Des Kelly: England don't stand a chance, right So just enjoy Euro 2012
00:45 GMT, 9 June 2012
Give me an E. Give me an N. Give me a
G. Actually, just give me a whole load of Es, because the only way I’m
going to carry on with this England cheerleader nonsense is if I’m on
There’s no need for the pom poms this
time. It seems the majority of people in this country have finally
accepted that we need to treat the national team in a truly English
fashion, with a cough of embarrassment and a muttered apology.
Over me head, son: Andy Carroll is caught out by a playful attack from team-mate Wayne Rooney in training
Instead of ranting and raving at the
inevitable — and yes, I include the media in this — the public have come
to regard the football side in the same way we view so many other
perennial disappointments of this nation’s daily life, like the weather,
public transport, daytime TV and Nick Clegg.
We put up with it. We make do. We
tell ourselves, ‘mustn’t grumble’, join the queue and wait patiently in
line for the only cashier on duty.
It seems England has acknowledged it’s fine to keep the face paint to a minimum and leave the Jubilee bunting in the garage until the Olympics.
As far as the country is concerned, this Euro 2012 tournament is the sporting equivalent of a Bank Holiday washout, where people sit on the beach in the freezing rain, eating their ice cream cone under an umbrella. Yes, it is grim, but there is still a bloody-minded determination to extract some small delight from the ordeal, even if it is through chattering, gritted teeth.
In light of this prevailing mood, there should be no problem with the fact that most of the media believe Roy Hodgson’s side don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of success either.
Yet a constant moan is heard that England’s chances are somehow being undermined by reports suggesting — and you may need to sit down before you read this — the team aren’t particularly scintillating right now.
Broadcasters and Football Association suits are running around saying how we ‘must be positive’, as if Noel Edmonds’ cosmic ordering baloney will somehow propel Hodgson to the European crown.
Why It is not unpatriotic to remind everyone Hodgson is taking a depleted squad into a major championship after minimal preparation. Or that he has stupidly landed himself with an unpleasant subplot involving Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.
No matter what the FA ostriches think, it is not the media’s role to stand on the touchline waving little flags to ‘get behind the team’. Asking questions is the job.
And Hodgson has still not dealt with his ludicrous assertion that Ferdinand was left out of Euro 2012 for ‘football reasons’. Nor has the presence of obvious passengers in the squad like Martin Kelly or Jordan Henderson been accounted for.
Fostering a bond: England players visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and former concentration camp, in Oswiecim, Poland
Perversely, people have twisted the
pessimism into something else. This near-complete lack of expectation
has led to a bizarre ‘logic’ where some genuinely believe England will
do well — because it is assumed we won’t.
If I haven’t lost you already, the argument, as I understand it, seems
to be that because the squad are ostensibly poorer than any in recent
years, the pressure is off and this offers England a better chance of
Why didn’t we think of this ruse before If this is the yardstick of
likely success, then the favourites, Germany and Spain, are out of it
already while the Republic of Ireland will surely walk away with the
trophy because nobody gives them a prayer.
Such thinking says a great deal about the human spirit. Or it
demonstrates there are enough deranged mugs out there swallowing this
reverse psychology claptrap to keep bookmakers and casinos in business
After a bit of spin-doctor coaching, no doubt, Wayne Rooney delivered an upbeat assessment as the team touched down in Poland.
‘We know we’re good enough to make the semis or the final,’ he said. ‘If
people don’t believe that, then it’s up to them, but I don’t see why we
Maybe it’s because they’re not wearing his red-rose tinted spectacles.
Of course, Rooney has to sound positive and it is right and proper he
should talk a good game. But what a shame he can’t play it too.
His stupid red card against Montenegro means he misses the opening two
group matches and England could be out of the tournament by the time he
has a chance to kick a ball rather than an opponent.
Waiting for action: Wayne Rooney will miss out on England's first two games
Once again, we are all hoping it might come better. If England feel
insulted by the negativity, maybe it will create a siege mentality
reminiscent of Bobby Robson’s squad during their run to the semi-finals
at Italia 90 But back then they could rely on quality too, with Gary
Lineker scoring goals and Paul Gascoigne providing the spark.
And England’s best European Championship showing was when Terry Venables
got the media and the public onside at Euro 96.
MY EURO 2012 PREDICTIONS
England to scrape through in second place behind France in Group D following a nervy win over Ukraine in the final match.
Despite a couple of dogged draws in a difficult group, Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland exit the competition in the first round.
England go one stage further than Ireland but surrender to Spain in the quarter-finals with barely a whimper.
In the semis, Germany beat Italy and the Spanish edge past Holland in a repeat of the fractious 2010 World Cup final.
On July 1, Germany deny Spain the chance to become the first nation to defend the title and Joachim Low’s men are crowned European champions for the fourth time.
That was on home soil
with Alan Shearer leading the line and Gazza still offering the odd
flash of unpredictable genius.
So forget counter intuitive psychology, or the media or ‘pressure’.
It’s about good players performing when the occasion demands.
And, besides a good goalkeeper and an able left back, there’s little of that class on offer in Hodgson’s squad without Rooney.
England should still get through their group. They have enough to
squeeze past Sweden and Ukraine and they will be tidy and organised.
This is probably the best that can be said about them — and maybe we
should accept that is how it will be.
This could help. A study in America showed that the majority of people
reading a book found it more pleasurable if they knew the ending in
San Diego psychologists gave their subjects 12 short stories and in
every single case those armed with a plot spoiler preferred the
experience. They were less anxious about the eventual outcome and could
therefore enjoy the detail of the story itself.
Let’s do the same with England at Euro 2012. There are two realistic
plotlines. Either England perform with style before they are knocked out
in the quarter-finals; or they bore everyone rigid before they are
knocked out in the quarter-finals.
Now that we know how this all ends, pass the popcorn and let’s enjoy it.
On side: England's best showing in a European Championship came in 1996, when there was a measured and enjoyable attitude towards the team
UEFA say they have a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to racism. They announce this while turning a blind eye to the fact that black players in the Holland squad were subjected to monkey chants during training in Krakow.
So I assume when UEFA talk about ‘zero tolerance’ the zero relates to the amount of effort they intend to put in to tackle this vile behaviour.
Controversy: UEFA chief Michel Platini sparked outrage by suggesting players might be booked should they leave the field of playing protest against racism
Picking Beckham makes a mockery of the motto
Speaking of cheerleaders, the reasons
people are celebrating David Beckham’s tediously inevitable appearance
in the British Olympic football team appear to be:
a) There’s a chance they might get a glimpse of his underpants, and
b) Lots of people will turn up to see him.
On that basis, Robbie Williams should get the call. He draws a crowd and even plays soccerball in the United States on occasion.
Hands up who wants in: David Beckham
But ignore the bogus suggestions that Beckham can lay claim to an Olympic place based on football ability.
He will be in the side simply because of his celebrity status. This is why the British Olympic Association have told Stuart Pearce that he must pick the LA exile. He shifts tickets and will keep the three-striped sponsors happy.
To be fair to Beckham, he was an outstanding talent. Although he never makes a shortlist of the best-ever Premier League footballers, he was a superb club servant. Barring the odd silly episode, he turned out on England duty with pride too and was always charming enough to warrant his fame.
But it is all past tense on the playing front. His best was some years ago. If he has a role with Team GB, it is on the sidelines next to Pearce as an ambassador and member of the backroom team.
Olympic football should be about youth, promise and the future, not all our yesterdays and fool’s gold. Otherwise it is time to change that Olympic motto to ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius… vel Celebrer’.
Higher, Faster, Stronger… or Famous.
Interesting. Or not
Alan Shearer interviewed Wayne Rooney on the television this week. For some reason it reminded me of the day he creosoted his garden fence after winning the Premier League title.