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Why have England fallen short in major tournaments?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

At this time of year, the prospects of the national side are firmly on the back-burner of many fans minds, and rightly so, it’s the exciting start of the new season, full of hope and expectation, which carries many fans along until they meet their more familiar friends of despondency and ennui as their team squanders yet another half-time lead, the referee robs them again of 3 points for 4 weeks on the trot etc, etc, etc…

Yet come the end of the season, attention will turn to the national side as they struggle to qualify out of their group and barely make it to the knock-out stages, normally to be dispatched by a far fitter, energetic, enthused and committed side.

Why is this? Why has England not really turned up to a tournament in any meaningful way since 2002? If we look at other countries, the winter break is an obviously identifiable feature that football in this country lacks and would probably benefit from. But the heart of the problem is something deeper.

The effect of European football’s expansion since 2000 to 2 leagues, the Champion’s (ironic since the last true champion’s league was in 1999) and Europa leagues, that sit above the premier league and have turned the season into not one marathon, but something akin to a triathalon that features a marathon.

The result of which is that a large amount of the games in the premiership are being played in front of reduced crowds, by players who are operating at 80-90% peak performance.

If the FA were serious in setting about winning England’s 2nd major international trophy, perhaps they ought to take a leaf out of the governing bodies of other UK sports?

The England cricket team had similar struggles in international tournaments until recently. They failed to qualify out of their group during the world cups of 1999, 2003 and performed abysmally in 2007. Since 2009 though, England have reached the knock-out stages of every tournament they’ve played in, culminating in that 2010 Twenty20 World cup win in Barbados.

How have they achieved this? Well in part the ECB (the game’s governing body) have made ‘Team England’ their top priority. England players are salaried not to their clubs, but to their national team.

This means that the ECB can direct players to rest and ensure that they arrive at tournaments fit, and hungry for international success.

Whilst those looking at football betting tips don’t doubt the current England side’s desire to perform to the best of their abilities, the current set up of English football is not designed around producing the best quality national side, and it’s been showing for a long while now.


  1. Free bets said...

    What annoys me about our footballers is that they always blame their poor performances in the summer on been too tired!

    Most men have to do 40 hours HARD WORK every week of the year!

    January 1, 2012 at 2:09 PM  

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