England were beaten by Uruguay (mainly Suarez) in Sao Paolo in their second game of their World Cup. The sequence of results England now need to qualify has never been achieved before.
English media will more than likely be calling for Roy Hodgson to get the boot ASAP and how the English players should be ashamed of themselves. English fans’ optimism for the future has more than likely plummeted through the floor. However, this scenario for the English team is not surprising at all.
The team going out to Brazil admittedly didn’t appear to have half the amount of hype and expectation on them heading into this tournament like previous year. Hodgson had done a decent job keeping a lid on it. The whole thing about pubs having to get parliament to pass a law to enable them to open longer also helped to distract the media from the actual football part of the whole thing.
Experienced players like Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard have been through the cycle many times. Everyone in England and the media hype them up as contenders to go far. However, once the tournament starts, the optimism is removed very quickly, the team struggle against teams they should beat and the big players fail to perform.
Against the Uruguayans, Gerrard and Henderson had anonymous games. Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling were full of endeavour but not much else and Rooney was swamped every time he went near the ball.
They displayed none of the play that had excited fans against the Italians. The pressure was on and the team crumbled.
They started the game exactly the same way as the Italians in the 4-2-3-1 formation. However, their passing was lethargic and the Uruguayans were winning the 50-50s.
England’s failure at the important times in tournaments seem very hard to explain. There’s no definite answer as to why the English players seem frightened to play like they do at their clubs when in the England shirt. Take Daniel Sturridge against Uruguay, he had a couple of chance which he missed; had he been in a Liverpool shirt he probably would have put them away no problem.
One thing that is a very big factor is the 24/7 attention that high-profile English players from the media. The Premier League clearly comes with added media pressures which the English players do not seem to cope with come the big tournaments.
What can be done about England’s problem? It might just come down to them getting the rub of the green in a future game and not how many psychologists they pay in the future, which they have done in the past and will probably do in the future.
The proverb coined by Thomas H. Palmer:
‘There’s a lesson you should heed, try, try, try again, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again’
It is a fitting description of England’s attempts at major tournaments.
Jack McCann, Pundit Arena.