For most of us, the last time England won the World Cup is firmly consigned to nostalgia and the memory of our parents and grandparents.
It’s been a whopping 47 years since England triumphed at the World Cup and, despite our fans faithfully whipping themselves into a frenzy ever World Cup since, we haven’t even come close for a long, long time.
So, what has to change for England to give themselves a fair chance next year?
The Weight of Expectation
Since 1966, England has struggled through many years of below par performances in international competitions. With a few brights spots along the way (1990 was a particularly memorable year, with England making it to the semi final against Germany and heart breakingly losing to penalties.
A squad encompassing the likes of Lineker in his prime and Gazza before the booze meant that England had a genuine chance back then) it’s been doom and gloom for players and fans alike over the last few decades.
Everyone has an opinion on England, of course, and recently everyone from ex England manager Sven Goran Eriksson to ex England player Geoff Hurst have weighed in on the debate. One thing that’s commonly agreed on is that the sheer pressure placed on the players by the media and fans has most likely contributed to the failures in the past.
Particularly relevant when considering the team’s performance during the 2010 World Cup when England lost to Germany in a humiliating defeat that meant they didn’t even reach the Quarter Finals.
Has the World Cup become less important?
Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho argue that the Champions League is now more important than the World Cup to English football and this has contributed to our poor performance.
However, Hurst counters: “Winning the World Cup remains the ultimate goal for English football in my eyes. The Premier League is a fantastic product, and as a result of the club versus country problem, it’s more of an obstacle.”
The fact that players retire from international football due to their commitments to their club could well be one of the problems in our general form.
Can we win next year?
World Cup fever is building, of course, especially since England secured their place in the finals. And it’s most definitely the time to start thinking about who you’re going to be backing to win. The World Cup is hugely popular with sports betting fans, but if you can’t wait that long and you’re more concerned about saving up to go to the games in Brazil, then have a go at playing hundreds of online slot machines at chipzup.
Although Hodgson’s side managed to win their group, it was hardly plain sailing and it’s far from certain that they will triumph in 2014. Sven Goran Eriksson most certainly doesn’t think they will, having been quoted as saying he thinks that the best they can do is a Quarter or Semi Final place.
He suggests that they concentrate on longer term efforts and refine the squad ready for Russia 2018, as it’s far more likely we will win there. He also mentioned that he thinks that the lower expectations on the squad will only stand them in good stead and help them to fulfil their potential.
Erikson did lead England for five years so his view is likely to be pretty sound but don’t take his word for it – sometimes it’s nice to keep dreaming!
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