Sunday, April 25, 2010

More English Anticipation of Success

We haven't had one of these for, oh, maybe a week now? We're overdue.

Here is the latest: Former England coach Glenn Hoddle is the latest to suggest/predict/assume England will win South Africa 2010. Not just get out of the group stage, and advance in the knockout stage.

But to win the whole thing.

And you know what this means?

We are getting close to every single Englishman publicly stating that "this is England's year!" Which, of course, is what happens in England every four years. Which is followed by a rather astonishing collective amnesia when England is knocked out in the quarterfinals via penalties. "We knew they had no chance. Poor lads."

What does Hoddle like about the 2010 team?

Well, first he suggests the 1998 England team "looked stronger." And the 1998 team went out against Argentina in, what was it (heck, I was there, I ought to remember; the match where Becks was red-carded), the quarterfinals in St. Etienne?

So, the 2010 squad isn't quite as strong, but it can win. Gotcha.

If everyone is healthy, Hoddle said. Especially Wayne Rooney. This team's "one special player."

And Hoddle said that probably within hours of Rooney suffering a groin injury that apparently has ended his Premier League season. Rooney has said he will be fine by June 12, when England plays the United States in its first World Cup match, but groins are tricky muscles. And he wasn't quite over that ankle, either.

Hoddle also sees midfielders Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard as key contributors, as well as fullbacks Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson. (And who mans the other forward spot, Sir Glenn? Oh, that's right: you weren't knighted for losing in the quarters.)

And here is the particularly deadly part of the English Victory Disease: An assumption that escaping the group phase is inevitable. (Followed by the immediate projection about coasting through the knockout phase until at least the semifinals.)

Said Hoddle: "I don't see a problem with the group stage, although there are no easy games in the World Cup, and there will be a lot of pressure on us, but I cannot see us not going through to the knockout stages.

"We are on the right side of the draw, so we won't probably play Brazil or Spain until the semis. All in all there are a lot of good signs that England can go an awful long way in this tournament."

And now, it's up to England to support the lads. Which they will, right up until that heartbreaking defeat, when they will turn on them like rabid dogs.

Said Hoddle: "Now all that is important is that the country gets behind (coach) Fabio (Capello) and the team and that we all have a really good summer and hopefully bring back the World Cup."

Sure. Nothing to it. Happens every 44 years.
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