FA head: If England fail, we'll shoot ourselves

LONDON • England Football Association chairman Greg Dyke declared "we'll all shoot ourselves", should Roy Hodgson's team fall at the group stage of Euro 2016.

England face Wales, Russia and Slovakia in the group stage of the tournament in France from June 10, haunted by the memory of the 2014 Brazil World Cup, where they were eliminated at the group phase for the first time since 1958.

Dyke is a lot more optimistic ahead of this major tournament. He had pretended to slit his throat during the World Cup draw in Brazil, with England drawing Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica.

While his fears then became reality, Dyke stood by manager Hodgson after the debacle in Brazil. However, he said a repeat this year would mean that heads would roll.

"I think we'll all shoot ourselves if we don't get out of the group," he said. "We've got to get out of that group. If we don't, that really is bad news for English football."

The 68-year-old was speaking on Tuesday night at the launch of a year of celebrations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of England's 1966 World Cup success.

"The FA is the richest FA in the world, the most income. The FA has to take some of the blame," Dyke said. "We should have won a tournament in the last 50 years. We haven't. But we will win in the next 50 years, hopefully long before."

England failed to win a match in Brazil but they bounced back to record victories in all 10 of their Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Dyke was joined by England World Cup-winning heroes Geoff Hurst, Gordon Banks, Martin Peters and George Cohen at the event in Kensington's Royal Garden Hotel, where the draw for the 1966 Finals was made 50 years ago.

Hurst is excited by the newest generation to don the Three Lions outfit, with the likes of Dele Alli, 19, Harry Kane, 22, Ross Barkley, 22, and John Stones, 21, impressing this season.

Said the 74-year-old former striker. "The young players, as in our time, have got to grasp the opportunity.

"You look back to us. Alan Ball, (at age 21), was Man of the Match in the final (against West Germany). Mooro (Bobby Moore), 93 per cent passes. Martin Peters didn't play until May, two months before the final, then scores a goal in the final.

"They grasped the opportunity and it comes down to that."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2016, with the headline 'FA head: If England fail, we'll shoot ourselves'. Print Edition | Subscribe