Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Can England Win The World Cup?

I am an England fan, I am an England supporter, If England are in it, I support them even if I don't know a lot about the sport, but there is an event starting this month which I can't get excited about from an England supporting point of view. What is it? The World Cup and we've got no chance!

Truth hurts people but lets be realistic for once. Why should we expect to win a tournament, which we have only ever won once, and that was played at home wasn't it!. I hope we do, but I have had my heart broke too many times down the years to get excited any more about England and major football tournaments. I'm not unpatriotic, watching my country win things makes me proud to be English, but lets be honest for once,  lower the expectations and then we might just ENJOY IT!. So here are my 10 reasons why we wont win it.

Reason 1: Expectations

We heap so much pressure on these players to deliver don't we? We are all guilty of it, putting them on pedestals and then waiting to knock them down. Don't get me wrong some of them ask for it aka John Terry, Ashley Cole ( my god man what were you thinking!) but what about David Beckham or Wayne Rooney. Yes they are excellent footballers but why should Rooney be expected to win the world cup on his own? Beckham had the same thing in the past 2 world cups! Last time I looked football was an eleven-a-side game, so why should one man be expected to win it on his own? We then slaughter them when they make mistakes, both of them having been sent off in previous World Cups because the expectations and pressure gets to much for them. They aren't expected to do it for their club teams so why expect them to do it for England. Until we learn to lower our expectations we will never succeed, Christ we aren't Brazil are we?

Reason 2: Penalty Shoot-outs

We will at some stage have to win a penalty shoot-out. Don't hold your breath our record is awful. We have had to face a penalty shoot-out 5 times since 1990 and how many have we won? One, yes that's right one, a great big fat one, and that was at Wembley as well, against a tea who were worse than us that day, Spain. We have the worst record of any top 10 team in the world at winning penalty shoot-outs. I'm  not for one moment saying they are easy, the pressure must be enormous but until we accept we have an issue with them and the players are willing to accept help in over coming the mental barrier we have no chance!.

Reason 3: Goalkeeper

This one annoys me a little. We are pinning our hopes on a 40 year old keeper who has the nickname calamity...yeah right! We used to have a rich vain of keepers in this country going back to 1966 we had the great Gordon Banks, 1970 was Gordon Banks, 1982 was Ray Clements and Peter Shilton, so good they used to alternate between them who played!, 1986 was Peter Shilton, 1990 was Peter Shilton, yes he was 40 but we had Chris Woods backing him up. 1998 was David Seaman, 2002 was David Seaman and 2006 was David James which now brings me to my point. So here is a major problem, no team has ever won a major trophy without having a World Class keeper, and we don't have one. David James was playing for relegated Portsmouth, Robert Green was playing for nearly relegated West Ham and Joe Hart wasn't good enough for Man City so they sent him on  loan. Doesn't fill you with confidence does it? Until the top teams in the Premier League start playing English Keepers and giving them a chance of playing the top sides in Europe we will in nothing!.

Reason 4: The Premier League

What a league we have, the best players come here and ply their trade, sounds great doesn't it. Well dig a little deeper. How many of them are actually English? How many of our top 4 teams in the past 5 years have had more than 5 English players playing every week? How many then? None. Yes that's right none of them. They have the odd few English players but there aren't enough of them. We do not develop young English talent in this country, we don't give it a chance too achieve what it could. The pressure from the fans and the board for instant results doesn't allow for that to happen. When France failed to qualify for the 1990 and 1994 World Cups they restarted their whole infrastructure from the beginning. They set up academy's and made their national leagues take a more long term view with their football. The had to have a certain amount of French players in their teams. The result, they won the World Cup and the European Championships one after the other. They produced Petit, Viera, Zidane, Barthez, Anelka, Lebouf to name a few. Us what did we do? We spent all our money on cheerleaders, fire works and foreign players and sat back and counted the money, slapping our backs on a great product which has now become soulless. A product that doesn't have young fans walking around with English players names on their shirts but players such as Torres, Berbatov, Anelka, Drogba, all superb players, but wouldn't we prefer English players of this caliber?

Reason 5: No Truly World Class Players.

So who do you think would get into the teams of Brazil, Italy, Argentina or Spain? Honestly, Wayne Rooney and Ashley Cole that's it. Why would Brazil or Argentine swap Kaka and Messi for Gerard or Lampard. I know I wouldn't and I doubt they
would either. Spain wouldn't want Terry or Johnson instead of Pique or Puyol and they wouldn't swap Xavi or Iniesta either. So there lays another issue we do not have truly world class players in areas of the pitch apart from two. Wayne Rooney up front, Ashley Cole at left-back. We do not have truly great players, good yes, but players that with a bit of magic can turn a game no we don't. Why? because of reason 4 we don't invest in talent in this country we are after the quick buck, the finished article from abroad and until the Premier League see this and change it we may even struggle to qualify let alone compete on the world stage for future generations.

Reason 6: No Decent World Cup Song

We have had some crackers down the years haven't we? Back Home 1970, Ron's 22 1982, World In Motion 1990, Three Lions 1996, okay the last one wasn't a World Cup song but it was a belter wasn't it. This year nothing, not a decent song out there. When I was kid we used to have to sing Ron's 22 at school. I used to get the pub rocking in 1990 by doing the John Barnes rap ( I still know most of it now) and yet there isn't a good song amongst them. Nothing to bring the nation together before a game, or hear on the radio to sing along too as we wait for the next game to arrive. Until we get one this is going to be a poor World Cup.

Reason 7: No Play maker in Midfield

Where is our Messi, Kaka or Ronaldo? We don't have that player that can light up a game, who can take on 4 or 5 players and beat them all. We don't have a player who can change a game with one flash of brilliance. What we do have however, are two players who can't play with each other in Lampard and Gerard. Both talismans for their clubs but can't produce that form for their country. Where is our Gascoigne, Hoddle or even our Le Tisser, who lets be honest, would walk into this current England Team. There is no creativity in this team, functional yes, hard working yes, but able to create and unlock the stubborn defence in front of us in the 89th minute of a game thus saving us from heartbreak on penalties once again? Nope there isn't one, and hasn't been for many years.
Reason 8: No-one To Score Goals

So say the worst happens and Rooney gets injured who do we have to score goals for us? Heskey, Crouch, Defoe? No sorry ain't going to happen. Heskey is not an out and out goalscorer, Defoe is unproven at this level and Crouch,  yes he has an impressive goals to games ratio but look who he has scored against, they aren't exactly worlds class are they. So lets go to the midfield then, Lampard scores load of goals for Chelsea but not England, Gerrad the same why is that? Because they play in completely different roles for club
rather than country and they have other players to score at their clubs rather than themselves. Thus if thy do score a few its seen as a bonus. If Rooney gets injured in our first game we will be home by the end of the group stages as there is no-one else.

Reason 9:  History

No European team has ever won the World Cup outside of their own continent. Surprised? Well its a fact. Lets look at the recent history starting from 1970. South America (Mexico) 1970 winners Brazil, South America (Argentina ) 1978 winners Argentina, South America (Mexico) 1986 winners Argentina, 1994 North America (USA) winners Brazil, 2002 Asia (South Korea/Japan) winners Brazil. This years tournament Africa (South Africa) winners ????. So history is against us and all other teams from Europe, to break this hoodoo. Personally I think we will struggle to cope with the heat and humidity of the region we are playing in. I don't think we will be the only country to have this issue but hey we have a ready made excuse for our failure don't we.

Reason 10: Desire

I personally don't think the players are that motivated by playing for their country's anymore. They are so well paid no with endorsements and wages that it has taken the edge of off their performance. They have very little competition for places and the shambles of the past few England managers, and the way that the players led the whole thing and the circus that surrounds it doesn't make me see it any differently. They lack passion and commitment and care more about playing for their clubs rather than their country. Players would bust a gut to play for England in years gone by, it was seen as the pinnacle of their careers. Now its seen as an inconvince that gets in the way of their club careers. Why else would players like Scholes and Carrigher opt out of playing for their country. This needs to change and it wont until we sort out the old guard who play for this country and make an example of them. It should mean everything to go to a mayor tournament and represent your country, not to be seen as a jolly boys outing as some of them do or did.

Having now listed my ten reasons why I don think we will win the World Cup I will still be there on the 11th June, beer in hand, England shirt on, face painted and hoping against hope that we win it. I've had 37 years of hurt and its about time this England team payed me back for my loyal support and won the damn thing before I die!.

So if you agree say so if not say so its now over to you. Am I right or am I wrong?

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