48 years of hurt and at least some good has come of it. As according to a recent worldwide poll, England’s plucky underdogs are one of the most universally admired teams heading into the 2014 World Cup.
In the study, carried out by YouGov and The New York Times for the paper’s stat section The Upshot, fans of every nation competing at the tournament were asked, a) who they think will win it, b) the team they most dislike, and c) which team plays the most beautiful football.
And pleasingly, only one nationality were unanimous in their dislike against the Three Lions (Argentina, unsurprisingly), while Japan and Australia went so far as to peg us as second in the world for playing the most beautiful football.
Clearly not taking the nationality of a certain 1966 final linesman into consideration, England fans have said they hope Russia have the earliest exist, followed naturally by Germany. While likely roused by recent political events, this anti-Russian sentiment is bizarrely shared by Russia themselves after fans polled voted themselves as the second team they’ll most likely want to perform badly.
Oh, and the USA believe they’ll actually win it. Their self-belief is shared by more likely candidates Spain and Argentina, while everyone else firmly believes Brazil will add to their weighty collection of World Cups.
As for our own recent rise in popularity, it seems being terrible at penalties really does pay off. Now we’ll probably go and ruin it all by winning the thing.
Click the chart below to enlarge: