England's World Cup Group
So England have been drawn in what some are calling a 'group of death' with Italy, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. The cynicism of England fans abounded with even more immediacy than usual after this news.
I do actually agree with cynical fans that we probably won't progress because I think Italy and Uruguay will prove too much for us. Let's face it, in 2010 we barely progressed from a group with the United States, Slovenia and Algeria...and I don't really think we have improved much (if at all) since then. However, I think there are positives to take from being put in a group like this. If we had been put into an average group like last time we would probably see a repeat of what happened then; a bunch of boring, sub-par games that resulted in us barely progressing before taking a hammering in the knockout stages.
If you are going to progress in the World Cup then you are going to eventually be facing world class competition, that's what makes it exciting. We may as well face those quality teams now because avoiding them would just be delaying the inevitable. Furthermore, it gives us the opportunity to watch some football of a high standard early on. Even if we lose, surely this is better than painfully sitting through the ninety minute drudgery of another 0-0 draw with Algeria? Also, we aren't actually in next years group of death, that privilege is reserved for Germany, Portugal, Ghana and USA.
If we progress from a group of this quality then we have shown that maybe we can compete with some of the decent teams in the competition. If we don't progress then let's just hope the matches are more exciting than last time. Either way, enjoy it, it is the World Cup after all!
Football, it's a beautiful game.