Story by Adam Wilson
England’s opening group game is a day away against opposition that has entered the competition on the back of four straight wins. England teams have failed to overcome any of the elite international teams in competitive fixtures for ten years! Those ten years were our supposed Golden generation.
It has already been said countless times, but it is true that ‘expectation is lower than ever’, the houses of England aren’t adorned with the red and white of Saint George, cars don’t have flags hanging from their windows and there is not the same buzz of excitement and nervous anticipation, nevertheless this is not necessarily a negative thing. Our team may not be filled with superstars in their prime; however there is definitely a nucleus that promises a brighter future and perhaps even a decent run in the current tournament. Joe Hart has already cemented his place as one of the world’s best current goalkeepers, promising youngsters such as Welbeck, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones are yet to really prove themselves at international level. Here is hoping that they bring some excitement to our matches over the coming weeks.
Hodgson’s 23 man squad can certainly progress through the group stages and perhaps into the closing knockout rounds, however; the only way I see this happening, is if our tactics mirror those of Champions League winners: Chelsea. We do not possess a team capable of outscoring our opponents, but if we do not concede we will not lose games.
Nonetheless, football remains a game that is about as easy to predict, as the English weather. So after years of pain both the team and the fans can enjoy the game without the dark clouds of expectation looming over head. Perhaps, then, our players will perform to their potential and maybe in a few weeks time the team will return home to proud fans. Meanwhile let us enjoy those big Krohn-Dehli shaped clouds passing over teams such as the Netherlands.
It’s nice to see other teams suffer for a change.