Saturday, 19 June 2010

Don´t Worry, England Will Make It. Here´s Why.

Everyone I meet seems to have given up on England, and one can understand the sentiment after the poor Friday evening performance. But everything is still to play for. Let me explain.

In the 1986 World Cup Finals, England had only one point after two matches. England turned it around with a win, a convincing win, against Poland. England went through to the second round and beyond. In Italia 90, England drew the first two matches and then won the third to top its group and went on to reach the semi-finals. Other teams have done similar things. Argentina went all the way to the Final in 1990 after winning only two matches in open play.

Italy went one better in 1982. It had won the World Cup in 1938 and then 44 years later drew all three of its group matches in the 1982 tournament and finished only second in its group. Rossi, who had a poor start to the tournament that year, became Italy´s hero against Brazil before Italy went on to beat West Germany in the World Cup Final. Interestingly, It is also 44 years since England last won the World Cup. Perhaps England will come to life now, (just as Italy did in 1982,) led by its hero, the so-far ineffective Rooney.

Put simply, if England win on Wednesday, and they should do, England will qualify for the last 16. A high scoring draw might be enough, but England must go for the win. If the USA win against Algeria, it too will qualify. Then the question is, is it better to finish top of the group or second?

In 1954, many believed that the Germans deliberately forfeited top place in its group so that it would go through to an easier side of the draw. West Germany reached the summit of world football that year by going on to win the World Cup. At the start of the South African tournament, everyone agreed that England´s best route to the Final would be in winning its group. But now, finishing second might not be a bad thing. Germany, Italy and Spain might not win their groups and if England came second it could avoid all three, as well as Brazil, before the Final. Of course, Argentina looks like winning its group and England could meet those old rivals in the quarter-finals.

Very often, teams that have started poorly have gone on to win the World Cup. It is very difficult to win 7 World Cup matches on the trot. But England need now only win 5 matches to go on to glory. The first is on Wednesday afternoon.

Steve Woods
(World Cup Companion)

1 comment:

  1. It's great to see some optimism. I agree that Friday was one of our most inept performances in recent memory, but it'll only take a win to change all that. All the doom and gloom of today will quickly be forgotten.


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