Why England and Scotland underperform?

The Times Thursday
12 page pullout?

They had most of the play, most of the chances and deserved to win but it took England into extra time, an own goal and a dodgy penalty to beat a country with only a tenth of the population.

England has won the World Cup (they have!) 55 years ago and finished 4th twice (1990, 2018). They have never won the Euros. Making the final this year is their best performance.

Germany and Italy have won four times. Germany has made 14 finals! Italy has been in 9.

With roughly the same population as Denmark, Scotland’s record cannot compare. They have won the European Championship (1992) In 1998, they narrowly lost 3–2 in a quarter-final against Brazil. Denmark also made the second round in 1986, 2002 and 2018. We have qualified a few times but never progressed.

Only 39% of players in the Danish ‘First Tier’ are foreigners.

England has by far the highest percentage of foreign players in its top leagues:


More than 60% foreign players in England’s top league since 1997 with only Germany having just over 50%.

By 2017:


World champions France, Denmark, Croatia and Spain do not even make this top ten.

The Times Thursday

One thought on “Why England and Scotland underperform?

  1. Netherlands?

    The increasing proportion of foreign born players in Italy is of note. Until around the Millennium Italy operated a system whereby only a maximum of foreign born players could play in the first team at any time.

    I think other countries like Spain operated this system, too. Despite a very successful spell at Barcelona Steve Archibald (“Archigoles” as the ‘cules’ called him) was sold to make space in the ‘foreign quota’ for, I think, Hristo Stoichkov, the Bulgarian maestro. I think the clubs of the Basque Country – Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Alaves, Eibar, Osasuna still operate a substantial Basque priority system, which restricts the number of players from other parts of Spain.

    What is interesting about the current England squad is that many are the product of the academy system, which recruits and trains many young people from economically deprived circumstances, which largely, but not exclusively, means young people from BAME backgrounds. Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford are prime examples and both have used their eminence to tackle this appalling government. The political courage of the manager and squad is commendable, despite the appalling attitude of a large group of fans.

    Looking at the results from the international squads below the first team, England appears to have established significantly well-talented groups of young players, male and female.

    Liked by 1 person

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