I admire your optimism for the future, Bads, but really I can't help but think it's misplaced.
English players play with and against foreign players every season in the Premiership and the Champions League and so I don't accept they are not 'technically sound' as our JTBaby contends, or if they still haven't learned anything, then they must be incredibly stupid.
I also don't buy the "mixture of bad management, injuries, over-hype and too much pressure from our press and media" excuses. The English FA have tried a variety of coaching styles in the last two decades, from Eriksson's and Capello's continental style, to the English approach of Venables, McClaren and now Hodgson, but none have brought much success. Injuries are just a weak excuse, as is the argument that we don't have a mid-season break in the Premiership, since it doesn't seem to have an adverse effect on foreign players' performances at international level. I don't think there's unreasonable expectations in our nation or in the media given the calibre of players in most England setups for the last thirty years. Even counting for 'bad luck', we should have done better than the quarter-finals or worse - except for Italia' 90 and Euro '96 - in all that time. And blaming the salaries of over-paid England managers in recent years for a 'lack of motivation' from the players just doesn't make any sense at all.
No, I think the real answer, whether we care to admit it or not, is that England players just see international football as a way to have an occasional jolly up and break from the real business of club football, and improve their bargaining position during contract negotiations. It also improves a players commercial opportunities, too.
I certainly don't confuse the exuberance of goal celebrations with real passion and dedication to the cause. Some senior England players' lacklustre performances in big tournaments has been an absolute disgrace and they deserve all the approbrium they get from the media.
My optimism might very well be misplaced but what's the alternative?
The same media that tells us all we're world beaters leading up to tournaments? The Sun's headline after our World Cup Group was drawn was 'Easy' front bl**dy page! As if that was easy. No game for us is easy, we're a huge scalp, probably along with Brazil the biggest.
Venables had one tournament and it was incredible. To name him alongside those three is a tad unfair. I thought we had a great thing going with Hoddle.
Sven, McClown and Capello were never going to work, three huge mistakes that squandered our greatest group of talent since '66. Sven's easily one of the most inept managers I've ever seen (Just compare his set-up to Hodgson's for when we don't have the ball, hilarious!) Capello is all wrong for England but a great appointment for Russia, and Shteve, whom I personally wouldn't even want to play for.
If a football team at club level is seemingly unmotivated then what is the number one reason given for that? Every single time it's the manager. How can looking at the manager as a reason for an unmotivated player not make any sense? Surely it's the first port of call.
Blaming money isn't the answer, why did we do so much worse in the 70's & 80's - we've actually improved a great deal since then. We actually qualify these days.
What gives us the right to win anyway, are you saying that if we simply tried harder we'd win? Of course we wouldn't, it's an insult to every other team and nation.
I think most Premiership players, English or foreign have consistently under performed at tournaments, for example RVP - rubbish for Holland. We do play a hell of a lot more in this country, not saying the lack of a winter break is the sole reason, but along with everything else it adds up.
Success in International football is like making a great film, it's lightning in a bottle.
Anyway away from the painful subject of England, is it just me or has the reaction to Ibrahimovic's goal been a tad OTT? It was good but it's being cited as the greatest ever in some articles, what a load of rubbish, I'd put about 60 odd Messi goals alone above that.
I haven't seen many of Messi's goals, but I agree the reaction has been OTT. I think it was just because it was flashy. Rooney's scissor-kick goal against Man City was probably just as good and was scored during a much more important match. Still, it was a great goal.