Anyone but England

Anyone but England

A weekly sports column by the 100 Mile Free Press

The publisher of the 100 Mile Free Press has been begging me not to write about Germany’s faults during this year’s World Cup and truth be told, I’m not all that interested in how early Germany was eliminated.

I can’t even begin to explain my indifference toward it.

However, I’m severely disappointed in how England is playing. The fact that they have played well and made it out of the Round of 16 has me sighing all over the office. See, my family like almost every family with Celtic stock has a mantra and it’s: “Anybody but England.”

I was hoping that they would perform as they did in 2014, where they failed to record a single win. But here we are, with England in the semi-finals after beating Sweden.

England has a chance to win the World Cup for the first time since 1966 when the World Cup only had 16 teams in the entire tournament. How times have changed. Bulgaria and Hungary were still considered to be two of soccer’s superpowers. The Soviet Union still existed and the Berlin Wall still stood tall.

Maybe the only reason England had a chance as they were on home soil. Maybe the world of FIFA took pity on the sport’s credited creator for missing out on the action from 1930-38 and only managing to get past the quarter-finals twice between 1950 and 1962.

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Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh. After all, when was the last time the Republic of Ireland or Canada even qualified for the World Cup?

Ireland has only qualified three times and to be fair, they got past the group stage all three times. Canada only qualified in 1986 and they came in dead last failing to register a single goal.

However, each of these countries don’t have a great league set-up.

The League of Ireland doesn’t have the same funding as the English Premier League, not even close to it. Clubs go bankrupt all the time and it’s just a matter of whether or not the community they are located gives a care in the world to save them.

Canada, at least, has three professional teams in Major League Soccer. There was a FIFA sanctioned domestic league in Canada called the Canadian Soccer League but it ended up losing that status due to a gambling ring in Serbia. The league still exists but it’s no longer recognized by Soccer Canada or FIFA, which is kind of funny when you take into account FIFA’s recent bribery and gambling problems.

The Canadian Soccer League was never really close to being a real professional league as most of its players were amateurs.

Soccer Canada is trying to change the soccer landscape with the creation of the Canadian Premier League, set to begin in 2019.


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