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It happened! It really happened! Man oh man.. England will not play a part in next year’s Euro 2008. Am I surprised? No.. surely not.. the tell tale signs of them missing the tournament have been around for quite a while. Am I happy? Hmmm.. Yes, I am happy for the current England squad surely do not deserve to qualify. No, I am not happy that a football nation like England is not taking part in a major event.

England did not miss Euro 2008 to Croatia. They actually lost it earlier in the qualifying stages. Look at these results:

England 0 vs 0 Macedonia
Israel 0 vs 0 England
Russia 2 vs 1 England

I mean, come on, if you can’t even get a more decent result than a draw against Macedonia at home, how can you even think of qualifying for the Euro 2008? They were never impressive through out the group games. Their only some what inspiring games were against Estonia and Andorra, basically the whipping boys of the group. Thus, those 3-0 and 5-0 wins against these two teams don’t really mean a thing. Croatia, Russia and Israel, got similar scoreline, if not more, against these two teams.

England fans should be thankful that they did not qualify. It’s possible that if they had qualified, they’d then be the whipping boys in Euro 2008. Seriously, if they had qualified, then they would have believed that they are good enough, which is simply not true at all. This fact is even noted by Mick Channon in an interview:

“We think we’re the best in the world but we’re not and that’s been proven over the last 30-odd years,” he told reporters in Tokyo. “It’s happened again and that’s very sad.”

Thus, they would not have the desire to improve on their game. Which, in the end would be discovered during the Euro 2008 when they become the whipping boys of the tournament. That would be an even horrifying experience for the English football pride. Should this happen, imagine the reaction of the proud English fans.

The English FA should take this miss as a lesson. The next big event is the 2010 World Cup. The qualification stage is just around the corner. England have missed the World Cup once, in 1994. There is still time to correct what ever it is that’s missing in their team. They need to look hard at themselves – the players, coaches, and FAs. How did they to this point? Why is the current success of the EPL not translating to the success of their national team?

I’ve spent some time reading comments from England’s football fans. The comments sound so familiar to me. It’s similar to what I’ve been reading locally over here in Malaysia. Yes, the fans want heads to fall. They want those people at the top of the FA to step down. New faces, they say, will surely bring better results. Is this true? Will new faces at the top result in a better national team? I mean.. they are not the ones who are playing in the field. All they can do is manage from wherever they are.

It’s the players who are playing on the field. If they can’t produce, what can the top people do? The only thing they can do is drop the players, get new ones and hope that these set of new players will perform and appease the fans.

Perhaps, it’s time to take a look at the current new crop of players coming out into the EPL. Are they getting the necessary exposure they require in the EPL to grow into the next national players? Have to admit, England still needs Beckham to bring the best out of the team. The problem with that is, he is not getting any younger. Pretty soon, he will need to surrender his boots at the international level. The thing is.. no one is available to pick up where he leaves. I don’t see any new talents coming out from the EPL who is even close to what Beckham was in his prime.

Now, I’m not really a fan of Beckham. But I can’t deny the fact that he is capable of producing some magic of his own out on the field.

England have got time on their hands now. Since, they are not involved in Euro 2008, they can keep their focus on preparing the best squad for 2010. If they do it right, I believe they will certainly bounce back for the better from this fiasco of a qualifying in Euro 2008.

If only I can say the same thing about my national team.. I’ll have to wait and see how they perform in the coming games in Korat…