worldcup online – the real conversation

When you look at it…

April 8th, 2006 by · No Comments · Football

Therefore, WCO can’t get overly excited about the tournament in the summer. When you look at the facts they are stark in their baldness (err?):

18 World cups. Three we did not enter. Three we did not qualify for. Two Round 1 exits. Two Round 2 exits. Five Quarter finals. One semi-final. One win.

Mix in two losses from the penalty spot and you have the England myth. We really are very good, just a tad unlucky.

Bollocks. Or is it?

The statistics show that we are a bloody good quarter final team. Which if you are a glass half full type of person, means in over 25% of the tournaments that have been played, we are in the best 8 teams in the world. If you take out the three where we had the hump with Fifa and the three we did not turn up at due to general rubbish-ness and the number goes up to nearly 50% of the time we are in the top 8.

So why do we always think we are a gnats nut away from winning it?

What we do know is that we are better at World Cup’s than we are the European Championship where we are, frankly, shit.

12 Championships. Didn’t get the entry form in 1960. Four we did not qualify for. Four Round 1 exits. One Quarter final. Two Semi finals.

So, 33% we didn’t even get to play at and the same 33% we flew home for after the first round (the fact that Round 1 was the Quarter finals doesn’t count in the WCO book). Leaving a no-show and 1 last eight and 2 semi-finals to make up the other 33%. (The 1% left over is for the two penalty knock-outs)

So what about Germany 2006? Well, we have the fourth most successful manager who has ever been in the role. Sir Alf Ramsey gets a gold star, whilst Kevin Keegan should stay behind after class for remedial lessons. We have the sixth most capped England player as captain and the fourth highest goal scorer up front (if he is fit, and no, its not Peter Crouch).

But the smart money would be betting on a quarterfinal exit again, possibly on penalties.

But smart money would grow opposable thumbs, stop being money, buy a car, house and get a life and watch a bit of footy if it was really smart. So what does money know?

The problem is that, inevitably, we are optimists. Statistics are for people who like, err, stats. To be a fan is to be an optimist (unless you’re a Sunderland supporter of course). This means that we can see that England is bound to get no further than the quarters. But, there is just an inkling that with fit players, some inspired management, we could go all the way to the final.

Therein lies the quasi-religious devotion to football that many people have. Like life, we hope there is something more to it. We can never be sure though. But we must believe that there is more to it. It can’t only be a group stage and a quarterfinal and that’s it? No, we must go onto something afterwards?! We do, but it’s not a final, but a bit of part time punditry on Sky. Not that you actually have to be religious to be a football fan (is blasphemy not counted on the terraces “J***S F***ING CH**ST, YOU WA**KER!?).

Regardless of religious leanings, the progression of England past the quarterfinals is a mixture of hope, belief, blind luck and the general peering from behind the pillow.

After extensive research, WCO have discovered that regardless which team wins in the summer, the true winners will be the statisticians.


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