Let’s not spoil our world cup with sneaking expectation

If you’re reading this after 9pm on Thursday, you’ll most likely know that my prediction of “England 3 Belgium 2” has been 100% accurate (here’s hoping!) (and here’s hoping I didn’t forget to stick a bet on it!).

I tell you what I could never have predicted this World Cup though….Roy Keane’s happy demeanour! I’ve seen him smile more in his few punditries over the past week than in his whole career! Maybe Ian Wright’s unbounding positivity is finally getting to you, Roy??!!

Anyway, after the Panama game, an even bigger question that several media outlets are trying to shoehorn into our minds is: “do we really want to finish top of the group because that will mean a harder route to the final?”

Wooooooah! Let’s STOP! and park up the expectation bus before it gets out of first gear!

Are we now actually saying that we think we’re going to win the World Cup, and so we need to strategically plot our best route to the final?? What the…!?!!

Surely, the best thing about this England team’s World Cup so far has been the sheer lack of expectation, the lifting of the burden of pressure that has allowed them to play with freedom and confidence, and without complication.

And the added belief they’d get from beating Belgium might just give them the boost they need to take on all comers in the next round.

We’ve debated this for the last 20 to 30 years: Did the golden generation fold under the pressure of the nation’s expectations? Were the team of the 90s haunted by the ghost of penalties missed in years before? And so and so forth.

This new team are certainly playing without fear and with bags of passion – so let’s not take ANY of that away by heaping on the pressure and expectation…let’s just trust in Gareth Southgate…let’s stop interfering, and just let them play!

Anyway, after saying all that, we’ve got Denmark in the @Radiocentre sweepstake, so let’s hope we don’t meet the Danes along the way, otherwise Get Carter Productions might be hoping the pressure IS too much for the England boys (only joking!)


Graham Bridgewood