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By Chris Breger on 14.10.2023

Euro 2012: Do England stand a chance?

Every big tournament this discussion comes up; do we actually stand a chance? The fact that we’re even asking ourselves this question speaks volumes. Wasn’t Capello supposed to rid England of all their insecurities and finally unite the golden generation?

The golden generation had their chance at glory and didn’t take it, but many young England players look like current and future international stars. There is nothing wrong with our individual players, but this has been the problem all along. Week-in week-out players perform to their potential and rightly uphold the title of the best league in the world. However, when it comes to international duty no one seems to care. Gone are the days when watching England play filled you with pride and every single man on the pitch was trying to make his country proud. Before England can win anything the team needs to get a sense of national pride back and embody the spirit that the three lions signify.

Another successful qualifying campaign allows the public hope, but wasn’t this the case before the world cup? The style of play remains the same and so too do the results. A draw against Montenegro and narrowly beating Wales does not exactly inspire much faith that when England face an opponent of real quality they won’t just capitulate as they did against Germany in South Africa. So, even two years down the line, Capello has provided us with no answers to even the most basic questions: What is our strongest XI? What is our best formation?

The question of captaincy still remains too: who is fit to lead England onto the pitch and install the feeling of common identity we so lack? John Terry took the armband against Montenegro and has done so a lot in the past. But after the Bridge incident he’s never really looked like the same leader he used to be. The next option would of course be Rio Ferdinand, with all his experience, but as age has crept up with the golden generation, players like Ferdinand are finding themselves struggling with injuries and fitness. In my opinion the captaincy should belong to someone who is not just a leader off the field but plays in a manner which unites the team. But good luck finding a player with whom Capello wants to stick.

So what’s my prediction? Well if we play well, and I mean play well as a team and play some football we can be proud of (not this win-only orientated Italian football), then we could start a promising run. If however, we continue our current form and mentality, we’ll probably just about beat the mediocre teams we should have breezed past and then, at the sight of our first proper competition, fall to pieces.

Capello has got it wrong: none of the players are performing to their potential and as a team we look dismal. If we want any chance of winning, either we as fans need to lift the pressure off the players by lowering our expectations of our national team or Capello needs to rethink his approach to man-management. Alternatively he can simply leave. I’ll leave that question to the FA.


  • ‘we as fans need to lift the pressure off the players by lowering our expectations of our national team’

    I couldn’t agree more but your overuse of the concept of pride in this article really does conflict with that idea.

    The expectations are half the problem anyway. Not the expectations to win, but the expectations about how they should win. Take any given Premier League champion. Over the course of the season they will ‘win ugly’ numerous times. When England win ugly, i.e grind out results, then there’s suddenly massive problems. It’s about results first and foremost so i have to disagree with your concept of not wanting to win the Italian way. With England there’s too much expectation to play a certain way (i.e showing pride and determination) over going out there to win games. I’m sure that gets to the players mentally because they know that to the popular media (and subsequently the general population) determination seems to matter more than anything else. Everybody lauds Spain and their fantastic play without ever putting focus on whether or not their players look proud and determined. That’s because winning teams put their style of football first, not how their determination is being perceived.

    That said i don’t particularly think England’s style of play is that effective either and when you contrast it with club football then you can see differences in their play. I suspect half of it does come down to feeling expected to play in a certain way rather than the players focusing on their own strengths.

    It’s probably why Walcott plays ‘well’ for his country. He can bomb down that wing all day looking determined. At Arsenal it just makes him look like a bit basic.

    By A.Non.Emus on 19.10.2023

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