So out tumble England, in the most predictable of ways. That’ll be five tournaments we’ve been knocked out of on penalties since 1990 – with only one victorious shootout, against Spain in the quarter-final of the European Championship in 1996. Let’s face it, with one notable blip (1966), England have proved themselves to be a quarter-final side and nothing more, and the sooner everyone comes to terms with this the better.
As for Theo Walcott – well if nothing else, it’s been an experience for him that should stand him in good stead, but his inclusion in the squad, it’s now clear, was nothing more than a PR stunt on Eriksson’s behalf. Did he really ever plan to play him? I doubt it.
But the good thing about England’s exit is that the mirth and hilarity of the close season can now get going with a vengeance. We’ve had Pires departing and Rosicky coming in, but the general consensus is that this summer, for a whole host of reasons, we’re going to be busy.
I must say, I look forward to it, and you’d hope that Wenger is finalising some of these deals right now in time for the return to training in three weeks.