The "England have had it easy" narrative

Discussion in 'Football Forum' started by Alex99, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. Jul 8, 2018
    #1

    Alex99 Rehab's Pete Doherty Scout

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    I absolutely do not buy into this "England have had it easy" narrative in this World Cup.

    England may have had a fairly easy group for qualification to this World Cup, but they got through it almost flawlessly, unbeaten, with only two draws, both away from home. They've now beaten everyone they've had in front of them, aside from one team in a dead rubber at the end of the group stage, in a game in which both sides heavily rotated their squads, with that team also making it to the last four.

    This World Cup has seen current World Cup holders, Germany, exit at the group stage, finishing bottom of their group with only one win, having lost to both South Korea and Mexico. It's seen the runners up from the last World Cup, Argentina, exit in the first knockout round, with just one win, having drawn with Iceland and lost 3-0 to Croatia. We've seen Spain eliminated in the first knockout round, again with just one win (a single goal victory over Iran), being eliminated by Russia, and drawing with Morocco courtesy of a stoppage time, VAR-assisted goal. We've seen Portugal eliminated in the first knockout round, another with just one win (a single goal victory over Morocco), drawing with Iran in the group stage. Even Uruguay, who made it to the quarter finals before going out with a whimper against France, only beat Saudi Arabia and Egypt (who lost to Saudi Arabia) by a single goal. Croatia, England's semi-final opponents, who looked very good in the group stage, have now needed penalties to get past both Denmark and Russia in the knockouts.

    We've also got Netherlands and Italy who didn't even qualify. Netherlands drew with Sweden, lost to Bulgaria, and were battered 4-0 by France, and ended up third. Italy scraped a stoppage time win over Macedonia away, then drew with them at home, and were battered 3-0 by Spain, before ultimately failing to score against Sweden over two legs in the play-off. Both struggled against the same Sweden side that are now being brushed aside as "easy opponents" after England pick up a comfortable 2-0 win over them in the World Cup quarter finals, after Sweden topped their group.

    Going back to previous tournaments, in Euro 2016, you see England being eliminated in the first knockout round by Iceland, with only win in the group stage after drawing with Russia and Slovakia. Tournament winners Portugal progressing to the knockouts as the third of four lucky losers without a single win against Hungary, Iceland and Austria, beating Croatia in extra-time, needing penalties to get past Poland, with the semi-final against Wales (the only team England managed to beat) being their only regulation-time win in the whole tournament as they also beat France in extra time in the final.

    In the 2014 World Cup England mustered just a single draw against Costa Rica to win their only point of the tournament. In 2010 England were humiliated by Germany in the first knockout round, being eliminated with just a single, one goal victory over Slovenia, after losing to the US and drawing with Algeria in the group stage.

    The apparent Golden Generation didn't even qualify for Euro 2008, drawing at home to Macedonia, away with Israel, losing away to Russia, and being beaten home and away by Croatia.

    You can only beat what's put in front of you, and in the 15 matches England have played to first qualify for the tournament and now progress through it, they've won 12, drawn two, and lost just one, that being a non-event final group game with both teams already qualified and rotating their squads heavily. Frankly, it's bollocks to say England have had it easy, because there's no easy way to make it to a World Cup semi-final.
  2. Jul 8, 2018
    #2

    haram Full Member

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    It’s coming home.
  3. Jul 8, 2018
    #3

    Sweet Square Full Member

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    :lol: Christ !

    It's been one of the easiest routes to a world semi final in the competition history. Just be grateful that you've made it this far(In fairness most England fans are).
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  4. Jul 8, 2018
    #4

    acnumber9 Full Member

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    I don’t see how any of that changes a more comfortable route to a semi final than the norm. Would you rather play Colombia, Sweden and Croatia for a place in the final or Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium?
  5. Jul 8, 2018
    #5

    ManUtd1999 Full Member

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    OP, I hope that England will lose to Croatia. But why do you care that much? You beat only the teams that you face.

    If England wins it all, it will be after beating teams like Colombia, Sweden, Croatia and France/Belgium. Not the toughest possible road, but still difficult.
  6. Jul 8, 2018
    #6

    99withaflake Full Member

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    Apparently both Colombia and Sweden were better teams than us and were going to knock us out. As soon as we beat them, they become shit and we've been lucky with the route.

    The same people who are spouting their easy-route bitterness weren't saying the same to Italians in 2006, when they played Ghana, USA, Czech Republic, Australia and Ukraine before their semi final.

    Yes, the bottom half of the draw is easier than the top half, but it's not easy.
  7. Jul 8, 2018
    #7

    Bobski Full Member

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    They have had it easy, a WC when you can get to the final without having to face any version of Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Portugal is a very rare opportunity. It is not a criticism of England to make that point, they have taken advantage of what has fallen for them, played well and every other team on that side of the draw had the same chance to do something special.

    Get the same trophy for a tough run as for an easier one.
  8. Jul 8, 2018
    #8

    17Larsson Not a malefactor just a lagomorph

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    Beat Tunisia, Panama and Sweden so far. It has been an easy route, no denying that. But you can only beat what's in front of you (apart from Belgium).

    If they win they will have to beat Croatia and France/Belgium and will have earned the trophy but it's definitely been an easy start
  9. Jul 8, 2018
    #9

    rpitroda Full Member

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    I don’t get this.

    It is obvious England have had a relatively easy route to the semi’s.

    Having said that, does anyone care? No. Will anyone remember it in the future? No.

    I don’t see why people must try and make the bizarre point that it hasn’t been an easier route. It has. But so what?
  10. Jul 8, 2018
    #10

    Kag Full Member

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    Colombia, Sweden and Croatia.

    Unfortunately, there are arseholes that think stating this much is arrogant and presumptive. Hard teams to beat that could well dump us out, I recall.

    Can't win. Coming home.
  11. Jul 8, 2018
    #11

    SquishyMcSquish Full Member

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    You would think that these teams didn't earn their place when facing England, the way they are talked about. Strangely, it's always the same people who were convinced England would lose against Colombia and Sweden, that then turn around and say it was an easy route. Colombia were a team with just as much talent as England before they were knocked out, then they became a team who are championship level without James. Sweden were a 50/50, very well organised, England would never break them down .. until they were comfortably beat, then they too became a poor side. Despite both topping groups ahead of strong sides.

    Croatia are a team who are superior to England, with a midfield which will absolutely dominate them... unless England beat them, then they are another average side, obviously.
  12. Jul 8, 2018
    #12

    Summit "do the dead, spread your seed and get out"

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    I always get the feeling England can't win no matter what they do. For instance, if we went all out and beat Belgium in our last game, thus getting the tougher side of the draw, we would have been classed as fools, naïve, stupid ect, when we could have gone for the easy option on the other side of the draw. But no doubt Belgium would be hailed as geniuses for masterminding their route to the final.
  13. Jul 8, 2018
    #13

    Nick7 Full Member

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    England have had it easy, but feck that you're in the semi final. Congratulations. Try care more about that than what others are saying.
  14. Jul 8, 2018
    #14

    El Jefe Full Member

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    I don't understand why people get overly sensitive when this is said. It's an absolute fact.

    It's an easy-ish route but at the same time, England teams of the past may have been knocked out by now so Southgate and his squad do deserve credit. However it's understandably difficult for a neutral fan (which I'm not) to give too much praise to us because so far our results have been;

    2-1 vs Algeria (W)
    6-1 vs Panama (W)
    0-1 vs Belgium (L)
    1-1 vs Colombia (W) on penalties
    2-0 vs Sweden (W)

    The two best teams on paper at least have been Belgium and Colombia which we both failed to beat in normal time. Belgium we can't put too much stock into that as both played B teams however we still couldn't beat Colombia without their best player.
  15. Jul 8, 2018
    #15

    OutlawGER Full Member

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    Everyone who said that Germany had an easy route to the final in 2002 has to admit the same for England in 2018.
  16. Jul 8, 2018
    #16

    acnumber9 Full Member

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    I’d say they could win by not making the whole tournament about England. The first think the commentary teamed talked about after Croatia won their own World Cup quarter final was England. That’s naturally going to grate with people trying to watch a game not involving England who do not support England. The Colombia v Senegal game was 90% about how little England had to fear from either team.
  17. Jul 8, 2018
    #17

    Summit "do the dead, spread your seed and get out"

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    It's the same for everyone who said Liverpool had an easy route to the CL final too.
  18. Jul 8, 2018
    #18

    Buchan has whacked the hammer to Roswell

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    @Alex99 I love your football posts in general, mate, but I can’t agree with you here. Bringing up Germany and Argentina getting knocked out earlier means diddly squat. England have only beaten Tunisia (via a 93rd minute set-piece), a pub team in Panama and a well-organised-but-ultimately-qualify-bereft Sweden team in order to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. As tournament runs go at this level, it’s among the most lenient any nation could hope for.

    It’s a terrific achievement to reach the World Cup semi-finals - there is no disputing that. However, let’s not get all misty-eyed and make this England run into something it plainly isn’t.
  19. Jul 8, 2018
    #19

    rpitroda Full Member

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    Agreed. But those who are criticising England for having an easy route (as if that even makes any sense) are just muppets. Likewise though, those who say we haven’t had our share of luck in terms of the teams we have faced are also muppets.

    The reality is, we’ve had a relatively easy route as far as WC routes to a semi go. But who cares? No one will remember. And we can only beat who in front of us. Admitting it’s been relatively easy takes nothing away from the achievement. Likewise bashing England for it is ridiculous.
  20. Jul 8, 2018
    #20

    SquishyMcSquish Full Member

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    You can say the route has been easier than others, without saying that it's been an easy cake walk .. because it hasn't. We've played sides who topped their groups and everybody seemed to accept they were strong teams until we beat them. You don't get easy games in a World Cup. There's a reason some of the most talented teams have been knocked out already, a dip in concentration and form for just one game and you can be going home.

    Dunno why people are making out Colombia are weak though. They won all their group games except the one in which they had a player sent off within five minutes (and even then looked better than Japan until the latter stages when they tired due to being with 10 men for so long) and they have a number of very good players .. Mina, Sanchez, Muriel, Falcao, Cuadrado, Ospina, Bacca are all top division players in major European leagues, then the likes of Quintero looked excellent during the tournament. Alright, them missing James was significant, but perhaps they would have played more openly with him in the team.

    They were a very tough first knockout tie.
  21. Jul 8, 2018
    #21

    Fener1907 Full Member

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    If you're looking at it from the perspective of an England fan, who cares. If England win, they're the world champions. All opinions about the relative ease of their route to the final will be drowned out by millions of incoherent voices of people too delirious to give a solitary feck.
  22. Jul 8, 2018
    #22

    Slevs likes to play with penises

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    You shouldn't give a shit even if you faced Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi to the semi final. A World cup win is a World Cup win. All this talk about taking the easy route is just high-horse bullshit. When it's all over no one will remember who you faced.
  23. Jul 8, 2018
    #23

    MackRobinson New Member

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    You can only play who is in front of you and with how close most of these WC matches have been I don't see how anyone can say that.
  24. Jul 8, 2018
    #24

    Dante Bang Average but can post Blindfolded for 15 secs

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    Tunisia are the highest ranked team in Africa.

    Colombia finished ahead of Chile (current Copa America champions) in the South American qualification group.

    Sweden knocked out Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

    Croatia have just beaten the team that knocked out Spain.

    England's route to the final has been full of teams with amazing records. It's disrespectful to ignore that.

    Focusing on reputations rather than results is why England are so underrated in the first place. We have Jesse Lingard rather than Lionel Messi. But you know what? Jesse Lingard is actually doing the business.

    Big names be damned.
  25. Jul 8, 2018
    #25

    Smores Full Member

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    "England are so arrogant thinking they can easily beat XYZ."

    *England beats opposition*

    "Yeah but they were all shit easy games"

    I'm enjoying the mental gymnastics especially those from nations who sucked and went out to "easy" opposition.
  26. Jul 8, 2018
    #26

    Kush Full Member

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    You may not buy into the narrative but that doesn't make it not true.

    Anyways, I don't see why any English fan should care? You can only beat what's in front of you and it's not your fault that big boys didn't make through/didn't fall in your bracket. Once all is said and done no one will give a shit who you played if you win the thing except few bitters. Do you see Portugal fans giving a single feck when people mention they had to go through Croatia, Poland and Wales for a Euro Final?

    Just buckle up and enjoy the ride, if you're expecting everyone to unanimously praise England then that's never going to happen. Unless you actually beat top teams through the entirety of the tournament.
  27. Jul 8, 2018
    #27

    Josep Dowling Full Member

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    English commentary team focus on England, who would have known?
  28. Jul 8, 2018
    #28

    maniwin Banned

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    England could have met Argentina or Germany if they didn't choke during group stage.
  29. Jul 8, 2018
    #29

    Dolf Full Member

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    So because Germany lost to South-Korea, suddenly South-Korea is not an 'easy' opponent anymore? I wonder what you think of France or Belgium as an opponent then.

    France had to beat Argentina, Uruguay and now Belgium.
    England had to beat Sweden, Colombia and now Croatia.

    You're absolutely out of your mind if you don't think England has had the easier route.

    I'm not saying England have had it easy, i'm just saying they've had it easier. Winning a world cup is never easy but that doesn't mean that suddenly every team is world class.
    Also please don't forget that while you've been performing great, the fact that some of you still consider Sweden a hard opponent says enough. True world cup winners would be happy to play against Sweden. You guys have a good team, when are you going to believe in yourself?
  30. Jul 8, 2018
    #29

    acnumber9 Full Member

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    While other nations are playing it’s the first thing they talk about? It’s a UK broadcaster. Can you not understand that there are people watching who just want to watch the other teams play without it being about England?
  31. Jul 8, 2018
    #30

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    How would anyone call that arrogant? Stupid, maybe. England clearly ended up in the easier half of the draw. That much is obvious. The Belgian defeat really was a blessing in disguise. Arguably a canny bit of management by Southgate.

    Still, you can only beat what’s in front of you and Sweden/Colombia were made to look poorer than they did in their previous matches. So who’s to say England can’t do the same to Croatia/France/Belgium?
  32. Jul 8, 2018
    #31

    Jev Full Member

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    Who cares. You can only beat what's in front of you. Germany crashed out to Sweden, Spain lost to Russia.
  33. Jul 8, 2018
    #32

    acnumber9 Full Member

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    Yes. What’s your point? It doesn’t change the topic at hand.
  34. Jul 8, 2018
    #33

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Precisely.
  35. Jul 8, 2018
    #34

    breakout67 Full Member

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    It's not a narrative and you'd be silly to think it is. So silly that you'd have to ignore the countless English fans that were licking their chops at England's side of the draw.

    There were clearly two sides of the draw in the final 8. One is with teams stacked with quality all over the pitch with bags of experience and good form. The other with teams with so-so personnel and newcomers in the knockouts of international competitions riding a high from outperforming their expectations.

    This was a World Cup where two teams are at the end of their cycles (Germany and Argentina) which meant that someone else had the opportunity to step up. England have taken that opportunity and have a good chance at reaching a world cup final. We've done fantastic so far and whether we reach the final or not, the players will feel proud of what they've done for their country.
  36. Jul 8, 2018
    #35

    Josep Dowling Full Member

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    You just sound like you have sour grapes to be honest.

    When a home nation is on TV and the studio has 3 Englishman in studio they are bound to focus on England. It’s our first semi final in 28 years, it’s not like it happens often.
  37. Jul 8, 2018
    #36

    harms Way Staff

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    I don't think that those points are exclusive. England have definitely had it easy — and they also did very well given circumstances (something that wasn't characteristic for English teams of the past few decades).
  38. Jul 8, 2018
    #37

    99withaflake Full Member

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    Does anyone on this forum think Croatia are an average team that England should beat comfortably?
  39. Jul 8, 2018
    #38

    Classical Mechanic Full Member

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    Yeah, I can’t think of anyone who will will remember this World Cup run, how ‘easy’ it was and feel the need to remind us of that.

    I really can’t think of a single person.
  40. Jul 8, 2018
    #39

    Dante Bang Average but can post Blindfolded for 15 secs

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    Sweden knocked out Germany and Croatia knocked out Argentina.

    Our route includes teams that were better than Germany, Argentina, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain. But if we'd actually played the inferior teams, that would somehow be harder.
  41. Jul 8, 2018
    #40

    Green_Red Full Member

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    Haters will hate.

    England have done well and earned their right to be there. Who gives a feck what the narrative is from the haters.