Oh England. England, England, England – what can I say? There is very little to say, really. We leave Brazil with one solitary, useless point, garnered in a boring, depressing 0-0 draw with Costa-flaming-Rica.
Having made no fewer than nine changes to his starting 11 for this game, manager Roy Hodgson – who I’m starting to think no-one will say anything bad about because he looks quite cuddly – commented that we had dominated the game, but failed to capitalise on the chances presented.
We were “really unlucky” not to win this game, not that it would have made any difference to our disastrous campaign. Bad refereeing is unlucky, sustaining injuries is unlucky. Failure to make the most of chances is not unlucky; it is just a bit rubbish.
Gerrard and Rooney came on in the eleventh hour for what, in all likelihood, was the former’s swansong in international football. What a way to go, on the receiving end of fierce criticism throughout their short time in the tournament.
And now for the recriminations: whose fault was it? Was the team just not good enough? Is there an absence of home-grown talent or does the buck ultimately stop with Hodgson? Do the players just not care?
Widely-regarded as a trustworthy chap, Harry Redknapp, claims players avoided international duty during his time as Spurs manager. Meanwhile, Stevie G chipped in with the oft-peddled line that the vast sums of money earned by a Premier League footballer is affecting the desire of some younger players to represent England. Why doesn’t it affect the many other international players in the Premier League, then?
I’m sorry I can’t be more positive about it, but it is almost impossible not to be at least a bit narked by our worst ever performance in a World Cup. I always said my expectations were low, but this has been pitiful and frankly, England have really killed my World Cup buzz. Worse still, they have sent poor old Ian Wright over the edge. He delivered a measured and proportionate response to the England Team’s woeful performance: “England footballers who shirk international duties should have to phone the parents of soldiers killed in Afghanistan”. I’m sure they would be very pleased to give them a lesson or two in patriotism.
Elsewhere in Group D, whilst we were being utterly useless, Uruguayan Luis Suarez was being uncharacteristically controversial. The Liverpool striker sunk his teeth into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini. It’s a bit weird, isn’t it – all this biting? Apparently not, says sports Psychologist Dr Tom Fawcett of Salford Univeristy who says it is hardwired into Suarez – he has bitten before and he will bite again! I thought we were supposed to learn from our mistakes, like the string vest you wore in your second year at university because it was fashionable. You won’t be doing that again, will you?
Far be it from me to appear to condone the uselessness of England in this tournament, but there have been some slightly surprising results elsewhere too as both Spain and Italy make the sad journey back to less humid, European climes. And the surprise goes both ways, I thought France were supposed to choke? And who knew BELGIUM were any good at football?
I’m just pleased that my second team is the Netherlands, who fortuitously are much better at football than England.
Who will you be supporting for the rest of the tournament?
Read more from Jen here!