So, England (well, Britain, but England pretty much) have bombed out of another football tournament (albeit the half-assed mess of a tournament that was London 2012) earlier than they should have—in both the men’s and women’s events.
In the wave of euphoria sweeping Britain, they seem to have escaped being put under the microscope to see how and why they failed. No one was taking it too seriously anyway, but given that they lost out to South Korea and Canada, it does seem like an opportunity missed.
The women’s team and manager in particular seem to be bulletproof. Hope Powell has helped raise the profile and popularity of women’s football in England, and the team in general are, in relative terms, far more popular and appreciated than the men. I’m not sure why this is; not once have they overachieved in tournaments, and they have a decent infrastructure and a decent amount of money behind them—at least compared to many other nations. Unlike the men, they had a team which was far closer to full strength. I know Canada have shown themselves to be no pushovers, but there is no doubt that Team GB will have expected to win, and contest at least for bronze, yet no one has called for Powell’s head
As for the men, well no one expected much of them, their manager, or the tournament. None of their performances gave hope for a gold medal, yet to be in within a shot of at least a bronze, all they had to do was beat the South Korean U23 team at home. A chance missed for sure. Craig Bellamy, Ryan Giggs, and others had their moments, but in the end they should have done better really.
In Rowing, Sailing, Cycling, and Athletics, Team Great Britain has shown that by spending money on the best coaches, the best facilities, and adding technology, nutrition, and sports psychology, you can reap tremendous success. While English footballing attitudes remain fixed in the past, they are going to get left behind, not only by other nations but by other sports in their own countries.