England have always gone into World Cups and European Championships with a sense of optimism, that with a bit of luck and good form from the team they would have a realistic chance of winning.
The 2014 World Cup however, is looking like a different story, the defeat to Chile on Wednesday highlighted what has been evident for a while now, that England are not one of the top teams in international football.
England’s defeat at home to Chile was a major shock, they are never expected to lose a home match at Wembley especially if that team is not one of the big powers such as Spain, Germany and Brazil. Chile are a very competent side with top players such as Alexis Sanchez of Barcelona, but if England are to be contenders for the World Cup they should be able to beat sides like Chile, especially in a home game.
The manner in which England lost was also very alarming, Chile completely ran the game from start to finish and looked the more dangerous side throughout, despite the fact England had players like Lallana deputising, more would be expected of the team as a whole.
Under Roy Hodgson, it is fair to say England have never really hit form that would put them up there as one of the worlds best. The World Cup qualifying campaign was, despite topping the group, unimpressive in most parts.
England’s group was relatively easy but they made hard work of qualifying, Ukraine were the only real threat in a group that contained a poor Poland team heavily reliant on Lewandowski, Montenegro, a very average side, Moldova, a weak team, and the whipping boys of every qualifying campaign San Marino.
Despite hammering San Marino and Moldova, England drew home and away against Ukraine and also drew away to both Poland and Montenegro, teams England would be expected to beat.
England do posses some very talented players, Gerrard, Rooney, Baines and Lampard to name but a few, but as a team England are not on the same level as Germany or Brazil who have great players and also gel well together as great teams.
The expectations for the 2014 World Cup at this stage are not as high as usual, in past years England fans and players alike would be hoping for a semi-final or even final place but in next years World Cup, getting out of the group stage is looking like their only goal with anything else being a bonus.
It is hard to see England beating a team like Belgium or Colombia were they to face them and even less likely that they could beat Brazil, Argentina or Spain. There is even a high possibility that, were England to draw a hard group, they would not even get past the group stages.
The 2014 World Cup will be 48 years after England’s only World Cup triumph in 1966 and unfortunately for England fans and the team itself it doesn’t look like the wait will be over anytime soon.