We knew it was going to be like this didn’t we?
When there’s a simple way of doing things and a difficult one, you can be sure England will take the steepest, most pot-holed, single lane unadopted road imaginable.
Manager Roy Hodgson elected to make six changes to his team for the 0-0 draw against Slovakia on Monday, and the failure of that reshuffled side to see-off Bratislava’s finest condemned our once proud nation to runners-up spot in the group behind Bales.
Not only does that mean eternal ignominy – despite having turned our neighbours over in pleasingly excruciating fashion in game two – it also means we failed to beat either of the two average sides that Wales did beat with ease.
Thanks to all this, we are now in the same half of the draw as France, Spain, Italy and Germany.
I am wounded by this scenario, but to add insulting salt to the injury, the Hodgsaurus claims I should be pleased as we dominated every game like England have never done before. I have eyes, Roy. I saw plenty of huffing and puffing but very little in the way of, you know, actual good football or decent chances.
Now if I had been in charge of the FA on Monday night I’d have sacked the old duffer before he had shaken hands with the opposition coach.
He made two subs (both pretty obvious ones according to my twitter timeline) to change the tide at half-time against Wales and it went to his head. Suddenly he thinks making changes is the only way to win. It’s not. Ask Antonio Conte.
We have many of the best, most in-form players in Europe, the best facilities and coaches and scouting money can buy. Let me ask you.. do we need a figurehead manager?
Do we need a 68-year-old man in short shorts telling Harry Kane to take a corner or Raheem Sterling to not run down blind alleys?
How’s about this: why not let the coaching staff, Gary Neville and that lot, plus senior players like Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart, take us forward in this tournament.
I wouldn’t want him to sit the 11-plus for me, but Rooney knows how he’d want his England team to play, plus I trust him not to pick himself upfront anymore, and watching Hart during the national anthem makes me think he’d give a decent pre-match team-talk.
Throw in some tactics (Smalling, you mark the tallest bloke at corners, Dele, don’t get wound-up, Kyle, don’t give away silly free-kicks in your own half) and you’re more than half-way there.
Let’s manage this by committee. Hell if you really want even let the squad vote on the starting line-up between themselves.
I know, I know, it’s never been done before. But you know what else hasn’t been done before? England reaching the final of the European Championships.
Surely it’s better than doing what England have always done, which will almost certainly end with a quarter-final exit to the first half-decent team we face.
Elsewhere, clean Russian athletes look likely to be permitted to compete at Rio 2016, despite Russia itself being banned for just being terrible, terrible cheaters.
These athletes will compete under some neutral name like Cleanmania after undergoing, wait for it, rigorous testing to ensure they are dope-free. The same rigorous tests their country has been flouting and athletes routinely beating for years.
See you back here in six years when some of these ‘clean’ athletes get retested with new technology.