Does anyone really care about the England national team these days? That is definitely not my opinion but a question following a twitter poll I conducted on the Goalzone ahead of the game against Malta. Over 2000 fans voted with 89% saying they would always put club before country. I was staggered at the result.
I watched England’s two world cup qualifiers this weekend and they won them both and if as we say it’s always about the result them surely with 6 points from 6 we should be happy? However fans are not happy at all with complaints about boring negative football.
Sometimes no matter what the ranking of the opposition they can be well organised and set up to frustrate. Patience is what is needed to break them down. Against Malta England controlled the game and spent long periods in the Malta half but did not turn that into goals until late on. Slovakia were a decent team in my opinion and England played much better especially in the second half.
The question is are England as good as the hype surrounding them? I am not sure we have the all-round quality needed to win a major competition. Many people say there are great players coming through and it won’t be long before England are competing for the biggest of prizes. To be brutally honest we have been hearing this for years. Perhaps the problem is that we pick the so called best players but not the best team?
In 1966 I along with multi millions watched Sir Alf Ramsey’s England lift the World Cup on that magical day at Wembley where they kicked off the competition as second favourites to the mighty Brazil. Worth remembering that the manager said from the outset that England would win the World Cup.
Four years later the whole country was captivated as we watched for the first time in colour on TV what many thought was an even better England team go out at the quarter-final stage in the greatest of all World Cup finals-Mexico. It was England who looked comfortable but amazingly let a 2-0 lead against West Germany slip to eventually go out 3-2 after extra time. To this day I cannot believe what I witnessed! The first choice keeper Gordon Banks was ruled out with food poisoning with Peter Bonetti taking his place. It’s fair to say it was not Peter’s finest hour. I also remember to this day Geoff Hurst’s goal ruled out for offside when it was obvious to everyone but the referee and linesman that it should have been allowed and also the legendary Jeff Astle’s great chance that went begging.
The point I am making, while reminiscing, is that everyone put England first the whole country was backing the Three Lions. Whereas today lots of people say “I don’t care about England I just care about my club”. That is backed up by the results of my twitter poll but why? Is what is bugging me?