England’s World Cup: Were the expectations low enough?

June 27, 2014 12:38 am

So we have reached the end of another disappointing showing from England at a major tournament. However, they did at least manage to get a point on the board in their game against the team who, it must be said, have been the surprise package of the World Cup so far. Daniel Sturridge was the main architect of the chances for the Three Lions during the 90 minutes but he was unable to convert any of them to ensure that his team came home on the back of a token win. On the other hand, it must also be said that Costa Rica created chances of their own particularly on the counter attack, but again were unable to nestle one of them in the back of the English net to maintain their 100% record in the tournament thus far.

My main question is whether the low expectations that were set for England before the World Cup started really low enough or did we succumb to the standard involuntary transformation of hope and dreams into unreasonable expectation?

England-v-Denmark-team-line-up_3095295There was still pressure on our main striker Wayne Rooney to end his run of not scoring at a World Cup. In addition to that, there was pressure from the media for the younger players to prove themselves in preparation for the possibility of playing bigger roles at future tournaments. To top it all off, there was pressure on the manager Roy Hodgson to show an improvement in both his tactics and the dynamic of the squad following on from Euro 2012. So were the expectations really low enough or were they just low in terms of England’s chances in the tournament?

hi-res-5101665afbfb19eca0f4b8ad5ff01ea2_crop_northIn reality our group was one of the toughest, however, as Costa Rica themselves have proved, anything is possible. On the other hand, some of you England faithful reading this will be of the opinion that we don’t have enough world class players to compete at the highest levels of world football. To be honest, on this showing, I would be inclined to agree because it was clear that although our strikers and midfielders created goal scoring opportunities, and played some incisive passes through defences, it was clear to see that they weren’t good enough to make it count. On this evidence I would hasten to suggest that indeed the expectations on a national level were not low enough; mostly because there were frequent moments were the nerves of the players out there on the pitch were there for all to see. On the bright side the 9 replacements that Roy Hodgson made certainly did not disappoint in their performances; in particular Ben Foster, Luke Shaw and once again Ross Barclay are looking bright for the future.

Overall, I think as a nation we should stop moaning about the merits of our national side and look ahead to Euro 2016 where those players who have made impressions at this tournament will be able to prove their full potential as footballers. Bring on Euro 2016 in France and lets keep those expectations in check this time.

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