And there we have it the draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup has been made and to be honest England have come away from it relatively unscathed, well to be honest they hardly have even a scratch on them which is something that their traveling fans may not be able to say come next Summer after a run in with some Russian Ultras.
They have been placed in Group G – G not standing for ‘Great’ although it can do if you so wish, with the footballing powerhouses known as Tunisia and World Cup debutants Panama. Not only that but they will go head-to-head with another nation whose ‘Golden Generation’ have failed to win a medal at any international tournament.
That of course being Belgium who under the stewardship of Roberto Martinez will be very familiar with their English opposition due to the fact that any Belgian worth their salt and Simon Mignolet plays in the Premier League, in lieu of any other home nation this is as good as a local derby that we are going to get.
Obviously we all know a lot about the Belgians thanks to the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, just about everyone from Tottenham and Simon Mignolet but just how much do we know about the likes of Tunisia and Panama and in our best Paul Daniels’ impressions (ask your parents) we can say ‘not a lot’
But thankfully with the World Cup being just over six months away there is plenty of time in which to do so, that means it is time to get the footballing encyclopedia’s out and do you research as Gareth Southgate’s men go up against two relative international minnows.
That said that probably does them a disservice as they are at least invited to the party (sorry Welsh, Scottish and Irish readers this is the bit in which you tune out) and ultimately England are in no position to be sneering at any minnows. Iceland 2016 anyone?
The problem that the draw will bring is a wave of over confidence, the boom and bust cycle is revved up and ready to go across next June and July. As Frank Skinner said “we’ve seen it all befooooore” and to be honest we will probably witness it all over again.
I say probably because you never really know do you, but as you should also know it is the hope that kills you and it almost gets to the point where we have no hope. But Gary from Telford will be backing the Three Lions with a flag on his Ford Transit Van as he heads off to another day on the building site.
Not only that though but he will be having a ludicrous bet with one of the bookmakers that will be spread just about everywhere during the course of the tournament while probably watching the game on the brand new 42″ Finlux TV that he bought from Asda while necking down the crate of Carling he purchased to go with it.
However there is no point singling out Gary from Telford (other names and towns are available) because we are all guilty of this, perhaps not drinking Carling because that stuff is absolutely muck – that said if the powers that be would like to send me a free crate in time for the tournament then I am available via the usual social media channels.
We will all put on a flurry of bets on England to win the World Cup which will in turn then drive down the odds of them winning the tournament due to so much inactivity. Lesser clued people will then see that as a sign that England are rightly third favourites when the stark reality is more Quarter Finals at best.
Then we’ll go out in the Round of 16, not even hitting the lesser target that we’ve set ourselves and Gareth Southgate will stay in the England manager’s position for the Euro2020 campaign and we prepare for another two years of qualification purgatory
But even after all of that I cannot bloody wait for this upcoming World Cup. Strap yourselves in as here we go again.
Until next week.