World Cup 2014 Brazil: England “The Three Lions”

Steven Petrov
The Paw Print

The English national football (soccer) team will be the 3rd out of the 5 teams within the “Always Second” group that we are going to analyze, in order to determine if the country’s history within the World Cup competition or the more recent performances of “The Three Lions” will have bigger influence on how the team will perform next summer in Brazil. At first glance the latter one seems to be the more logical and influential determinant for the performance that we should expect from England at the Mundial. However, we have previously discussed the topic of “tournament experience” being one of the most important qualities that any team can possess. When discussing “tournament experience” it is more than logical for the “6 Big Contenders” (Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay and Spain) to have more of it compared to “The Always Second” group of teams, after all this fact is implied within the names of the 2 groups. However, let’s not forget that throughout the years many teams have surprised the World with little to no experience at major tournaments (Bulgaria in the 1994 World Cup and Greece in the 2004 UEFA Euro Cup). Are we going to witness a huge “surprise” next summer in Brazil, or will the World’s football “giants” take again what has always been theirs?
When discussing England and football, we can easily just interchange their meanings because football is more than just a sport in England. It is more than a national sport it is by far a social, cultural, and sports phenomenon that affects everyone at the island. The history of the game in England dates back as early as the 8th century, but the modern day game as we know it had it’s first regulations in the 19th century when the main goal was to unify all the different variations of the game and establish one regulated version of what it would turn into the World’s most popular game. Despite being the founders of the modern game, having the best club league in the world “The English Premier League” (EPL), as well as having had phenomenal players throughout the years like Gary Lineker, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and many others the “Three Lions” are definitely not one of the most successful national teams. England has won the World Cup only once, in 1966 while being hosts of the tournament. The final was more than dramatic, with a 2:2 tie after the regular 90 minutes; the game went into extra time. With 2 goals in the first extra time period, Geoff Hurst formed his hat trick and gave England the trophy. Geoff Hurst still holds the record for being the only player to ever score 3 goals in a World Cup final. Ever since that “golden year” for the English football, the “Three Lions” have underperformed in the following Mundials. Having won only one 4th place after that in 1990 World Cup in Italy, the country’s tournament record is definitely not where it should be for a football nation like England.
After taking the position of England’s head coach in 2001, Sven-Goran Eriksson, improved the country’s performance within the Mundial. The Swedish coach was the first foreigner to be assigned to the head coach position in the English team.  For 5 years Eriksson helped England to reach 2 World Cup quarterfinals in 2002 and 2006 respectively and during that time the “Three Lions” reached one of their highest FIFA World rankings, taking the 4th place. Subsequently 4 years later with Fabio Capello as the head coach, England won all but one of its World Cup qualifying group matches and made it to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. However, with drawing their first 2 games and barely making it out of their group, “The Three Lions” were again not on the top of their game. They were knocked out of the tournament in the Round of 16 by Germany, with a 1:4 loss. In their current World Cup qualifying campaign the Englishmen are again on top of their group with 16 points out of 8 games, so far. However there are two other teams with 15 points (Ukraine, Montenegro) that are right behind the “lions”, and with two more games to be played in each group England may feel a little bit of pressure at the end of this qualifying campaign. The English players are aware that they must win both of their next two games, in order to prevent any “unpleasant surprises” to occur for them, which can leave them out of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. I believe that the really experienced English players will take theirs and will qualify for the next year’s Mundial where they will have a lot to prove! is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet