Struggling England given perfect Euro 2020 incentive
Wembley Stadium will host the climax of the 2020 European Championship but on current form England fans will not even get the chance to roar on their side on home turf.
London: Wembley Stadium will host the climax of the 2020 European Championship but on current form England fans will not even get the chance to roar on their side on home turf.
UEFA`s decision to stage the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley was greeted with great enthusiasm by the Football Association, but it might not have any impact on the chances of a long-awaited England triumph.
While the prospect of England playing "at home" in the latter stages of the competition is enticing - the problem is they will have to survive long enough to benefit.
Recent evidence suggests they will struggle.
A humbling group stage elimination at this year`s World Cup, after their failure to win a match in Brazil, followed a quarter-final exit at Euro 2012 and a last 16 demise in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and the last time they actually reached the semi-final of a major tournament was at Euro 96 on home soil - losing a penalty shoot-out to Germany.
With Wembley hosting the climax to the tournament, England will not be able to enjoy home comforts in any of their group games, the last 16 or quarter-finals, opening up the prospect of facing a knockout round tie against Germany in Munich, Italy in Rome or Russia in St Petersburg.
Even so, national coach Roy Hodgson believes for the current crop of players now establishing themselves in the England squad - Euro 2020 could be the perfect target.
"For the young team that is emerging, many of those players will be at their best football years in 2020," Hodgson told the FA`s website.
"If the young players of today don`t use this to spur them on then they are making a mistake.
"By 2020 some of them will be playing their fifth tournament and that is the type of experience you can`t buy."
Fans will hope that England can somehow reach the latter stages of the tournament - as they did in 1966 when they memorably beat West Germany in the World Cup final at Wembley and 30 years later at Euro 96.
When England played at the old Wembley in Euro 96 they enjoyed some memorable moments under former coach Terry Venables, crushing Guus Hiddink`s Netherlands side 4-1 to win their group, beating Scotland with a Paul Gascoigne wonder goal and eliminating Spain on penalties.
"Football`s Coming Home" was the unforgettable soundtrack to a festival of football, although Germany gate-crashed the party when they beat England on penalties in the semi-final.