We are out of the World Cup. We have not accumulated any points thus far. And we are probably going to lose to a team ranked 18 places lower than us.
However there is sufficient cause for hope, however intangible it may currently seem.
And I'll tell you why.
There were several processes every England fan went through before any ball had been kicked when assessing England´s team and their prospects.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Firstly, and arguably correctly, we are not good enough to compete with the very best. 'Our squad is neither talented enough nor deep enough´. And then, ´But we do have some decent young attacking players that could excite us, potentially impress us´. And then the mindset changes completely, ´We´re actually a very dangerous team who, although underdogs, could inflict real damage and go far in this tournament. This could be our year´.
Alas, it was never to be.
However certain points can be drawn here. England have at their disposal an array of young attacking talent who are, week in week out, getting game time from their clubs. Ross Barkley has garnered a lot of praise from pundits and fans alike for his impressive displays for Everton. Raheem Sterling is another, known for his direct running and his fearless attacking attitude. Long may his partnership with Mr. Sturridge continue to prosper. Jordan Henderson is beginning to show what all the early ´gossip´ was about in his Sunderland days. The likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere are proven Premier League performers capable of moments of magic.
CAN PROMISING YOUNGSTERS DELIVER?
Now it is all very well me sitting here and listing prospective England players who may or may not represent England in the near future and crucially, whether they do us proud or not.
They, whether in the current England squad or not, have now seen what it is to fail, to underperform and to let down a nation that is so engrossed with the prospect of English success that that the only way to deal with failure is to criticise, to rebuke, to lose faith.
The aforementioned natural thought process was a prerequisite for failure. We allowed our hopes to exceed themselves. We made a leap not possible to land.
Credit to England we arrived in Brazil with no hopes or expectations and yet still left disappointed.
BUT WHAT FOR THE FUTURE? WHAT MIGHT WE LEARN?
I have mentioned some bright prospects coming through and performing in the Premier League. But what I would like to concentrate on is the mentality of an English fan, and therefore the nation.
The defeat here, in Brazil, was so crushing, so humiliating that the reverberations should echo around the minds of fans, coaches, players and players-to-be. I hope that everyone in England is ruthlessly sent spinning uncontrollably down to earth, back down to reality. Long gone are the days where we could proudly number ourselves among the worlds elite. We need to realign ourselves with the current altercations of football, we need to find our place and move on from there.
We are a nation famed for our gritty determination, our stubbornness to simply lie down and be walked upon, resolute and absolute. We are never going to light up a World Cup for our ´tiki-taka´ displays or are dependence on total-football. But what we can do is accept what we are and who we are - a proud nation capable of producing outstanding players and outstanding performances. This is step one.
From there we work our way up the ladder, however not under the current naive and cocky expectations but through hard work and merit. If we are able to discard our current mentality and our warped sense of being then I am confident that this will manifest itself in the way we play. Primarily, that our players would not succumb to failure on the account of having to deal with so much pressure. We played well against Italy because we were underdogs and then on account of this performance we started to fancy ourselves. A littler too much it turns out.
Keep Roy, keep the faith, lose the mentality.
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