England’s chances

Posted: May 23, 2010 in England
Tags: ,

I want to get this out of the way early. There are some people out there who genuinely believe that England will win the World Cup, or, even worse, should win the World Cup. These people are idiots. And I include Pele in that, in expectation of his now-standard “I think England will win the World Cup” prediction. There’s no need to pander to us any more Pele. You’ve become the face of Viagra and visited Bramall Lane. There’s literally no way you could raise yourself higher than that in my eyes. So to speak. Just sit back and enjoy your countrymen winning again instead.

I strongly expect the eventual winners to be one of two teams: Brazil or Spain. Netherlands would probably be next in line, in most people’s eyes. I am considering a cheeky punt on both France and Argentina, both of whom barely qualified but are so obviously better than those results suggest. France in particular. Both have crackpot managers but I have a feeling Maradona might engender some Mourinho-esque “us versus the world” attitude that extends past running over cameramen and then calling them assholes.

So there’s five teams straight away that I’d say are much more likely to win the World Cup than England, and I haven’t even mentioned the defending champions Italy.

Back in the halcyon days of France 98, when my single scarring England experience had come when Gareth Southgate’s penalty was saved two years earlier, I thought England could beat anyone. I thought that 1998 side was phenomenal, and when I read Glenn Hoddle’s comments after the Argentina defeat, about how he was certain we would’ve won the World Cup had we got through that penalty shootout, I couldn’t have agreed more. We were unstoppable. Beckham, Shearer, Sheringham, Adams, Owen, Campbell, Seaman…Merson…er…Scholes… um…. Assuming we’d beaten “the Argies” then we would have had the small matter of the Netherlands (Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp!), then Brazil, and then the brilliant French. We’d have been fucked.

But 12 years ago, I saw everyone as inferior to England. I remember all the talk before that game with mates was “Argentina? We’ll smash em”, and that it would take some sort of freak result/performance to diddle us (admittedly, it did take a red card…).

Nowadays I’d rank England’s chances against selected nations as follows:

Spain: England to maybe win 1 game out of 10

Brazil: perhaps 2/10

Netherlands: 4/10

France: 3/10

Argentina: 5/10

Italy: 3/10

Germany: 4/10

Portugal: 3/10

And I’m being reasonably optimistic in all of those. Assume we have to play 4 of those teams en route to the final. Then add up the respective scores. The result is about how likely I think England will win the World Cup. Yes, about a 25% chance. Christ, even that seems a bit high. 1 in 4? Doesn’t really stack up down the years does it?

This blog’s name comes from a quote attributed to Kevin Keegan, who when asked on his mood post-game commented “We’re not disappointed…just disappointed.” I was wanting to name it after another Keegan moment but decided it wasn’t quite memorable enough. Anyway, that moment came as David Batty stepped forward to take (what proved to be) the final penalty in the 1998 shootout against Argentina.

Commentator (Brian Moore): Quickly Kevin, you know him best, will he score?

Keegan (instantly): Yes.

He didn’t.

We won’t.

Great, now that that’s out the way, I’m off to Wembley tomorrow to see the match against Mexico. Never seen an England match before, and my only visit to the new Wembley was unenjoyable to say the least (Cardiff fans: at least you fucking scored) so I’m looking forward to that. And even if England aren’t going to win the World Cup, I hope we can all enjoy it while they last.

  1. Matt says:

    If we only have a 3/10 chance of beating Portugal. And Portugal can’t beat the Cape Verde islands. What does that mean?

    How was your first England game? Strangely enough my one and only England game was against Mexico at Pride Park. Joe Cole got his first cap, and they won 4-0.

    I didn’t see the game, but I do think that England might be trying to be the first team to win the world cup by only scoring from set-pieces.

    • ohibeans says:

      It means… that I’m talking bollocks. I dunno. It means we always lose on penalties to Portugal, that’s what it means.

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