As a Scot, i have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde relationship with the English national football team. While I empathize with the players of any other nation, I also fear their success as if it would represent some sort of apocalyptic occurrence.
By all reasoned accounts, this is a 'weak' England team, with an already inadequate playing roster decimated by injury and compounded by the appointment of a manager in Roy Hodgson, who seemed to be nobody's first choice. Further complicating matters is that Rodgers has inherited the poisoned chalice of an unresolved race row in the social media era.
From an outsiders point of view, some of England's "successes" have been extraordinarily lucky. For instance, reading about it in depth, the World Cup win on home soil in 1966 was one of the most corrupt tournaments ever run - the Europeans stitched up the South Americans with regard to selection of venues and referees, Pele got kicked out the tournament in the group stages and not to mention the famous Soviet linesman's decision in the final against West Germany.
On the other hand, the English are often far too harsh on themselves for their 'failures' - a string of defeats on penalty kicks does not constitute being bad at football, nor does it fatalistically have to mean that were England to face Germany in a penalty shootout tomorrow, the Germans would win because of some sort of inherent English character flaw that makes the Waddles and Southgates of this world miss from 12 yards out. If there were video technology in place (or a better placed assistant referee) and Lampard's goal was correctly given in the last World Cup, it's not clear whether Germany would have ran all over a demoralised England side that just fell to pieces towards the end of the game.
There now seems to be a pervasive feeling, that I have heard repeated on many an occasion from the likes of Mark Lawrenson that because no one is really expecting anything of England at the forthcoming European Championships, they might do quite well.
This hyperbolic nonsense does no service to anyone proclaiming to have any insight into the world of football besides being a 'fan'. It is as baseless and as meaningless a throwaway comment as 'they'll be right up for this' or 'the manager seems like he's lost the dressing room'.
The standard of footballing analysis has improved in recent years with the growth of tactics websites that have expanded the lexicon of the casual fan who wishes to enhance his understanding of the game. Concepts such as the 'false nine' or using a 'trequartista' are invading the space previously owned by throwaway filler analysis such as 'it's a game of two halves' or meaningless platitudes to praise a player's effort. It is no longer acceptable for the analysts on our television sets to provide us with qualitative analysis based on nothing more than a whim of vocabulary.
It's not impossible that England may indeed expectations; but a prospective analysis such as this should be backed up with a discussion of whether Hodgson's desire to leave no space between the defence and midfield will deny more creative footballing sides the passing lanes on which they need to thrive, for example. We need more reasoned, measured, and quantifiable analysis - not pundits with a desire to be deliberately contrary and believe unduly in the power of a media narrative to influence a series of outcomes.