ENGLAND’S 2018 WORLD CUP LEGACY – DEVELOPMENT TODAY FOR THE SUPERSTARS OF TOMORROW
The 2018 Russian Football World Cup was tipped to be a failure. Fears of violence between football fans (Russia and England). And travel difficulties with tournament football stadiums being spread far and wide across the mammoth country. Not to mention the political tensions between Russia and well the rest of the world. On the contrary the 2018 Football World Cup was a flying success, showcasing a brand of football that was both exciting and in many cases surprising. We saw some great football underdog stories with the like of Russia, Sweden and Croatia battling through tough odds to win the hearts of football fans. We saw some of the football giants of the past simply crumble in Spain, Germany and Argentina to the delight of remaining teams.
If you are an English football fan the 2018 World Cup should live with you for a lifetime. Let’s not kid ourselves the standard of football wasn’t always mind blowing. With 3 defeats and a heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Croatia we may not have had the skill levels of past teams. It looked like the English team for the first time in a while had some pride in playing and a little heart. I think even in defeat the English side had captured the hearts of all Football fans back in England and bowed out of the tournament with pride and dignity.
As a nation and partly down to the English press we have a terrible tendency to think we are a lot better than we actually are. Looking back at the golden team of the past 10 years with players like Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard we just never seemed to have that heart or desire. Let’s not get carried away, we did have a pretty smooth run in this year’s tournament and a little luck. I think seeing 11 players on a pitch that look eager, hungry and proud to be wearing the England jersey was a breath of fresh air.
Now after the dust has settled on the tournament, what legacy can be taken for future English teams? I think it’s clear that English teams of past and present lack a little bit of composure on the ball. Whatever Gareth Southgate did with the team at this world cup it showed we have what it takes to make it at least to the semi and this is a great platform to build on. With the English teams winning 2 youth football World Cups recently it’s clear we have the English talent available now. We now need the FA and top English footballing sides to give these kids the opportunities to grow into rounded professionals and not leave them to rot in U23 sides.
The future of football is looking bright. FA and the Premier League are pumping money into youth football for both girls and boys. Changes have to start at the beginning with not only money but qualified coaches needed to increase at grassroots football level. England currently use one quarter of amount of EUFA qualified caches as Germany which is quite honestly embarrassing. Time will only tell if our footballing bodies are doing enough to make a difference to English football at future tournaments at international level. I think the major legacy to take from this summer’s World Cup is the current fluctuation of young player taking part in the beautiful sport after seeing a tournament and English side not only backed by supporters in England but for a change to have the press fully on board even in defeat. Well although we cannot predict the future I think things are looking positive for English football.