eHe was only short lived, and even among die-hard football fans, few will remember him: the Anglo-Scottish Cup. And yet he had his place in the greatest career of English football. One that should repeat itself – in a competition that the world did not long for, but perhaps should not underestimate: the Nations League.
The Anglo-Scottish Cup was an annual competition between 16 English and eight Scottish teams at the end of the seventies, the best that did not qualify for the European Cup – a bad consolation prize. But for Brian Clough, the legendary Nottingham Forest coach who won the contest in 1977, the year he rose to first division, it was much more: "Everyone who considered this title worthless had no idea. He made the whole difference. "The one between a team that had never won, and one that won everything: the English Championship in 1978, the European Cup in 1979, and again in 1980.
England's national team hopes for a similar effect: Now finally win something, no matter what, then the thing goes. Since captain Bobby Moore received from the hands of the young Queen Elisabeth in 1966, it has been unsuccessful at 26 World and European Championships. But now there is a new trophy, the League of Nations, and the English see the swinging upwardly aspiring trophy as a "springboard" to other, larger titles, as Raheem Sterling says. He will captain the team in the semi-final against the Netherlands on Thursday (20.45 in the FAZ Liveticker to the Nations League and DAZN) – in a kind of extension of the Champions League final, with eight players last Saturday on the pitch in Madrid, six Englishmen and two Dutchmen.
"Silverware is addictive," said defender John Stones, who won three national trophies with Manchester City, the hoped-for effect that makes first-time winners repeaters. The weight and coolness of the silver booty, this haptic comprehension of success, sees national coach Gareth Southgate, as Clough once did, as a step towards a "culture of victory". And thus as a prelude to a "right" title, which they aim for next year, then with home advantage. The European Championship 2020 will be held for the first time in Europe, but at the end it will be decided in a "Final Four" in London.
"Once you've got the first trophy, the way to the next feels easier," Sterling believes, with two goals in a 3-2 victory in Spain, the deciding man to reach the final round. The refurbished quality of the Premier League has been out of the question since last week's two purely European European Cup finals, and more than ever, it is not only driven by TV money and foreign stars, but also first-class newcomer work and a new mentality she creates.
Southgate, the former U-21 national coach, has solved a problem with his predecessors. When English clubs also dominated the Champions League from 2005 to 2012, the national team remained unsuccessful – because the club rivalry of the players superimposed loyalty to the national team. "That killed this team, this generation," says former defender Rio Ferdinand. He himself had never opened to colleagues from Chelsea or Liverpool to provide any targets for club duels. "I was so obsessed with winning ManUnited, nothing else mattered."
Under Southgate, a new way of thinking is noticeable. "It does not matter which club you play for, once we're at the national team we fight for each other," says young striker Marcus Rashford: "It feels like being in a club." Nobody should say "that he's his Club rivalry must shut down, "says striker Harry Kane. "Everyone does that automatically. When we come to the national team, we are happy to meet friends. "
And now the new Englishmen can not go fast enough anymore. The young full-back Ben Chilwell, one of the promoted men of the season, is not only on the left wing: "We do not want to learn the next years and then start to gain something. We want to win it now, this summer. And then carry on to the end of our careers. "
. (tagsToTranslate) Brian Clough (t) Gareth Southgate (t) Raheem Sterling (t) Bobby Moore (t) Nations League (t) European Cup (t) England