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It Could Just Happen For England When It’s Least Expected
Footytubeblog (Blog) 2 years ago
They say that the biggest difference between English and American comedy is that in America you laugh with the guy, but in England you laugh at him. Perhaps it has something do with the hegemonic shift, but in England, it’s long been popular not to take yourself too seriously. One area that seemed to be immune to this self-deprecating tendency however, was where the English national team was concerned. But this once lightning rod for expectations appears to have taken too heavy a load.

England expects. Or, perhaps now, England expected. Hope for the team’s prospects in the coming World Cup have rarely been lower. There is no talk of glory, nor dreams of dancing on the streets of Brazil. Even the utterance of anything past the group stages is seen as heresy. This shift in expectancy could be seen as healthy if it wasn’t so extreme. But then, when one’s hopes have been as consistently divergent from reality as England’s have in recent history, perhaps an extreme reaction is the only possible response.

First came the golden generation that promised so much. Beckam, Lampard, Gerrard, Cole, Terry, Ferdinand. The super-rich and super-talented. Teams had won World Cups with much less capable players than these. All that was needed was two or three of them to be on form and it could be done. All that was needed was David Beckam’s right-foot to be in form and it could finally happen.

Then came the relative rise of the Premier League and the confidence that this bred. Every year between 2006 and 2009, an English team reached the final of the Champions League. In 2008, there was an all-English final, and in two other years there were three English teams in the semis.

The logic was that if the English club sides are the best in the world, and these clubs have English players at their core, then the England national side should enjoy similar success. And so England continued to expect, continued to believe, but the success never came.

So consistently have the nation's hopes been left dashed that England waits no more. This reduction in expectations can only be seen as rational. After all, they were irrationally high for years.

The golden generation that was supposed to win the 2002 World Cup only qualified for the tournament via a home draw with Greece. And the English dominance in the Champions League of the late noughties owed more to Ronaldo and Drogba than it did Terry or Rooney.

The result of this consistent disappointment has been an overcompensation so that expectations now find themselves irrationally low. Everyone is saying that England don’t have a chance - and it’s certainly true that they shouldn’t be expected to win in Brazil - but the level of the team is not drastically lower than any year in which they were expected to win it.

Chances are not much less than they were in 2002, when Becks broke that bone in his foot that immediately became added to the popular dictionary.

Chances are not much less than they were in 2006, when it was supposed to be ‘Rooney’s tournament’ and the biggest impact he made was to get sent off for that stamp.

Chances are not much less than they were in 2010, when it was the golden generation’s last opportunity and their blushes were saved by that goal, or non-goal, or whatever it was.

So what are the chances for 2014? Will it be the hopeless year when hope was finally met? Probably not, but then England have quite a bit more than no chance at all. And in Daniel Sturidge, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling they have something that team didn't have before: the arrogance of youth.
With the freedom that comes from low expectations, youth given its chance and few players encumbered by previous failure, it’s quite possible that England’s chances going into a major tournament are better than they have been for years.

Just don’t let anyone hear you say it.

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.

Mozstaff (Arsenal) 2 years ago
Thanks for sharing the stuff

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