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England National Football Team
Member Name: Mauri
England National Football Team
Date: 12/10/05, updated on 13/10/05 (151 review reads)
Advantages: Some good players
Disadvantages: Lack of talent in depth
Ok I’ll lay out my stall straight away, because of my background I support Italy but I’ve lived in the UK most of my life so I do also follow England maybe less passionately than many other England supporters so maybe I can cast a more objective eye over the situation facing the England team as they qualify for the World Cup.
My first observation is …What is it with the English supporters!!?
It's either "we're the best in the world and we're going to win the world cup" or "we're crap!"
Be realistic, the truth lies somewhere in between. England is a good international side with a handful of truly top class players… I would say Gerrard, Beckham (at his best), Owen (maybe) and potentially Terry and Rooney (no Crouch doesn’t get in to this list!). Now don’t carried away I’m not saying these are the best in the world in their positions only that they are truly world class (or have shown the potential to be). BUT there are weaknesses in the squad, a general lack of strength in depth and some deficiencies in key positions goalkeeper, holding mid field player, left side of midfield and another quality striker. But let’s get things into perspective most International teams have weaknesses so let’s not despair!
Can England win the world cup? Well yes they can, England are one of the teams that given a bit of luck in the tournament draw and in some of the matches could win but they are not the favourites.
Looking at the teams that have qualified and that are likely to qualify the winner will probably come from a group of usual suspects…Brazil will start as favourites but because the cup is being played in Europe it will be harder for them. Argentina has a strong squad but again they might struggle to convert that potential to results in the tournament. Of the European nations based on the quality of the squad and form you would have to place Holland, Italy as two of the favourites and because Germany are playing at home they will be hard to beat. What about England? I think England is slightly behind the teams mentioned so far. Along with other like Portugal, Spain, and France (yes I know they are playing crap but I think they will come through and compete), England also potentially has the players to do well but ultimately the lack or depth in the squad might see them fail. Other teams like Denmark, Sweden, Mexico and one or two of the African countries might do well but have no chance of winning the tournament.
So why are England fans moaning so much? As one of the top footballing countries in the world and having one of the strongest leagues England are expected to do well in the top tournaments and to be fair they have recently reaching the Quarter finals, but no one can expect any team to definitely win a top tournament.
Looking at the players available and taking into account the fact that in all probability they will be seeded for the group stages England should expect to reach the QF but anything else will be a bonus. I think this is true for almost any of the teams except Brazil and maybe Germany (because of home advantage), to get any further a lot of luck will be needed so it’s unlikely but not impossible.
The biggest disadvantage that England has is the weight of undeserved expectation that is put on the players and managers. We expect a manger to say that “ we will win”, we expect the team to perform well in every game even friendlies. This is unrealistic and unnecessary. The main thing is to qualify and then in a tournament situation many things can happen.
The most ridiculous statements I have heard recently are those calling for Sven to be replaced by an English manager. How quickly we forget the Keegan years!!!!
Sven has been the most successful England manager since Sir Alf (better than Robson on purely results). We’ve qualified for yet another world cup something, which was thought unlikely when he took over from Keegan. In the tournament the final results have been respectable and basically he’s done well without much luck and with the quality of player available to him. The current England squad contrary to what some are saying is not the best ever; I would say it is weaker than the squad for the last world cup and certainly weaker than the team that got to the semis in 1990.
The problem that England fans have is an over inflated opinion of the quality of our homegrown players. We look at the Premiership and we think that because someone scored 20+ goals a season they are the best striker in the world, we don’t follow or know enough of what goes on in other countries, there are plenty of really top class players out there and most are not English!
OK for the sake of argument let’s assume that the problem with England is not the players, let’s assume that they are world beaters and that it’s only a lack of managerial talent that has been missing, who should take over from Sven? Again lets assume that along with good tactical awareness and, managerial skill we also need some good old-fashioned grit and passion so we are looking for an English manager…but who?
The usual suspects that I have heard mentioned are Aladice, Curbishley, Taylor (Peter not Graham), and Maclaren…are we serious!!! Are we going to hand over the team to play the world cup to a manger who has never been properly tested at the top level and who has not even won any league honours…this would be unheard of in most other top footballing nations. Some of those mentioned might in a few years be good choices, Taylor for one has had some experience at U21 level and Maclaren has been on the fringes of the England set up for a while but they need to either prove themselves in domestic and European football or at least be properly groomed for the role by the present manager and the FA.
So please let’s get things in to perspective England have a good manager who does get results. England has a good squad but nowhere near the best. England can compete but must not be expected to win the world cup…and you never know with a bit of luck and few dodgy penalties in their favour anything is possible.
Come on Italy!
*In response to Drew saying in the comments that Sven's record isn't great...
Sven's track record is great...he's never failed to get a team to the world cup or the Euro championship and he's taken England to two QF...let's not forget that under 'great' english coaches England failed to qualify for the world cup in 74, 78, and 94 as well as being embarrassingly knocked out of the fisrt stage of the 92 Euro championships without winning a game!!!
Looking at the results Sven is one of the best England managers since Sir Alf...
Summary: With a little luck anything is possible