England faces a visit to San Marino later today in Euro 2016 qualification. A victory will book the Three Lions a spot at next summer’s European Championships in France.
Despite a perfect record in qualifying, the England public seems to have lost interest in their team.
The lack of competiveness in recent qualification campaigns has saw the Three Lions comfortably secure their place at most of the big international tournaments in the last decade, with the exception of Euro 2008, when they failed to qualify.
The problem with England is that they are flat-track bullies. They make easy work of beating the inferior teams in qualifying, before flopping like a wet fish when they meet a team of any class at actual tournaments.
In fact, teams do not even need to be that class-filled to get a result against England. They only have to be organised. England boss Roy Hodgson is experienced, but he is not a man renowned for his tactical nous, which becomes a problem when England comes up against any decent opposition.
England are likely to claim victory over San Marino this evening, even if it is not a cricket score, pardon the pun!
Hodgson’s tactics and team selections have been less than enthralling in his tenure in charge, but his appointment was typical of the archaic FA. There are many great tacticians out there in the game. Hodgson is not among them.
The likes of Wales and Northern Ireland have proven with the right boss teams with less technically gifted players can achieve big things. England have a far larger pool of players to pick from than the Welsh, or the Northern Irish, yet time after time the Three Lions underachieve at major tournaments.
Despite England having exciting young players at club level like Everton’s Ross Barkley and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, there seems to be a lack of excitement when it comes to watching the Three Lions.
Maybe the lack of excitement in the team stems from the seemingly lack of charisma of the England boss. He caused uproar in San Marino by making a comment that maybe he should pick some of England’s cricketers for the game, lauding the footballing ability of the cricket team, rather than the lack of ability of San Marino.
To be honest if Roy Hodgson selected the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook more people may pay attention to their matches. As it is, England supporters seem to be indifferent to watching their side, because there is just a general lack of excitement.
As an Englishman I find myself feinting interest in the team’s qualification campaign and paying more attention to the other home nations, because they simply represent a more interesting stories.
England are overwhelming favourites to defeat San Marino at odds of 1/100, which illustrates the difference in the quality of the two teams. England have scored 31 goals against San Marino in five meetings, but have never scored in the opening ten minutes.
To be fair to San Marino they have a population of less than 32,000 people, so their choice of players is not great and many of their team are part-time footballers. It would be unfair to expect them to be able to compete with a country with the population of England.
England just needs to get this game out of the way and qualification completed. Hopefully at Euro 2016 they produce better displays against decent teams. Unfortunately until Roy Hodgson leaves his position as Three Lions boss I do not believe the England team will ever be exciting to watch.
Fortunately for England fans, a less than heroic exit from Euro 2016, probably at the first knockout stage is likely and the veteran boss may leave his post.
However the less than progressive FA are likely to hand their man a new contract and a pay raise, such is their aptitude. This is England 2015 and is not a very exciting watch.
Are you enthralled by England’s Euro 2016 qualification campaign?
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