England football team promoted to the bigtime

September 10, 2009

I remember writing a distinctly gloomy piece about the England football team after the ignominious defeat to Croatia, at Wembley in  November 2007, which finally took the  Euro 2008 finals out of reach.  It was called “England football team relegated to the wilderness” and speculated about how the resulting fall in world rankings and consequent lower seeding in future qualifying tournaments would add significant extra hurdles to England’s chances of making it back to the final stages of major international football competitions such as the World Cup.

England have now banished that fear by qualifying for South Africa 2010 (and in some style, it being Croatia’s turn to suffer a bit of ignominy) but I don’t think I was wrong to write what I did.

Without even coming close to the mess they made of Sven Goran Eriksson’s departure and choice of successor, they might easily have replaced Steve McClaren with another inadequate appointment.  If they had then it is not hard to see how England might by now have found themselves wandering in that wilderness, occasionally bumping into Scotland, Wales and N Ireland.  I guess the FA deserve credit for settling on Capello but, as I explained in a comment to this post, they rather lucked into a situation where the outstanding candidate had helpfully just been fired by Real Madrid and was on the lookout for a high profile International appointment so he could end his career on a high.  All the FA had to do was stand firm in the face of the misguided media baying for the appointment of Jose Mourinho.

And my faith in Capello was entirely justified.  He may or may not win the World Cup next year (for starters, Spain and Brazil will not roll over for anyone) but he has got the best out of the remnants of our “golden generation” and blended in a bit of the upcoming platinum generation in the likes of Lennon, Defoe, Milner, Walcott.  We’ will not disgrace ourselves.

Interesting that in that post I wondered about whether Capello would play “British football”, the same point controversially raised by Croatia coach Slaven Bilic before last night’s game.  He accused Capello of changing England’s game away from their traditional style.  Quite possibly Bilic is right, and we have our answer.  Capello has either moved away from or redefined “English football” depending on how you look at it.  Not a problem so long as we win with confidence.  And also by playing good football, laying another of my fears to rest.

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  1. i want to no how football is promotedd ffs:@???

    • It was just a figure of speech. Peace, brother.

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