Day: July 1, 2010

The England Obituary, Part Four: Where Do We Go From Here?

In the fourth part of our look at England’s elimination, Rob Freeman suggests that perhaps we don’t need a post mortem of this team’s so-called failure, and suggests that England don’t need small changes here and there, they need a revolution beginning at the lowest level there is. I’m not overly sure we even need a post-mortem. The coach is one of the best in the world. The squad he took wasn’t controversial – the big story was the omission of the desperately out of form Theo Walcott, and that wasn’t a bad decision. The teams selected were pretty much the best you could select with the squad. As it happens, the worst thing that happened to England was the injury time goal that Landon Donovan scored against Algeria, changing their opponents from Ghana to Germany. That Ghana look impressive (until you reach their first choice strikers), suggests that the second round was as good as it gets, and that’s pretty much what our squad deserved. In our World Cup predictions, I suggested the England could reach the semi-final if the avoided Germany, but Ghana and Uruguay (the two teams England would have needed to get past, in order to achieve a semi-final berth) have proven to be a lot stronger than most English-based pundits have given them credit for – especially considering that Ghana are without Michael Essien....

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Good Luck, Jonathan: Nigeria’s President Calls The Shots

In the immediate aftermath of a disappointing World Cup campaign, it might seem like an appealing idea. Get the team out of all competitive football and force them to rebuild for a couple of years. The edict issued forth by the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, to dissolve the national football team for two years and to dissolve the Nigerian Football Association, the NFF, beats a highly populist drum and has been greeted with a degree of support from Nigerian football supporters, but he could, in taking such drastic measures, find himself on a collision course with FIFA. It was a massively disappointing World Cup for Nigeria. The notion of this World Cup somehow being a “home” tournament for teams from Africa was a little simplistic. After all, Lagos is 2,800 miles from Johannesberg (only 300 miles less than the distance between Lagos and London). However, expectations in Nigeria were high that this team could get through to the latter stages of the tournament, but things didn’t quite work out like that. Defeats against Argentina and Greece in their opening two matches gave them only a slight chance of getting through the group stages, and a 2-2 draw against South Korea in their final match sealed their elimination from the tournament. Goodluck Jonathan hasn’t been the president of Nigeria for very long. He only took power on the sixth of...

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The England Obituary, Part 3: “Ha Ha Ha!”, Or “Bloody Hell!”?

In the third part of our brief series on England at the 2010 World Cup, Mark Murphy reports on his four-yearly bout of schadenfreude and how England at least managed to give some people a degree of pleasure this summer. The most virulent Scottish nationalists may want 27th June declared a public holiday after England’s World Cup exit in Bloemfontein – or, failing that, 18th June, the day of England’s draw with Algeria. But there was something about this England World Cup exit which may have tempered the delight of even the most loyal anyone-but-Englanders (ABEs).  Under Sven Goran-Eriksson, the England team’s performances at major international tournaments – quarter-final exits in the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004 – were, apparently, under-achievement on a grand scale, with sterile, clueless football to boot. From a neutral’s point of view, this was plain wrong. England played some good football in both tournaments, very good at times in Euro 2004. So when the England team were sterile and clueless, in the 2006 World Cup and in Euro 2008 (non) qualifying, the critics had nowhere to go. There were no words they could add to previous criticisms, apart from “sorry, we were a bit harsh before.” And those words weren’t about to be written. And now, in 2010…bloody hell. The 0-0 draw with Algeria ought to have brought a “ha ha ha” to...

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