The inquest into the English national football team’s poor performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup continues unabated. Various lines of thought have been pursued in an effort to determine the underlying causes of their failure to advance beyond the second round and to explain away their uninspired performances throughout the tournament. For England, they are suffocated by unrealistic expectation and rampant tribalism.
Manager Fabio Capello has been savaged by the English press for his boot-camp approach to the Finals, restricting the player’s movement, possibly affecting team morale. His tactics were also called into question as he opted to stick to a rigid formation with players such as Steven Gerrard often played out of position and not utilised in a manner that would afford them the opportunity to replicate their club form at international level 부달.
There are a myriad of reasons put forward to explain England’s failure which resulted in an ignominious exit with a 4-1 defeat to rivals Germany in the second round. The intensity of the Premier League and the long English season which has no winter break was another argument made.
Indeed, the Premier League bore the brunt of criticism, chastised for stifling English player development as only around 35% of its players are indigenous as managers put their faith in foreign imports. Even the way English players are taught and selected at a grassroots level has been re-examined. Coaches prefer their players to be athletic and physically strong rather than favouring the technical skill that has seen successful teams at the World Cup, such as the Netherlands and Argentina, flourish.
All of this reasoning amounts to a damning indictment of the English game. There is also the fact that the England team are suffocated by expectation and tribalism.
The English tabloid press build up the side before the tournament and when they enjoy success only to rip them apart when they are defeated. A case in point would be the reaction to England’s narrow 1-0 win over relative minnows, Slovenia. The team were transformed into world-beaters in the eyes of some, only to fall so hard against Germany in the subsequent game.
The frenzied and exhilarating atmosphere that surrounds a World Cup is also overtly commercial with national identity permeating every section of society, from the supermarket to the salon.
England is essentially an extremely tribal nation, numerous divided loyalties splitting the already small portion of the island into miniature segments. When the national side play, these entrenched divisions largely fade away amongst fans in support of a common cause. The hysteria created means that when expectations are not matched, there is an even greater reaction than there perhaps would be to a defeat for a club side. This is especially acute as major tournaments are a bi-annual, (European Championships and World Cup) fleeting and condensed microcosm of fan pride.