“England out of Europe twice in one week” was one of the numerous memes doing its rounds in the social media following Brexit and England’s inglorious exit from the Euro 2016. The immediate fallout of the shocking exit has been the resignation tendered by Roy Hodgson, who assumed the mantle of the coach from Fabio Capello way back in 2012. Serious questions are being raised as some of the finest in the English Premier League failed to make any sort of impact. It brings back to the forefront the question, ‘Is EPL really the best football tournament in the world?’ Well, that is a topic for another discussion.
Road to Perdition
What really went wrong with England? Some say it is because the English players were not psychologically strong enough to perform at the world stage against quality teams. One cannot deny that there has been sparks of brilliance every now and then, especially from the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, but these never grew into a raging fire. When faced with abject humiliation at the hands of an inexperienced yet fired up Icelanders, the English players withered away in a way that the fans will not forget in a very long time. The uninspiring tale of England’s Euro 16 can be summed up in the submissive performance of their captain Wayne Rooney. And Hodgson looked equally clueless and helpless on the sides.
One reason most experts point out is the lack of experienced players in the English side. However, this argument doesn’t hold any water. Germany, with an even younger team is having the time of their lives in the Euro 2016. Coupled with this is the fact that most of the English players have been playing for major teams in the Premier League. So, lack of match experience or quality is not the issue here. Could it be because they really lack the mental acumen to perform at the highest levels? Could it be because neither their captain nor the coach could inspire them enough to get the best out of them? The jury is out on this and several heads will roll soon.
A sliver of hope
There are certain commentators who think that this exit could bode well for English team in the long run. With England walking out of the European Union and a new coach at the helm, the time may just be ripe to build a competitive and undiluted ‘English’ team and get them ready for the World Cup in 2018. This could result in a much deeper, highly enriched pool of talented English players by then. It remains to be seen whether this opportunity will be taken for what it is or will the nation fall into deeper despair?
A new coach is yet to be named. A lot of names are doing their rounds. Instead of speculating of who could be at the helm, maybe it would serve the English term better if they concentrate on analyzing where things went wrong and start correcting them. For now, enjoy what is left of the Euro 16!