World Cup 2010 an unenjoyable spectacle for English fans, says survey

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The Independent Online

The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was one of the most unenjoyable in the last 20 years, according to a survey of British football fans. In common with three other lowest ranked tournaments, it was also one in which the English team crashed out during the group stages - in another, Euro 2008, they did not qualify at all.

Football Fan Census polled 1,000 British soccer supporters - the overwhelming majority of whom were English - and asked them to give a mark out of ten to each World Cup and European Championship of the last 20 years.

The tournament deemed most enjoyable, Euro 96, was hosted by England itself and saw the national side reach the semi-finals, stopped by eventual trophy winners Germany, and it was the English striker Alan Shearer who scored most goals during the competition.

The 1990 World Cup in Italy was the second highest rated, and England's performance saw them through to the semi-finals. On that occasion, it was pre-unification West Germany who sent them home and went on to win the final.

FFC's own Jon Busk observes that the progress of a fan's own team shouldn't be considered the only factor in determining overall tournament enjoyment: "France 98 and Germany 2006 clearly served up more entertaining fare despite average performances from the [English] national side."

"Both tournaments yielded good football and drama on the pitch throughout the stages," he explained, whereas "in the rainbow nation [South Africa], English fans had neither."

1) 1996 Euros - England (8.3)
2) 1990 World Cup - Italy (7.9)
3) 2006 World Cup - Germany (7.2)
3) 1998 World Cup - France (7.2)
5) 2002 World Cup - Japan / South Korea (6.9)
5) 2004 Euros - Portugal (6.9)
7) 2000 Euros - Belgium / Netherlands (6.3)
8) 2008 Euros - Austria / Switzerland (5.8)
8) 1994 World Cup - USA (5.8)
10) 2010 World Cup - South Africa (5.6)
11) 1992 Euros - Sweden (5.5)
Source: Football Fan Census