• 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