Evaluating England’s World Cup Chances
June 2, 2018 (No Comments) by Dean Fitzgerald

With no Boys In Green to discuss we decided to look at how the home of the Premier League will shape up this summer at the World Cup. A major turn of events took place right under most people’s noses between October 8th 2017 and now. The over-hyping of the England national team by its media was silenced, replaced by a trepidation and fear of humiliation stemming from a combination of a mediocre squad and multiple embarrassing exits in major competitions. Since the World Cup Quarter-Final exit at the hands of Portugal in 2006, England have:

Failed to qualify for Euro 2008

Lost 4-1 to Germany at the 2010 World Cup Last-16

Lost on penalties to Italy at Euro 2012

Been knocked out in the 2014 World Cup Group Stages

Lost 2-1 to Iceland at Euro 2016

Such disheartening results have long since worn down the optimism of the average England fan, but the media have only gotten the message before the beginning of the 2018 edition of the World Cup. The regular articles of hyping up a prominent player (such as Wayne Rooney or David Beckham) now consists of pieces regarding developing younger players, and the potential of the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, and Marcus Rashford in future tournaments. There is little belief that this England side will reverse the recently down-trending performances at the most significant time.

The Past

Previous squads of the 21st century have contained players of world-class quality, graced by the likes of Rooney, Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Ashley Cole, and Rio Ferdinand. This side features some less attractive options, with a younger team that will be more likely to benefit from the experience of the occasion rather than challenge to win the whole thing. 9 of the 23-man squad are under 25, and a further 5 under 27. The majority of the squad will be fully developed by the next cycle of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

With a young squad, there is potential for this side to flourish without the fear of expectation that seems to have paralysed recent England teams in major tournaments as of late. Despite this, comparing this squad to the powerhouses of Germany, Spain, and France, there is not reasonable person who would debate that England are the superior side. These three teams have an absolute embarrassment of riches at all positions, and the depth to win it all. This side doesn’t have a standout player with a decent squad who can drag them through singlehandedly, as Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Belgium have in Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo, and De Bruyne have respectively.

This Competition

The group stage draw looks more promising than 2014, when Uruguay, Italy, and surprise package Costa Rica dispensed of the Three Lions. This year, England face a powerhouse in Belgium, but more favourable opponents in Panama and Tunisia. It looks like a group that can be negotiated with reasonable confidence, but this is England. There are no guarantees.

Assuming they fight through to a second place finish, England face the winners of Group H, which are most likely to be Poland or Colombia. An uphill task to say the least, but not impossible. After a battle in the Last-16 England would then most likely face their end – World Champions Germany. The German machine are as consistent a team in tournaments as any, last failing to reach the Semi-Finals in a tournament in 2004. It would be an unenviable task for any side, let alone a young England team with little World Cup experience.

In the unlikely event England top their group and beat Group H’s runner up, they would most likely face Neymar and Brazil in the Quarter-Final. In theory, Brazil’s firepower would outmatch England’s more fragile defence. But the possibility of victory far outweighs that of a clash with Die Mannschaft. Even so, the journey likely ends here.

If You’re A Betting Man

The prediction for this England side looks to last no further than the Quarter-Finals, unless an upset can take place – either by their hand or another team’s – that alters the landscape of their route to the Final. The fear for this squad is that it will fail to advance through the Group Stages in two consecutive World Cups, a hammer blow to the confidence of the national side. The fall of England’s international prowess is reflected in the expected progress in this World Cup, which won’t be expected to feature far beyond the Last-16. 15/8 with Paddy Power as we publish. Get on!

Dean Fitzgerald
Can relate any life problems back to GAA. Has an interest in sport of all kinds, including even cricket for some reason.

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Evaluating England’s World Cup Chances
June 2, 2018 (No Comments) by Dean Fitzgerald

With no Boys In Green to discuss we decided to look at how the home of the Premier League will shape up this summer at the World Cup. A major turn of events took place right under most people’s noses between October 8th 2017 and now. The over-hyping of the England national team by its media was silenced, replaced by a trepidation and fear of humiliation stemming from a combination of a mediocre squad and multiple embarrassing exits in major competitions. Since the World Cup Quarter-Final exit at the hands of Portugal in 2006, England have:

Failed to qualify for Euro 2008

Lost 4-1 to Germany at the 2010 World Cup Last-16

Lost on penalties to Italy at Euro 2012

Been knocked out in the 2014 World Cup Group Stages

Lost 2-1 to Iceland at Euro 2016

Such disheartening results have long since worn down the optimism of the average England fan, but the media have only gotten the message before the beginning of the 2018 edition of the World Cup. The regular articles of hyping up a prominent player (such as Wayne Rooney or David Beckham) now consists of pieces regarding developing younger players, and the potential of the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, and Marcus Rashford in future tournaments. There is little belief that this England side will reverse the recently down-trending performances at the most significant time.

The Past

Previous squads of the 21st century have contained players of world-class quality, graced by the likes of Rooney, Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Ashley Cole, and Rio Ferdinand. This side features some less attractive options, with a younger team that will be more likely to benefit from the experience of the occasion rather than challenge to win the whole thing. 9 of the 23-man squad are under 25, and a further 5 under 27. The majority of the squad will be fully developed by the next cycle of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

With a young squad, there is potential for this side to flourish without the fear of expectation that seems to have paralysed recent England teams in major tournaments as of late. Despite this, comparing this squad to the powerhouses of Germany, Spain, and France, there is not reasonable person who would debate that England are the superior side. These three teams have an absolute embarrassment of riches at all positions, and the depth to win it all. This side doesn’t have a standout player with a decent squad who can drag them through singlehandedly, as Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Belgium have in Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo, and De Bruyne have respectively.

This Competition

The group stage draw looks more promising than 2014, when Uruguay, Italy, and surprise package Costa Rica dispensed of the Three Lions. This year, England face a powerhouse in Belgium, but more favourable opponents in Panama and Tunisia. It looks like a group that can be negotiated with reasonable confidence, but this is England. There are no guarantees.

Assuming they fight through to a second place finish, England face the winners of Group H, which are most likely to be Poland or Colombia. An uphill task to say the least, but not impossible. After a battle in the Last-16 England would then most likely face their end – World Champions Germany. The German machine are as consistent a team in tournaments as any, last failing to reach the Semi-Finals in a tournament in 2004. It would be an unenviable task for any side, let alone a young England team with little World Cup experience.

In the unlikely event England top their group and beat Group H’s runner up, they would most likely face Neymar and Brazil in the Quarter-Final. In theory, Brazil’s firepower would outmatch England’s more fragile defence. But the possibility of victory far outweighs that of a clash with Die Mannschaft. Even so, the journey likely ends here.

If You’re A Betting Man

The prediction for this England side looks to last no further than the Quarter-Finals, unless an upset can take place – either by their hand or another team’s – that alters the landscape of their route to the Final. The fear for this squad is that it will fail to advance through the Group Stages in two consecutive World Cups, a hammer blow to the confidence of the national side. The fall of England’s international prowess is reflected in the expected progress in this World Cup, which won’t be expected to feature far beyond the Last-16. 15/8 with Paddy Power as we publish. Get on!

Dean Fitzgerald
Can relate any life problems back to GAA. Has an interest in sport of all kinds, including even cricket for some reason.

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