England’s fortunate 2-1 loss to a rejuvenated French side last night saw another file added to the international side’s library of underwhelming performances. The collection has started to overflow of late.
But it’s all a bit confusing. Normally when England disappoint it’s because John Terry has sown disharmony throughout the squad (through any number of tried and tested egotistical tactics) or is an over-rated Sunday league footballer. Alternatively, it’s because Frank Lampard is an average and slightly overweight footballer with a propensity to miss the target (20 international goals notwithstanding). Sometimes defeat has even been because Ashley Cole is an unreliable, conniving and money-grabbing love rat.
England fans leaving the stadium yesterday must have stared blankly at each other, queuing silently and solemnly as they meandered up towards Wembley Park tube to make their way home. With none of the devil’s own footballers on the pitch, for what possible reason can mighty England have succumbed to the old enemy, pretty much the only team to have put in a more under-par performance in South Africa?
It’s too much to hope for that Terry, Lampard and Cole will have been missed by England fans, but maybe it will beg the question elsewhere. Most likely they will be missed by other members of the squad, who suddenly found themselves the target of the England boo-boys due to the normal candidates being unavailable.
I write this post mostly in jest of course. Regardless however, perhaps it will sink it that England has no god-given right to be good at football. Whether or not Capello is worth £6m a year is another debate (I can’t point to much he’s done right over the last six months), but the simple truth is that he can only work with what he’s given. Chelsea players or no, he hasn’t got much to work with.
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