By recording a 0-0 tie against Mexico last Friday, their lucky 13th game without a win, England have equalled Mexico for the dubious title of “team-playing-most-games-without-a-win-in-the-U-20-tournament- finals”!
Moreover, England’s progression into the final 16 knock-out stage despite the complete absence of anything so unsightly as a goal, for or against, in any of their three games so far this tournament(thanks in no small part to a fantastic penalty save by keeper, Butland against Mexico), brings England’s hitherto secret aim, of becoming the first side ever to win any football tournament not only without winning a game but without scoring or conceding a goal, amazingly, that much closer.
England’s steely resolve to win the tournament with a blemish free goal stats sheet will be severely tested when they face high-scoring, maximum-point Nigeria in the first knock-out round this Wednesday.
However, as a loss, or even a win on penalties, would see England claim the “Most Unwinnerish” team title all for themselves, Wednesday’s game is a win-win for England, providing, of course, the unthinkable doesn’t happen and they actually win against Nigeria*!
So let’s raise an Aguadiente toast (Colombia’s national liquor) to England’s perfect 10-0-0 winning formation!
Altogether now, “Nil-nil to the England! Nil-nil to the England! Nil-nil to the England! Nil-nil to the England!”.
* A win on penalties isn’t really a win, just as losing on penalties is never actually a loss, especially against Germany.
England go into their third U-20 Group F game in Colombia tomorrow having failed to win in any of their 12 games since their last win at the 1997 Malaysia U-20 tournament.
Failure to win their game tomorrow against Mexico will see them equal the tournament’s “most games played without a win” record of 13 games, a record currently, presumably unhappily, held by, of all teams, Mexico!
Still goalless after their first two games, England need the win to be certain of progressing to the knock-out rounds whilst Mexico needs only the draw.
Should make for quite the game, even if, probably, not a goal-fest!
Associated Press reports that following a probe into match fixing in Turkey which has seen over 30 people, including Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim, charged and Emre Belozoglu, the Turkish national captain, questioned by Turkish prosecutors, the Turkish Football Federation has pushed the start of the season back by over a month until September 9th.
Meanwhile the Preliminary Draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil has been made with Turkey being drawn in European Group D along with Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra.
Belize, which had been in danger of missing the draw, finds itself with Grenada, Guatemala and St Vincent in North & Central America Group E after FIFA temporarily lifted, from July 7 till August 15, its 17th June suspension of the Belize Football Federation (FFB) on account of “severe governmental interference”.
Having renounced the FFB’s right to represent Belize, after its alleged failure to properly register as the “National body for the administration of football in Belize”, the Belize government threatened to withdraw police services for the home second leg of Belize’s tie with Trinidad and Tobago resulting in FIFA’s suspension of the FFB and the postponement of the game.
Good to know where FIFA stands on compliance issues.