Since the NBA Draft is over and things will be again be quiet for Milwaukee until summer league starts(I cannot imagine the Bucks being big players in free agency), there is still the World Cup going on and one thing seems very apparent to me, England is not nearly as good as they think they are. I hear all the time that they think they can win it, their fans think they can win it, I watched the game versus Germany yesterday, England had no chance of winning the whole World Cup.
Not As Good As They Think
As I have watched England play in the World Cup I did not get the feeling they are even close to the teams that have really stood out. Argentina and Brazil would run laps around them, Germany already did. I am not even sure if England is on the same level as Holland, which is not a bad thing since Holland looks quite good, but Holland doesn’t beat its chest every World Cup claiming to be a favorite. I cannot help but feel the same way towards England as I do towards Notre Dame football, neither is as important or as good as they think they are.
England players and fans are delusional if they think they are on the same level as the top contenders. Just because you and and your fans really care about the sport and team does not automatically put you at true contender status.
All of this felt so similar to me, a team who thinks they are much more important and relevant than they actually are, then a thought hit me “Of course, England’s soccer team is Notre Dame football”. Notre Dame keeps holding out of joining the Big 10, or any other conference, because it never had to. Notre Dame was and is on its own with its own tv contract and gets to keep all of the money from bowl games. That is all fine, but NotreDame keeps claiming, by fans and (former) coaches, that it is an elite team. The problem is Notre Dame has been no where close to an elite team for some time.
Notre Dame’s best win in the last fifteen or so years was a loss to USC, that is their banner game. I do not think the best wins for Florida, Texas, USC, Oklahoma or LSU were losses. Those are the teams that are among the elite teams in college football and Notre Dame is not even close to that level. Those are also teams that did not finally get its first bowl win in almost 20 years last year, against Hawaii, not much to brag about.
England’s fans and players will complain about the disallowed goal from yesterday with some good reason. It was a bad call that changed the strategy, I understand that. But it is that very bickering about the call that displays how far they actually are from being one of the elite teams. Elite teams take on the bad call and are able to overcome it. Bad call or not, the two second half counter-attack goals should never happen regardless of strategy. In each play someone from England fell asleep, that would have happened whether the disallowed goal counted or not, England is not good enough to not be on full alert for 90 minutes against an actual elite team.
Good, Not Great
It just comes down to this, Notre Dame football and English soccer are good, not great. Both teams matter and are interesting simply because of the importance each is to its fans and players and to the history of each one’s sport. But neither is great and the sooner their fans and players grasp this concept the better off they will be. Both teams feel a level of entitlement that is just not justified anymore.
Notre Dame, you are not Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, LSU or USC. You are not even Notre Dame of 20 years ago.
England, you are not Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Spain. It has been decades since you won a World Cup for a reason.
The level of disappointment each team experiences will be softened if both realize they are good, not great.