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European Report #2: Boring Boring England


It’s a truism of sports fans everywhere that no matter how badly their team performs, there remains the hope – nay, the expectation – that next time it will be different. In this regard – and only this regard – England are football’s world leaders. No sooner was this summer’s sorry World Cup performance over with, Sven Goran Eriksson leaving with tail through legs trailing sackloads of money, than the fans were looking forward to Steve McLaren’s tenure.

Early Euro 2008 victories over Andorra and Macedonia appeared to confirm this blind optimism, except for the fact that England’s victories were… well, they were over Andorra and Macedonia. Still, the positivity surrounding the New England encouraged me to duck into The Oddfellow’s Arms in Beverley at the end of a Saturday shopping day for a half pint over an excruciatingly pitiful first half display at home to Macedonia. Not only were the players, almost to a man, entirely devoid of inspiration, but the 75,000 so-called supporters at Old Trafford made about as much noise as Gillingham fans on a wet February Wednesday night.

Intensely boring as the 0-0 draw was, it could have been worse. England could have lost. Which is exactly what they did, four days later, in Croatia. Steve McLaren’s honeymoon is well and truly over, and the New England looks exactly the same as the old one.

Steve McLaren: Looking for a New England?

A footnote: Over the same two-game period that England failed to score, Scotland managed a famous victory against France, Wales beat Cyprus and Northern Ireland beat Latvia. Just as well for England that the Home Internationals were abandoned, then.

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1 Comment(s)

  1. snotty moore

    24 October, 2006 at 8:22 am

    Hey, don’t forget that Norn Iron have beaten Spain and England in qualifiers. No one was too surprised at losing to Croatia (better teams than England have failed in 30 odd games unbeaten at home). A draw would haave been fine. But the performance was abject. It was like the Graham Taylor years all over again, but this time with no defence.

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