What Makes a Team?

Posted on June 18, 2012

Sat here watching the Spain v Croatia game and after seeing the much fancied Dutch collapse last night, I am wondering what it actually takes to make the ultimate football team that can keep evolving. It is amazing how we stereotype football teams and it has to be said that every team, with exception of England, has lived up to its stereotypical billing. The Dutch, the masters of under achievement and in house bickering capitulated in their games versus the much fancied Germans and Portugal to such an extent that it was almost embarrassing. What is it with the Dutch that makes them so selfish? Aarjen Robben in particular, looked like he is playing for only for himself, with the rest of the team being a total irrelevance. It is really is bizarre to watch.

The Germans as per usual, are running smooth, just like a Mercedes, they look good with the ball and without it, it is hard to find any kinks in their renowned efficiency and in my opinion they are the team to dethrone the Spanish. What is in the German water that makes them so patriotic, cohesive and emotionless under pressure? Whatever it is, the Dutch must be desperate for a drop, they have been falling out with each other for as long as I can remember. Ireland in the meantime seem to enjoy playing the part of tournament clowns, celebrating long in to the night after being battered senseless by the Spanish. Whether the Irish behave in this manner just to annoy Roy Keane is open to debate, but if I came from a nation that behaved in such a joyous manner for being so hopeless, I would turn the television off and take up tiddlywinks. England are often utterly shite, but you don’t see anyone celebrating except the opposition and Scottish people who have just seen their side draw with the Faroe Islands.

As for England, after the embarrassing over hyped WAG invested debacles of recent years, it is a relief to see them playing and behaving as a team, if not yet a very good one. The lack of hype has been refreshing, not least for the fact that it has thankfully, if only temporarily, rid us of plastic football supporters with the intellect of a standard rocking horse. Roy Hodgson might not be in line to have sex with the FA secretary or Ulrika Johnsson, he might not be showing OK magazine around his palatial home, but it seems that he is pretty good at bringing together a group of footballers and turning them in to a team that may well reach the quarter finals of the Euro’s or beyond. However, the problem with being ranked as not having a hope gives you a bit of hope when you do okay, then a bit more hope when you actually win. As John Cleese once said….“I can cope with the despair…it’s the hope I can’t stand.”  However, Even if England get knocked out tomorrow, it is relief to know that it won’t be in the same disjointed and pathetic circumstances of South Africa 2010.

As I write this, the Spanish, not without alarm, have just beaten Croatia 1-0 to progress to the quarter finals. Technically brilliant, but often over elaborate, Spain are the one team I always want to lose, probably because of the constant drooling over them  by BBC pundits who ejaculate all over the studio with every Spanish passing movement. There is a very good chance, if England get through their group that they will play the Spanish on Saturday. It is likely they will get humbled, but if there is a way we can nullify the Spanish plan A, their plan B is non existent. The Spanish are not strong defensively and if we can get about them with our speedy youngsters, who knows what might happen? In the words of the not very great Kevin Keegan, I would love it if we beat them….love it. However we probably won’t and hope will once again turn to despair.

The other team I desperately want to fail is France. After their hilarious capitulation in 2010, Laurent Blanc has been lauded as the man who has made them great again, he certainly has the arrogance. His apparent disgust at the fact that England wouldn’t let his team play us of the park is a vintage French excuse. How dare the English bullies stop us French artisans from playing football? It is difficult to say which French player I dislike the most, though if I am pushed, I would probably plump for Patrice Evra, purely for his pathetic hand shake histrionics in front of the equally detestable Louis Suarez in the Manchester United versus Liverpool game last season.

Whatever happens in the rest of what has been a brilliant tournament, is that the best TEAM will win it and at least now England seem to be a team, but the BBC and the media don’t seem to understand the importance of that, billing the return of Wayne Rooney as the saviour of the team that is actually doing okay. That is totally disrespectful of the young lads who have come in and done so well in his absence through suspension. The saving grace is that appears that Hodgson and Rooney himself are not getting involved in the hype, Rooney appears to have grown up and is ready to buy straight in to the work ethic of his team, he needs to as well, otherwise it will all go pear shaped really quickly. Personally, I think Rooney will lead by example and work his balls of, if you watch him at United he is the ultimate team player. There is definitely no Dutch blood in him.

The secret of how to create ultimate team spirit remains in the German spring water; maybe England should cross the border and grab a drop for the bigger challenges that lie ahead!



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