Every 2 years when the World Cup or the European Championships come along we fill our fridges with beer and stick Union Jacks wherever we can fit them, We get a new hit single which reflects on the heartbreak and the near misses we have had and how this time it's our year. Even people who take no interest in football as a rule like your 87 year old Granny suddenly ask you to stick up a wallchart and fill it in for them so they can keep tabs.
The National Newspapers declare us the winners 2 weeks before the tournament starts and on the day of our opening game prints a picture of Wayne Rooney mixed with an Lion alongside the headline which reads something along the l
Then what happens ? we scramble a draw with some average level team like Bulgaria nick a 1-0 against Equartorial Guinea or American Samoa and sneak into the knockout round where we get turned over by the first decent side we come across. When this happens the Prime Minister launches an enquiry, the public are surprised and the papers find a scapegoat and hound them for weeks reporting that 10 years ago they didn't put their rubbish out, That they once had an affair with a lap dancer who is pictured in her underwear and report about them on their holidays, slating them for sunbathing when they should be crying in an empty room.
But should we really be surprised ? If you look at Englands Records in the big tournaments we arn't really that good, in fact we are distinctly average. We didn't enter the World Cup until 1950 because we felt it was beneath us. When we did we were sent packing in the Group stage after a humiliating defeat to the USA, We also failed to get out of the Group in 1958. In 1954 and 1962 we got to the Quarter Finals but were easily beaten on both occasions and after our triumph in 1966 on home soil we made the Quarter Finals again in 1970 and failed to even Qualify for 1974 and 1978.
Since then we have made a Semi final in 1990 and another 3 Quarter Finals (in 1986, 2002 and 2006), failed to Qualify for 1994 and 2nd round exits in 1982, 1998 and 2010 - Hardly Quality stuff is it ?
Uruguay, Bulgaria, Sweden, Croatia, South Korea and Turkey have all made a World Cup Semi Final more recently than us.
The European Championships make even worse reading 2 semi finals in 1968 and 1996 are the best we have managed, I won't bore you with the failures !!
So what have we actually got to be so cocky about ?
Maybe next time we should expect a feeble showing and an early exit because then, we would not be disapointed and would be playing true to form.
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