Thoughts So Far…

A couple of things to remember before today’s Quarter Final.

England haven’t beaten either of their last two opponents in 90 minutes. Yes, the 1-0 defeat to Belgium nine days ago was basically a reserve game where losing wasn’t the worst outcome, but after having watched the Red Devils in action against Brazil yesterday it’s hard not to argue that even if that game had been between two full strength sides, England would have needed to have pulled all the stops out to beat our near neighbours.

Colombia didn’t have James Rodriguez available but England should have won that game in 90 minutes. If Colombia had played as well as they could have done – and I’ve got no idea why they didn’t apart from the last five minutes of the second half – then England would have been in trouble. The Cafeteros lost because they deserved to and I’m sure that had Bobby Moore still been with us he’d have felt pleased that the swines who framed him for stealing that necklace all those years ago were knocked out in a penalty shoot out that we finally won.

To some extent, we’re lucky to be playing Sweden this afternoon: they’ve never beaten us outside Sweden but two of the last three competitive meetings – including both games in the World Cup finals – have ended in draws. If we progress, then it’s possible we’ll either play the hosts or Croatia – and we’ve got a lot in common with the latter side – and I’ll cross that bridge if we come to it,

Don’t get me wrong, this is a refreshing change from the last few tournaments.

But I don’t think I’m alone when writing that I am worried about the level of expectation amongst casual fans (and especially how they’ll react if/when England are eliminated) but I’ve also had to field several ridiculous enquiries about a dating app for England fans and a couple of less than stellar attempts to emulate ‘World Cup Willy’, ‘Back Home’ and ‘Three Lions’.

If football does actually come home in just over seven days’ time, expect the camp followers and the baggage train to be very much in evidence.

One thought on “Thoughts So Far…

  1. Celtic Sides in English Checkatrade Football League Trophy –
    How about the English invite a selection of Celtic club sides into the English Football League Trophy?
    The English Football League Trophy is played between League One, League Two, and the under 21 sides of some English Premier sides.
    I think if the English really want to help Celtic soccer, then instead of stealing our biggest sides from our leagues, or merging the leagues, and ending our football identity. The best way would be to let us keep our own leagues, and European qualification, but added on with that have Cross border cups.
    As I have said I a previous post today the Scottish Challenge Cup allows Irish, Welsh, and English sides to compete in it on an invitational basis.
    So let’s improve on that, and get the English to invite Celtic club sides into the Football League Trophy. How about all the sides in the Scottish Premier who have not qualified for Europe, plus the top 4 Welsh Premier sides, and one side each from Northern and Republic of Ireland?
    I think we are talking in the case of England and Scotland about pro sides. So it should not be problme to travel up and down the UK. Lorry drivers do this. Welsh part time sides have travelled from North Wales to San Marino. so a trip from Bala to Coventry should not be a too tough.
    Yes travelling to Ireland might be tough, but the country is beautiful and would be a great trip for fans of English, Welsh, and Scottish sides.
    I am not pretending, for one second that St Mirren v Burton Albion is going to fill St Mirren’s stadium. Or that Burton Albion v St Mirren would fill Burton’s stadium. I am not suggesting that English League One, and English League Two sides are going to draw in full crowds at every stadium. But it is not as if we play Real Madrid and Barcelona every week. A typical game for lower half Scottish Premier sides is a game against Motherwell, or Livingston. So we are not swapping St Mirren V Real Madrid, for St Mirren V Lincoln. We are adding some interesting journies and the chance to play for national pride against some historic English clubs with big stadiums, and rich histories.
    England, has a great bantering relationship with the Celtic nations. Let’s take advantage of that for some cross border games.
    Some fans will claim it is a hideous idea for Dundee to play Coventry, or Inverness to have had to have travel down to Carlisle. But that is nonsense.
    Those are the sort of fans who think anything below the big premier clubs is hideous and not worth bothering about. I have watched cross border Scottish Challenge Cup games, and European games, and there is real passion for the chance for a small club to put themself forward for the nation not just their town or city.
    Teams from the North of England regularly travel down to the South of England, but no one complains about that.
    Also I do not see it as doing terrible damage to English soccer to travel to other parts of the British Isles every few weeks in a cup tournament.
    The Benefits
    The Welsh
    Would really benefit from playing English and Scottish pro sides in a cross border cup. By their standards attendances, and finances would be massive. If the English really want to help Welsh soccer then invite some Welsh sides into their cup trophies.
    The Scottish
    Would benefit from testing themselves against pro English teams, and would get the opportunity to play for a chance to be in a final at Wembley Stadium and put their names forward outside of Scotland. To be part of another country’s football history
    The English
    Would get to travel to other parts of the British Isles, and for teams that have no chance of qualifying for Europe, to test themselves outside of England.
    It would do no harm to English or Scottish soccer, would be a massive boost for Welsh soccer.
    The EFL Football League Trophy, would expand it’s brand, outside of England,
    The Celtic sides would play in the early rounds in the knockout stages just as the English sides do.
    We speak the same language share the same archipelago. There are people who do the 3 peak challenge (Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scaffel Pike) in one day, and holiday makers travelling to Australia, so I will not hear this nonsense that pro football teams cannot travel a handful of times a season up and down the UK.

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