Just read the reactions below this article.
Basel - 1,637 miles travelled
And before you start, it's not my statement but that of just about every local, travelling fan and journalist I have spoken to over here.
A typical conversation might go something like this.
Me: "Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions about your team?"
Local/fan/journo: "Ok, where are you from?"
Local/fan/journo: "Oh." Several seconds of silence follow. "I cannot believe England are not here. Such a disappointment"
A look of sympathy crossed with sorrow plus a dash of disbelief then follows, so I explain that England are not here because they were not good enough in qualifying, pure and simple.
The people are just being polite with the English journalist. I would. I wouldn't rub it in that is so English.
A sample reaction from the site:
I don't think that the other Europeans waste a moment's thought thinking "Just imagine how much better the tournament would be if England / Scotland / Republuc of Ireland were here". Why should they? If they support one of the countries there, they just want them to do well, and want the rest of the experience to be as good in footballing terms as it can be.
For them (and too often for us too) there's more pleasure to be had from seeing a potential emerging team eg the Russians, the Spanish, or the current Dutch team, than in following the British teams, who, let's face it, have an inherent tendency to plod. If we make it to a competition, then fine, let the teams test themselves at that level. If they don't make it, as in this case, then whether they might have added (or subtracted) anything from the tournament is simply an irrelevance.
We should have a degree of humility and accept that this time, we were all not quite up to the required standard, enjoy what's on offer in this championships, and hope that we can add to the next one.