England Body Slammed - Twice (#9)
England suffered two massive body blows recently, self inflicted, that have stunned the World and keeled England over. First, was its vote to leave the European Union (EU), and second, right after, was the defeat of its National football team, by Iceland.
The June 27, 2016 football match between England and Iceland, in the Euro 2016 games, seems to capture the current state of England perfectly.
A country that has a deserved reputation of being historically a Great Nation, just as its reputation in the Football World, is one that is at odds with itself; using its many individual and outstanding national talents so disjointedly, and with such an innate presumption of superiority, as to neutralize and embarrass itself, thus performing far below its potential, just as in the game with Iceland.
The football game with Iceland was a study in England's presumption of greatness, leading to its football team's downfall.
England, and much of the World believed that the tiny country of Iceland was no match for the football powerhouse (England), that is, and has been internationally, considered akin to its internal 'Premier League' from time immemorial (or at least since it started to participate in international football). In its presumption of natural superiority in its history, size and natural abilities in football, over Iceland, it succumbed to the predictable and devastating effects of overconfidence.
According to the 'expert' commentators that we listened to during and after the game (mostly British), England did not make adequate preparations, didn't indulge in detailed planning, or have a Plan B (as one commentator stated) in case the game started going against them. Without being truly prepared, England was unable to execute any determined game plan, or change its strategies, or react properly to the unplanned. And because of it being truly unprepared, England suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of a (presumed) non-football non-entity, in the International Football World: Iceland.
Of course Iceland is no more 'a nobody' in international football, because they did in spades everything that England didn't and/or couldn't do. Now, Iceland will be known as a football Nation to contend with, at the expense of England.
In calling for a Referendum on Britain's membership in the EU, David Cameron miscalculated his side's (Remain, Stay-in) chances of winning the contest in a similar cavalier, presumptive and almost arrogant fashion, that relied on the other smaller, less powerful and less organized Leave-side's abilities to be grossly inadequate to defeat him and his 'Remain' side.
On the presumption and inevitability of winning, David Cameron and Britain's Remain-side got its head handed to it on a platter.
The shock of losing the Referendum was just as unexpected and, well, just as shocking, as England's unbelievable loss to Iceland. The ramifications of the loss to the Leave-side, are going to be similar to its loss to Iceland in football.
Firstly, just as the English Coach and Manager, Roy Hodgson, had to put in his resignation right after the game, David Cameron had no choice but to resign as Prime Minister after his loss, and was equally humiliated.
Secondly, as after the game, England's presumed prowess in World of football suffered a tremendous blow, so did England's reputation as an advanced, mature and politically sophisticated Nation.
And, just as the defeat at Iceland's hands has caused much anguish and self examination within England itself, the Brexit vote has caused significant friction, division, soul searching and hand-wringing, within the Country.
And just as the repercussions from the defeat to Iceland is going to force upon England's National Football Team a top to bottom overhaul (hopefully), similarly, Britain is going to have to examine its entire structure, its policies, its attitudes, its loyalties and its place in the EU, and indeed its place in the World, in the coming years, as it works its way through a divorce from the EU.
In both cases, England needs a through top to bottom honest self-examination, as it slowly recovers from the two devastating body blows.