A football team donning the Three Lion’s striking kits took to the pitch this week. They had everything to prove and they knew it. They essentially needed to win their match and were expected to. After a shockingly uninspired first 45 minutes, their manager vociferously reminded them of who they were and what they needed to do. Their captain knew that this would likely be the last opportunity in a World Cup for many of the team’s players. So the team’s courageous central defender stood up and scolded, “there’s not one person in this dressing room who’s done enough – not even 50% of what they can do”.
They returned to the field and delivered a rousing comeback, coming back to equalize from two goals down. And who scored the decisive equalizer in the 88′?
As you probably know, that team wasn’t the England team currently led by Fabio Capello. Capello’s men didn’t manage to show a hint of heart, tenacity, spirit or national pride in their performance against Algeria on Friday in South Africa. The dismal result has launched the squad – and maybe the entire country – into a frenzy. How could players that can excel at the domestic level come out so flat against the assumed worst team in the World Cup?
Questions regarding Fabio Capello’s man-management style and team selection abound. The England camp apparently can do little right. (Hell, at least the French can successfully launch a player revolt, Mr. John Terry). But perhaps England can now realize that its wild pomposity has little to do with its national team’s quality.
At least one national team’s quality, that is. England’s Women’s National Team exhibited everything its male counterparts didn’t in their performance one day after the Algerian disaster. The team needed to earn a result against group co-leaders Spain to have any chance of qualifying for their third Women’s World Cup. Things looked dicey as England performed poorly, conceding two early goals in the first half. But the team came roaring back for the draw, thereby keeping their World Cup dream alive.