By Tony Attwood
England has a population of 53 million. Croatia has a population of 4 million. England have a country co-efficient calculated by Uefa that puts them second in European standings. Croatia is 16th.
Croatia has the problem of all their best players playing overseas. England was the only country in this WC that had all its squad playing for clubs in their home country.
England indeed is perhaps the only (at least certainly one of the few countries) that has an artificial rule that limits the number of players who are not “home grown” who can play in Premier League clubs to 17.
Croatia has twice had teams that have got to the semi-finals of the Champions League. England have had teams that have won the Champions League and its predecessor 12 times.
By all these measures England had not just an advantage but a massive advantage. A staggering advantage. An overwhelming advantage. Croatia were the total underdogs. It is a bit like Arsenal playing Walsall or Chester.
And the result in the press? The Guardian has “this young team deserves our applause.” The Mail has “you made us smile, made us proud, made us believe, everyone of you a hero.” It is pretty much like that everywhere although maybe the media ought to look at “we were motivated by English pundits lack of respect” apparently said by Modric.
But now consider for a moment how Arsenal get treated by the media. If you go looking you will find, by way of example,
- Watch: Arsene Wenger’s Five Most Humiliating Defeats As Arsenal … punditarena
- Arsene Wenger’s most humiliating defeats as Arsenal manager … Daily Telegraph
- The 9 most HUMILIATING stats for Arsenal fans as Gunners are … Mirror
- 5 humiliating Arsenal defeats in the Premier League era | 32Red
- 10 of Arsene Wenger’s most humiliating defeats at Arsenal Sportskeeda|
- Arsenal Suffer Humiliating Defeat i Am Gunner Talk
- 5 Top Humiliating Arsenal Defeats Frek Berntzen
- How Arsenal winning the FA Cup will lead to humiliations galore … SportsKeeda
- Arsenal fans DEMAND Arsene Wenger is SACKED after humiliating defeat… express
In fact we have been so humiliated so many times it is a wonder there are any season tickets sold each year.
Over the years I have posed a number of questions on Untold concerning these issues, questions that are far from being rhetorical and quite a few of them have eventually been answered.
And indeed I’ve been interested in why England’s newspapers bathe themselves in nationalistic fervor is not to hard to understand (such pieces don’t require a GCSE in English, are easy to write, require no research and gets sales), but why at the same time is there is a constant ceaseless endless knocking of Arsenal?
Why an eternal love affair with a team that has only won the world cup once (when all the games were played at Wembley) and been third in the Uefa Championship once?
The other point that follows on from this is the fact that England does manipulate the rules by introducing the “17” rule and I am not sure that other countries do that. Why do that when it has not resulted in a single trophy since it was introduced?
What is also interesting is that there is another explanation as to why England do so poorly (given its size and the level of interest in the game within the country), which is the lack of coaches qualified at the top level. The statistics show quite clearly that success internationally is related primarily to the level of highly qualified coaches per thousand.
As we have quoted over and over, that is where England falls down and where other countries (Iceland for example) do far better than might be expected. I’ve quoted our research so many times, and now even a few of the national papers use it but not the FA. Absolutely not.
Why do the press love the FA and forgive it all its failures? I guess a sort of blind nationalistic fervor and unwillingness to get involved in any sort of statistics because only wimps and foreigners know anything about maths and anyway you can prove anything with statistics, and we’ll win with good old English bulldog passion and guts and determination.
Why do the smaller countries do better than England? Because they are more realistic and plan in a more rational and less emotional way.
And why does the media hate Arsenal so much? Because that’s what they do. In the past we’ve traced it right back to the 1930s in articles on the Arsenal History Society website, and there are signs of a deeper dislike of the club going back even further than that emerging.
But for now we have the same old same old. England were beaten by a country that has 7% of the population of England and we were valiant, brave, and the future looks bright.
Arsenal with a tiny fraction of the income of clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, etc, qualified for the Champions League 19 times in a row. Only Real Madrid beat that (they did 20). And Arsenal were painted as abject failures. If Arsenal were failures so are England. If England has been a success in this world cup, so were Arsenal in last season’s league cup.
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