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Under 20 World Cup Flop Highlights Growing Problems For The England National Team

Thursday 18th July 2013
There seems no end to England's misery at international level after the Under-20 side were the latest Three Lions side to flop at a tournament, this time at the 2013 Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

The youngsters finished rock-bottom of a group consisting of Iraq, Chile and Egypt, picking up just two points en route to a shocking early exit!

Their poor performance came just weeks after the England U21s endured a disastrous 2013 European Championships, where they too departed in the groups stages - except they couldn't even muster a single point in the process.

Peter Taylor's men arrived in Turkey with high hopes of making it through to the knockout stages of the tournament. The squad contained a number of promising young players in its ranks, including the likes of Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, Tottenham's Harry Kane and Man Utd's Larnell Cole, meaning expectations were understandably high.

They opened up with a 2-2 draw against Iraq (failing to hold on to a two goal lead), followed by poor 1-1 draw with Chile, before losing their third and final group game to Egypt, suffering a bitterly disappointing 2-0 defeat. Due to other results, England only needed a victory in their last game in order to progress through to the last-16. However, they unexpectedly slumped against an Egypt side who had lost both of their previous matches.

Astonishingly, England have now gone 16 matches without collecting a single win at the U-20 World Cup, with their last victory coming way back in 1997!

Similarly to the fall-out following the U21s exit, the debate over the severe lack of young English talent plying their trade in England has come under the media microscope.

Recent statistics revealed that only 189 English players appeared in the Premier League last season which was a staggering contrast to 332 Spaniards who played some part in La Liga during 2012/13. Taylor believes that the experience of being at a World Cup will help his players in the long run but the reality is that restructuring of English football at all levels needs to happen quickly.

As it stands, the future looks bleak for the England national team, with expectation replaced with a grim reality that its teams will likely struggle at all levels for some time. The senior team are currently in danger of failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1994. They are locked in a four-way battle in Group H with leaders Montenegro, Ukraine and Poland and the fight for automatic qualification is sure to go right down to the wire.

Roy Hodgson's men have four games left to book their place at Brazil. In September, they play back-to-back matches against Moldova and Ukraine, followed by two crunch final games at home to Montenegro and Poland in October and if the unthinkable happens, then a post-mortem of the beautiful game in England will be inevitable.

Even with qualification to Brazil in 12 months time, there is no hiding from the fact that England has a problem when it comes down to the production of home-grown talent and whilst nothing is done to nurture that, the situation is not going to get any better for the national team.

 
Jack Kitson
Massive Southampton fan, loving being back in the Premier League but cannot get enough football to feed my addiction.

Total articles: 53

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