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Shouldn't The FA Rejoice At Such An Easy Route To EURO 2016?
Footytubeblog (Blog) 6 months ago
Sunday’s 2016 European Championships qualification draw threw up a generous route to the Finals for England.

The decision to increase the number of teams competing at the latter stage of the tournament from 16 to 24 means all of the top seeds should have no trouble with qualifying.

And that will apply to Roy Hodgson’s side, who have drawn San Marino, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Switzerland in Group E.

The only real threat, if any, will be Switzerland, while Slovenia are an improving footballing nation who have the potential to provide more sterner competition than the likes of San Marino and Estonia.

For years we have consistently had to compete in tough qualifying groups in both the European Championships and the World Cup. And although we almost always qualify, there seems to be a sense of panic and uncertainty at some stage along the way.

So it seems a little bit unusual that the FA is reportedly unhappy, or disappointed, with England’s comparatively easy qualification group.

Their feeling is that they will struggle to sell out Wembley without the inconvenience of a glamour tie, although the last time we had a real glamour tie in a qualification group was when we played Germany in the run up to the 2002 World Cup Finals.

The likes of Ukraine, Poland, Croatia and Montenegro have admittedly given us some tough games in recent years, but they are arguably no more glamorous than the prospect of facing Switzerland.

As a result of the FA’s unhappiness at being handed an easy draw, they will be looking to arrange ‘glamour’ friendlies with some of the World’s best sides in an attempt to recoup the predicted loss in gate receipts during qualification.

But there is no evidence to suggest that England supporters will not be prepared to turn up to watch them play the world’s minnows. After all, in the recent 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification process, our home game with San Marino attracted the largest crowd of all the other home matches (86,645), including the big decider against Poland at the end (85,186).

That suggests there will not be as much of a problem as the FA believes, but that they should still seek the best possible friendly opposition, too.

After all, what’s the use of playing opposition that are not going to provide much of a fight in a friendly when, as a nation, we are desperate to start improving and compete at a higher level internationally?

The standard of opposition we will come up against to reach the Finals of the 2016 European Championships should be a welcome relief for the FA, Roy Hodgson and the England players.

There’s no reason why we can’t go into Euro 2016 with a 100 per cent qualification record and the belief that we can go all the way and win the thing. Wishing that we had a harder route to the Finals is like wishing you needed a penalty shoot-out to decide the Quarter-Final of a major tournament with Germany.

It’s inconvenient, so why wish for it to happen? The FA should be breathing a sigh of relief instead of worrying about the hit their revenue is going to take in the process.

After all, reaching the Finals of a major tournament is the real money maker, right?

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