Yet again, will England’s World Cup overfloweth with woe? Not if Esso produce another England World Cup Coin Collection!

April 3, 2010

Following David Beckham’s recent injury which terminated his playing presence at the World Cup, England fans have had a nailbiting few days over the outcome of Wayne Rooney’s ankle injury. The news is good on this occasion – Rooney will be back in action in a few weeks.

Esso World Cup Coin Collection No 2However a sense of deja vu pervades – haven’t we been here before? Indeed we have, in the build up to every World Cup England have qualified for since 1970! This was the year that Esso gave away an England World Cup Squad Coin Collection to their customers, and things have never been the same since – every tournament, we have started or finished missing our key, talismanic players, inevitably ending in heroic and honourable underachievement and failure!!

The first World Cup England qualified for after 1970 was in Spain in 1982. The jewels in the crown on that occasion were Kevin Kevin KeeganKeegan and Trevor Brooking who through injury played little or no part in the tournament, only making brief cameo appearances as substitutes in the final game against Karl Heinz Rumeneger’s West Germany. The game was drawn, signalling England’s exit. The one positive to come out of that tournament was the emergence of midfield dynamo, Bryan Robson. Sadly this was the last World Cup where he played a significant part, as injury forced him to go home prematurely from Mexico and Italy, in 1986 and 1990. On those occasions Gary Lineker and the prodigiously talented Paul Gascoine stepped in and filled the breach.

GazzaBy the time England qualified for another World Cup in 1998, Lineker was retired and all our hopes were pinned on Gascoine proving his fitness. Inevitably he didn’t make it onto the plane, but the equally prodigious David Beckham and an an 18 year old rookie, Michael Owen stepped up as the country’s saviours, until the former’s dismissal against Argentina forced England to play out most of the game with 10 men, losing valiantly once again on penalties.

England were robbed of a fully fit Beckham in the 2002 with a metatarsal injury and Owen limped out of the last World Cup in Frank Lampard2006.  The moral and point of this rather laboured tale of national woe, is that England have never fully benefited from having their best and most influential players at their disposal. Will 2010 in South Africa be any different? Time will tell, and the remainder of the domestic football season will be a worrying time as we pray that injuries are not sustained by the spine of the England team ie John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

In the meantime, we hope that Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and Jermaine Defoe can return to full fitness following injury, so that finally England can go into a World Cup with a full complement of their best players. If we can, after so many false dawns we have a genuine chance of finally exorcising the ghost of 1966, and emulating the achievements of Alf Ramsey’s team!

Ironically the only other time since 1970 that Esso produced an England World Cup Squad Coin Collection, immortalising the players, was twenty years later in 1990 when England registered their best tournament since 1966, only losing on penalties in the semi finals to West Germany. A further twenty years on, are Esso planning on producing another Coin Collection? Let’s hope so, because our World Cup fortunes depend and rest on it……………..yes, in the end as usual we are relying on good old fashioned superstition and luck to carry us through to the final!!

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