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Are We Taking England's World Cup Exit Too Seriously?

 Are We Taking England's World Cup Exit Too Seriously?

And so the England inquest begins once again. After every tournament the same earth is dug over and over again. There can’t be a single argument, idea or notion that hasn’t been given an airing in the last 48 hours. I should know, I’ve been as responsible as anyone for writing them.

The corpse of England is undergoing a thorough autopsy. How did the victim meet its end? Could more have been done to save him? Who exactly did kill England?

All vital questions to be answered, I’m sure. And we’ve all got our opinions, good, bad and whacko. However, we seem to have lost sight of one very important thing. In all the navel gazing we have forgotten that football is supposed to be fun; it’s supposed to be enjoyable.

It’s not war, its not politics, its not quantum physics, its sport. Sometimes, we seem to collectively forget that actually we’re supposed to be having a bloody good time. England getting knocked out of a World Cup isn’t actually that serious; certainly not as serious as the hours of air time devoted to it would suggest.

I’m as fascinated as anybody by the debates but last night I caught myself thinking that what had happened in South Africa actually mattered; that it was important, like it was the war in Afghanistan, an oil spill or an outbreak of malaria.

Some rich blokes lost a football match is all that has happened. We can’t lose sight of that. Indeed, maybe it is the serious, intense attitude we tend to take towards all things England that is behind some of their fear when pulling on an England shirt. Maybe if we could keep a better perspective, see it as sport and not some greater symbol of national decline or inadequacy, then maybe our players could enjoy themselves on and would be more successful?

Or maybe they should just learn better technique as kids, stop being so tactically inflexible and develop a tougher mentality………..ah y’see….there I go again…..off on another rant.

Serenity Now!

Editor’s note: You can now pre-order order Johnny’s excellent new book We Ate All The Pies: How Football Ate Britain Whole from Amazon.co.uk

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11 Responses to Are We Taking England's World Cup Exit Too Seriously?

  1. sucka99 says:

    “Are We Taking England’s World Cup Exit Too Seriously?”

    yes. but if you didn’t you wouldn’t be a fan, now would you?

  2. snavetrebor says:

    Johnny Nic, great to see you here! I always enjoy your columns for their perspective (not to mention the sex, drugs, and rock & roll).

    I’m enjoying this WC for the same reason I always enjoy it: to watch teams like Uruguay step up and compete at the highest level, to watch the Dutch carve open a defense, to watch the bigger-than-life characters like Maradona be himself. Now that all the Anglosphere teams are done, I can just enjoy the matches and hope for good competition.

    So yes, England is far too serious about their exit, which is exactly what reasonable supporters should have expected. Ditto for the USA. Neither team is good enough, simply put.

    • Duke says:

      “So yes, England is far too serious about their exit, which is exactly what reasonable supporters should have expected. Ditto for the USA. Neither team is good enough, simply put.”

      Thank you! This was my take on it all along, but I sure did take some crap for it.

  3. John says:

    Here is one to ponder… would a combined team of all four UK FAs (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) have more talent to win the World Cup? I know each country loves the idea of having their own FA, but no other country does it this way, and other than 1966, none of the four countries has won a major trophy.

    • John Smiths Bitter says:

      Its not the level of talent, but the level of TEAM.

      All-star teams dont perform well in tournament competitions. Pick a sport, the preparation, cohesion, and player anticipation just dont combine for a winning formula.

      • Andrei says:

        Only partially true… The level of talent does matter. In exceptional cases truly great players can do it or almost do it single-handedly. Maradona in 86 and 90, Zidane in 06…

        On more grounded note England would definitely have benefited from services of Ryan Giggs in 02 and 06. In addition, it would given this world class footballer a chance to play at World Cup.

  4. loopy says:

    Two planes have landed in England today. One carrying a group of overpaid, underachieving prima-donna’s’ the other carrying seven coffins draped in The Union Flag. Hero is a much over used word these days, but I know where my priorities lie. RIP!

  5. Chaz Worthy says:

    When matches are usually decided by a statistically-insignificant margin
    …and Lampard’s disallowed goal was a piece of monumental and absurd bad luck (I don’t care that Germany was “better”, Real Madrid lost to third division club Alcorcon, I mean anything might have happened) also (hate to admit it), England should have won the US match…

    …YES, indeed, there is way too much lamentation and multi-finger pointing by the English…

    But I still dont “GET” the WC…seems like a bunch of all-star games…I think Portsmouth…or the LA Galaxy
    …or (surely) Palermo or Valencia would have made it to the SEMIs easy

    …h*ll, INTER or Bayern or Chelsea… would win it in a cake walk…

  6. Pakapala says:

    “Indeed, maybe it is the serious, intense attitude we tend to take towards all things England that is behind some of their fear when pulling on an England shirt.”
    by John Nicholson

    No, fans taking the game seriously is not what leads the England team to fail at major tournament. Brazil, Argentina fans take the game really seriously, yet the players on those teams seem to be just fine when they take the field for their national team with pride and all the pressure of their country on their shoulder. You want fanatical pressure, go try and play for Brazil, where anything but holding the cup at the end is a failure, even in small tournaments like the Confederation Cup.
    We’ve got to stop trying to make excuses for something that is obvious about England players. They’re just not that good! They may be great individual players but they don’t cut it as a team.

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