Roy Hodgson was in Belo Horizonte last week, checking out the facilities at the training centres of the city’s two big teams, Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro, where England may set up camp during the 2014 World Cup (assuming qualifying does not prove an insurmountable obstacle). Rumours remain unconfirmed that, seeking creative inspiration, he took in an Atlético game.
What if England had not only fluked their way past Italy but achieved a similar “miracle” in both the semi-final and, gasp, the final? What if England, THIS England, this bunch whose spirit and noble intent cannot mask their woeful technical shortcomings, had somehow actually gone on to win Euro 2012?
With England navigating their way past tricky opposition and to the top of Group D, their chances of success in Poland and Ukraine have increased significantly.
We all knew expectations for England were low going into Euro 2012, but as low as this?
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Fabio Capello was once mocked up as a donkey, Steve McClaren was the Wally with the Brolly, Sven-Goran Eriksson was stitched up by the Fake Sheik, Glenn Hoddle was compared to Mystic Meg, Graham Taylor was a turnip. How will Roy Hodgson be portrayed?
When it was assumed Redknapp would be given first refusal on the England job, there was a consensus that this summer’s European Championships would represent a tournament without pressure. Roy Hodgson will not be afforded that luxury.
I think that Roy Hodgson’s appointment infuriates so many of us because it shows us what we really are: we are outsiders, peering up at football’s elite.
That Hodgson returned to management so swiftly after being shown the door at Anfield was a risk. His reputation, built up over decades, across various continents and with teams from Inter Milan to Switzerland, was shredded in just 191 days on the Mersey.
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