The English might have offended some footballing gods, or perhaps it is a curse placed on the football on this nation. The English public has always held high hopes of succeeding at every tournament the country goes to.
During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, against all the odds, the country produced a stunning performance by going all the way to the semifinals. The team had never won a penalty shootout in some recent memories, but in the round of 16 match against Colombia, the team produced nerveless performance by going all the way to the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals, England swept aside a Sweden side that progressed from the group, which had world champions Germany. Much was being said in the English media in the lead up to the semifinals against Croatia. The English media believed that “football was finally coming home” after 52 years of pain and anguish. The team, however, did not live up to the expectations losing in the semifinal in extra-time. The loss was a case of deja vu for the English public and fans around the world. The hope of ending the 52-year trophy drought for the English rumbled on.
At the women’s world cup in France (2019), the England manager, Phil Neville, openly declared that the team is targeting the ultimate price. The bookmakers set them among the pre-tournament favourites to challenge the United States on the crown they had won four years ago.
The team started like a house on fire and a team on a mission to show the world that they were serious at the tournament. They swept aside all teams in the groups and progressed to the knockout phases of the competition. The team was defensively sound just conceding a goal in the first three games of the tournament. In the next two rounds, the team scored six goals with the defence shutting their opponents.
In the semifinals, the team came up against the might U.S.A team led by Alex Morgan. The team came short of the expectations raised in the previous rounds. It was a familiar feeling and sight of seeing the English team coming short of glory.
The 1966 triumph at Wembley remains the only major trophy the English have to show for their efforts. However, it must be pointed out that the controversy around Sir Geoff Hurst’s goal against West Germany in the final might have spelled some bad luck for the English football fraternity. Since this momentous moment for the English football fraternity, the country has never experienced any luck in most tournaments. The Germany football gods might have cast a spell on the English football family.
It remains to be seen if the English misfortunate will end in the Euro 2020 tournament.
By Moono John
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