Since England failed to score in the recent Algeria-England fixture, especially as they are supposed to be the superior team, there has been a lot of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in Britain. As usual, all sorts of fingers are pointing, most of them in the wrong direction, looking for scapegoats to apportion blame. The team were even booed out of the stadium after the match, an unprecedented action from very frustrated fans who were long on loyalty and short on patience. They had come a long way and spent a lot of cash, only to see little return on their investment.
Everyone is asking the question, Why? And, as usual, the manager is first in the firing line for the blame. In fact, word has already gone out that the British Football Association would expect Fabio Capello, the Italian coach, to resign; to do the gentlemanly thing and fall on his sword, should England not make it through to the next round tomorrow. All sorts of scapegoats are raising their heads in the meantime: Why does England have a foreign manager? Why does Wayne Rooney have such a big ego? Why isn't Joe Cole in the team? Why isn't the England team performing like a top club or potential winners? Why this and why that?
In answer to a couple of those questions, England shouldn't have a foreign manager, but there is no harm in having foreign players. However, the trend these days is to have the best former players as coaches, regardless of the countries they come from, which is why Zico of Brazil also coached Japan for some time, and many other star players are all over the world coaching new countries to football.
Lack of self belief
Again, hardly any of the former British managers have inspired the team to any glory. We have had a long list of triers who were excited at managing England but just couldn't cut the mustard. They have all been mediocre, apart from Alf Ramsay and Bobby Robson. So it is almost a sign of desperation to have a foreign manager.
However, the key problem with English football is to do with how the media treat the teams and the mindset they have. Britons love to blame the manager for everything, and they do not allow the team to get away with anything either. They expect perfection for the loyalty and publicity. The minute the team makes an error, or do anything inappropriate, they get it in the neck. Notice how the team has been criticised from the first match and even booed at the latest one. That was disgraceful. There should only be praise, encouragement and support during a tournament. When they get back home it is time enough for the review, analysis and complaints. How do we expect to nurture winners in such a caustic and negative atmosphere?
What the England team needs desperately is self-belief and the confidence to show how capable they really are. Yet no one can give them that except themselves. Until they get a new winners' mindset, no matter which manager they have, England will always be ruled by fear and self-doubt, while the managers keep getting axed! :o(
In view of the backlash they will face on their return, if they fail to go through the next round, I wish them luck on Wednesday when they play Slovenia. They are sorely going to need it.
FIFA World Cup Football Match times in South Africa (Wednesday 23 June)
1. England vs Slovenia (3pm GMT) Predicted winner, England - hopefully!!
2. USA vs Algeria (3pm GMT) Predicted winner, USA
3. Ghana vs Germany (7.30 pm GMT) Predicted winner, Germany
4. Australia vs Serbia (7.30 pm GMT) Predicted winner, Serbia
For comparison of each team's statistics and background
For a blog blow by blow account of the match: MatchCast
Video highlights of all the matches:
For ALL information on the FIFA football (soccer) World Cup