It is absolutely no coincidence that the Bard, William Shakespeare, was born and bred in England for what other country feels so utterly compelled to propel itself to the same tragic-comic apex as they do?
Whether it’s turning their back on Europe with no real idea of what was to come after or Big Sam Allardyce being in charge of the national team for less than a trimester, England’s sense of self worth is bettered only by its tendency to fall flat on its face. Hilariously.
This year alone we have seen the aforementioned big man get sacked following an embarrassing sting at the hands of an English rag which saw him have some unkind words and sentiments to share about his then employers. Prior to his appointment, their summer foray at Euro 2016 ended in hilarious fashion as they crashed out against an Iceland side who were well worth their win.
In the interests of fairness, we should probably point out something less than flattering about the visitors, Malta. Situated in the Mediterranean, halfway between Africa and Sicily, the island serves as a halfway point for migratory birds and the Maltese have made something of a tradition of shooting them out of the air. A referendum on the matter could not persuade the plurality of the population to give up on their avian assassinating ways.
But enough of this bashing of nations, we should probably talk about the game. Let’s just say, even without a permanent manager and still caught in the ripples of turmoil following Allardyce’s departure, England won’t be unduly worried about facing Malta, a team who have won 3 games from their last 30. Their first qualifying match saw them beaten 5-1 at home by a Scotland team that isn’t traditionally in the habit of scoring many goals. It’s unlikely they’ll end up anywhere else bar the bottom of the table come the end of qualifying.
To be honest, this game does little to recommend itself. Anything other than an England win will be treated as a national apocalypse but unfortunately for the rest of us, that’s unlikely to happen. What might be vaguely interesting are the players which caretaker manager, Gareth Southgate, sends out on the night but even that morsel is only a scabby crumb. Look, England are heavy favourites to win and you’d really only be throwing your money away on any other result. Simlilarly, it’s hardly worth your time even pressing a button to back England to win at 1/50. For that coin found down the back of a couch, why not throw it at PaddyPower for a draw at 35/1?