England Football Team -- The Perennial Underachievers Or An Overhyped Lot?

Updated: 29 June 2016 16:16 IST

England have clinched the FIFA World Cup just once (1966) and never won the European Championships. They have not won at the knockout stages of a major tournament since 2006

England Football Team -- The Perennial Underachievers Or An Overhyped Lot?
England have never won the European Championships, their best finish being third places in the 1968 and the 1996 editions. They lost to Iceland 2-1 in the Round of 16 Euro 2016 match. © AFP

For the second time in a week on June 27, England exited Europe, and like the first, this time as well they had no one but themselves to blame.

For a country boasting one of the best football leagues in the world, England's humiliation at the hands of minnows Iceland at the Euro 2016 will again raise questions about where the country' football is going.

However, does England's ouster really come as a surprise? It's been 10 years since England won at the knockout stages of a major tournament.

In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, England were dumped out in the group stage after back-to-back losses to Italy and Uruguay.

In Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, England were booted out by Italy in the quarterfinals. Before Euro 2016, last-eight matches were held straight after the group stage.

In the 2010 World Cup after scraping through to the group stage, which had teams like United States, Slovenia and Algeria, England were handed a lesson in football by Germany, who thrashed them 4-1 in the Round of 16.

Following a dismal qualifying campaign, England didn't even qualify for the Euro 2008.

England have only once reached the semi-final of the World Cup since their win in 1966, losing to Germany in the 1990 last-four stage.

They have never won the European Championships, their best finish being third places in the 1968 and the 1996 editions.

The pattern is there for all to see. The England national team has only once won a major tournament in their history -- the FIFA World Cup in 1966. That was exactly 50 years back! So the hype surrounding the English team is just mystifying.

Why England are categorised as one of the favourites going into every major tournament is baffling. And yet again, they put in an average performance when it mattered most at Euro 2016 and saw the axe fall on their head.

Clubs Need to Take Responsibility

Their ouster in the knockout stage didn't come as a shock but it was their defeat to Iceland, a country the size of Leicester City, was the alarming bit for the English fans.

It's not like the team that arrived in France was just plain bad. It's not like there is no talent in the country. It's failure to harness the potential that has been the downfall of English football.

Players like Delle Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane have all done well for their clubs in the Premier League.

The England U21s have twice won the European Championships and are five-time semi-finalists. But one of the biggest problems is that young English players are not getting enough opportunities to play at the highest level.

Top English clubs are choosing to sign youngsters from other countries and give them a chance. But you can't fault them when English youngsters come at a premium price.

One great example is that of Raheem Sterling. There is no denying he has the potential to be a great but is definitely not worth the 49 million Pounds that Manchester City paid to sign him from Liverpool.

Young English talents are being priced out by their parent clubs and top clubs in the country feel it's more feasible to buy a foreign youngster, who is maybe at the same level but comes at one-fourth the price.

This environment needs to change and quick. The number of English players playing at top English clubs is falling dramatically and this is only harming the country's football.

The English Football Association (FA) need to sit up and take stock of the situation and make the necessary changes or the national side will continue to fall further into an abyss.

roy hodgson 2806
Roy Hodgson, who was appointed manager of England in 2012, resigned after his team's humiliating loss to Iceland.

© AFP

Roy Hodgson Out!

But it's not just the players, who are to blame here. Sometimes managers undeservedly are put to sword because of the poor performance of their team. But Roy Hodgson should get no sympathy here!

England fans are still coming to terms with the shock of defeat to Iceland but they have at least been united in relief as Hodgson called time on his tenure.

Moments after the match, Hodgson gave a prepared statement, resigning from his post. How he so quickly managed to put that statement together and in such short time, left many pundits scratching their heads.

Hodgson was appointed manager of the Three Lions in 2012. He joined the national team after a stint with West Bromwich Albion.

The 68-year-old looked clueless in the technical area as the England players saw their Euro dreams come crashing down.

He was paid more than three million pounds to coach what is a talented group of English footballers and he was outwitted, in part, by a man who works as a dentist because being a football manager in Iceland just doesn't pay the bills.

Manager aside, another cause of worry will be that the English players showed a distinct lack of heart. There is no shame in losing but it's the manner in which you lose that determines your character.

England players showed zero character on the field. It seemed as if they were just going through the motions and fans in the stadium in Nice made it clear what they thought of the performance as they sang 'not fit to wear the shirt'.

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Topics : England Wayne Rooney Iceland Euro 2016 Football
Highlights
  • England were stunned by first-timers Iceland in Euro 2016 last-16
  • England's highly paid coach Roy Hodgson quit after Euro 2016 exit
  • England have not secured a major title since winning 1966 FIFA World Cup
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