Ayosport.com– What happens if your country participates in a big tournament, like World Cup, possible? Or, in the Indonesian context, the Asian Cup? Of course that success will be greeted with great cheer. The national team became the talk of the people and the media kept playing a narrative about them.
The scattered narratives may sometimes be exaggerated, tend to aim to galvanize the national spirit, raise self-confidence, or simply maintain a euphoric tension. Then, what if the efforts to inflame the sensation are received negatively by the other party? In this case, England is a perfect example.
When European Cup 2020 has just entered its first week, the issue of British arrogance has surfaced. Croatian national team captain, Luka Modric clarified his words when the two teams met in the 2018 World Cup semifinals. At that time, the Real Madrid midfielder said: The Three Lions too proud and underestimate the opponent. “Arrogant” was the word Modric chose to sum it up.
"That arrogance has not so much to do with the England players and the national team, but the people around them - the journalists, the commentators and so on," the Croatia captain said at a press conference on June 13.
As England and Croatia play in the semifinals, the squad Fire did not hide their annoyance over build up British media. “They [England pundits] underestimated Croatia and that was a big mistake. They should be more humble and respect their opponents," Modric said after the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
It's not just Modric and Croatia who have that opinion of England. Five years ago, at Euro 2016, Gareth Bale said the same thing. "They [England] blow themselves up before doing anything," said the Wales star.
It seems, the stereotype that (football) England is petty and arrogant is still shared by many parties. Even though Gareth Southgate and English football figures like Gary Lineker tried to quell it, it's a bad image The Three Lions overtime imprinted in the memory of many parties.
The snippet of the song “The Three Lions”, namely “football's coming home”, is often accused of being a form of British arrogance. These slogans went viral along with the national team's unexpected pace to the World Cup semifinals. Southgate called the self-assured chant a joke. It's a joke because, ironically, English people are starting to realize how poor their national team has been in the last two decades; so the belief in achieving something like the World Cup trophy is just a joke.
“That song is humor, isn't it? That's English humor," said Southgate ahead of facing Croatia in the 2019 UEFA Nations League.
Unfortunately, the "joke" was not accepted as simply as Southgate's intention. The history of sensational coverage that has been carried out by the British media has not helped build an image at all The Three Lions more "humble".
The British media have long been known to be sensational in their coverage of football. The media, especially the tabloids, are trying to welcome the fans' wild plans The Three Lions. Exaggerating one's qualities as well as mocking one's opponent is a common practice.
Mark Groves, lecturer in the Sociology of Sport at the University of Wolverhampton, said the British media often use major tournaments such as the World Cup or the European Championship to spread the "spirit of national identity" in a "us vs them" style of reporting. Headline Those that appear usually take references to historical figures or emphasize the "typical character" of British people such as "fighting spirit" and "hard worker".
"Such narratives are aimed at rallying support for the national team, but they also tend to celebrate certain characters and qualities to frame Britain as superior," Groves wrote in a commentary to Democratic Audit.
In the past, the selected news items were often offensive and offensive to others. One of the most famous is the title Daily Mirror when England met Germany in the semifinals of the 1996 European Cup. The front page of the tabloid was a portrait of two England players (Paul Gascoigne and Stuart Pearce) who were wearing World War Two helmets along with the caption in large letters: Achtung! Surrender.
Mirror use the analogy of war to describe the match between the two teams. Of course this is offensive to the opponent. The newspaper sought to galvanize animosity, linking opponents to Germany's dark history in the Second World War, where the Allied bloc (which included Britain) defeated the Nazis.
The image of British arrogance grew in the late 1990s to early 2000s, along with the emergence of their "golden generation". Ahead of the 2010 World Cup, it's the turn of the tabloids The Sun which "gets attention".
In South Africa 2010, England were in Group C with the United States, Algeria and Slovenia. When the group draw results are announced, The Sun scored a headline that belittled rivals. The title reads "England, Algeria, Slovenia, Yanks [United States]”, listed in order from top to bottom. The first letter of the header is marked vertically to read: “EASY”. Easy. Trivial.
Home The Sun finally remembered somewhat comically. The reason, England almost failed to qualify for the group stage. They finished in position runner-up after a narrow win over Slovenia. In the round of 16, The Three Lions defeated by Germany with a score of 4-1.
Southgate is aware that a history of tabloid coverage has given the national team a bad image. He also emphasized that the current England national team is different. They are no longer a group of stars who feel themselves far superior even though they have not competed.
"We must not display the arrogance we may have had over the years - that we deserved to be in the final. As a team and staff, we have to work for it," Southgate said in 2019.
However, the good image that Southgate is trying to create is blocked by their own media. Until the 2018 World Cup, British tabloids still displayed a brazen narrative against opponents. This happened when England met Colombia in the Round of 16.
Before the match, The Sun released an editorial alluding to the circulation of cocaine from Colombia. The Colombian Ambassador to the UK, Nestor Osorio Londono, complained about the title.
"It's sad that they are using a friendly and festive event like the World Cup to corner a country and continue to stigmatize it with completely unrelated issues," he said.
The image of the English national team is already bad and has been labeled arrogant. The national team wants to appear more "humble". Will the media believe in that?
Cheering “football's coming home” or equating Kalvin Phillips as the complete Pirlo-Gattuso-Kaka package may just be a joke. However, not a few consider it as a remnant of arrogance that continues to be cared for.
Since Euro 2020 is still in its infancy, such disparaging and arrogant headlines may still be (will) be made in a non-joking context.
"No one can elevate someone like a British journalist, and no one can throw someone off a cliff like they can!," said Jan Age Fjoertoft, a former Norwegian striker who has played in the Premier League.
British media coverage of football may not be as confronting as Euro 1996, but that doesn't mean the narrative of England's (football) superiority—even though they haven't won anything in 55 years—is no longer in demand.