On the face of it the idea seems pretty ridiculous. But there are a fair few similarities. Chelsea had never won the Champions League before which is fine because England has never won the European Championships before either.
Chelsea were in a bit of turmoil, their manager had left, a manager that had found success in his previous job winning the a European trophy and the league and replaced him with a former manager of West Brom. England were also in a bit of turmoil, they also sacked their manager somewhat surprisingly, who had been successful everywhere he had ever managed before and replaced him with a former manager of West Brom.
That’s mostly off the pitch, but what about on it? Well both teams like the 4-2-3-1 formation. Both are likely to try and sit deep and absorb pressure. Both will most likely use a target man (although sadly Andy Carroll isn’t quite Didier Drogba) and play a lot of direct football.
Ashley Cole is often the best player for both sides as he raids down the left and defends superbly, seemingly never making a mistake and often covering for others. John Terry has caused problems for both Chelsea and England with his conduct and pending court case. He is also a fixture in both teams. Terry and Gary Cahill will probably be the first choice centre-back pairing having played together for Chelsea and it’s likely that England won’t allow much space in behind like they are used to at club level.
Is there a role in the side for Frank Lampard? A question that was asked at Chelsea this season when Lampard was left out of high profile games. But when the time came, Frank stepped up and delivered, with key passes against Barcelona in both games. Can he do the same for England and play that key pass when it counts?
Neither team are particularly fancied as potential winners. You’ve got Spain (Barcelona) and Germany (Bayern Munich) to get passed. You might have to face the Italians (Napoli) and the Portuguese (Benfica) are always a threat. In truth making it through the competition will be extremely tough. At times you’ve got to ride your luck but if you can find a goal when it matters and if you can keep it tight at the back then you’ve always got a chance.
When it comes down to it, you might have to beat the Germans on penalties… Seems impossible, but just ask Lampard and Cole how it’s done, they both scored their kicks against Bayern’s German international goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and I’m sure they would both step up again for England.
Chelsea battled through to an unlikely victory, criticised along the way for their negative style, if England were to win the Euros the stories would doubtlessly be the same. Chelsea capped it with a backs to the wall victory against Bayern Munich on penalties which annoyed football’s elite so much that Sepp Blatter ordered his mate, German legend (and president of Bayern) Franz Beckenbauer to look at alternatives to the “heart-break” of a penalty shoot-out. Strange timing, when an English team finally wins something on penalties it’s time to change the rules apparently, not that we’ve ever suffered heart-break in a penalty shoot-out before.
Could it happen again? Could this be our year? Could England ‘do a Chelsea’? No, it’s extremely unlikely, chances are it will the the same old disappointing England with the same old disappointments putting in the same old lacklustre displays. Just like England, Chelsea had come close before, being denied on penalties. They’ve definitely had better teams in the past, better managers before, but this was their year and luck just seemed to be with them.
You just never know and that’s why despite the heart-break, despite the frustration and despite the many false dawns and let downs of the past, I’ll always watch England. If the day should come when they finally do win something again, I want to be there to see it!