England’s 2010 World Cup campaign was arguably even more demoralising than the recently-deceased 2014 incarnation.
The man with his finger on the button in South Africa was Fabio Capello and it seems that the authoritarian Lou Reed lookalike has learned little from that tortuous progression if the exploits of his Russia side are anything to go by.
Indeed so eerily similar is their campaign to England’s efforts in 2010 that referring to the history books seems certain to yield some opportunities for profitable punting.
Coincidence? It’s the currency of gambling dreams…
An opening game draw marred by a howler from your goalkeeper.
For Rob Green spilling Clint Dempsey’s equaliser, read Igor Akinfeev butter-mitting Lee Keunho’s 68th-minute strike in Cuiaba.
Dubious selections and omissions.
In 2010 Capello left Theo Walcott at home to play Ludo and climb trees, also condemning thirsted-for creative force Joe Cole to the bench for much of the tournament.
Emile Heskey got the nod over superior marksmen Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe too.
Fast-forward four years and Aleksandr Kerzhakov (scorer of 52 goals in his last 101 games for Zenit) and leading creative Alan Dzagoev have yet to start for Russia.
Arrive at the final group match having notched just once.
It had all started so well for Capello’s Lions when Steven Gerrard’s fourth minute hit got their South Africa tilt off to a screamer, but it was the only goal England managed in their first two games.
Russia too disembark at their vital third game with only Kerzhakov’s equaliser against South Korea to show for their ‘efforts’.
Beat a more deserving side 1-0 in the final group game to go through.
Unlucky to lose to Belgium and entertaining in beating South Korea 4-2, Algeria hardly deserve the 29/4-rated 1-0 defeat to Russia that is their destiny.
Four years ago it was a Slovenia side punching way above their weight that were stitched up by Jermain Defoe’s strike in the final Group C outing.
Get annihilated by Germany in the first knockout round.
A scarcely deserved victory over the Africans on their home continent set up England for a tasty clash with Die Mannschaft.
Capello’s charges stay of execution was abruptly revoked in a 4-1 flaying and history looks set repeat itself, with a Russian victory setting them up with likeliest Group G victors Germany.