Sunday 22 June 2014

Will England ever learn? #World Cup 2014

Following England's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay on Thursday, that effectively ended England's World Cup campaign. ITV's cameras panned onto some England fans looking shocked and bewildered over what had just happened.

I thought to myself, what exactly are you shocked about?

Here's what happened. A rather average mediocre side lost to a slightly better side that had a truly world class striker upfront who scored two goals.

England's exit from the World Cup - the first time they've failed to get out the group stage since 1958 hasn't upset me too much.

We have some good attacking players, an average midfield and possibly one of the weakest defences I've ever seen from an England side.

Like a number of England fans I've seen too many failures over the last 25 years to realise that England are never going to achieve anything at international level until there are major changes in the structure and organisation of English football.

Will this happen? It's hard to say, but as things currently stand England will keep on failing at every tournament.

It should be remembered that England were in a tough group with Italy and Uruguay and nobody expected Costa Rica to have the success they've had.

England played reasonably well in both games but lacked the know how to get a result. Going out in the first round is always humiliating for the big football nations.

Spain, Italy, and France have gone out at the group stage in recent tournaments. The difference between them and England is that they bounce back immediately getting to major finals. You know with England that's not going to happen.

Before writing this blog I looked back at the post I wrote four years ago after England got knocked out by Germany in South Africa

What's most depressing is that many of the reasons for England's failure then still apply now. Lack of English players playing in the Premier League, poor technique, lack of tactical awareness, poor coaching at youth level.

Expectations were low this time round, but with a good crop of promising young players coming through expectations did start to increase.

You can't expect young players to carry a team to the latter stages of a major tournament. As Gary Lineker said, excluding Wayne Rooney we don't have enough quality players aged between 25 - 30 to really make an impact.

As for the future, should Roy Hodgson resign? No, he can only work with the players available. He may have gone against his natural cautious instinct in his tactics but realistically there's nobody else available. We don't have enough English managers coming through and managing at the highest level.

We do have a promising group of young players but it's just promise. There's no guarantee they will all come through and because the Premier is full of foreign players, English players get hyped in way that does them no favours.

If there's one thing I notice about football compared to 20 - 25 years ago, it's how tactical football has become - even intellectual.

In England we've traditionally looked for virtues such has hard work, passion, giving 100%. This is becoming outdated and can only take you so far.

England has to produce more tactically aware players with greater footballing intelligence. Until we do so we'll keep on failing time and time again.

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