Will Tidey - Time to talk up England's chances at Euro 2012
Published: 02 Jun 2011 - 01:09:07
After witnessing Barcelona’s masterclass against Manchester United, not to mention some lung-busting play-off fare, Wembley is braced for a comedown on Saturday afternoon when a patched-up, pedestrian England return to our collective consciousness.
It’s been over two months since Fabio Capello’s men last held our attention, and if we’re honest we haven't missed them. Who needs Frank Lampard and Scott Parker when you’ve got Xavi and Iniesta for entertainment?
Most would agree England’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland is a hard one to get excited about. No Steven Gerrard, no Wayne Rooney, and a place on the footballing calendar that gives it the feel of a gentle end-of-season stretch before the awards buffet.
It’s a wonder England’s finest can still meet their cheesy summer holiday requirements these days – what with the friendly season barely a month away and qualifiers for the Champions League and Europa League proper not soon after. Football is the sport that never sleeps. Sometimes it’s exhausting.
But don’t be fooled by your apathy. It’s still only Thursday, and this being England, we can all expect to be fully engaged by Friday night and quivering with excitement as we wake on Saturday. “Where are you watching the game?” will be the question up and down the country. Evenings will be planned around it, off licenses raided.
As kick off nears, even the most cynical among us will be seduced by thoughts of Jack Wilshere ghosting past a half-dozen Swiss defenders before curling a 30-yarder into the top corner, or Darren Bent scoring a hat-trick in a dominant 6-0 victory that sparks a miraculous Bent-inspired England run to glory at Euro 2012.
Who knows, it might just happen. And even writing this is bringing back those feelings of optimism I buried like three dead lions in a South African safari park this time last year. ‘England were appalling at this World Cup, remember that,’ I told myself. ‘And don’t ever again let yourself believe this hopeless nation to which you belong will EVER win a trophy…EVER.’
But here’s the thing. Potentially, England have a defence as good as any that will be at Euro 2012. In midfield, they boast a genuine ‘could-be-the-next-Gascoigne’ talent in Wilshere, a match-winner in Gerrard and a stable of young, lightning fast wingers improving with every season. Rooney is world-class, and on the evidence of his Champions League final performance appears finally ready to do it on the biggest stage.
And that’s why we’ll say this England team can win Euro 2012. And why what happens against Switzerland on Saturday doesn’t really matter. We believe what it takes to stay interested, and if that means suspending reality we’ll go along with it.
All of a sudden, Saturday's game is the most exciting of the season.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
- Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey
Previous Blog Posts
- It's now or never for Arsene Wenger's Arsenal
- My Premier League predictions for the new season
- Twitter is the closest we get to modern footballers
- Why the Premier League needs Mario Balotelli
- The Five Greatest Premier League Transfers
- Levy should cut his losses and let Modric leave
- False Arsenomics have put Arsenal on course for mediocrity
- After Goal-line technology, what's next?
- Villas-Boas has been mentored for greatness
- Optimism is once again through the roof at Anfield
- Ferguson's United re-lay their foundations
- Time to talk up England's chances at Euro 2012
- The best Champions League final build-up...EVER
- Kaka to Kettering: Transfer Gossip Rules the Web
- Please corruption, take the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar
- Why Manchester United will beat Barcelona at Wembley
- Lionel Messi unlocks the door to greatness
- Why Arsenal and Tottenham should sell Fabregas and Bale
- Real Madrid could whitewash the El Clasico World Series
- Ferguson's United have rediscovered their sense of timing
- Can Bernard Mullin bring back the 1980s at Everton?
- Wilshere must be trusted to spark England's evolution
- Are Liverpool fans ready for the Andy Carroll era?
- All hail Harry Redknapp, the next manager of England
- Charlie Sheen shows Rooney and Cole how it's done
- Smalling could give Ferguson a big decision to make
- Arsenal took Spurs' feat in Milan and raised it
- There are no real winners in the Olympic Stadium debate
- Gary Neville was the ultimate fan on the pitch
- Tekaboo Andy Gray and Richard Keys
- The legendary New York Cosmos turn to Cantona
- Is Sepp Blatter right about the Premier League?
- Tottenham have everything to gain from Beckham
- 2010: A Footballing Odyssey
- Can Arsenal win the title without beating their rivals?
- Alan Pardew rolls up at the Newcastle United circus
- FIFA get ready to play God for World Cups 2018 and 2022
- Chelsea without Lampard are a ship without a rudder
- Free-flowing French give England a lesson in progress
- Cautious City suffocated the Manchester derby
- Mourinho's Madrid are everything you'd expect and more
- Meanwhile, in a Galaxy far far away
- Jack Wilshere has the talent to define his generation
- Ferguson revelation could threaten Rooney's United future
- Red Sox story is the stuff of Liverpool dreams
- True fans couldn't care less about tactics
- Manchester City v Chelsea: The Future's blue
- El Nino terminado? Fernando Torres on trial
- Stuart Pearce represents the future for England