Where were you England?

After last night’s loss to Iceland, I am once again puzzled by the failure of the English national football team.

Because the match kicked off at 10.00 PM Israel time, I decided I would only watch the first half. How lucky was I? When I retired to bed, I expected to wake up in the morning to a story of a second half in which Vardy had been introduced, England had started playing as a team, and they thumped the Icelandic minnows. Judging by the press reports, it could have been worse for England, and nobody is grudging Iceland their victory.

But why cannot England perform?

  • The players are among the highest paid in the world, competing in arguably the best league in the world, and lauded week to week as top class footballers. So, are they top class footballers who cannot play as a team?
  • Or are they maybe not top class footballers – just fit guys, with a modicum of skill?
  • Is it the manager? But, if it were the manager, you would think one of the many holders of that post would have known what he was doing.
  • Is it the setup? Is there something destabilizing, demoralizing, or dysfunctional about the England football establishment.

Personally, I find it ironical that this year’s Premier League champions, Leicester City, had an Italian manager who set out his team each week to play in an old fashioned English style: thumping big lads as center backs, nippy players in the middle of the park, an old fashioned center forward, and bags and bags of fighting spirit. But the national team cannot do that, it appears.

I do feel sorry for England fans; they deserve better. At least Scotland supporters expect their team to be poor.  However, after Iceland’s progress, I wonder if Scotland and other smaller footballing nations might sit up and take notice of the master plan that was used. It doesn’t always have to be the big teams, the big countries, that are successful.

Well done, Iceland. England, where were you?

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