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World Cup at the CPH Post: England expects – okay, not really


England hasn't beaten a former winner of the World Cup in the knockout stage since 1966

June 14, 2014
07:02

by Ben Hamilton


If there was a world cup for entitlement, then England would win every time.

Read More: Euro 2012: Defying Death

After all, they invented the game and would have shared the first zillion world cups with Scotland had they ever taken place (the internet is full of such imaginary tournaments).

The original ‘Three Lions’, released in 1996, spoke of 30 years of hurt and resonated with a longing for glory that had awoken from a 1970s slumber into a full-blown hunger by the time the 1990 World Cup was over.

It’s a sentiment InOut writer Pete Streader (right), 51, still feels today.

“Subbuteo 1974 World Cup edition, tears to the sounds of World in Motion, and ridiculous over-optimism – this is England’s year,” he roars with a clenched fist. “I can feel it in my bones!”

But somewhere along the line, the hurt has waned and made way for indifference and acceptance that England’s not good enough. Come the advert breaks in 2014, more English fans will be discussing the next Premier League season than the ongoing World Cup.

“To be honest, if given 90 minutes to spare I’d more likely spend them in the cinema than at a match,” says film critic Mark Walker (left).

But that’s because he doesn’t really like football!

“But the World Cup is something else,” he continues. “If England get through the group, I'll be watching – beer in hand.”

Like at the last Euros, managing editor Ben Hamilton (centre) is happy the media is more realistic about England’s chances. And he’s also pleased they’ve got a tough group so they can stop fretting about who might knock them out later.

“Our problem has always been against the big teams and then putting them on a pedestal,” he contends.

“We look ahead at the draw and say: ‘Oh no, Brazil, fancy meeting you in a World Cup quarter-final.’ I mean who do they expect to play: Tanzania?”

Since 1986, England has only beaten one former winner of the World Cup: Argentina in 1998 and that was in the group stage.

In the knockout round, the big guns from Brazil (2002) Argentina (1986 and 98) and Germany (1990 and 2010) have ensured it’s been a big fat zero against former winners since the 1966 final.

And sadly for England, winning the World Cup would invariably require meeting and beating a few of them along the way.


As part of our World Cup coverage this year, our international staff decided it would be fun to dress up in our national shirts for the Copenhagen Post Wallchart, which hit the streets on June 12. 

Partly that, and to rub it in the faces of our Danish colleagues that they haven't qualified this time around. 

Taking a leaf out of the Jack Charlton guide to national coaching, we sourced a few errant grandfathers and even found room for Scotland. 

And just in case you want to 'go local' to watch a game, check out our guide to the best bars in town for finding authentic nationalistic fervour.




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