England are out – finished, end of story. We did not go out on penalties, nor were we “very unlucky”. We were well beaten by a team that were man for man better than us. The Media may cry foul about Lampard’s goal, or the fact our pampered players play too much football, but isn’t it time we simply faced up to the fact that actually we are not as good as we like to believe?
Football is all about reputation. We qualified from a “tough” group featuring Croatia and Ukraine – both deemed to be “tough” teams to beat. But were they really? Croatia had humbled us in November 2007 to qualify for the European Championships but 10 months later we humbled them in Zagreb – what changed in the intervening months? Nothing much. When Wigan Athletic beat Chelsea earlier in the season at the DW Stadium did anyone really expect them to beat Chelsea again come the end of the season at Stamford Bridge? Not really, and the result showed us otherwise.
Our whole way of playing, developing, coaching, managing, and reporting on football in England is wrong. We will simply continue to suffer the pain we saw yesterday as each tournament comes around. Why? Because we are an island race and our thinking is so insular. Continue reading