[OP-ED]: England’s National Team is reborn
The English invented the beautiful game and have in soccer’s Premier League the top local competition in the world, which generates globally the largest amount of money and includes several clubs (Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal…) that are amongst the most recognized in the planet.
Anyway if we talk about national squads and taking in consideration the results achieved in their history (one lonely World Cup championship in the tournament held in British soil in 1966), England is out of the top five soccer nations in the World. In fact, with the poor results achieved recently in Europe, the English will not be accounted even in the elite five countries of their own continent. Since the 1990 tournament that took place in Italy, England has not been able to overcome the quarterfinal round in any World Cup. And things got worse. In Brazil 2014 the English could not go beyond the first stage and finished dead last in their group after registering only one point thanks to a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica.
In Europe results have not been good either. The continent’s ancient national squad has never won the Euro Cup. Like in the World Cup, in the most recent championship held in France last year, England suffered a painful loss, being eliminated from the tournament by newcomer Iceland (2-1) in the round of 16.
In the qualifier for Russia 2018 things changed dramatically for good. The English National Team earned its spot to the World Cup with ease, finishing in first place of its group after going undefeated, recording eight wins and only two draws. The future looks very bright after the Under-17 squad is performing greatly at India’s World Cup for this age group. Thanks to a sensational attacking game led by Liverpool rising star Rhian Brewster, England demolished Brazil, 3-1, in the semifinal outing last Wednesday and will face Spain in the championship contest on Sunday. No team has scored more goals in the tournament that the 18 registered by the young English. Brewster is also the World Cup’s top individual scorer with seven tallies.
Going back to the adult national squad, fans are optimistic for the first time in many years. The main reason is Tottenham’s striker Harry “Hurricane” Kane, who has an incredible ability to score and could be considered amongst Europe’s top current stars. He was the Premier League’s top scorer in the past two seasons, delivering 25 tallies two years ago and 29 in the last campaign. In the current season he also leads the tournament’s scoring standings with eight goals in nine games.
Kane’s emergence has also been key for the national squad. He played five of the 10 qualifying World Cup contests and recorded five goals. But Kane is not alone. The presence of several young forwards, like winger Marcus Rashford (19) from Manchester United leads us to believe the scoring problems will be over for an English team that registered only two goals in the three World Cup games played in Brazil 2014.
Very few countries live soccer with the passion England has for the beautiful game. Rivalries between London clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are huge, as big as the one experienced in Manchester between City and United supporters. But when their national team is at stake all English fans are united. They are excited about Russia 2018, where they will cheer for a squad that is clearly reborn in planet football’s landscape.