I don’t expect much from England this summer, and here is why.
Despite the media hype, despite the undoubted talent, and despite being a man born and raised under the flag of the England football team, I have prepared myself for the worst.
For all those ready to gorge themselves on fine English footballing cuisine, my advice would be to leave some room for the main course. England will be the starter, a delicious, appetising, quick nibble, before the real enjoyment begins.
Come the round of sixteen I do not expect England to be present, and if by some miracle, they are, then that will surely be as far as they go.
Jose Mourinho recently branded Arsene Wenger as a “specialist in failure”, but if Wenger is deserving of that title – and some may argue he is – then where does that leave the England team?
If anyone has had a glance back at England’s international record recently, I am sure that it has filled them with a heavy sense of doubt, rather than inspire them with lofty positivity.
In my lifetime – being the young whippersnapper I am, a sprightly 24 – England have won only 11 games at the World Cup Finals. In 1994 they failed to even qualify for the tournament.
The 11 victories for England equate to a win percentage of just 44% at the greatest tournament in the world. To put that into some context, Tim Sherwood was sacked by Tottenham Hotspurs this season with a win percentage of 59%, and before him Andre Vilas-Boas was sacked with a win percentage of 53.7%.
If these two managers, and the teams they were in charge of, were considered failures, what does that mean for the England teams of the last two decades?
Are we guilty of looking at things through rose-tinted glasses? Undoubtedly so.
At no other club, and at no other level, would anyone consider a win percentage of 44% an achievement. A 44% win percentage puts England on par with Kevin Keegan’s record at Manchester City and Newcastle, and only slightly above John Gregory’s record at Aston Villa and Derby County.
The situation does not get any better when you look at who those 11 English victories came against. Since 1990, England have only beaten one world class team at the World Cup; Argentina in 2002, and that was only thanks to a David Beckham penalty.
The other ten victories have come against the likes of Slovenia, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, Tunisia and Egypt. No disrespect intended, but these are hardly the toughest of oppositions.
Alongside those 11 victories have been 10 draws, with England failing to overcome the likes of USA, Algeria, Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Nigeria.
With the draw made how it was, England being placed in a group alongside Italy – beaten finalists in the last European Championships – and Uruguay – beaten semi-finalists at the last World Cup, and winners of the Copa America in 2011 – the reality is that England are unlikely to progress.
When the draw was made in Costa do Sauipe in Salvador, they slotted into third place in the group, and I think that is where they will remain.
If history has dampened your spirits, then I very much doubt the recent friendlies will have done enough to dry you off, and warm you up.
Three games against mediocre teams, produced average displays and poor results. Draws against Ecuador and Honduras are simply not good enough, and a victory over Peru does not do enough to paper over the cracks.
My advice to England fans is to enjoy it while it lasts, but come the 28th of June, it may well be time to start supporting your “second team”.
What do you think?
Will England get out of the group?
Can England win the tournament?
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This article was originally published on TitanBet on 14th June.
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