World Cup Fever Grows
As the World Cup Final fast approaches, England has reach 'football fever' in anticipation in the country's biggest game since Euro 1996. Like in 1996, England face a familiar foe - Germany - and the country hopes that, unlike on that fateful Summer evening where England fell agonisingly short if victory, the result is different.
The game has the added story of pitching two managers who, in a few weeks time, will pit their respective club teams against each other in European Football's biggest match. The two namesakes - England manager Ben Wilson and Germany manager Rob Wilson - had never faced each other in a competitive fixture until this season and between them have won trophies in England, Italy and Argentina, to name but a few. They are considered amongst the game's elite managers with Ben, unlike Rob, having his hands on this famous trophy in the past, leading Argentina to a famous victory a few years ago. However, both have faced fierce criticism on their way to the final.
'Old Timers' / 'Charge of the Old Brigade' / Ben Wilson – the new Mike Bassett?
Ben has faced significant criticism for picking a team which, at the start of the tournament, were considered way past their best. In what one newspaper described as ' a grave error in judgment' Wilson has shunned nearly all of England's young stars in favour of a team consisting of some of England oldest players.
There has been no place in the squad for the Premier League's brightest stars including, Kane, Vardy, Sterling, Clyne, and Smalling. Instead, the team reads like one which could have been picked 10 years ago in England's 2006 World Cup campaign. Ashley Cole, Scott Parker, Michael Carrick, John Terry, Wayne Rooney all made their debuts in 2003 or earlier and, the average age of the team's last starting lineup was 32. Only Daniel Sturridge, Joe Hart and Wayne Rooney are under 30.
Somehow, Wilson has defined his critics and galvanised this group of 'no-hopers' into World Cup finalists - whether they can do what they failed to do 10 years ago, only time will tell.
Eine Nationale Tragodie / Eine Schande / Langweilig Langweilig Deutschland
Things have been far from straightforward for Wilson's namesake Rob in his time as German manager. Not only were the German media in uproar about the appointment of a foreign manager to take control of the national team, but Wilson's style of football has done little to quell the criticism.
In a throwback to the 1980's, Wilson has shunned all modern footballing thinking in championing a style of football unseen since the 1980's. Gone is the free flowing attacking football which saw the country lift the 2014 World Cup, replaced by a brand of long ball football which would make Sam Allardyce proud.
However, what is even more interesting is that this style of football is seeing a significant resurgence at club level. Villa and Inter, at times, (also managed by Wilson) and Plymouth and Roma (managed coincidentally by Ben) have all at times this season resorted to using a similar tactic and a World Cup win by Germany will go someway in seeing the resurgence complete.
It would seem as though this game is more 1966 or 1996 than 2016 - if the game lives up to the drama of either of those we are in for a treat. Join us later in the week for more build up to this mega-tie...