There’s a lot of controversy regarding the Moon Hoax theory till date. But this is one hoax theory that has finally been discovered – the theory that England ever had a “golden generation”. Worse, you might have been coaxed into believing that they were actually capable of winning a trophy. The fact is, England never had a golden generation; they just had a bunch of over hyped and overpaid superstars, who got exactly what they deserved.
Golden Generation ?
On what basis are England’s present bunch called the “golden generation”? Did they win a trophy at the youth level? Did they ever play a memorable game in a big tournament? The answer to both questions is a big NO. Portugal’s Golden Generation won two back to back world cups at the youth level. Romania’s lot helped the team qualify for three back to back world cups in the 90’s. England’s golden generation couldn’t even qualify for Euro 2008.
First, let’s get things clear. England still would have lost to Germany even if Lampard’s goal was given; the Germans were better in every single department, and the young German players looked like giving a footballing lesson to English “superstars”. England were never in that game; a lucky case of ball hitting the head and a hoof ball doesn’t mean they deserved the match.
Lets blame the coaches:
The English players showed absolutely no passion or motivation,but let’s not blame the coaches here.
Sven Goran Eriksson is one of the most respected Swedish coaches in the world. He had a sparkling career in various countries. He has reached the UEFA Cup final with three different clubs, reached a European Cup final, and won Cup Winners cup. He was too good a coach for the England team. England at least qualified for all tournaments under him, and went as far as the quarter final in the 2006 World Cup. Progressing to the quarterfinals with this bunch of English players is a herculean task.
Recurrent scene #1: World class English goalkeeping
Steva McClaren? He led Middlesborough to a League Cup win, and took them to a European competition for the first time in their 128-year history. After leaving the England national team, he won an unprecedented league title with Dutch club Twente – their first league title in history.
Fabio Capello? He has won eight league titles in the last thirteen seasons. He has won titles in Rome, Milan, Turin and Madrid. He has won a Champions’ League. He has won a league title in his very first season in every single club he ever managed.
What connects these otherwise successful managers? Simple – they all failed as the ringmaster of the three lions. If three otherwise successful coaches fail with the same bunch of players, then the problem is with the players.
Good old Harry Redknapp thinks only an English manager can remedy this situation. Good ploy for throwing your name up eh, ‘arry? He needs to be reminded about the track record of English managers in the last two decades. Graham Taylor failed to qualify for USA ’94. Terry Venables reached the semi-final of Euro ’96, where the only good game England played was a 4-1 thrashing of a Dutch squad plagued by infighting; every host nation, barring the last year’s hosts, have reached a Euro semi-final, so that is no unique feat. Glen Hoddle’s contributions were a last-16 exit in the World Cup. His successor, Kevin Keegan, mustered a first round exit in Euro 2000. Ericsson at least took teams to the quarter final, while Capello’s boys managed to qualify after topping the group.
Over hyped players:
The English Premier League is supposed to be the best league in the world. Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney are supposed to be the best in their positions; but in reality, they are not. English players, usually technically very limited, are made to look good because they share the stage with players from other nations. Remove the skillful French, Spanish, Scottish or African players, and suddenly they look like Conference Club players. On their own, English players are extremely limited, and their tactics are pretty lopsided.
Recurrent scene #2: A fast skillful player skips past a limited, overpaid English player
Skilled players like Matt Le Tissier have always been looked upon as luxury players by English managers. This has resulted in an entire generation of route one football players, which has contributed to England’s terrible performances in last twenty (or is it forty four?) years. In England, if you are six feet and above, and you can head the ball from thirty yards, then you are good enough to be a footballer; good technique or close control are secondary.
The nation’s top teams are coached by foreigners, the clubs are financed by foreigners, and each of the top teams have foreign goalkeepers. So it’s hardly a surprise that they can’t find a competent native coach. Or a goalkeeper. [Insert your favourite Green joke here] is a perfect example of world class English ‘keeping.
Let’s not forget the world class English defending by the world class defender Upson, or the world class midfield link up play between potential world champions Gerrard, Lampard & Barry. Also, take in account the world class defending by the 20-million-pound-worth “defender” Johnson.
Why was Barry even picked? He was unfit, and was strictly mediocre at Manchester City. Why wasn’t Huddlestone considered? How could John Terry come out bashing Capello in the middle of the world cup? Did he put his bitterness of losing his captaincy before his team? Why did Capello insist on playing Gerrard out of position? Why didn’t Capello dare to bench a hapless Frank Lampard? Why wasn’t Dawson given a nod ahead of Upson? Why did Capello switch back to an archaic 4-4-2 from the 4-2-3-1 that served England well in qualifiers? These are some questions the coach and the players need to answer.
The English media did their bit perfectly – they just had to blow up a story on Terry before the World Cup. You could suddenly see moral police brigades picking up pens in the media houses. Capello never got involved with off-field matters in Serie A, and he had to deal with Cassano and Giorgio Lentini, men who make John Terry look like a padre. In the face of media pressure, Capello relented. The team spirit was destroyed then and there. Did that affect Terry’s performance in an adverse way? Highly probable.
Recurrent scene #3: An English striker fails to live upto the hype
Heskey was Capello’s English version of Emerson or Zebina, two players who got picked in all clubs Capello set foot in; too bad they didn’t have English nationality. But Heskey’s replacements were hardly encouraging; Defoe was awful in the second half of the season, Crouch can only score against Azerbaijan & Trinidad, and Bent doesn’t have enough quality. A lot depended on Rooney, but he was such a dripping damp squib that defenders marking him slipped and fell down at times. Did Rooney even play in this World Cup?
The bottom-line is – England never, ever had a “golden generation”. They just had a bunch of players who combined well with foreigners at the club level; the players were never capable of doing anything on their own.
England has never managed to produce consistently good teams like Brazil, Germany, Argentina or Italy. They haven’t even managed to conjure up a decent once-in-a-generation squad like France or Spain; all they can deliver are duds. Unless they host another World Cup and get enough goodies from the referees, they won’t win the coveted trophy; an African team will win it before England does.