So Wayne Rooney the junior does his bit for the family and pushes his dad into the middle pages. How many games do we think this numpty will miss in Euro 2012? The speculation appears to suggest 2.
Don't think you can sully automatic qualifying much more than England managed.
Switzerland are the strongest team in Norway's group for World Cup qualifying and finish 10 points behind England.
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Honestly, I find this bizarre, Kirsty Gallacher just tweeted we got through by the "skin of our teeth", 6 points clear, hmmm.
It appears the money bet is on Denmark and Portugal to draw. Both teams qualify with a draw as long as Sweden don't beat van Marwijk's Dutch assassins.
Coming soon to a media outlet near you: the inevitable slaughtering of Fabio Capello/Wayne Rooney, as predicted by my stunningly accurate England major tournament cycle (TM)
- Start World Cup campaign with cautious optimism.
- Thump some minnow Eastern European side with a new formation or a couple of new players. Start getting excited, declare that this could be the generation that finally ends the 30/32/34/36/38/40/42/44/46/48 years of hurt (delete as applicable)
- Finish the qualifying stages comfortably top. Install England as being amongst the pre-tournament favourites.
- Ignore "irrelevant" friendly defeat to one of the major footballing powers
- 6 months before the tournament, use media to unsettle the coach or one of the team's important players by publishing lurid details of said individual's private life. Alternatively, spend the previous 4 years absolutely slaughtering the manager for his lack of tactical acumen/personal life.
- Win pre-tournament friendly against a team more technically proficient than yourselves. Ignore any warning signs that may arise from a team like Mexico/Egypt/Outer Mongolia being far more adept at keeping possession than England.
- Start group stages with solid but unspectacular win against some minnow side. Remember, there's no easy games in international football and you don't want to peak too early.
- Repeat above to win group. Declare this as definitely being England's year.
- Continue progressing until you come up against a former war time enemy. This time, those damn pesky foreigners with their annoying habit of being able to retain possession will prevail. Probably on penalties.
- Ignore all shortcomings and instead focus on one inconsequential decision that definitely changed the course of the game in the opposition's favour.
- Find scapegoat and slaughter relentlessly in the media. The scapegoat ideally will be that keeper who just had to save a couple of shots/that idiot who got sent off and let his team down/that fool of a coach who everyone had said for the last 4 years wasn't up to it. The player who missed the penalty was just unlucky, it could have happened to anyone.
- Start next campaign cautiously optimistic, as lessons have been learned/the players will have more experience/you've got a better coach/your star player was injured and you'd have won it if he was fully fit.
- Thump minnow Eastern European side in qualifiers
Repeat forever. Comedy gold.
In all honesty I don't see much jingoism being in the offing for 2012; the current team have successfully reduced expectations to a (compartively) manageable level. We're at best a second or even third tier country now. Spain, Germany & the Netherlands are a way ahead of the field, then there's the likes of Italy, Portugal and France then it's us with the Russias, Serbias and Croatias of the world.
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- As featured in The Independent.
"I don't think that they'll come close to us to be honest."
- Steve Smith before the Ashes
No doubt we will struggle in our opening couple of games then Rooney will be back and the press will hype it up that he will return and lead us to glory.
When actually what will happen is he will return, we will scrape out of the group stage and lose on penalties in the quarter final.
So Scotland then. It's always a conflict, on one hand it would be nice to see them in Euro 2012... on the other it would be quite funny if they ****ed up against Liechtenstein and then get trounced by Spain. It's a difficult one.
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