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How to Predict England’s Impending Implosion

By Jake Maddaford

With the European Championships looming, many England fans are feeling excited about the prospect of football “coming home”.

However, those of us on the outside are obviously hopeful it will be business as usual. They will win one game, start playing Frank Skinner and David Baddiel re-runs, and eventually get knocked out soon afterwards.

As the lyrics of the famous song goes, “They’re so sure, that England’s gonna throw it away . . . ” and fingers crossed that is going to be the case this time out. The hunger will go on.

But what exact moment will England have their hopes shattered? How long will it take before us Welsh folk can laugh at England’s heroic failures once again?

When looking back at recent tournaments, England went deeper into the competitions than they had in the decades prior. Before the 2018 World Cup, they hadn’t reached a semi-final since Euro 96.

During that time, they were booted out at the quarter final stage four times, round of 16 three times, and group stages twice.

Strangely enough, they have finished second in the group stages at major tournaments more than first, coming second six times compared to topping the group four.

So, the law of averages would say they will finish second in their group, and if that were to be the case, the Three Lions would most likely play hosts Germany in the round of 16.

England and Germany have what you might term quite a famous rivalry, stemming back to the 1966 World Cup Final. But, since then, it’s been a very one-sided affair when these two have met in tournaments.

England have only beaten Germany twice in tournament football since then, in Euro 2000 and Euro 2021.

Germany, by contrast, have beaten England five times since – most recently in the 2010 World Cup, so it’s fair to say England’s  campaign would be in jeopardy. Maybe, with a home crowd behind the Germans, it would be all but over for Gareth Southgate and his merry men.

Let’s take it one step further. What exact minute will England have their dream destroyed?

Well, in recent tournament exits, England have lost 2-1 against opponents such as Iceland, Croatia, and France.

They do also love taking the game to penalties and losing that way, famously in the Euros final against Italy four years ago, but also in 2012 against the same opponents and in 2006 against Portugal.

Given England’s form going into this tournament, it’s open to question whether they can take it that far, so a loss in normal 90-minute time seems more feasible than the latter.

With England also favouring the agonising one-goal margin defeat, perhaps a 2-1 loss seems the most likely outcome.

In their last three 2-1 exits in major tournaments, the goal they have scored has come directly from a set piece, two of them being penalties.

So, armed with that information from England’s previous major tournaments, we can confirm that England will crash out in the round of 16, 2-1 against Germany in Berlin, with Harry Kane scoring an ultimately insignificant penalty at some point in the match.

With that outcome, it would also most certainly bring an end to Southgate’s eight-year spell as manager.

He has said: “If we don’t win, I probably won’t be here anymore.

“This might be my last chance. I think about half of national team managers leave after a tournament, that’s the nature of it.

“I’ve been here for almost eight years now and we’ve come close.”

This, then, will be Southgate’s last opportunity to win a major tournament with England and silence all the people who think he is out of his depth.

But, when you consider this is the man whose team went 1-0 up after two minutes in the final of a major tournament, and then his side didn’t have another shot on target in the rest of the game, you can’t see anything else other than more pain and suffering.

Considering in this scenario, to, he will be coming up against Julian Nagelsmann, someone who has managed Bayern Munich in the Champions League just over a year ago, there is seemingly only one outcome.

So, no need to worry Wales fans. England will be out of this tournament before we are even into July.

While you may have to persist with hearing Three Lions on the radio, it will only be short lived, as Germany will do what they have done multiple times in the past – knock England out of a major tournament.

Only this time, they’ll do it at home, making it that bit sweeter for them – and maybe for us!

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