Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Three Lions Ain't Cerberus

Here, in my opinion, is the biggest problem with the English national team: they suffer from being grossly inflated. It's as simple as that. They're overrated. Media, FA, fans, even the players themselves--all have terrible misconceptions of this team.

When was the last time they lifted a major cup? 1966. That was a World Cup. How many Euro Cups have they won? Um, nil.

So how come everyone in England persistently seems to think that England is the greatest team in the world?

It's probably because they are blessed to watch what might be the world's most exciting league. The problem is that some call it the best league in the world, somehow overlooking the fact that most of the league's best players are not English.

Here's an argument that should be utilized: the reason why the English league is so fruitful is that most of its coaches are British. In this way, the players--foreign or not--are only the benefactors of a strong coaching tradition. You could argue that because of the coaching talent in Britain, it is fair to expect the Three Lions to do well.

And that's fine, but even Gus Hiddink couldn't get Russia past Israel. You need players. More importantly, you need players who can play together. That's the real secret behind Senegal's success in '02, or Ghana and the Ivory Coast in '06. They had a team.

And, to be fair, it's not like England lost in the Euro Cup finals here. They didn't even qualify! That's a failure for any team that even considers themselves competent.

The team was bad. Really bad.

This English team not only lacked talent to begin with, it cast away one of it's most important pieces (Beckham), totally mismanaged its one talented section(failing to fix Lampard/Gerrard issues), and then buckled under the pressure from the media (not beating Israel?!!!).

That, my friends, is a bad team. It was bad before Owen got hurt against Austria, and it was bad even before Mclaren took over. It's just bad. They were good with Shearer and Scholes and Seaman. They are not good with what they have now.

If nothing else, at least they have a bright future to look forward to. Walcott, Derbyshire, Bentley--these are young players with amazing talent, true passion and grit, and none of them have a tendency to get afraid and choke in big situations like the senior players did this year.