Once more the dust settles on yet another dispiriting and ill-fated English attempt to win the World Cup. I think what depresses me most about the whole thing was how close my predictions in an earlier post were. Let's examine those predictions:
"England's injury crisis will continue to worsen."
"England will struggle in the early stages against the might of Trinidad & Tobago while retaining an unshakeable confidence that we can win the tournament."
"England will qualify for the group stages, just."
Well, we qualified comfortably but England played so badly in those group games that had we faced better teams we would have been going home early; so sort of Check
"Cue near hysteria in the British media as normally sensible journalists and sports broadcasters start enthusing about how the team is "bringing football home" and that this year is the best chance of winning since we last won in 1966."
Lots of talk about this being our best chance since 1966 so Check! However, there was an unusual level of healthy pessimism this time round.
"England will face an 'old enemy' e.g Germany, Argentina etc. The team will JUST about scrape a win on blood and guts."
We didn't face an old enemy (although we just missed out on facing Germany at this stage, so I was close!). We did however, just scrape past the mighty Ecuador so Check (ish)
"England will crash out in the quarter-finals (probably on penalties - Steven Gerrard will miss one and Pizza Hut will be on the phone immediately )to either Brazil or any country with a tactically astute manager."
Yup - thats one big CHECK there. (Although I don't know about Pizza Hut....the call must be coming Stevie, Frank & Jamie)
I should have put money on it. The thing that makes me most sad is that I really, really wanted England to do well, I was cheering like the rest of the country. But these ridiculously privileged players let us all down, with the notable exception of Owen Hargreaves and one or two others. They receive outrageous wages to play football, and while I don't necessarily begrudge them those wages (after all, its not their fault people want to pay them upward of 30k a week), the least I'd expect to see would be some bloody effort to rise to their billing.
At least Sven is finally gone, what a waste he was. I'm not a massive football expert, but even I can see that taking 2 half-fit strikers and then sending your backups home, while keeping superfluous midfielders and a player still in nappies is a little foolhardy. However, I'm not being paid £4 million quid to think of these things...
Never mind, at least I've got the cricket to cheer me up.... What's that? A 5-0 whitewash at the hands of Sri Lanka and a painfully drawn first test against Pakistan? Oh bugger... roll on the next winter Olympics - at least I can cheer the Scots on in Curling. Apparently, they're quite good.