So the World Cup in Brazil has been and gone in a flash. The thrills and spills of 2014 were dramatic and produced a number of different exciting highlights. From the razzmatazz and outfits of supporters off the pitch to the numerous vibrant skills on it, the World Cup did not disappoint.
As one time renowned goal scorer Gary Lineker most famously put it, 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win. As for England, they once again demonstrated that they could not perform at the highest level. With the European Championship qualifiers in full swing, their previous run saw the Three Lions reach the Quarter Finals. This was of course before being beaten on penalties to the Italians with among the scorers, a delicious chip from Andrea Pirlo.
The nation drew its collective breath as Roy Hodgson and his boys jetted off to South America full of hope and aspiration. Unfortunately for them, they might as well have stayed on the plane and turned round. Thanks to a dismal display, England never even made it out of the group stages of the world's most famous knock out competition. In fact, Hodgson could not even muster up a victory as defeat by Italy and Uruguay's Luis Suarez climaxed in the final game. This again proved too much as England could only come up with a draw against Costa Rica who went through at the expense of both major footballing powerhouses.
Recently, England travelled to Turin where in spite of the fact they faced a weakened Italian team, they played out a 1-1 draw. At the end of the day, friendlies are there to try out new players, whilst tinkering with formations as well as tactics. Yet all does not bode well for France 2016 as England attempt to not return with too much egg on their face. So what is it exactly about England and what are the reasons they are incapable of winning a major tournament?
No matter how hard those players try, they simply do not have what takes in the grit department. Steely determination coupled with a never say die attitude has ensured that some triumph. Take for example Manchester United, who scored two goals in overtime against Bayern Munich in 1999. This will to win is certainly not evident in today's English line up. There may be a few individuals who are up for the challenge but when it comes down to getting over the line, the English have failed on several occasions. This includes the famous defeat to Poland in 1973 not to mention failing to qualify for several tournaments in previous years. It is this mental block that ultimately prevents them from being successful.
9 Technical Ability
Take a look around the globe and there are several international and club sides who are simply miles ahead of England. For example the great French side of the 1990s who won both the World Cup and European Championship back to back. Gifted players that were involved in that star studded line up featured the likes of Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane and Laurent Blanc. It was this technical skill that puts them ahead of England and their ability on the ball. In addition to this, there is the natural tiki-tala style of Spain that saw them triumph in some of the more recent tournaments. Their ability to run rings round defences inspired a generation and catapulted Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets to stardom. These players are coached about how to keep the ball which is a far cry from what English players are taught. From the country that invented the game, England are being taught a footballing lesson in technical ability by many other nations.
8 Tactical Awareness
There really is only one word to describe the tactical awareness of the English national side and that is inept. All too often, they can breeze through the qualifying stages only to be caught out on the bigger stage. Whether it is the old school tactics of Roy Hodgson or the gung ho attacking style of Terry Venables, England are always caught short in major tournaments. It is precisely their inability to employ a suitable formation or style of play that will beat major opposition that stops them cold in their tracks. Step back in time to 2010 in South Africa where England were hammered by four goals to one by Germany. It could have and should have been seven as England were caught napping on the counter and in the end paid the ultimate price. Once again humiliation was to rise from the footballing ashes as former manager Fabio Capello was dismissed soon after for a campaign which ended in a wave of embarrassment.
As far as talent is concerned, England have a team of individuals despite the high profile names. They can call upon Wayne Rooney from Manchester United or Joe Hart from Manchester City but in the end, they don't act as a team. They are simply not good enough as a collective unit no matter what the scenario is and don't seem to pull in the correct direction.
To their credit, down the years they have had some stand out players who have provided plenty of flair and creativity. This includes Glenn Hoddle as well as Paul Gascoigne and many others. However, for all the players available to the English coaches, there are not many who can be labelled as world class. On the other hand, there are several players in the German national team who many consider as great players such as Manuel Neuer. It is this exact concept that separates the good sides from the great ones.
As a result, this has transpired across different types of managers where England have shown they are light years away from winning anything. Until they capture the true spirit of a side such as the Germans last summer in Brazil, England will be a stagnate country.
This is largely in part down to the fact that Premier League players have it particularly cushy. After all, who would not want to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per week alongside sponsorship deals and guest appearances? Today's English players who mainly play in the Premier League are pampered and are quite comfortable in their own club environments. They just seem to be taken out of their element on the biggest stage in all of sports.
To play for your country is considered to be one of the greatest achievements in the game. Yet for some Englishmen, they do see it in an altogether different light. In this way, it means that many simply do not have that same energy or enthusiasm when the pull on an England shirt. Some have even seen playing for England as a burden and have turned down the opportunity in recent times. Whilst some players are already travelling with their clubs on a regular basis, this simply gets in the way for some. Pointless friendlies often involve travel, whilst for some there is no better feeling than the thrill of a Merseyside or North London derby to warm the cockles.
The international stage and especially major tournaments is all about how players managed under pressure. For England, it has been evident that they are unable to cope with high pressured situations where stress and the ability to deliver is paramount. Whether it is going out on a penalty shoot out or creating a magic moment in the game, all too often England fall way short. Just look at the Brazil World Cup where they did not even muster a win or drawing with Montenegro in 2010.
3 Bad habits developed at youth
For any country to succeed on the international stage, they have to invest in future generations, ensuring youngsters the best possible education in the beautiful game. This has not been the case in England for quite some time. Youngsters are not being taught the basic, necessary skills that are developed in other countries before they're even allowed to play matches. England has fallen way behind the pack and it's due to bad habits not being addressed at a young age.
Whether playing in the European Championship or FIFA World Cup it is up to a team's skill in adapting to any given situation. Unfortunately for England this opens up a whole can of worms as they are simply not able to perform even this task. Their failure to adapt to certain tactics and systems has enabled the opposition to take advantage on a host of occasions. In Rio, England were playing with sometimes two or three jumpers in training sessions. This was in order to acclimate to the searing heat out in South America which again did not help them one bit.
1 Premier League
With the sheer influx of foreign players that have come into the Premier League over the last decade or so, it is consequently causing a detriment to England. As more and more players from overseas come into the country to play in arguably one of the best leagues in the world, this pushes English players out. Back in the day, there used to be a rule outlined that there could only be a handful of foreign players in a team. As this has now been scrapped, the Premier League has become an international playground for the footballing gliterrati. This means that home grown English players will find their own opportunities extremely limited.