I am a sport enthusiast. In fact, I have always been quite a tomboy and jokingly used to consider myself my father’s favorite son. This is funny, because I am female.
I follow the major tennis tournaments. Sometimes I watch golf. I follow my favorite sports during the Olympics. I blog and comment about my insights. When I moved to Europe, my father did not know what I was going to do without baseball, hockey and American football.
It took me a while to embrace Motorsport, my husband’s favorite sport to spectate. Thanks to Lewis Hamilton, I eventually came aboard. I still haven’t managed to climb on the bandwagon for the Premier League.
Watching Euro 2016
I do, however, enjoy international competition in football (aka soccer). This includes the Champions League, The World Cup and The Euro Cup. After watching the English football club in the two latter tournaments, it didn’t take me long to realize that they are not champions.
For twelve years now, it is always the same. The media hypes up the English football team. The fans are deeply engaged. The masses are hopeful, if not certain. The national football commentators predict victory. The international commentators commentating for English media are cordial and play along. In the end, the English football team never takes the championship. Ever.
The manager resigns. The commentators predict who might resume the position. The position is filled. Coverage of the national team is built up and the whole routine begins again.
England Football’s Worst Defeat
This year was the worst. From the start, there was great expectation. While of all the British countries under the Union Jack, only Scotland didn’t make it out of qualifying. For the first time, England was joined with Wales and Northern Ireland, with Ireland alongside. In fact, all four teams advanced to the knock-out round in the final sixteen.
With all the new young players advancing to be part of the English football team, after their first match, I was hopeful. It looked like the most realistic chance in years for the English to advance to at least maybe the semi-finals of the Euro. The football broadcasters were beside themselves trying to pretend like Iceland, who was also making history by advancing to the knock-out stage, had a slight chance at victory. They were just being diplomatic.
How could England have gotten so lucky to play a team like Iceland in the final sixteen? They were pinching themselves! Just the previous day the reigning Euro champions, Spain, had to take on Italy! And it wasn’t even a quarter-final let alone a final! What went wrong with the championship set-up France had put in place? The victors of the Spain-Italy match would then go on to compete against Germany in the quarter-final, which would really feel more like a final.
What a mess!
Expecting England to Beat Iceland in the Euro 2106
Things looks grand and expectations were high as in the first ten minutes of the first half of the match after Rooney placed a penalty kick into the net. Before this, the English fans in the crowd kept their fingers crossed and bit down hard on their rally flags.
Without delay, Iceland found the net at the other end not once but twice and then successfully defended their goal for the rest of the match. England embarrassed themselves with awkward, heavy feet, funky passes and were slow-moving forward. And in the end, they suffered a 2-1 defeat. Unbelievable.
Not only did the broadcasters cut down the English football team relentlessly after the match, but also so did all of English media for the next two days. In fact, they called the English defeat to Iceland the worst defeat probably in their history. The press coverage of then manager Roy Hodgson as he was resigning was too troublesome to watch as he claimed full responsibility for their loss.
Then it hit me.
Anyone watching the match with a neutral perspective might see this clearer than those that are so attached. Of course, plausibly, Roy Hodgson is not the one to blame for the way the footballers played against Iceland. He was not, after all, the one kicking the ball. He made the comment that he can take the team no further.
Cultural Issues for the England Football Team
I say this because their problem is cultural. The Premier League is the most distinguished football league in the world. Just about any young man with aspirations of playing pro ball would love a spot in this league. It carries with it history, legend and a sort-of prestige.
Why, then, do the national players suffer when playing together?
The English are the most diplomatic people in the world. They are a people group that avoids confrontation. They are so opposite people from the Mediterranean, for example. The Italians are aggressive and vocal. The Spanish are confident. The Germans are fighters and are big and strong.
I think the English carry this mentality onto the field. I think the media has it wrong. Just like Hodgson claimed in his interview, the team of players do have unity, they do have soul and desire to win, they do put the time in on the field in practice. I think what is missing is the fighter instinct. There isn’t one real leader on the English team, one guy who can take their banner, run forward, and urge the team to fight and destroy.
I must say, this will probably never change. I share my thoughts so those die-hard English football fans will brace themselves for the future. Accept it and move on. Enjoy each game as if it were the last and keep hoping.
In the meantime, with all the aforementioned in mind, cut England some slack and give the Iceland football team some respect. They have real courage and have beaten all the best teams recently. They played decent and are a real dark horse with luck looking at them with intent. I am hoping that Wales and Bale can carry the Union Jack at least one more game. Don’t worry. I know it is a long shot.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…