Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sir Trevor channels Jim Mora: "Semis? SEMIS?!!"

[Ed. Note: we'd like to formally welcome Autoglass, the trouble-causing Chelsea fan, to the UF blogging ranks. You might remember him from this splash of glorious prose detailing what Arsenal means to him, and you can welcome him properly in the comments. If Chelsea spend big money, we can all expect him to gloat about it. Take it away, Blue!]

Ingerland, Ingerland, Ingerland!

It’s one of the better chants in International football, to my ear. Simple, but sung with urgency that wills the best of English youth on to success in "their" game. If you spend a lot of time with an Englishman, you can almost smell the desperate passion for their national team.

The closest we’ve come is the 1980 Olympic Hockey team (USA! USA! USA!). That team had NO expectations thrust upon it beforehand, so the passion was limited to the tournament itself and, of course, proved to be rewarded with gold.

While it’s been 42 years since England have won anything, I reckon that an English victory in the World Cup or Euros would about cause many of my closest friends’ heads to explode with joy.

... or maybe their sons’ heads to explode, ‘cuz it may be a while.

Sir Trevor Brooking, head of the English Football Association, recently engaged in some tactical expectations-lowering when discussing the National side...

"I thought there was a lot of quality football in Euro 2008 and the fact we didn't qualify was almost a reality check," Brooking told Sky Sports News. "We don't want to go from that (not qualifying) to saying we need to be in the last four of the World Cup."
Put that in context. Imagine Mike Krzyzewski coming out ahead of the Olympics and saying that US expectations should be about making the medal round rather than winning the whole thing. Patience, Mike counsels!

"What!? We invented the goddamn game! You’re going to cede excellence to buncha Brazilians and Croats!!!"

It’s been said before, and by better thinkers than me: England have some serious issues with their national team development. They're a side so balled-up with the nauseating fear of failure that they sometimes seem more concerned with keeping their butts clenched tight than with constructing an actual attack.

They possess talent that, for all the money and hype in the world’s richest league, is remarkably lacking in the ball skill necessary to break anyone down at the highest levels. I mean, you’ve got Joe Cole, Theo Walcott and... who else, exactly? Gerrard and Lampard and Rooney ain’t dribbling past anyone. Too often they are left with their admirable grit and steel, and unimaginative long balls hoofed up to the head of Peter Crouch.

England just failed to make the final 14 of the Euros (given the last two spots to Austria and Switzerland), and it's worth noting that Europe has 13 spots for the World Cup. The English consider one of those spots their birthright on the way to, as Brooking points out, an expected spot in the Semis.

While unlikely, it’s still quite possible that things could get worse for the Three Lions before it gets better.


Mike Georger said...

id be worried that they only 'almost' considered it a reality check.

i dont think theyll qualify for south africa, anyone care to make it interesting?

Bigus Dickus said...

How much Georger?

The Fan's Attic said...

You’re going to cede excellence to buncha Brazilians and Croats!!!"

In fairness, the Croats do have a Brazilian on the squad. So, you could say they're just ceding to Brazil.

The NY Kid said...


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Mike Georger said...

one kilo!

ill have to check the qualifying schedule to see what time of the year it will be decided, as that will greatly impact my ability to lose money. living off student loans ftw!

Bigus Dickus said...

I'll take your clams and skint you. It's a silly bet but I do not discriminate against stupidity. Bring it.

Autoglass said...

Careful, Bigus. While I concur that England really should qualify, making this bet may be a bad move karmically. Imagine if somehow they crash out AND you have to pay Georger. I just don't want to have to pick up the pieces, mate.

Bigus Dickus said...

There will be no pieces to collect. Qualification will be swift and easy.