It’s pretty unpleasent being in England at the moment. Aside from the social, political, and economic turmoil there is the men’s national football team. Another inglorious exit from an international tournament and another sobering morning after. One more shit storm to add to the grey cloud hanging over the nation.
The success of the national side is often reflected in the prosperity of the nation. A good tournament run can bring an economic boost and good feeling across the country lifting the mood of everyone it touches. I’d hoped that England would go a little further at Euro 2016. Sport, and particularly football, can be a great unifier. Bringing people together to bask in the glory of victory (or even in glorious failures). But that wasn’t to be. Despite how much a country divided needs unity right now the crisis we face is not the fault of the England football team. That honour goes to the circus in parliament.
The only blame that can be pointed at the football team is for their lack of footballing nouse. They stared the tournament as they meant to go on. Failing to beat a poor Russian side who’s only point came from the 1-1 draw with Engalnd. An uninspiring, blunt, idea less performance set the tone for the competition for England. Seeing plenty of the ball but not knowing what to with it. Wales gave England far too much credit and refused to play their natural game. This and a sprinkle of misfortune gave three points to England. Slovakia did not want to lose and their lack of adventure exposed England’s inability to create further. In the second round the heavily patronised Iceland tactically undone England. Well aware of England’s struggle for ideas in front of goal, Iceland were happy for England to have the ball and just watched as England’s frustration with their own inability fully consumed them to the point of farse. Not bad for some tiny minnows who only have a populatio…….*snore*.
What seemed like seconds after he final whistle against Iceland Roy Hodgson had resigned as manager. Quite a noble gesture as it transpires as half the media coverage is now focussing on who his successor may be rather than the ineptitude of Englnds finest. I can’t help feeling that whoever picks up the poison chalice of England Manger next is irrelevant. What needs to be digested in the autopsy of England’s Euro’s is that they have found their level. England’s only real failure is not living up to the impossible expectation bestowed on them by fans and the media and that’s no real failure at all. England haven’t got past a quarter final/second round in 20 years. Going out at this point is what we should expect. England have finished on par. Embrace it. If Engalnd can cast off the shackles of expectation then perhaps fans can enjoy football again. Perhaps the players can play with out fear again. Freeing their creative juices. Imagine that, a world where we can enjoy watching England.