England’s greatest sporting flops

ENGLAND HAVE CRASHED OUT OF THE RUGBY WORLD CUP AFTER BEING BEATEN BY AUSTRALIA, BUT WHERE DOES IT RANK IN THEIR LIST OF SPORTING FLOPS IN THEIR BIGGEST SPORTS?

RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015

In England’s defence, one of the heavyweights in either themselves, Australia or Wales were always going to fall in this group. However the problem for England was exactly that: their defence. The hosts conceded 61 points combined in their two losses to their main two rivals as their scrum collapsed, and so too their Cup chances.

CRICKET WORLD CUP 2015

Expectations were low but England belied them as an embarrassing defeat to Bangladesh ensured Peter Moores’ side were knocked out in the group stage. It was England’s worst showing since 1999 and brought into question the decision to replace Cook as captain with Eoin Morgan just before the tournament.

FOOTBALL WORLD CUP 2014

A group consisting of Costa Rica, Uruguay and Italy was never going to be easy to progress through but few expected England to crash out as embarrassingly as this. Failing to win a game and salvaging only a draw in their final match against Costa Rica, England scored only two goals in their worst FIFA World Cup finals showing in 56 years.

CRICKET ASHES 2013-14

Australia exacted their second Ashes whitewash in seven years but the fallout from England’s humiliating 5-0 defeat would rumble on months after the last ball was bowled. Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott both left mid-series, coach Andy Flower resigned soon after while star batsman Kevin Pietersen was controversially sacked amid reports of a rift with captain Alastair Cook.

RUGBY WORLD CUP 2011

England’s quarter-final defeat to France was overshadowed by chronic indiscipline off the field as vice-captain Mike Tindall was fined for his part in a Queenstown drinking session, which featured dwarf-throwing in a local bar. Players were also criticised for spending their days off bungee-jumping while Manu Tuilagi had to be reprimanded for leaping off a ferry into Auckland harbour.

FOOTBALL EURO 2008

The lasting image of England’s failed attempt at qualification for Euro 2008 remains manager Steve McClaren watching under an umbrella as his side lost 3-2 to Croatia at Wembley. The result ended England’s hopes of progress and ‘The Wally with the Brolly’, as McClaren was dubbed in the press, subsequently paid with his job.

CRICKET WORLD CUP 1999

England were joint-hosts in 1999 but endured a shock exit in the group stage. A comfortable win over Zimbabwe looked to have ensured progress but an unlikely sequence of results, including Zimbabwe beating South Africa for the first time ever, sent Alec Stewart’s side packing.

FOOTBALL WORLD CUP 1994

After their mesmerising run to the 1990 semi-finals, England failed to qualify for the 1994 tournament as Graham Taylor’s side drew at home to Norway and Holland, before crucially losing to the Dutch in Rotterdam. The manager was vilified in the media as ‘Turnip Taylor’ and resigned.

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