England’s World Cup hopes are dead before a ball’s kicked?

Share This Article

Let’s be honest, I’m critical of Team England so there’s an element of the pot calling the kettle black here. The difference though is I’m not employed by Team England.

No question, England’s drew two difficult teams and one that you’d expect to brush aside with ease for next year’s World Cup. Uruguay and Italy possess the biggest threat for us reaching the knockout stages, but nor are we sat with Germany or Brazil. Yet Roy Hodgson’s comments following the draw, certainly didn’t help to lift spirits of England fans already expecting the worst possible outcome of not reaching the knockout stages.

Of course I can’t deny that it’s not the group we would have plucked out for ourselves’, said Hodgson.

Where’s the leadership?

England’s national team is undergoing a difficult period; Greg Dyke’s commission and future development plans need defining, on field performances have been lacklustre – particularly worrying as we head into a World Cup year – and now most recently, I’d suggest there’s a severe lack of leadership from the manager. Roy’s basically saying we’re done? Have you ever heard Mourinho or Sir Alex say things like that? Where is the quiet confidence, even just the promise of us taking our best game to Brazil, I’m not asking for misplaced bravado and chest-beating.

This is most damaging because Hodgson is England’s front spokesman and leader. He’s the one person, despite all the fallout behind him back at FA HQ, you’d expect to convince fans his squad’s heading to Brazil to do this nation proud. I didn’t say win – I said PROUD. Instead, his excessively pessimistic comments – despite going into the draw unseeded and therefore anticipating difficult opponents – provides feeble excuses for an already non-expecting nation needing few reasons to even bother watching.

‘It’s difficult to put a positive spin on the quality of our opponent because even Costa Rica, who’re maybe the least known, are a very, very strong team’, continued Hodgson.

Embarrassing support

And if you think it’s just Hodgson that lacks optimism, then think again. Greg Dyke’s right, ‘England won’t win the World Cup’. No s**t. But what kind of message does this send to the squad and fans alike? So what WILL we do, Greg? Let’s talk about what we can control and what we will do this time around.

For me, it’s incomprehensible the FA’s chairman feels it necessary to openly criticise England’s chances in such a blasé fashion – that’s my job! It further shows how out of touch the individuals currently running the FA can be at times, here’s Dyke’s reaction to England’s World Cup draw. Baffling.

Let’s embrace it

Granted, there’s a chance we won’t make the knockout stages, but instead of dwelling on the quality of opponents, the unbearable climate and the thousands of miles the players must travel, we need a leading figure and a team that focuses purely on the positives. The opportunities and chances to test England’s future prospects. It’s the World Cup, a tournament we need to embrace and whilst we won’t win it, let’s go at it full throttle, have some fun and exit in a blaze of glory. Give the fans something to cheer about, something this country hasn’t enjoyed since Euro ’96.

Ability without honour is useless: Cicero

Something to get excited about

But despite all the negativity currently bouncing around England HQ, a rare ray of light came my way a few days ago in the form of a tournament predictor tool, which predicts England is most likely to WIN their group stage of the tournament, but will eventually be knocked out by Columbia in the knockout stages. I’d take that!

fananalytics

The guys at @FootyFanalytics told me:

The predictions are based on running 1 million simulations of potential interactions between the teams (including all the different scenarios/permutations that could happen), which we did immediately after the draw on Dec 6th. We calculate a team’s likelihood of winning based on our team strength model, which uses historical results and match data from all international games and applies a unique algorithm to benchmark the relative strength teams and subsequently provide a ranking of all competing teams.

Perhaps if Hodgson spoke about our chances with data, with a degree of quiet confidence, with a knowing about what is possible in tournament football, then it may work towards getting the nation behind him and not on his back – an inevitable action should he continually disregard our chances.

The fans, squad and FA are viewing this tournament as a write-off. That’s not a reason to barely show up come June 2014. As ever – let me know your opinions in the comments below.

Share This Article

Comments

10 comments
FrankesTanke
FrankesTanke

Well, it seems much better to me to be realistic than to get infected with that Positive-Thinking-virus which floots throughout the world. It just creates pressure and expectations. ''Trick yourself it's gonna be easy, everything will solve itself if we just Think Positive and got Self-Confidence.'' Then, when players comes out on the pitch, they're being struck by reality and gets unable to do anything at all on the pitch, passing backwards to someone else because player don't dare to have the ball. I've seen it so many times, the best example is my NL. My team has been positive-thinking before every game (thanks to the coach) and that had led to totally terrible first-halfs the whole WCQ, then in the paus the players have argured and gone sick about eachother, and has played much much better in secondhalfs. (top of the mountain-example; 0-3 in half-time away against maybe the best team in the world, zero P-T and S-C, secondhalf; the game ends 4-4 after been 0-4 down) It's a SHAME we havent change coach for the next qualifcation, because I feel no joy watching my team anymore (haven't done so for the whole WCQ). It's sad to see what my once-so-good NL has become. Anyway, I will keep my fingers crossed for England and Roy, he invented football here afterall:))

ceawake
ceawake

Joey,


Sent off again mate because of your sulking? Its not all about you man, there is a greater cause (QPR getting promotion) than you being right. Sometimes (as you know) you just have to count to ten. Then maybe do it again half an hour later. And again. You have shown you can do it Joey, now do it some more and be remembered for your positive actions on the pitch as opposed to your intellect and temperament. You know it makes sense.

ralphddean
ralphddean

To give the current leadership some credit for the first time in my life I see the inclusion of young talent,  forced or not its refreshing  COYB

Bazoll
Bazoll

Spot on joe, the negativity from the camp is sticking two fingers up at the thousands of fans who will travel to Brazil and spend thousands of pounds.

Roy is not "publicly" anyway a strong leader and as you pointed out is looking for that excuse. I'm not good enough to get my team to go there with our heads up but I'm good enough to tell you's I told you so when were knocked out.

Enjoy your blogs mate keep up the good journalism ha.

JoeMorley94
JoeMorley94

Fair points made and I myself don't feel too optimistic about the summer. However, it's not even as bad as losing the Columbia in the knockouts. Assuming we were to finish top of the group, as stipulated, we would face Japan (rather than Columbia who will also win their group) who have a lower chance of passing the second round than us. With that taken into account, we would then proceed to face Chile who finished top of Group B and beat Croatia, the runners up of Group A, in the round of 16. It is here, in the QFs we are more likely to be knocked out, which is even better than your interpretation stated, and a result I would settle for. Everything I've stated is based upon assumption generated by the aforementioned predictor tool, though it doesn't seem too unrealistic - provided we get out of a tough group! 


Cheers for a good read,


Joe Morley

Captainbrownwings
Captainbrownwings

Seiously, as a fan and positive person if anyone from team England tried to put a positive spin on the situation, I'd view it as exactly that. Spin. England fans aren't stupid, we can think for ourselves. I'd like to think Roy Hodgson will be positive with the squad. Surely you don't expect him to be walking around being all smiley and positive all the time.

Get yourself in management and do a better job than him. Until then at least respect that you are a paid opinion. Nothing more.

This is not sent with anger...just realism

seamyb1
seamyb1

You always hear managers saying their draw is tough and its not what they would have picked. Even Martino said he wouldn't have picked Man City to face in the last 16 of the champions league. Reading far too much into Hodgson's comments.

MattMooreOnTour
MattMooreOnTour

Very good article. Totally made sense. 

I would like to meet you one day. You talk alot of sense on many things.

Happy Thursday.

Matt Moore

danchol1
danchol1

@Captainbrownwings But surely acknowledging the fact we have a chance is a step in the right direction? We're setting ourselves up for failure before we've began. That can't be good for the squad's confidence.

  • Joey On Sport
  • Joey On Culture
  • Joey On Politics
  • Joey On The Journey