It has been four days since England lost 4-1 to Germany. In that time we have all had a chance to reflect upon the heaviest defeat the national football team has ever suffered at a World Cup finals.
It was very tempting to get in from the pub after that game and blog straight away about how England were both awful and awfully robbed. But reflection is needed in these situations, otherwise one succumbs to ranting stupidly about the individuals who failed to perform when it mattered, doesn’t one?
What I have observed is that almost every England fan, myself included, is partly to blame for England losing to Germany by such a great margin. We all spat venom at the lifeless performances against the US, Algeria and Slovenia. And we all demanded England ‘go for it’ against Germany, especially when the defence leaked two soft goals early in the game.And both rightfully so.
But, is it not right that the fans should shoulder some of the blame? After all, the players were only trying to give us the aggressive, attacking football we had been pining for all tournament, and they paid the price for it.
“No,” I hear you cry. “Just because we wanted them to go forward, it doesn’t mean they had to lose all tactical sense and forget how to cope with counter-attacks.” And this is a very valid point. But the players had the taste of blood in their mouths. They had already pulled level with Germany – sort of – and were determined to give ‘the folks back home’ the victory they so desperately craved. Caution was thrown so vigorously towards the wind that even the wind didn’t know what had hit it. Could you honestly say that, in the craziest of first halves the 2010 World Cup has seen, you would’ve kept your head? Where I was watching it, people were in tears, some were storming off and others were having excitement induced nose-bleeds. All before half time.
We deify these players and demonize them when they turn out to be human.
I am merely trying to help ease the pace of the England-are-shit bandwagon and perhaps even coax a few people down from it. Granted, the performances of the England team were not good at the World Cup, not by any stretch of the imagination, but now the ‘Golden Generation’ can be forgotten and this should surely ease the pressure we heap on the squad at every tournament. The amount of times I saw World Cup promotional material that said ‘England expects’ was sickening. What do we expect? All I expected (as I said in my previous blog Don’t Panic) was England to scrape through the group, get everyone’s hopes up and then crash out against a far superior side. That is what happened, because that is what has always happened since I watched my first major international tournament in 1996.
Perhaps with this Golden Generation dropped like a dirty habit, England will be able to become a real team. Because that was not a ‘team’ we saw in the World Cup was it?
I believe that Fabio Capello is the man to take England forward. With a fresh batch of players, he will be able to nip any conflicts in the bud. The players he can choose from now may actually look weaker than the previous lot did on paper, but football is played on grass, not paper. Talking of paper though, we should not just take a leaf out of Germany’s book, but take the book off of them and go over it with a fine-tooth comb. Let’s start again with a vibrant, young squad and play a beautiful passing game – the German way.