After England's humiliating 0-0 draw with Algeria today, we have seen the ruin of yet another branding campaign by the English Football Association and a sad day for fans hoping to see St George's banner honored by fine playing.
I use the term 'branding' because the new manager, Fabio Capello, has stood out more for his political views and fashion sense than for any inspired approach to the game. He replaced former Middlesbrough manager Steve Mclaren in 2007 after England lost to Croatia 3-2, thus failing to qualify for the Euro 2008 tournament.
Capello has imposed a more rigorous training regimen, and banned players' wives and girlfriends from visiting the team hotel. This is merely fussing over the symptoms of a deep-rooted disease.
A fan writes:
I love that the US players are hard-working, honest guys who play for each other and hustle until the last whistle....I love that when my kids met midfielder Stuart Holden just weeks before the World Cup, he treated them with genuine respect and affection. I love that our underdog team can beat mighty Spain and draw over-rated England. I’m afraid if soccer ever does “blow up” in the US, so much of what I love about the game in the US won’t be true any more.
Having lived two years in Britain, I can attest that its elite football world is over-commercialized, arrogantly complacent, and homophobic. It saddens me to see a country I am so fond of suffer such bad football.
1. Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland all failed to qualify as well.
2. This perhaps only encourages them to seek out unsafe sex with prostitutes.