Wake Up England, You're Shite: A Brazilian Football Fan Tells It Straight

A Brazilian wonders why we always get so carried away when England are at a major tournament. The players are never good enough, so what's to get excited about?
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A Brazilian wonders why we always get so carried away when England are at a major tournament. The players are never good enough, so what's to get excited about?

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England: Don't Expect Any Respect In Brazil At The 2014 World Cup

Some of the oldest memories I have come from the 1986 World Cup. I was almost five. The first was Jorge Burruchaga’s goal against Germany (the Argentinian’s name sounds really stupid in Portuguese). The other was my father laughing at the expense of the English Team in the goalless draw with Morocco. “These guys really suck. Why do they always think they can win?”, he said. As a grown up, I don’t think the Three Lions have always been that terrible. But, just as most Brazilians who care about football, I still don’t know why you lads are so optimistic at big sporting events. No idea at all. When I listen to English friends saying how confident they are, it reminds me of hearing Brazilian authorities brag about their tackling down of corruption. With still so much do do, there is basically nothing brag about. You should know better.

Don’t say you always think that England’s gonna blow it away. Your scholars write articles on how chances are high, you sing “football’s coming home” and you think you’re always “oh, so near”. Five world titles – two during my lifespan – allow me to ask: how come? Even at Euro 2012, when nothing conspired in England’s favor, there was hope rising up a minute after they qualified first place in group D. Were it happening just to average supporters that wouldn’t be a problem. But pundits, former stars and respected journalists started selling a triumphant return from Poland and Ukraine. Not one Brazilian who was watching the competition – it has big TV ratings here – put a dime on Roy Hogdson’s boys. There are good reasons for that.

A bit of self-awareness would be a good start for a better footballing future.

For some of us, I recognize, it was for sheer arrogance. We surely have developed that feeling towards the English team (in 1997 Tournoi de France I promised to stop watching football for a year the day Brazil loses to England. That day hasn’t come yet). But for many others it was basically doing the math. England lacks world class defenders, except for controversy-prone John Terry, midfielders (Steven Gerrard is miles behind Italy’s Andrea Pirlo) and strikers (Liverpool paid zillions for Andy Carroll and we found it so funny). It surely isn’t Roy Hogdson’s fault England has no great players today. It surely isn’t his fault English players prefer to stay cozy at their clubs instead of trying out Spain, Italy, Germany, wherever. It isn’t his fault Premiership contenders prefer to sign international starlets to fostering home talents.

To get respect in Brazil 2014, England needs more than Wayne Rooney’s promises and Frank Lampard’s fading flair. They need to do more than trying to teach Italians how to defend (when you’re scared enough to play defensive against Italy, what can you expect? A sunny April in London?). It is true some things don’t depend on organization – France got a World Cup because they had a genius like Zinédine Zidane at their disposal. The greatest talents don’t come easily. Surely England, who don’t have such a star, haven’t done as terribly as they could have done at Euro 2012. But a bit of self-awareness would be a good start for a better footballing future. I wish you luck, though I promise not to keep my promise to stop watching football for a year anyway.

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