As the England national team drop to their lowest ranking in five years, are they destined to keep falling?
I have never paid much attention to the FIFA rankings. So the news that the England national team have dropped to their lowest position for five years didn’t bother me in the slightest.
In fact, seeing our bunch of apathy-inducing disappointments just six places below Brazil made me wonder why they weren’t considerably lower.
Yes I understand the ranking system, but that is not to say I agree with it.
Slating our national side is nothing new. But I am going to do it anyway. Because in truth I had far more fun watching Tahiti in the Confederations Cup then I have had watching my own country since 1998.
From then on, watching England wasn’t even exciting anymore. Apart from the Germany thumping – I’ll give you that.
I grew up with the unique sense of heartbreak my country had seemingly trademarked; a gut-wrenching, elation-tinged anticipation swiftly plunged into a pit of inevitable despair.
But following the euphoria and ultimate disappointment of Euro ‘96 and that match against Argentina in the proceeding World Cup, even the failures were let-downs.
We no longer do glorious failure; now we excel in damp squibs.
The fact that we are below Bosnia-Herzegovina and Ivory Coast shouldn’t be the thing that riles us.
It should be the fact that even if we qualify for a World Cup we are in danger of not being part of, we will arrive with the same over-inflated optimism quickly turned to disappointment when we realise we are slipping further and further behind the world’s elite.
Watching Tahiti I saw enthusiasm, vigour and, most importantly, I saw pride.
Watching England I see torpidity, a fragmented “collective”, and a complete absence of innovation from players and coaches alike.
So as the latest FIFA rankings are released, the only thing they highlight is that England should be much lower.
Once we could say we had the players to compete – if not the luck, the tactical nous or the ethos of other countries’ youth coaches. But now can we even say that?
image: © geetarchurchy