19 June 2010


E-A-S-Y was how the tabloids greeted the news months ago of England's World Cup opponents. One thing that has become clear while watching this WC is that the English have an incredibly self centered view of the football world. The team's struggles so far are only a reflection of some internal collapse and have nothing to do with the opponents they've faced. Events in other games are only discussed with respect to how they affect England. There's an overriding attitude of entitlement against opponents viewed as not being in the same league (despite empirical results). It's funny to see this attitude so prominently displayed here when it is so often ascribed to Americans in other arenas. A few choice illustrative quotes:

Wayne Rooney, English striker
Before playing Algeria: "Against Algeria we can not be at our best and win the game."

When asked what he knew about his opponents: "Not much. Belhadj from Portsmouth, but I don't really know much more about them. I'm sure the manager will point out their strengths and weaknesses to us."

When booed off the field after a 0-0 draw: "Nice to see your home fans booing you. That’s loyal supporters."

Roy Hodgson, Fulham manager and commentator
When asked what effect the Slovenia-USA draw would have on England: "I don't think it matters, to be honest, since England are clearly the best team in the group."

Chris Waddle, former England winger
When asked whether a problem exists in the English locker room: "In qualifying we beat Croatia [ranked 10th in the world] twice and Ukraine [23rd] once. They are both far better than the USA [14th] and Algeria[30th], so there must be something wrong."


MRhé said...

England probably should've beaten the US in the first game, truth be told. They outplayed us for the most part.

Against Algeria they simply looked flat and lackluster. I was shocked they couldn't score a single goal against ALG. I think ALG looked the better team in that match.

I wouldn't be surprised if ENG didn't make it out of the first round at this point, given their mixed play. But they do have talented players so they could easily log a win next game I reckon.

It is fun to see the Brits winless, though.

Foonyor said...

Yeah, they were the better team against the USA, but by a pretty slim margin. And to hear it here (you really have to be here to experience it) they should've won 15-0. Finally, that 1-1 results illustrates the fact that at this level 90 minutes is short enough to yield all sorts of surprise results.

Take the rock-paper-scissoresque Group D, for instance, where the Germans killed the Aussies (and everyone suddenly fancied them to win the WC), Ghana edged out Serbia, then Serbia beat a suddenly pedestrian German squad and if it weren't for Kewell's flabby arm getting in the way the Aussies might well have beaten Ghana!

MRhé said...

Oh I'm sure the English are going nuts over the current state of affair's for St. George's team.

It is interesting to see how the matches have a pretty high variance. The "best" team hasn't won several times so far. I'm sure you've been reading Silver's stuff on the SPI for match predictions, etc. and how international football is notoriously tough to predict.

I missed the second German game but they looked good against the Aussies (granted, 2 of those goals came after an Aussie red card). But yeah, there's been a few wacky results. Makes for an interesting group stage at least.

Your Swiss boys had a rough go of it this AM - pretty lame red from a card-happy ref. They fared pretty well against Chile after that, actually, fending off a lot of threats. Still in decent shape with their 3 points - looking forward to seeing if Spain can TCB in this afternoon's game.

MRhé said...

Ugh, I should KY for that "affair's" typo.