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Underachieving and Overachieving International Teams

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The obvious ones are Iceland and the Netherlands but are there any other international sides who aren't hitting expectation or are exceeding expectation?

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Currently there are lots. Argentina, Australia and the USA/Italy underachieving to an extent.

Overachieving are Peru, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia and Wales.

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I'd say there's absolutely no way that England are underachieving at present. The current England set-up includes the likes of Jake Livermore, Harry Maguire and Jesse Lingard and their inclusions aren't based on numerous players in their respective positions being unavailable, these players are roughly the overall level of player England has available to them in 2017. 

Did not qualify, first knockout round, quarter finals, group stages and first knockout round is England's record going back over the past five major tournaments, the quarter final place is the anomaly amongst a myriad of rubbish and England are largely at the level their record suggests.

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In the games that matter of course England are underachieving. 100%. They are the living and breathing example of what underachieving is.

England drew with a useless Russia, with Slovakia, scraped a win against Wales and then got knocked out by Iceland.

Barely any players in any of those opponents would get in to the England team. Some of them who played against England wouldn't even get in the England squad, never mind team.

Not beating teams you have better players than is surely the definition of underachieving.

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1 hour ago, Cannabis said:

Over: Iceland, Northern Ireland, Peru and Costa Rica

Under: the Netherlands, Egypt (until now), England, Turkey, South Africa, China and Argentina

China might seem a weird shout but with a population like theirs they should be able to find better players. Normally population shouldn't come into it but I think it should when it's as big as theirs. India get away with this argument because of their massive love for cricket. Egypt have always underachieved but they look to have put that hoodoo to bed by qualifying for the 2018 finals. Turkey, South Africa and Argentina are all capable of much better than they're showing at the moment. 

A few notes

Fully agree on Iceland and Northern Ireland for overachievers. With what they have, they are extraordinary.

Costa Rica I wouldn't say are overachieving. They have always been the 2nd/3rd biggest CONCACAF team.

Peru is only overachieving because of their 40 year world cup drought. We've underachieved for the past 40 years when you consider the talent we've had in our history. From Lolo Fernandez and Alejandro Villanueva, to Roberto Chale and Alberto Gallardo to Teofilo Cubillas and Hector Chumpitaz to Franco Navarro and Geronimo Barbadillo to Nolberto Solano and Roberto Palacios to Claudio Pizarro and Jefferson Farfan and finally Paolo Guerrero and Edison Flores. We aren't Venezuela or Ecuador. The fact we haven't qualified for the World Cup since 1982 is an embarrassment.

We're "overachieving" because of what we had when we lost 3-0 to England at Wembley a few years back. That was a C team and that C team developed. That was Ricardo Gareca's work. In 2015, I honestly had little hope for this new generation. Our manager literally grabbed a team headed nowhere and put us on the right track.

It honestly shouldn't have come to being "overachievers" and that is because we've underachieved since the 80's. 3rd biggest country in South America with a 30M population. It doesn't mean much but we should have had more than enough. The federations have been a mess.

South Africa underachieving seems random to me. If anything I'd say Zambia are underachievers.

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4 minutes ago, HoneyNUFC said:

In the games that matter of course England are underachieving. 100%. They are the living and breathing example of what underachieving is.

England drew with a useless Russia, with Slovakia, scraped a win against Wales and then got knocked out by Iceland.

Barely any players in any of those opponents would get in to the England team. Some of them who played against England wouldn't even get in the England squad, never mind team.

Not beating teams you have better players than is surely the definition of underachieving.

England have done that for years now, at what stage does it continue to be underachieving and not just "the norm" or England's "level"? 

To underachieve would be if people expected more but each tournament that has come round, the expectation levels of England fans seems to be lower and lower, so I'd hardly call England's results underachieving anymore. 

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The Netherlands are obvious but ignoring them, I think Russia have always underachieved. They get a free pass to the World Cup next year but they are absolutely gash, given how big the country is and the talent they have managed to produce down the years, even as far back as when they were the Soviet Union. It's not like they are a weak nation, they are a powerhouse in a lot of Sports and I can't help but feel they should be doing far better in football.

The last few tournament records are as follows.

Euro 2016 - Bottom of Group

WC 2014 - Bottom of Group

Euro 2012 - Group Stage

WC 2010 - DNQ

Infact in the last five World Cups, they have failed to qualify three times. The Euro's are a little better but apart from a semi final in '08, they have tended to flop.

They have been overtaken and left behind by much smaller, less powerful nations who make Russia look like absolute mugs. And in all honesty, I think they'll get turned over no problem next Summer.

 

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4 minutes ago, Lucas said:

The Netherlands are obvious but ignoring them, I think Russia have always underachieved. They get a free pass to the World Cup next year but they are absolutely gash, given how big the country is and the talent they have managed to produce down the years, even as far back as when they were the Soviet Union. It's not like they are a weak nation, they are a powerhouse in a lot of Sports and I can't help but feel they should be doing far better in football.

The last few tournament records are as follows.

Euro 2016 - Bottom of Group

WC 2014 - Bottom of Group

Euro 2012 - Group Stage

WC 2010 - DNQ

Infact in the last five World Cups, they have failed to qualify three times. The Euro's are a little better but apart from a semi final in '08, they have tended to flop.

They have been overtaken and left behind by much smaller, less powerful nations who make Russia look like absolute mugs. And in all honesty, I think they'll get turned over no problem next Summer.

 

Russia have never really been a good football nation though.

When they were the Soviet Union, all their best players were from the Ukraine part of the country.

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11 minutes ago, Blue said:

Russia have never really been a good football nation though.

When they were the Soviet Union, all their best players were from the Ukraine part of the country.

But they are currently ranked 64th in the world. Yes, I know rankings mean nothing really but that is still shocking for a nation like them. I don't see how that cannot be seen as an underachievement for a country like theirs, especially when they have produced some pretty decent players who should be capable of producing more than they have been in recent times.

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1 minute ago, Lucas said:

But they are currently ranked 64th in the world. Yes, I know rankings mean nothing really but that is still shocking. I don't see how that cannot be seen as an underachievement for a country like theirs, especially when they have produced some pretty decent players who should be capable of producing more than they have been in recent times.

Who have they actually produced though? Yashin is literally the only player I can think of.

I don't like to think that its much of a factor. I said earlier for example that Peru has underachieved considering our size as a nation and population compared to South America, but I also said that we have a ton of history in our football and that given what we've achieved, we shouldn't be doing so poorly.

Russians love football and its a myth that Ice Hockey is more popular there. However, they haven't ever clicked as a football nation. As I said, all their good players from the Soviet Union have been from Ukraine.

To top it off, Russia I see as very Moscow centric. I may be wrong, but its mostly nothingness.

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2 hours ago, Blue said:

Currently there are lots. Argentina, Australia and the USA/Italy underachieving to an extent.

Overachieving are Peru, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia and Wales.

I would list Australia as a  overachiever in  the last decade. Since the 2006 WC team with Schwarzer, Kewell, Viduka, Cahill, Neil etc where we were genuinely a strong side but without self belief now we are more the opposite. A side with self belief that finds a way even though the talents not there. Thats present campaign aside though where i'd say we are achieving at about the right level. 

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England don't underachieve. They are fucking shit and get what they deserve.

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Sincerely I think one of the biggest overachievers are Paraguay.

They've had some superb teams for the culture they have there. 

They have a population of 6M, where as only 500K of them live in Asuncion, literally the only city in the country. The rest are tribal area's or villages.

For example, they have a league of 12 teams (I think). All 12 of them are in Asuncion. Luque is really Asuncion, that's even where the airport is.

Historically they have always been a good team and considering the circumstances, they are superb at what they do.

 

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8 minutes ago, Blue said:

Who have they actually produced though? Yashin is literally the only player I can think of.

I don't like to think that its much of a factor. I said earlier for example that Peru has underachieved considering our size as a nation and population compared to South America, but I also said that we have a ton of history in our football and that given what we've achieved, we shouldn't be doing so poorly.

Russians love football and its a myth that Ice Hockey is more popular there. However, they haven't ever clicked as a football nation. As I said, all their good players from the Soviet Union have been from Ukraine.

To top it off, Russia I see as very Moscow centric. I may be wrong, but its mostly nothingness.

I think the likes of Pavlyuchenko, Arshavin, Alenichev, Karpin, Zhirkov, Smertin, Kerzhakov etc are all players with talent that was more than capable of making up a good solid International team. That should be good enough to have produced more than they did. If someone like Northern Ireland can do it with the players they have, Russia should surely have been doing better.

For me, there's national underachievement as in, never producing the quality of players/athletes you would expect from a country of that population/wealth/interest in that sport/activity. And then there's team underachievement, where on paper you've produced a good squad of players, but they never really produce in the big tournaments.

For me, that is Russia. We will agree to disagree.

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I didn't realise that Nigeria have failed to qualify for four major tournaments in the last eleven years (one World Cup and three African Nations Cup's). Also, Cameroon have achieved the same feat as Nigeria, failing to qualify for four tournaments in eleven years, including next year's World Cup. 

 

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Underachieving - Turkey, Croatia, Argentina, Nigeria, Netherlands.

Overachieving,  Norway, Northern Ireland, 

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2 hours ago, Smiley Culture said:

England have done that for years now, at what stage does it continue to be underachieving and not just "the norm" or England's "level"? 

To underachieve would be if people expected more but each tournament that has come round, the expectation levels of England fans seems to be lower and lower, so I'd hardly call England's results underachieving anymore. 

To be the norm it would require England to be at a consistet level. That is not the case. Historical evidence does not support that. England have fluctuated. They haven't even consistently underachieved, they've just not overachieved in a long long time.

Perceptions may be tricked into thinking underachieving is the norm that happens every tournament simply because the narrative was always that England were underachieving when they were being knocked out on penalties to Italy and Portugal. The truth is that was never underachieving. Losing to Iceland in regulation time is without a shadow of a doubt the definition of underachieving. Losing to Italy on penalties after achieving the correct group results I am afraid is not. The post mortem obsession this country has makes it look like it was. Maybe that is why expectations are lowered beneath the teams actual level. Though i believe expectation collapse has more to do with how terrible Roy Hodgson was.

It's a cup competition, it has a randomised draw, you can only beat what is in front of you and it is there and there only where you can determine if someone was over or under achieving.

 

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6 hours ago, HoneyNUFC said:

To be the norm it would require England to be at a consistet level. That is not the case. Historical evidence does not support that. England have fluctuated. They haven't even consistently underachieved, they've just not overachieved in a long long time.

Perceptions may be tricked into thinking underachieving is the norm that happens every tournament simply because the narrative was always that England were underachieving when they were being knocked out on penalties to Italy and Portugal. The truth is that was never underachieving. Losing to Iceland in regulation time is without a shadow of a doubt the definition of underachieving. Losing to Italy on penalties after achieving the correct group results I am afraid is not. The post mortem obsession this country has makes it look like it was. Maybe that is why expectations are lowered beneath the teams actual level. Though i believe expectation collapse has more to do with how terrible Roy Hodgson was.

It's a cup competition, it has a randomised draw, you can only beat what is in front of you and it is there and there only where you can determine if someone was over or under achieving.

 

England haven't fluctuated. In the last five major tournaments, they've failed to qualify for one, been knocked out of the group stage once, lost in the first knockout round twice and had a quarter final place once. The quarter final position is the anomaly amongst a long-term period of rubbish. 

I'm not sure that can be classified as underachievement anymore and that it must now be considered the norm for England. 

In the last four tournaments England have been at they've drawn with the USA, Algeria, Costa Rica, Russia and Slovakia. These results aren't uncommon anymore. England aren't beating what's in front of them, especially the so-called "lesser" teams and their achievements in tournaments has largely been the same over the past nine or ten years. 

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7 minutes ago, Smiley Culture said:

England haven't fluctuated. In the last five major tournaments, they've failed to qualify for one, been knocked out of the group stage once, lost in the first knockout round twice and had a quarter final place once. The quarter final position is the anomaly amongst a long-term period of rubbish. 

I'm not sure that can be classified as underachievement anymore and that it must now be considered the norm for England. 

In the last four tournaments England have been at they've drawn with the USA, Algeria, Costa Rica, Russia and Slovakia. These results aren't uncommon anymore. England aren't beating what's in front of them, especially the so-called "lesser" teams and their achievements in tournaments has largely been the same over the past nine or ten years. 

Just because its becoming the "norm" doesn't mean England are not underachievers.

They are a very traditional football nation with the best marketed and one of the best leagues in the world. 

If you ask many non-football fans what they think the best football nations are, they'd likely say Germany, Brazil, Italy and England. Regular bad results or not, they are still a huge football nation recognized by many around the world. They even invented the bloody sport!

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7 hours ago, Lucas said:

I think the likes of Pavlyuchenko, Arshavin, Alenichev, Karpin, Zhirkov, Smertin, Kerzhakov etc are all players with talent that was more than capable of making up a good solid International team. That should be good enough to have produced more than they did. If someone like Northern Ireland can do it with the players they have, Russia should surely have been doing better.

Thank you for that great trip down memory lane. How they never did well at the big stage is also beyond me because they do have the talent to do much better.

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What are the KPIs of underachieving? 

Countries with good players that play below themselves?

Or countries that produce players of lower quality than they should relative to population,  GDP per capita and the overall level of enthusiasm for football in that country? 

Depending on your definition Maybe Belgium are overachievers because they have of tenth of the population of Germany and are on similar level. Then again by anther definition maybe they're underachieving because despite the huge pool of talent they currently have they don't have much to show for it...

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1 hour ago, Blue said:

Just because its becoming the "norm" doesn't mean England are not underachievers.

They are a very traditional football nation with the best marketed and one of the best leagues in the world. 

If you ask many non-football fans what they think the best football nations are, they'd likely say Germany, Brazil, Italy and England. Regular bad results or not, they are still a huge football nation recognized by many around the world. They even invented the bloody sport!

Whether they're a traditional name or not, that matters little. There are many examples of traditional names in Football who are crap. 

 

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Iceland are certainly overachieving without a doubt.

As for everything else, it's hard to say because generations of footballers comes into play here and not just getting one or two top players coming through into a particular generation at any given time.  Longterm planning is also at stake here and for me fundamentally is the situation within each respective league and how seriously the production line is being taken and how much investment its getting too.  How many of those home players are protagonists within their own league and how many are protagonists at the top clubs!

All of that matters when the national team manager selects 22 players for qualification and subsequently the competition itself if successful in qualifying.  The coach is important but not fundamental because at international level he needs to be more of a mediator with egos and then have a top staff to analyse games along with his own acumen.

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7 hours ago, SirBalon said:

Iceland are certainly overachieving without a doubt.

As for everything else, it's hard to say because generations of footballers comes into play here and not just getting one or two top players coming through into a particular generation at any given time.  Longterm planning is also at stake here and for me fundamentally is the situation within each respective league and how seriously the production line is being taken and how much investment its getting too.  How many of those home players are protagonists within their own league and how many are protagonists at the top clubs!

All of that matters when the national team manager selects 22 players for qualification and subsequently the competition itself if successful in qualifying.  The coach is important but not fundamental because at international level he needs to be more of a mediator with egos and then have a top staff to analyse games along with his own acumen.

That´s a good point. A generation of players can change the history of a national team. Spain is a good example of that. Before 2008, they were known for their underachieving and disappointments but the generation of Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol quckly changed that. Same thing with France in 98, 00. On the other hand, you wonder if the inverse is not going with Italy right now. They´re not a feared national team anymore.

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10 hours ago, Smiley Culture said:

England haven't fluctuated. In the last five major tournaments, they've failed to qualify for one, been knocked out of the group stage once, lost in the first knockout round twice and had a quarter final place once. The quarter final position is the anomaly amongst a long-term period of rubbish. 

I'm not sure that can be classified as underachievement anymore and that it must now be considered the norm for England. 

In the last four tournaments England have been at they've drawn with the USA, Algeria, Costa Rica, Russia and Slovakia. These results aren't uncommon anymore. England aren't beating what's in front of them, especially the so-called "lesser" teams and their achievements in tournaments has largely been the same over the past nine or ten years. 

How can you say England haven't fluctuated and their achievements are the same whilst simultaneously listing 4 completely different achievements across 5 tournaments? Does not compute.

Let's take the last two Euro's, 2012 and 2016, are the outcomes similar? No, so there is clear fluctuation there and thus scope for defining one as underachieving and if not then that means the other is overachieving.

If you put England on a pedestal and compare them to Spain and Germany all of the time then you might make the mistake of blurring everything that isn't as good as Spain into one common trend.

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8 hours ago, Smiley Culture said:

Whether they're a traditional name or not, that matters little. There are many examples of traditional names in Football who are crap. 

 

Not really.

If you ask a non football fan who will win between Chile or England, most would probably say England. If you ask a football fan it's vice versa. This is what makes England underachievers. They may have done fuck all for a long time but they are still the home to one of the biggest leagues in the world and are recognized at a worldwide level.

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There's a very simple way to calculate over and underachieving and that is to look at the bookmakers odds. Particularly going into individual games during the tournament as those probabilities are more accurate than outright odds.

 

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England of 2004 -2008 immediately springs to mind. Should of gotten a lot more out of that team. 

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8 hours ago, SirBalon said:

Iceland are certainly overachieving without a doubt.

As for everything else, it's hard to say because generations of footballers comes into play here and not just getting one or two top players coming through into a particular generation at any given time.  Longterm planning is also at stake here and for me fundamentally is the situation within each respective league and how seriously the production line is being taken and how much investment its getting too.  How many of those home players are protagonists within their own league and how many are protagonists at the top clubs!

All of that matters when the national team manager selects 22 players for qualification and subsequently the competition itself if successful in qualifying.  The coach is important but not fundamental because at international level he needs to be more of a mediator with egos and then have a top staff to analyse games along with his own acumen.

Iceland were predicted to be good though,  they had a superb under 21 team a few years ago and a lot of the players are still together now, so its a good team in place. 

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9 minutes ago, Cicero said:

England of 2004 -2008 immediately springs to mind. Should of gotten a lot more out of that team. 

The best english team I remember was the 98 one. Very good team.

The problem with England is that they neither have exceptional talent to flat out beat lesser competition nor an organised with the fighting spirit to overachieve, such as Portugal and Uruguay. They´re in the middle and in the end they get outclassed like they were by Germany in ´10 or Brazil in 02, or outfought like they were by Portugal in 04 and 06. 

 

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