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Euro 2012: England expects?

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Will Cooper Will Cooper | 11:10 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

An England fan puts up a flag ahead of the EURO 2012 Qualifier match between Bulgaria and England at the Vasil Levski National Stadium on September 2, 2011 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

5 live will be live in Kiev later for the draw for Euro 2012 – a competition that comes at a pivotal time for the English game.

England are in Pot Two, and will be looking for a favourable draw that could see them in the same group as Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic, increasing their chances of getting through to the latter stages.

Progression beyond the group stage in Poland and Ukraine next year, and ideally to victory, is arguably more important than ever for England.

Barring a spectacular volte-face Fabio Capello will leave his role as manager after a tenure that’s promised so much, but failed to deliver when on the main stage. It’s almost certainly the last major tournament for many of England’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ – the likelihood is that Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard will be fringe, rather than first-choice, players come the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

But is a successful campaign perhaps more essential in order to enthuse a fan base that appears increasingly frustrated with major aspects of the national game?

England won their last two friendly fixtures, most notably against World Champions Spain, but what also made the headlines was the attendance at the second of those matches against Sweden. Wembley saw a crowd of just under 49,000 – the lowest England has seen at the new stadium. While a midweek match in tough economic times explains it in part, it was almost half the attendance of the Spain match just days before.Empty seats are seen in the stands during the international friendly match between England and Sweden at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2011 in London, England.

So is part of the reason that fans feel the divide between them and players is greater than ever? Do fans question whether players really care? Is the passion the supporters feel not felt by the guys on the pitch?

Certainly it doesn’t help that some players continue to set bad examples. Allegations of racism aside, swearing and hostility towards referees persists, despite the introduction by the Football Association of good initiatives such as the Respect campaign.

Indeed, yesterday’s Your Call, which featured the FA’s director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and looked at the state of grassroots football in the country, saw fans once again call for better examples to be set by those at the top of the profession.

There’s no doubt the country – or at least England - will get behind the team come the summer, and there are many reasons to be cheerful (the new crop of young players especially). But there seems to be a good argument that a successful campaign will do more than just push the team up the world rankings.

Listen to the draw for Euro 2012 live on 5 live Drive at 5.30pm.

Listen again to yesterday’s Your Call.

Will Cooper is Senior Content Producer at 5 live


  • Comment number 1.

    I just refuse to pay a lot of money to watch average performances against below average teams. In fact, during 2010's World Cup England were so embarrassing and painful to watch, I lost my enthusiasm for them.

  • Comment number 2.

    The reason attendances are modest can be put down to the fact international football, especially in England, is inferior in terms of quality and excitement compared to the Premier League and Champions' League.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't know about enthusing the fan base, but when I look at the footballers who will undoubtedly be chosen, I see a load of overpaid people, some of them pretty yobby, who say obscenities to referees and have no respect for them, who clearly foul others within an inch of a red card quite often, and who couldn't care about the example they are setting. There are a couple of exceptions but mostly I deride the half wits who are in the England squad today.

    Feel better for that, won't be watching the Euro championships, would rather watch a good game of cricket any day. Got the Test series v. West Indies and the Aussies are over here too. Yippee!

  • Comment number 4.

    On that point, I suppose there's a question about how excited some fans might be ahead of Euro 2012 considering we've got the Olympics a month later. And what are the odds on the GB football team progressing further at the Olympics than England at the Euros?

  • Comment number 5.

    I hope there is a proper 2012 GB team instead of a few English players outnumbering other nations of the UK. If they played with as much patriotic passion as they could muster, and show a bit of pride, then it could be good.

    I would be more interested in watching them at 2012 than at the Euros. They should have an X Factor selection process so British citizens could choose the team, now that would be entertaining. Money raised from phone in give to Help for Heroes. Or put them in the "jungle" and the last 15 standing after treks and climbing could be the squad.Instead of that we will have 'arry choosing them no doubt.

    Losing my mind! Just joking really. But thanks for responding Will.

  • Comment number 6.

    What a boring, boring waste of time that draw was. I had to turn it off. It is like the lottery programme on a Saturday night but interminably longer. The results only are needed not the ruddy pantomime of drawing it.

  • Comment number 7.

    Will a good Blog, could you possibly answer the following Questions regarding 5lives Coverage of Euro 2012?

    In the light of the Cuts, will 5live be sending a smaller Team compared to say Euro 2008?

    Will the new 1 Man Commentary Team set up for next season also apply to Euro 2012? If yes who will be the main Commentator? It will probarly be either Alan Green or Mike Ingham, but i would not rule John Murray out.

    On the subject of Alan Green, he seems to be appearing less and less on 5live, is this a delibrate move by 5live Managment, to give other Guys a chance?

    Thanks in advance for any answers!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Fedster. 5 live's Euro 2012 coverage is still being finalised, so I can't comment on that just now. As soon as it is there'll be a post on here. Sorry, i know this doesn't answer your questions!

  • Comment number 9.

    Garethensanso. Exactly. Youv'e hit the nail on the head (not often done on 5 Live) and probably not in the way you intended!

    If top English clubs can win European competitions when it's team is full of 'foreigners' and then claim its an 'English' success then it makes a complete mockery of international football betweem national states.

    The reality is that global professional football like capitalism recognises no borders so why not just abolish international football altogether and have a world league system which ignores national boundaries and concentrates on clubs playing clubs. Then perhaps players from Man Utd or AC Milan may come from Manchester or Milan respectively!

  • Comment number 10.

    Well, post draw, I can honestly answer the question in the title, and the answer is: nothing!

  • Comment number 11.

    Thanks for the reply Will, it will be really intresting to see the approach 5live will take to Euro 2012, if recent reports are accurate, BBC TV will be covering Euro 2012 from Manchester, due to budget restraints, so i will assume 5live will do the same and just send Commentators out there.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Quite sad to see that David Croft is leaving 5live, highly intelligent man, who will replace him i wonder......


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