…to a lump of cheddar cheese (Name that tune)
It’s only 2 years since Englands disasterous Brazillian adventure and little hope was held for Englands new guard in the recently ended European champonships, held in France.
At the start of the qualifing campaign in September 2014 new player manager Wayne Rooney has decided the team needs to accomodate him in his new preferred position. This was much to the annoyance of Joe Hart who thought the goalkeepers shirt should have been his. However the important people, notably the fat bloke who has never kicked a ball in anger (AKA Daily Mail football writer), were happy.
Switzerland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Estonia and San Marino awaited Rooneys new lions in what, if we had had a decent team, would be an easy group. Additionally, as the country had lost interest in favour of full contact chess, it had been decided to take the home games “on the road”.
The first game, at home to San Marino, was played at Goldsands Stadium, home of Bournmouth FC. This pleased new San Marino manager Harry Redknapp as it’s just up the road from his house and he could get home for tea. Harry clearly had a positive influence as his charges lead 3-0 within 20 minutes. Thankfully 4 penalties by Casey Stoney, fresh from lifting the Womens World Cup last year, saved Englands blushes.
Away games followed against Estonia, led by Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampards Slovenia. Both ending in 0-0 draws with the only “highlight” being Wayne Rooneys sending off in the latter game for slapping the centre forward with his toupee.
Then a crunch double header against group favourites, led by newly restored manager Roy “of the Rovers” Hodgson. The home fixture, played at St Georges field, home of Ryman League side Corinthian-Casuals, stuttered to a 0-0 in front of 715 sleeping fans. Englands man of the match was Englands reserve goalkeeper Raheem Stirling who, for the first time in 19 England games, actually managed to avoid giving ball away to an opponent every time he got it. The away game two weeks later, featuring a returning Rooney in goal, ended in a 2-0 win fo the Swiss with both goals scored by Stirling.
The rest of the England games in this group ended in 0-0 draws with the exception of the home fixture against Lithuania, managed by ace pundit and former international Phil Neville. Heading for a draw Neville brought himself on with 5 minutes left and, with an astute dive in Englands 6 yard box, earned and ultimately scored a winning penalty.
Despite a lack of goals throughout qualification caused, according to fat bloke at The Mail, by Rooney being out of position, other results in the group meant we finished in second place and made the finals. 10’s of England fans were expected to make the arduous journey by ferry to the beaches of Normandy in an invasion not seen for 60 years.
While qualification matches were going on there had been some major changes in the European Union. New EU President, HRH Sepp Blatter, had brought new countries into the union (and the Euro) and 2 of these were to end up in Englands group. Following a poor showing in all group matches England failed to qualify with the group, including its new Europena countries, finishing as follows:
Following the tournament Rooney resigned as player manager and went to work with deprived former England footballers playing in the USA for the Miami Heat franchise. New manager Raheem Stirling was appointed immediately. However equally immediately he resigned after stories appeared in the Daily Mail, (fat bloke again) suggesting he had taken extra coaching rather that playing golf with his teammates.
And finally: Back in March Jeremy the giraffe, famed predictor of football match results, has eaten the brown leaf followed by 2 green leaves, clearly predicting an England failure. Well done Jeremy, recently appointed as England manager.