History weighs down on England
England launch their Euro 2012 quest in Donetsk on Monday night with manager Roy Hodgson admitting his players can feel the weight of history on their shoulders.
Not since 1966 have the Three Lions roared, a fact repeated so often it has almost become a parody of itself. Even the opposition were joining in at the Donbass Arena as a French journalist used England's miserable record since that glorious Wembley day to question whether they were a major football power.
"Of course we feel the weight of history," said Hodgson. "It was a facetious question but there was a little element of truth in what he was saying. As a top nation we haven't won as many tournaments as we should or done as well as we should."
He continued: "We all feel that weight and there's nothing we can do to take it off our shoulders except make certain we embrace the tournament, that we are not afraid of it and that we believe in ourselves.
"It's a fact of life. But I think before the very good French period we could have levelled a similar accusation against them."
It seemed England's feathers were ruffled by that major power jibe.
"You didn't actually need to remind me," Hodgson said of England's World Cup win. "That has crossed my mind on one or two occasions."
Skipper Steven Gerrard was even more forthright.
"Questions like that are more of a motivation," he said. "I don't see them as something to react to or an accusation.
"I have belief in my team-mates. I see it in training, I see it week in, week out in the Premier League."
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