The dust is settling on England’s defeat to Iceland. In fact, it’s more like ash – the cinders of one of the most humiliating defeats in English footballing history. What is it about Iceland and ash?
It might be doing a disservice to a well-organised and well-coached football team who play with heart as well as technique. It may not be fair to call the defeat ‘humiliating’, but England football fans certainly feel humiliated. Iceland were not a team England were supposed to lose to, no matter how much Iceland have progressed over the few years.
And so the inquest begins. In fact, the inquest began before the final whistle. But after that whistle, the criticisms of England’s players, England’s manager and England’s own league were being trotted out in brutal fashion by a panel of Irish TV pundits, seemingly more angry than their English counterparts, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.
None other than Liverpool icon Dietmar Hamann was in the RTE studio last night to give his opinion on England’s players and the league itself. And it seems he was not a happy man.
‘English people believe the hype of the Premier League’ said Hamann, ‘They have sold a Skoda for a Lamborghini for the last 15 years.’
The Premier League has marketed itself as the ‘Best League In The World’, but the Liverpool legend has a point – since the start of the Premier League in 1991, England have won only three knockout stage wins in a major tournament, one of them coming on Penalties against Spain on home soil in 1996.
The former Germany international then continued, ‘They’ve created a brand, fair does to them, the players earn a lot of money, and all these players should light a candle every time they go to bed at night, because if they were Icelandic, Portuguese, Dutch or German, they would struggle to earn a quarter of the money they’re on now’.
‘It’s not their fault that the clubs are paying that money. But it’s over-inflated, the Premier League is a fraud,’ Hamann continued. ‘But it’s over-inflated. The Premier League is a fraud.’
England’s team, according to Hamann is presumably made up of average players, or perhaps even worse. And the dominance of Spain and Germany in the Champions League over the past few seasons attests to that. ‘The best players play in Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid, and they pay world-class wages for above average players.’
His sentiments echo those of many, many people in England this morning waking up to the fact that it wasn’t a dream and their team really was eliminated from Euro 2016 by Iceland. It was a brutal outburst – but can you really call him wrong? Something needs to change.