Euro 2016 betting: Could England’s fifty year wait for a major trophy come to an end?Published May 5, 2016
England had a perfect qualification record and recorded a strong victory in Germany last month. However, a loss against Holland days later highlighted some weaknesses in Roy Hodgson’s team.
Twenty years ago David Baddiel and Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds released the immortal ‘Three Lions’ song which spoke of thirty years of hurt, the time since England last one a major international tournament.
In 2016, it will be fifty full years and 25 tournaments since 1966 and all that. While England came close at Wembley in Euro ’96 and the World Cup in Italy in 1990, when they went out heartbreakingly on both occasions to Germany at the semi-final stage on penalties, they have never even reached a final since then.
England come enter the tournament in tremendous form, as one of only two teams with a perfect record at the qualification stage, conceding only three goals over the ten games. Some might look at their group and suggest it wasn’t the most competitive but a team can only beat the opposition on hand.
On the one side they beat Germany in Berlin in a recent friendly 2-3 after being 2-0 with two thirds of the game gone, thanks to Harry Kane, a beautifully flicked goal by Jamie Vardy and an injury-time winner by Eric Dier.
However, that optimism was dampened only a few days later when England were beaten quite comfortably 1-2 at Wembley by Holland who have not even qualified for the European Championship.
England do have riches up front in Kane, Vardy, and Liverpool’s Sturridge, and some exciting players in midfield with Everton’s Ross Barkley, Tottenham duo Eric Dier and Deli Alli and Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater pushing to be automatic starters.
However, problems remain at the back with many of the England defenders having difficult seasons for their clubs, not least Everton’s John Stones whose form has dropped since announcing himself on the premier stage the season before. Since the likes of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand retired from international football, England have struggled to find a strong and consistent centre-half pairing.
While England’s qualification record and the win in Germany will give fans confidence that this could be their year, questions still remain about the defence and they will face much sterner tests in France.