By Aiden Mynott
The good news is that football next summer is guaranteed to hold some interest for the first couple of weeks anyway. Yes again we have qualified for a major tournament. England will start the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Now the questions that arise are threefold. Firstly how many games will end up like Iceland, especially if they are drawn in our Group, again. Qualifying we seem to manage reasonably comfortably, albeit this time I suspect aided more by the draw rather than our footballing ability. Holland, Scotland and the USA won't be there and Argentina get there by the skin of their teeth.
The consequence for Sponorship with the USA failing to qualify remains to be seen. The football will certainly represent the World as Stepp Bladder’s legacy takes hold. This means that countries outside the top 20 of footballing nations will qualify, while those in the top 20 will not be there. So the question is will the eventual winner be the top nation in the World or just the most successful over a tournament, including home advantage.
Off the field could be quiet interesting. The Russians like the English like an alcoholic beverage or two and history shows that usually ends up with some sort of scrap involving so called National Pride. The role of the Russian Police could be interesting as well, as they don’t suffer the restraints of the Police Complaints Authority as happens here.
Secondly will the football be any good? I suspect most games will be boring as the main aim seems to be not too lose. This was demonstrated by England and Sweden over the weekend just gone,
Thirdly does being World Champion mean anything if the top 24 teams are not in it? I suggest no and the whole tournament is being demeaned by the increasing number of qualifiers and the eternal group stage of the tournament. Here’s a suggestion make it knock out. I know that it’s a long way to go to just play one game but it might make Managers approach it with a will to win.
And on that bomb shell...