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England: Can't Win. Won't Win?...I Know Nothing!
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
For those of you who have read my last England blog post, you would be forgiven for thinking I'm a 'glass half-empty' kind of guy.

For an Englishman to say that his country would have little to no chance of winning the most coveted prize in international football is pessimistic, disloyal and bordering upon treason.

However, my emotions toward England are far more complex than mere pessimism. Yes, there are shades of cynicism, but I can't help feel the adrenalin rush of belief and hope, that comes with every play of '3 Lions' by Skinner and Baddiel. Yes, "thirty years of hurt, never stopped me dreaming", and I still feel the same now that tally has reached forty-four.

The cynical part of me expects the same ant-climax. Sitters missed, a catastrophic error from the goalkeeper or two, followed by a key player getting himself sent off. Then, after all that, we'll have to play our second group game!

Then, there's the hopeful part of me that still wants to believe.

Some of my greatest memories in football are attached to England games.

The moment Gazza dinked the ball over the Scottish defender's head then drilled the volley in the bottom-right hand corner.

Stuart Pearce's psychotic shouts to the England crowd as he finally put away that cathartic penalty, a moment of pride and redemption from six years prior; and of the great tenacity that sums up the English spirit.

Then there's Owen's majestic run in France 98, terrorising the Argentinian defenders before driving the ball beyond the keeper, the whole world's mouth agape, as we relies just was a star-in-the-making this young lad was.

And who could forget Beckham's contribution to World Cup 2002? First, he saves the best goal to the (very) last minute, with one of his trademark free-kicks against Greece allowing us to qualify, followed by retribution against the very team he was sent-off against back in 98, with his penalty the only difference between us and the Argentinians.

Finally, there was Joe Cole's wonder-volley from thirty yards out against Sweden in 2006 - something only a player at the peak of form would even contemplate.

Those are the memories that stand out for me. No doubt some of the older readers willl have countless others since 1966. I have missed out the majestic skill of Charlton, Gordon Bank's save against Pele, proving that the greatest player had a match. There was Geoff Hurst's hat-trick, David Platt's volley, David Seaman's penalty saves, the moments to be savoured are many.

We have given so many players and moments of significance to the beautiful game of football, that we have every right to believe this year is our year, that 2010 is when we lift the Jules Rimet Trophy.

So why can't we? Is it really all just hype and wishful thinking? No, it's not.... And here's why this year, really should be our year.

1 . The Manager – At last, a leader!
England seems to have had a reputation of bringing in managers who were not ready for it. Graham Taylor, Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Keegan. Things changed with Sven-Goran Eriksson, he did have a successful run (considered the 2nd most successful manager after Alf Ramsey) and was quite popular, if not for his managerial duties on the pitch, then for his scoring abilities off, with the likes of Nancy Dell'Olio, Ulrika Jonsson and Faria Alam making us wonder what the hell attracted them to him. This, however, was in stark contrast to the next manager, Steve McLaren. To put it simply, he had the worst run in the history of English management, in charge for just eighteen games, failing to lead England into Euro 2004 in a group where he should have cruised through in second gear.

So it is with great relief that when Steve was booted, the F.A took time to consider the options for the role and came up with a winner, which sums up Fabio Capello perfectly. This man has managed the likes of AC Milan, AS Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid, winning titles at every one of them. He is a man who has thrived under tremendous media scrutiny and pressure.

He has a no-nonsense style of management, showing himself as the boss and in total control, which should bring a level of discipline to the England squad that is probably needed for a team whose previous performances suggested they were nothing but overpaid prima-donnas that weren't fit enough to tie Jack Charlton's laces. Finally, he seems the kind of manager who will give opportunities to players when they are deserved, which brings me to my next reason.

2 . Depth of the England Squad
We may not have the “best eleven” in the World Cup, for that I would have to go with Spain. But we still have depth in a number of spots which many other countries can only wish for.

Let's take the strikers, for example. We have Rooney, simple to see why, he's viewed as one of the top players in the world. His work ethic, strength and power is complementary to his ability to drift past players and pass with pinpoint accuracy. But what if he should get injured? Who can we rely on?

Despite his lack of regular appearances, Jermaine Defoe has been on a heater this season in the Premier League and should have gotten Capello's attention. Darren Bent has also scored 14 goals already and seems to be looking for his first 20-goal season with Sunderland of all teams. Peter Crouch may not be a prolific scorer at club level, but he has certainly been reliable on the international stage with 18 goals in 35 appearances. We also have Gabriel Agbonglahor looking to get into the ranks and let's not forget one Michael Owen, who could be a late addition as he starts to return to full-fitness (….I guess Heskey can be considered after that, he does lovely assists, he's a great target-man zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.)

I had already covered the midfield in my previous article, its depth may be our biggest disadvantage, but seeing as Capello has shown that to play for the country you need to be performing rather than relying on past accolades, I expect him to be tinkering with the team to find the strongest possible formation.

The central midfield is where the real competition is, with the likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Jenas, Huddlestone, Barry and Carrick fighting for the place (and lets not forget, Joe Cole is questionable and Hargreaves is injured, so if there is any positives from that, it's that Capello's choice is a little easier!)

Then on the right wing we have Ol' Grandpa Beckham looking to take on the young guns Wright-Phillips and Lennon, while Downing, Milner and Young will probably look to secure the left side. Most of these players would probably walk into any England side of any era, so this should make them put in the effort whenever a chance arises.

Yes, it is a problem, but like so many of you said, it's the kind of problem you would love to have. Too many is better than not enough on this occasion.

In defence, the rocks of Terry and Ferdinand will be flanked by perhaps the greatest left-back in football today, Ashley Cole and whoever can secure the right flank between Glen Johnson and Luke Young, which I believe Glen has preference for. Then, we have the likes of Lescott and Upson for the central role, Bridge for the left (although if recent scandals have suggested his full positional role would be “left back.......Home because if he goes near Terry he'll......You get the point!) and Brown for the right should any injuries occur. If that wasn't enough choice, Warnock, Baines and Jagielka want to be in the twenty-four heading to the tournament.

The only questionable position we have is whoever plays in goal. While one thing we can say is that we have at least three goalkeepers with substantial experience in the role, with David James, Robert Green and Paul Robinson. You can't say they really made the Number 1 jersey their own, and Ben Foster is highly inexperienced, being third in the pecking order at Manchester United.

But a lot of you reminded me of another goalkeeper, one I cannot believe I had forgotten. He is young, like Foster, but has played regularly in the Premiership, first for Manchester City, and now on loan to Birmingham. His performances have been sensational for the Blues and he is the key reason why they are 8th in the league, despite an obvious lack of goals from the club. Yes, he may be a little young for the jersey, but I say to you pessimists, that Iker Casillas was given the international jersey at just eighteen years of age, and look at him now, he turned out alright!

What we have here, for the first time in quite a while, is a team with cover. Should a player get injured, we have a back-up that we can rely on to fill that void. This can prove crucial in a competition where players are fatigued from their club run, where some players may not be performing at their peak and where one injury can turn a superstar into just a casualty.

3 . The Inconsistencies of the Opposition
This reason has been brewing for awhile.... Greece couldn't have won Euro 2004 alone through just their spirit, and the same can be said of this year.... The elite teams have been starting to fade in quality for some time now.

France, ever since their miraculous run in the 98 World Cup and Euro 2000, have had to resort to under-hand tactics (twice) to qualify against Ireland.

The Argentinian team shouldn't be having these problems, well, shouldn't if it wasn't for the Argentinian F.A employing a former cokehead who now seems to have his head in the clouds, fielding such a variety of players that each match they have makes them look like Diego seemed to have pulled their names out of a hat at random.

Italy still haven't replaced the veterans with any new blood and even the likes of Brazil, seem to have players creeping in from lesser leagues (Gilberto Silva plying his trade at Panathinaikos and Elano of Galatasary, with the Greek Super League and the Super Lig being 12th and 11th in the European league rankings respectively.)

Simply put, they just don't make them like they used to! Whether it's the top teams dropping standards, or the smaller teams pushing the bar up, there is a more level playing-field than ever before. With Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Algeria looking to be the first team from the CAF to reach the semi-finals. And with the quality of Asian football, most notably from South Korea and Japan constantly increasing after every competition, the elite are going to have to watch their backs now that teams, once looking just to limit the damage, are now looking to steal points in the group stages. Any teams who go out against underdogs with complacency had better ready themselves for a nasty surprise.

Then we have England, who under the control of McLaren, meant that we really were team that had hit rock bottom. And as Yazz said, 'the only way is up', from there. Capello has done something which finally bolsters true confidence in the squad's chances. We qualified comfortably, there were no moments of nail-biting suspense, our only loss arriving after we had guaranteed qualification. At every moment, we just seemed more comfortable and in control. The media pressure and the public scrutiny that comes with the role of being an England player seems to have little effect on their nerves this time around, and real focus truly seems to be there finally.

A squad with strength, and depth! A manager for the job! Every other nation lacking! What was I thinking? This is the best chance we've had for years. Bring out those flags, put those kits on a 40 degree wash and give those trumpets a damn good polishing boys. Do not be surprised when we see John Terry holding that trophy aloft this summer. In the meantime, in the absence of an official world cup England song, I'll be listening to this on full blast for most of the summer.

This blog post was contributed by a footytube member and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of footytube and/or their partners
Riggs (Manchester United) 6 years ago
You certainly did stir the s**t, and another great post. It shows maturity when you can argue for and against the same thing quite convinvingly
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Thanks Riggs for the support, I appreciate it.    And sir, epic pic.
Sam (Footytube Moderator) 6 years ago
Think it might be Ferdinand holding up the cup LOL! Great read again!
Derby22 (Derby County) 6 years ago
I've seen Joe Cole's volley lots of times but I've never seen the rest! That first goal was an absoloute stunner!
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Ah yes, they were probably a little bit before your time (I can't believe I am saying that, I'm 22!) but if you can, watch the 1966 final, it's on DVD
Iselad (APOEL Nicosia) 6 years ago
How about Steve Harper? He is English and a top top goalkeeper. Just because Shay Given is quite possibly the best goalkeaper in thee world, and kept Steve Harper out of the firs team for 12 years doesn't mean he is a bad keeper. Just look at his perforamances he had in the premier league, and the season he just had in the championship. A real contender for the England no. 1 jersey
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 6 years ago
Harper is good but he also plays in the championship at the moment, thus his performances may not force capello to take him seriously. If he were putting his current performances in the premier league, things may be different. But we just don't know how he will do at the top levels really
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Steve Harper, while a good goalkeeper, is not in the world-class level of goalkeepers, and as he is in the premiership with Newcastle, it would be too high a level
Lyndon (Panathinaikos Athens) 6 years ago
Sounds like Canada's Prime Minister good ole Stevie Harper!
Gigiggg9 (Arsenal) 6 years ago
England should neutralize almunia asap for this summer   Otherwise almost goalie-less
Burton43 (Leeds United) 6 years ago
You talked about super Joe Hart for a paragraph and didn't mention his name! My vote is for Rob Green to start.
England's missing number 9.... Jermaine Beckford. (That's a joke by the way)
I still don't understand why Micah Richards hasn't got a look in over Johnson, you can't even call it Big 4 bias anymore because Liverpool are horrible!
I definitely agree with your outlook on the other teams at the World Cup; Brazil are a lot shakier that people think, players like Ramires are really not up to scratch to be starting.
This World Cup is winnable!
2018 at Elland Road, bring it on!
[account-removed] 6 years ago
That comment about Maradona was uncalled for and very insulting. I realize this is an english site and you guys have a lot of anger, but I'm sick of that.

Everything else was spot on
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
I apologise mate if that offended you. I can assure you though, that I was not considering the Hand of God when I wrote it. I think that he is way over his head in this spot, to manage a country like Argentina takes a manager of experience, and who has the credentials.

I feel the same way about Gazza, epic footballer, like Diego, but he let himself down
[account-removed] 6 years ago
Oh by no means do I disagree that he should be sacked and replaced by a decent manager. BUT.... He is my god, so I gotta' represent. Apology accepted. Congrats on being a mod. Your posts are unbelievable
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Totally understand, I am disappointed of Gazza, but should anyone bad-mouth him, I stand by him.

It's like Alan Shearer in Newcastle, anyone who has bad-mouthed about him has never been found.... Geordies.... They are loyal to their own
Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
I totally understand chaconche's point of view, I'm sick fighting george bests corner, I can't have anyone say anything bad about him, or his addiction, but for the sake of the blog I think its ok, who would want to spoil a work of art.
Great piece perry.... Hours of work I bet
Jjibril (Liverpool) 6 years ago
You forgot about Theo Walcott Perry
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 6 years ago
Yea well unless he ups his game very soon and actually gets a few decent starts in for arsenal, there is no way he's coming to south africa. Not saying it won't happen, he just needs to start playing better
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Ah yes, there were just too many for me to remember ^_^

Walcott is certainly a consideration, although he just doesn't seem to be playing as well as others in the role, though I do believe he will get there
Jackpold (Leicester City) 6 years ago
Theo was left out of the middy part
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Ah yes sorry about that. Though one out of 12 ain't bad ^_^
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 6 years ago
Another great article. Congrats on becomming a mod too .

The only point your missing in this article is how england is finally looking like a team, not just 11 players. Under capello I think they have begun to play for the crest on their hearts rather than the numbers on their backs, something we haven't seen from england in a very, very long time
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Thank you for your comment, and for the support.

The article was getting very long, so I tried to put it in but missed detail. I agree, there is a passion in the game that we haven't seen before, they are no longer prima-donnas but attempting to play their best.

Kraig (Barcelona) 6 years ago
Didn't read your article about england not winning the world cup. Guess you shld hav stuck wot that. Funny of you to beef up your chances by saying other guys are not at their best. That's exactly d mentality that wldnt make england win d world cup. Top nations like germany go to a tournament wanting to win because they think they can, not becos some other country is weaker. Wonder why you english think your better dan others, when clearly your not. You said brazil, france and italy re weaker now right! And u've got depth in your squad. I rmbr in 2006, d english media were all about how d england squad was the best squad only second to brazil. Well! We saw d result. France and italy got to the finals. If anything, d italians(4 world cups) hav d mentality to win big tournaments while you guys bottle up when the heat is on. You didn't mention germany in your article, yet they always perform on d big stage which the english can't. Germany has 3 world cups, england has1, germany has been runner up 4 times, england none, germany has won the european cup 3 times and runners up I think 4 times, england none. Germany was runner up at the last euro's england cldnt even qualify. Yet b4 every tournament the english always paint themselves as favorites over germany, hw sick is that! The english media labels spain and holland as underachievers, meanwhile they re d biggest of them all. England can only be successful by accepting that you aint that good and go back to the drawing board. Cos in the end you don't hav players who hold on to the ball and play it as much as they want. Lampard and gerrard re very fine players, but when push comes to shove you need players who can hold d ball and thread dose passes like zidane, pirlo, xavi, kaka, ronaldinho, fabregas and the likes to unlock defences. English places can't PLAY WITH D BALL! The only player that comes close wit intricate passing is rooney, and joe cole's got some skill. The rest jst pass and shoot. For the record, england can't win d world cup, cos even small teams that play well can beat them. Teams like portugal
GerryHYH (Brighton & Hove Albion) 6 years ago
Nicely written, thanks!
Partoba (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Nice article and good describe.
How about Micah Richards? I think he is capable for the right side. Since Brown known as a blunder back player, with certain mistake in important match.
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Complete forgot about Micah, that is a very good point made. Sorry Wes, move along! ^_^

But this does prove my point on the level of depth, I have already forgotten about two players, with Joe Cole and Hargreaves possibly out, and we still have a catalogue of suitable players to choose from
Jungkirbalik (Manchester United) 6 years ago
Thanks for your nice article mate
To me, England is the best national team even though many people will be thinking the opposite

I totally disagree with both of you, do not even think to move along Brown as long as He is still fit even though Richards and Johnson are fit too. As we knew, Fabio Capelo (FC) is the man who always playing the experienced players. And have you forgotten season 20089? FC always put brown in first line for his team. And I still believe, FC will do the same like he did before (2008)
Oweniit (Manchester United) 6 years ago
. Hey This is a great article. In fact both articles are great. I enjoyed both. Same as you I also have great temptation for the sports journalism. But I thought I don't have enough skill to do so. But after reading your article and your comment about your self I think I must start thinking about it. Anyway great article and I enjoyed both articles of you. I am a Sri Lankan (Hope you know)and in here there is no any trend for soccer (unfortunately) but I like to keep with you all in touch to get more news about this beautiful game. So I think you will post more articles in the near future. Anyway I have heard lots of guys are talking about Birmingham defender Chirs Rogers. What about him?
Perrygarl (FC Seoul) 6 years ago
Hey Owenlit

Thanks for the support. Yes Sri Lanka and football are perhaps the best combination, but at the same time, it means they are perhaps looking for people to broadcast about it, so good luck with pursuing the Sports Journalism career.

As for Chris Rogers, I am not sure if he plays for Birmingham, and I can't find him in a Premiership team, did you mean Roger Johnson?
Jakub101 (Real Madrid) 6 years ago
ALL YOU england FANS ARE living A PAST LIFE. Bottom line is this England is not the same as they were 20 years ago, with videos of young Owen scoring along with Paul Ganscogne. There is very little hope for England this world cup as other countries are gettin stronger and England is getting weaker. How does England expect to fare against teams like Brazil, Spain and even Germany? Time will tell but I can tell you this much, there is no way that England will reach the semis this year.... Not with the way david james is playing.... FOR THE GUY WHO wrote THE article: well written and all, and a nice opinion, but your fantasy of England gettin anywhere this year is not going to happen. Sorry for ruining your spotlight, but I have to tell it how it is, not speculate like journalists like to do, which by the way pisses me off
Diegol (Liverpool) 6 years ago
I agree that England hasn't been the same the past decade or so, but to say that there is very little hope for them is going to far I think. They have some of the best midfielders in the world at the moment and two of the best strikers in the world (Rooney and Defoe, although he is mostly a finisher). Their defence is a bit sloppy if you compare them to Brazil, Spain and Italy but I would consider England as one of the top 5 contenders. Of course Spain is number 1
Pss4dm (Leeds United) 6 years ago
England are lot better today than the team with paul Gascoigne in. 90s England apart from the one at italian world cup sucked balls. In reality there are only two teams better than england, spain and brazil. England have a good chance of getting to the semi's as long as we don't get those two before that. In regard to winning it, I think if your rated as third favourites by most betting agencies in the world then you must be in with a fair shout
NewEngland (Middlesbrough) 6 years ago
Jakub101, I think your comment wreaks of cynicism. After reading this whole article you come up with the idea that England is getting weaker? Did you not read the part about England having a deeper midfield than ever before?

And very little hope? England fans have HIGH hopes and HIGH expectations. Some may not be able to look past the 44 years of hurt, but if you were able to drop all that and just focus on the present you can't deny that they are a team that should make it to the final.

No other team scored as many goals and qualified in such a great fashion as England did.

If you don't think so, just take a look at this video
to remind yourself that hopes are higher than ever with this current squad
Kraig (Barcelona) 6 years ago
"No other team scored as many goals and qualified in such a great fashion as England did" obvious u've never heard of the country spain or you re jst myopic and can't appreciate other countries apart frm england. Spain did a more emphatic job dan england in qualification as they still went unbeaten even after qualifying frm their group.
Murda (Liverpool) 6 years ago
England is definitely a favorite in the world cup I won't say they will win it but I believe they can make it to the semi-final InshAllah!
Gunners11vP (Arsenal) 6 years ago
What about Carlton Cole? You think he could break back into the side? He is playing again and looks pretty good.... I think I would want him over heskey, possibly even agbonlahor.... Great article btw
Amicodinessuno (Inter Milan) 6 years ago
Switzerland will kick your ass at the euro 2012 qualifier.come on.... There is always a first time. I see my team beat england at home and away, hopefully at wembley in front of 90'000 england supporters. Hahahahahahaha.

No the english seem to have endless talent. They just can't find the good combination and their wags are sluts and unsettle their partners, hahahahahaha. Lucky you guys have capello now. He may be able to do something for the wc this year.... Not the cup but a good result. But then the english always whinge.... What for. The last few world cups (obviously not the '94 one) they did not to bad and always went out against strong opponents (sometimes against the future world champions).

Anyway, I am super exited and am sure we gonna' see a fantastic world cup with great games, awesome goals and some new talents being discovered (only to be f****d up by money and pressure, hahahahaha.... True, no).
Hopp schwiiz, forza italia
Ant (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Another quality blog post, and an excellent counterpoint to your last one    Keep up the good work!
BristolCityOiOi (Liverpool) 6 years ago
The key to winning the WC always comes down to the keeper. It's a defensive and keeper oriented tournament so are the euros
Amicodinessuno (Inter Milan) 6 years ago
Well of course. If you don't receive a goal you won't lose. It is as simple as that. But then on the other hand if you don't score you can't win, get it.
The key to winning any sports tournament is to be consistent or the most consistent throughout the tournament. You don't think it is rather about consistency than a goalie, one player (I know it is important to have a good goalie, and england don't have one, but so is to have a good defence, a good midfield and good striker, yes). Anyway, may the best win (preferably not england, germany or brazil)

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