It had to happen. For the first time in nearly fifteen years, no national football side from the Home nations will be at a major tournament final. They will be absent from the Euro 2008 finals which take place next summer in Austria and Switzerland.
The fates of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were already sealed before last night’s match between England and Croatia at Wembley, which the home side lost 2-3. This saw the inevitable sacking of popularly unloved manager Steve McClaren.
Once again the British teams failed to rise up to the challenge on the international footballing stage. They were simply not good enough, particularly England last night. When the Football Association relived McClaren of his duties, there wasn’t a shortage of club managers who put themselves forward for the England manager post, despite the baggage and unrealistic expectations that come with it.
In the short term, at least we don’t have to worry about the TV commentators playing the xenophobic card every time any of our home teams play. There’s also the added bonus of the police having less of a hard time now that English fans will be forced to watch Euro 2008 at home.
In the long term, the home sides need to face up to the fact that they are not good enough to play at major tournaments…. and start to make an effort to rebuild themselves accordingly.
P.S. Did you see the front page of The Sun this morning? For those who didn’t see it, there was a picture of a deflated football on some wet pavement with the match result. No words. Just sums up who many English fans feel today.