Sunday, June 27, 2010

England lost the World Cup - going through the ritual and the aftermath

Just a couple of days ago, I came across Simon Kupur's (author of Why England lose) article in Financial Times entitled "England's timeworn elimination ritual". In the article, he went through the six phases that the English will invariably go through every World Cup tournament.

1. England enter the World Cup certain they will win it.

2. The campaign is upended by a freakish piece of bad luck that the English conclude could only happen to them.

3. England lose to a former wartime enemy.

4. The nation decides the team is spoiled, overpaid and unpatriotic.

5. A scapegoat is found.

6. England enter the next World Cup certain they will win it.

image source

So far, he's spot on for the first four points. With the defeat still yet to sink in, the hordes of English fans which have descended on South Africa this summer will be drowning their sorrows doused in local beer this evening. While the English team awaits the verdict that would no doubt be cast by the dailies in tomorrow's headlines.

The million dollar (or pound) question would be who is to be blamed? Is it the Larrionda, the referee who denied Lampard's goal? Or was it Capello, the disciplinarian who has misread the game and fielded the wrong players? Or was it the lamentable defence, ineffective midfield or weak attack (ahem, Rooney)?

I went down to the local Sainsburys after the game. The cashier asked,"Did you watch the game?" I nodded,"Not exactly the best of games, was it?". "You can say that again. Well, I didn't expect it to be that bad," he handed me my change and looked over my shoulder to the next customer. There was a positively sombre tone along the streets. 

If the game ended in 2-2, the complains of Lampard's 'lost' goal might hold more weight but with Germany trouncing England 4-1, any review of score is moot. But one thing is for sure, regardless of whether Fabio Capello will continue coaching the English team, England will heading to Brazil in 2014 convinced that they will win it.

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drcrab said...

hi CK!
I don't think the game would have ended in 2-2 - just because they would have played on till a winner/loser is decided. Having said that if that goal was allowed (and frankly, if you speak to any German, they'd admit that it was quite obviously, a goal) then the psychological impact at half-time would have been different (ie, we're tied, we can possibly do it!), as opposed to 'bugger, we're losing, should we just start defending?'...

so, even if the final score was that England lost and Germany won, if that goal had been let in, most people would have said 'well, ok - tough luck'... as it is, there was the 'what if' question which will forever be on people's minds... rather like the Ireland-France qualifier (handball by Henry). Given that France went out so quickly in the first round, many have said that Ireland could have done better etcetc - of course, no one will ever know, but you know there's always the 'what if' question!! :)

C K said...

True, true! I was actually thinking about 'what if' the score ended 2-2 at full time.

On an interesting note, a columnist was commenting on why set up a team that represents London comprises of players (across nationalities) who play in London based clubs. I wonder whether the British team would perform better compared to its constituent countries' teams.