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June 26, 2006


Matt M

I agree.

England certainly don't play well as a team. All you get are long periods of unfocused activity - followed by the occasional flash of brilliance by one or two of the players.

You only have to look at how much focus was placed on Rooney to see why we have problems. When you're that dependent on a single player you're in trouble.


They'd play together better if they were without Beckham at right midfield. But they make so few chances that they need Beckham to take free kicks. A shrewd coach would therefore drop the worst other player in the side and give Beckham his position. I give you: Beckham the Goalie.

angry economist

yeh leadership is probably over-rated. Of course this view is based on my own selfish experience rather than England.

I had a job interview recently where they claimed I didn't exert enough leadership qualities. Which surprised me. My selling point is that I actually make decisions, get things done, allow people the flexibility to deliver their stuff, and they/I do them well.

Whereas in this organisation there are far too many leaders farting about at high level stuff with politicians etc and making promises they can't deliver the goods on.

Its all very confusing.

Do you think you can get inspired leadership, team synergy and a result!? Would be nice if England got it.

In my experience in working life though - so few role models to learn from. And that's how you learn - you can't do it from a book etc.

Paul Davies

Don't forget the role of another 'can blame it for pretty much everything': ineffective doctrinaire education.

Nowhere else in the world are kids taught how to play football so rigidly and are so chastised if they try something daft that doesn't come off. It's also why we don't have any quality leg-spinners.


It used to be striking how the old Socialist Economy countries produced lots of medal-winners at the individual Olympic sports, but rarely seemed to produce top soccer teams, at least after the 50s Hungarians, whom we can presumably view as having been "formed" in an earlier era.

marcin tustin

I think that in this case, forming a team that works as a team does actually require leadership, as well as technical mastery of selecting players who will be able to work together, and drilling them to work as a team.


The USSR national football team qualified for seven World Cups, finishing fourth in 1966. They also competed in seven European Championships, winning the tournament once and finishing as runners-up three times. They won two gold medals for football at the Olympics.

Czechoslovakia were World Cup finalists in 1962 and won the European Championship in 1976. Poland won Olympic gold for football in 1972 and silver in both 1976 and 1992, and finished third in two World Cups.

Teams from the former Communist bloc may not be fondly remembered, but their record in international competitions is actually pretty respectable.

Luis Enrique

can you write something about cognitive biases that explains the relentless negativity of the press coverage of England performances?


Luis - no biases are necessary. It's just that England are rubbish. What irritates me about the press is the belief that the national team actually matters.
Let's face it - the best four teams in the premiership would easily beat England.


Funny you chose the number four Chris. "The best four teams...."

Why not five, or three?


dave heasman

"What irritates me about the press is the belief that the national team actually matters. "

Yes. Noone watches their matches on TV, the networks don't compete to show them, they're reduced to giving match tickets away...

William McMillan

Excellent point. England had, supposedly, 6 world class players. Can you name them?

Gerrard, Beckham , Lampard and ferdinand are overrated.

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