Fragile mentality cost England their place in the quarter finals of Euro 2016

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In a way, it didn't matter who England would face in the knock-out stages of Euro 2016; they would always be their own worst enemy.

Whether they faced tournament favourites or a nation of 330,000 people, England's lack of mental strength meant they were guaranteed to crumble under the pressure.

As it transpired, lack of ideas at the front and lack of quality at the back were enough to ensure what is being called England's most embarrassing defeat ever.


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But one thing that could have overcome the obstacles is a different mentality, the kind of mentality shown by Italy, and Iceland.

In a world where top professionals employ sports psychologists and to overcome issues such as lack of confidence, nerves and fear of failure, it has to be asked whether Roy Hodgson did any work with his team on the psychological side of the game.

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When sides like Wales and Iceland progress to the latter stages of the tournament, it is in part because of the lack of pressure that they are able to succeed. The position of the underdog is becoming enviable when the eyes of the whole world are watching.

Being 'the favourites' is having an impact on many teams in Euro 2016: Spain also went out yesterday to an Italian side named the worst in years before the tournament commenced.

But England must overcome these mental barriers if they ever dare to dream of winning a tournament again. Players are under more pressure every year; the press are much more intrusive now than twenty years ago, and social media ramps up the heat again.


They cannot expect pressure or expectation to disappear, so must work with mental coaches on the best ways of overcoming fear, pressure and failure in order to live up to their true potential.

England were so scared of failing last night that they effectively ensured their own failure. They went behind, became chaotic, and were thus unable to pass accurately, play in formation or adhere to any kind of plan, if there ever was one.

Yes, there are many other factors you can blame, and many other individuals you can blame - Hart and Hodgson being top of the list - but the fact remains that until England get over their 50-year demons, the nation will never enjoy international success, no matter how good the players.

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Wayne Rooney
England Football
Euro 2016

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