From an England perspective, how you see the outcome of the 2022 World Cup will very-much depend on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty kind of person.
On the half-full face of the coin, England came second… but on the half-empty side, they lost half their games, and were trounced by a rampant Australia in the final. Bake-in a humiliating Ashes defeat, where their only points came from washouts, and the glass starts to look rather dry indeed.
So, where to now?
There will obviously be reviews, and the one that Australia conducted after their disappointment in 2017 is being held up as a model, but I’m unconvinced this is the right approach. Australia were already on an upward trajectory at that point, and only the greatest individual performance of all time stopped them winning that year anyway (unpopular opinion: they would have trounced England in the final).
England are an ageing team in need of some kind of a rebuild, but before they can embark on that, they need to answer one very important question – what do they want to win: the Commonwealth Games, or the next World Cup? Because it is one or the other – they can’t win both.
If they decide to prioritise the Commonwealth Games, they’ll stick with the current generation this summer – it definitely gives them their best chance of a gold medal, albeit Australia remain rampant favourites.
But by then it will be too late for the next World Cup, which will only be a couple of years away (remember, because of the postponement of this tournament, there is only a 3 year gap this time) and that won’t be time for the next generation to have built up the experience they need to be ready for 2025 – they’ll be half-baked at best.
If the decision is to stick with the current generation, that’s fine – it is a decision! But you have to acknowledge that by doing that, you are sacrificing the opportunity to win the World Cup next time around. If you want to rebuild for 2025 you have to start now, or it is too late.