England's mentality could lead to serious repercussions at Euro 2016

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Football News

So a wonderful weekend of sport is over for the British Isles. Wales and Northern Ireland qualified for the European Championships while the Republic booked a play-off birth.

In the Rugby World Cup, Scotland, Ireland and Wales have all advanced to the quarterfinals.

So what about England? They won a pointless game of football 2-0 and a meaningless game of Rugby 60-3.


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It shows once again that when it barely matters England seem competent and are able to meet the expectations.

How things could have been different if the pressure was on against Uruguay or Estonia, would it have been so easy then? In my experience of following English sport, No it wouldn't. 

Nerves and desperation would have been clear for all to see as England floundered under the pressure of trying to save their skin.

The reality appears to be that England produces top quality sportsmen with a weakness under pressure. 

There are hundreds of elite sportsmen who crumbled under pressure, but there are also those who have succeeded despite not having the greatest talent.

Two recent examples of this are Carl Froch and David Beckham: Not the most gifted individuals, but two men with outstanding records in their respective sports.

So what was it that made them excel? Both are often referred to as having heart. Beckham's memorable performance against Greece meant he singlehandedly took England to the World Cup.

Froch himself demonstrated the same heart and desire when coming out in the final round against Junior Winter to grab an unlikely win with an incredible knockout.

Froch was never the golden boy, he fought for years to get in the media spotlight. Even when he was World Champion the media and public failed to get behind him.

Beckham too was never considered the best prospect at Manchester United, not when you are in a team with Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

Beckham and Froch both had to fight to prove they were the best and it is this fight that allowed them to succeed beyond their capabilities.

In fact, many years ago, England were known for being the plucky underdog, a small little island in the Atlantic that thrived off the underdog spirit.

Contrast this with today's modern English sportsmen who share a belief that they are the best in the world and are entitled to win everything we enter. 

If we don't at least make the semi-finals then the national media will berate "Roy's Boy's" for not being good enough. 

Whereas the Welsh having qualified for an international competition for the first time can already hold their heads high.

Anything they achieve in the competition will go down in folklore and if they are to make it out of the group the country will erupt with sporting pride. 

This means the two sets of players go into the tournament with two very different sets of psychological pressure, one positive, one negative. 

Therefore despite England's team being full of "better players" (apart from Bale!) their chances of getting through the rounds may actually be less than Wales due to the additional pressure felt by the players.

It seems that in order to be successful England have to stop believing that they are entitled to win and actually be humble enough to accept that there are better out there and to win will take something extraordinary.

If England achieve this and relax knowing that we are not good enough to win, maybe not even good enough to get out of the group, as previous competitions in many sports show, we might actually be mentally in a position to overachieve and win the thing.

Who will go further at Euro 2016: Wales or England? Have your say in the comments section below!

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