With England being the only British nation to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, it will be interesting to see how much support they will receive from the other home nations.
England have an excellent record over the years in terms of qualifying for major tournaments, however, aside from their 1966 World Cup triumph, their success on the big stage has been mostly disappointing. They have had a few tournaments where they have been agonisingly close to the final since then such as the World Cup in 1990 and Euro 1996 where on both occasions, they were knocked out by Germany in the semi-finals by losing on penalties and in both respective years, Germany went on to win the tournament. Despite these near misses and the anti-climaxes in many other tournaments, England will be going into this World Cup full of optimism like any other tournament.
England are effectively representing Britain at this World Cup, which has been the case in the majority of tournaments in the past. However, previously, the other home nations have been well-known to be divided into supporting England and not supporting them. Being from Wales, I have only seen my country be part of a major tournament once in my lifetime and that was the last one (Euro 2016), where they reached the semi-finals and were knocked-out by Portugal, also the subsequent winners, losing 2-0. There were many happy memories to cherish from that tournament and it is a popular opinion that Wales were a surprise package, considering it was their first major tournament since Euro 1976 (which was regulated by a different style of format and grouping). Therefore, from my own personal opinion, I can say that I have supported England at other major tournaments since I have been watching football and so have most of my family. Many other football fans who I know have also followed England at the major tournaments but there will always be a section of fans that will not want England to do well. I think, as a Brit, you should follow the other home nations at major tournaments if your country has not made it.
I can’t speak for Scottish or Irish fans because I don’t know how much their cultures are against England. Only seeing one my country qualifying for one major tournament in my lifetime is very frustrating, especially with the quality of some of Wales’ players like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey but it is a team game and overall, Wales’ teams haven’t been good enough over the years. The campaign for this World Cup was probably the most frustrating, especially off the back of Euro 2016. Again, we were not good enough and didn’t produce enough results. Personally, I think that is the difference between England and Wales’ football teams. Nearly every qualifying group is a stroll for England and aside from Euro 2008, they have qualified for every major tournament in my lifetime. However, this is usually not the case for Wales. Every group we have been drawn in has included very tough teams and we have had to fight for results in every single game. I think England have always just had that little bit more quality and it has proven over time.
So, due to Wales not being at the World Cup, I will be supporting England myself and hope most of the rest of Wales and the other countries will do the same.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!