Footballers talk about luck, and incompetent or biased referees all the time. The fact is when a team loses, it is because they are not good enough. In the matter of England’s World Cup teams, it is always that they do not have the self-belief or temperament to close out a match — to twist in the knife deeper, render the enemy hors de combat, so to speak. Remember Shizuoka in 2002? Owen was gifted a goal, Ronaldinho was red-carded, and still England manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Rather like Tim Henman at the Wimbledon semi-finals.
That is also the reason why they are so bad at penalties.