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On the 28th anniversary of Diego Maradona’s highly controversial goal in the Argentina’s 2-1 over England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final,

Another well-known Argentine number 10 was enjoying a well-earned rest day.

England's World Cup post-mortem is futileLionel Messi was absent for much of Argentina’s 1-0 win over Iran.

Whilst the English FA have been scratching their heads for decades, trying to formulate a course of action to bring success on the pitch, Argentina have capped two of the best players ever to have graced the game in Maradona and Messi.

The launch of the Premier League was supposed to benefit the England side. It has made England’s top flight league arguably one of the best leagues’ the world but it has done nothing to help the national side.

St George’s Park was built by the FA at cost of more than £120 million. The National Football Centre has been designed with an aspiration of ultimately producing the players and coaching staff that will make England a dominant force in international football.

An FA initiative scheme was launched to introduce more coaches into the game at grass-roots level. This is a great idea on paper but who is monitoring them frequently to ensure their training methods are competent?

Social media has gone into meltdown over whether or not Roy Hodgson should remain as the England head coach. Is it really Hodgson’s fault that England failed in Brazil? Of course he has to take some of the blame but even when England looked good going forward they still weren’t good enough to take all three points.

The nation and its media are skirting the most obvious issue. No one has actually come out and said that even the best English talent is simply not good enough to compete for honours. Go back to Italia 90 and Euro 96. That was a culture where training methods were very different and rigid diets didn’t exist. England were arguably the best team at both those tournaments but the semi-finals were the limit of achievement, succumbing to the agony of a penalty shoot out defeat to West Germany (1990) and Germany (1996).

England line-up at Italia 90Of the Italia 90 squad, Gary Lineker and Chris Waddle were established club, European and international players. Then there was also the emergence of two national heroes, Paul Gascoigne and David Platt. Gascoigne terrorised the opposition with his unique dribbling ability and his unmatched vision to pick out a pass. Platt was the type of midfielder that a team needs to pop up in the right place and score at the right time. Does this ring any bells?

In the end despite some great performances and some lucky escapes both in Italia 90 and Euro 96 England fell at the penultimate hurdle. The brilliance of Gascoigne and Platt in Italy 90 and Gascoigne and Shearer in Euro 96 sandwiched awful performances in Euro 92 and a failure to qualify for the World Cup in the USA (1994). The numbers of foreign players of that era where nowhere near today’s numbers in the Premier League.

The post-mortem of England’s failure in Brazil has started and the same old arguments have popped up over the last few days;

“The players don’t spend enough time together” and “The weather favours the Central and South American’s”

Utter nonsense. Maradona played in the sweltering 40 degree plus temperatures in Mexico 86, a very different climate to that of Central Europe where he played his club football for Napoli. Taking away Maradona’s cynical hand ball against England, his performances were nothing short of brilliant. Maradona didn’t have the lavish academies to attend such as St George’s Park. He was brought up in the shanty towns around Buenos Aries and made his debut for Boca Juniors at just 15 years of age. Messi also came from a working class background.

Argentina have struggled during their opening two games at this year’s World Cup but they get away with it for one reason, La Pulga. The current Argentine number 10 only needs a fraction of a chance and yet again, regardless of the opposition he (Messi) stepped up to the plate. England and probably 30 other teams at the World Cup don’t posses such a special player.

The bottom line is this. Despite all the options thrashed out by the FA’s great ideas club, until a footballing genius is born into English colours, it could well be another two or three generations before England once again win a major tournament. This might seem a little pessimistic but the nation might be looking for answers that simply don’t exist.

For now the English football fan has to sit back and enjoy some of the great foreign talent that will make an impact on the 2014 World Cup.

Originally published at thesportsbreakfast.co.uk

Post written by John Wozniak, Twitter: @SWFC_1867
for TheSportsBreakfast, Blog: thesportsbreakfast.co.uk, Twitter: @BreakfastSports

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