England were supporting the Italians in the hope they could achieve qualification in their third game. Sturridge was sending messages of support to Pirlo and the rest via twitter…while the Daily Mail issued an article before the game between Italyand Costa Rica about how to behave when supporting Italy in World Cups, underlining the importance of pizza, watching lots of R.Baggio clips on Youtube and to abuse the ref as much as possible. Gary Lineker was also wearing an Italy polo shirt in the studio apparently…. bless him.
After the Italians defeat by Costa Rica (a defeat which may even cost them elimination from the tournament) the English started packing to return home after completing one of the worst ever campaigns in a World Cup in their 40 years of qualifying for it. This has not happened since 1962.
The english press approached this all with its normal routine default attitude.
They are trying every drama they can to show how to enjoy these eliminations. Just like the guy who has been rejected by the hot girl at the bar but acts above it…as if he dont care – only in their hearts and minds does he/they know how much suffering exists.
At this point we shouldnt ignore or forget how many bestselling books in the country have been written trying to explain and analyse England’s failures in world cups.
Obviously…the reasons vary from ‘penalty curse’ to more serious reasons but none of these books touch on the one single truth –England gets eliminated from tournaments because they don’t have a good enough squad.-Since whichever squad they bring will rely on two or three (maximum) of themost seriously over-hyped players in world football. Players who are hyped up by the powerful UK media that are without international experience, afraid, settled in their cocoons, who by and large full fill bit-part player roles in their clubs where the main guys pulling the strings are foreigners.
The English never had a GREAT world cup squad. Never. What they did have though was an identity ( hey jack…lol) . However this identity has been lost ever since the introduction of the Premier League.
Production of English players has gone down the drain with realistically only a foreigner (Wenger) doing the most to help England produce decent footballers who can pass , run, are comfortable on the ball , know what to do and when.
The few english players that are genuinely good are paid excessive millions way beyond their actual value/worth and also get over the top -exposed in media. This over the top-exposure clouds peoples judgement on their ability. A goal from Rooney in a derby suddenly becomes huge news and shown over 130 countries, while a goal from Reus in a German derby might go unnoticed. That should not mean that the former is a better footballer than the latter.
The premiership is the richest league and most organised and profitable league in the world. A league that generates billions is no guarantee that it will have a great national team too. If the sheiks tomorrow go crazy and bring to Qatar all the greatest players on earth they will also have a super rich league but their national squad will still be a bad one. The english might think that since they can buy the best players and have the best league product they can do the same with the national team. That is not the case. International football requires work, sacrifice, lots of sweat, and individual and collective ambition. The only thing the premier league offers are over-hyped overpaid millionaires for the national squad. nothing else.
Off course all this happens due to some cultural traits also…like living in their bubble/microcosm , always thinking of being more important than they are.
In the recent past the F.A very optimistically handed the keys to the national squad to McLaren after Errikson ( who took them to three consecutive quarter finals). A Manger the English media referred to as “McLown“. The F.A thought that a less dogmatic coach than the Swede was what was needed for the players to make the difference. Off course they were wrong. For Euro2008 they didn’t even qualify. Unable to beat teams like Croatia, Israel and Russia . Due to the fact that they don’t know who they are anymore( in a football sense at least). They followed the opposite extreme of selecting big names and paying for a world class manager : Fabio Capello.The best and the best managed to create a salad that went to S.Africa in 2010 and was humiliated by Germany with 4 goals!
Their ability to drive national coaches crazy is unparalleled in football history. Hodgson is no genius, I give you that, but he did built a tough and solid Switzerland around Chapuisat before Hitzfeld took over and also built teams with tough defences in Inter, Fulham etc.. Alas even this lover of catenaccio couldn’t resist the pressure of the media and presented a team in Brasil with a joke defence and a midfield unable to support the strikers/forwards.
It is this dumb practice coupled with standard gung-ho naivety ( a draw with Uruguay would still keep them in the chase, while they were charging forward in numbers to win the game in ‘glory’..) that has eliminated them form the World Cup.
In the crucial game of the group the difference was made by Luis Suarez…an international superstar and world class player…not just an EPL superstar….there is a huge difference.
Regular readers will have no problem guessing who wrote today’s piece.