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The Six Stages of England Fan Pessimism

Plumbing the psyche (or at least the tweets) of a nation that expects the worst in this (and every) World Cup

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News

Last week, The Upshot confirmed the obvious: England is the world's most pessimistic country. Well, at least according to their belief in their national team. In a recent YouGov/Upshot survey, just 4 percent of English people believed that a squad featuring the likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, and a host of promising youngsters would lift the World Cup trophy in Brazil this summer. This was in comparison to the 8 percent of South Koreans and Mexicans who thought their teams would win the whole tournament, as well as 14 percent of Americans, who must be dreaming. Italy, which plays England in its first group-stage match today, has a more optimistic citizenry: 21 percent of Italian respondents said the azzuri would win. Inspired by the Upshot survey, and conducting ourselves in an equally scientific manner, we at Goal Posts have combed through the best barometer of the English fan base's current psychological state—Twitter—to map out the stages of English pessimism leading up to today's big game.  

1. Nervous sarcasm

2. More nervous sarcasm

3. Manic self-reflection

4. Preemptive excuses

5. Sarcastic recognition of the need for divine intervention

5.5 Actual prayer

6. Renewed, if irrational, self-belief