With the 2018 World Cup Draw at the Kremlin hogging media headlines last week, it is only natural that we start dreaming of England actually delivering at a major tournament or are we all just a little weary of dreaming of England glory?
Being an England supporter in most sports isn’t easy – anxious, irritated, hopeful, devastated, tearful and angry can rush over you in a very short space of time but following the England football team is just about the worst experience possible. We approach all major tournaments determined not to be fooled into thinking we can actually achieve something other than ridicule. We tell ourselves we will fail - because we always do - we say we will watch the games without unrealistic hope… and then match-day arrives, we invite friends and family ‘round to watch the game, we stock up on beer and burgers, buy England flags and before we know it, it has happened – we’ve been sucked in, we look at our players and believe that because they are amongst the best, most talented in the world we have a chance, we play down the ability of those pesky Germans, Spaniards and Brazilians, we start dreaming of a Harry Kane hat-trick in the final – COME ON ENGLAND!
Then we meet the likes of Iceland – genuine football minnows, a collection of part-time players who are lucky to be on the same pitch as our lads, ‘it’s their cup final’ and if they manage to concede only 6 they will have done a good job.
I’m sure we will all recall that game at the 2016 European Championship finals in France. Iceland utterly humiliated England and produced one of the biggest upsets in major tournament history – and deserved it too! The result saw England’s management team lead by our very own Inspector Clouseau, Roy Hodgson, resign immediately (and good riddance!), but then to the utter disbelief of England supporters everywhere, complain that he had to face the English media to explain what went wrong! Well Roy, maybe the fact that you were managing some of the most talented players on the planet and paid £3.5million per year to ensure decent performances had something to do with it, but I digress…
We will all be the same yet again at next year’s tournament in Russia – we are currently talking our chances down and being realistic – it wont last!
The group stage draw has seen us placed into group G with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Surley even England cannot mess this up! With the top two teams from each group qualifying for the knock-out stages, surely, surely, surely we will see off the challenge of Panama and Tunisia, once more, genuine minnows. Im ignoring last year’s Iceland debacle, surely we cannot blow this again?
So order in those beers, get the barbeque invites posted, put out the flags, book the face painter and arrange that England garden party – Sunday 24th June, 1.00pm for our game against Tunisia (assuming we have seen off Panama on the previous Monday!)
It’ll be a ride!!