeared piqued by queries over his selection, bristling at the notion that he had rolled the dice by switching more than half of his starting 11.
While Vardy and Daniel Sturridge were widely tipped to start after their game-changing efforts from the bench against Wales, the call to stand down Wayne Rooney, Alli and both fullbacks seemed bold.
"You're saying that had Wayne started, he would have scored the goals the others missed from his left half (midfield) position," he told one inquisitor.
"Wayne and Alli and Harry Kane came on and created chances. The 'six changes' amuses me.
"We finished the game against Wales with Vardy and Sturridge up front and people said that was positive. Now it suddenly becomes six with those two starting."
Hodgson also defended Jack Wilshere (right), who took over Rooney's playmaking role but looked decidedly off colour before being replaced in the 55th minute.
"I realise his performance hasn't been too highly rated in the mass media. I've picked up on that one fairly early doors," he said.
"He's a very good footballer and will be a very important member of our squad.
"If we can stay beyond the next round, you'll be speaking of him in a different light because that's the player he is." - PA Sport.
Hodgson in the spotlight
Press Association Sport takes a look at how manager Roy Hodgson has fared so far.
Starting an out-of-form Raheem Sterling against Russia and Wales was an error.
Harry Kane's inclusion for the opening two matches did not work out and, while numerous changes against Slovakia were criticised, the game produced the most chances of the group stage with Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy leading the line.
Starting Jack Wilshere was a mistake, however. Eric Dier, in the midfield holding role, has justified his selection.
Hodgson has started 4-3-3 in the matches, but has switched to a 4-4-2 diamond formation during some games. His preferred set-up has seen Adam Lallana flourish, although not necessarily providing great width, but Sterling's lack of form saw him struggle.
It worked better in the second half against Wales when he had Vardy, Sturridge and Marcus Rashford as his front three.
Playing Wayne Rooney in a deeper role has had limited success, but first-choice fullbacks Kyle Walker and Danny Rose have provided much-needed width in attack in both formations.
Hodgson has had mixed fortunes with his changes from the bench, as he was praised for hooking the ineffective Sterling but lambasted for taking off Rooney as he tried to close out a win against Russia only to concede a late equaliser in the opener.
By contrast, sending on Sturridge and Vardy at half-time of the Wales game, and later Rashford, to change the game earned praise.
His changes in the Slovakia game were predictable, although not influential enough, although he probably should have removed Wilshere at half-time.