LIONEL MESSI, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe are all sweating nervously about their participation at the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is on Amazon, buying a rough guide to the wilds outside St Petersburg, trying to discover whether bears are defecating in the woods near England’s remote base camp.
Gareth Southgate’s Origami Army have qualified for Russia while Portugal, France and especially Messi’s Argentina are having to scrap it out at the death.
And Thursday night’s 1-0 victory over Slovenia completed an entire DECADE without England losing a meaningful qualifying match — going right back to the Wally with the Brolly against Croatia in 2007.
So as the paper planes rained down on the hallowed NFL-stained turf and as England’s players applauded a largely empty stadium, why did it feel as if we’ve never rejoiced less about England qualifying for a World Cup?
It’s not as if the Three Lions are crushed by the weight of expectations any longer.
Most England fans haven’t expected anything much since the 2010 World Cup trouncing by Germany in Bloemfontein — and many abandoned all hope back in the Steve McClaren era.
Southgate, a veteran of 57 caps, frequently — and correctly — mentions that past England eras are viewed through rose-tinted goggles.
He did so again after Thursday’s zed-fest, when he recalled how poorly England played against Greece in 2001 before David Beckham’s dramatic late free-kick earned a 2-2 draw and sealed World Cup qualification.
He also remembered England being hammered for a dismal draw in Finland during that same campaign.
He did not, though, mention the unforgettable 5-1 victory over Germany in Munich which made it all worthwhile.
He did not mention how England internationals used to feel like events — occasions to look forward to, rather than ones to endure or ignore.
England used to be maddeningly unpredictable but they were still recognisably part of the entertainment industry.
For some years now they have been crushingly predictable and mind-alteringly dull.
Thursday’s exercise in paper-plane throwing was a wonderfully authentic response to all of this.
You cannot kid the public. If they are not getting their money’s worth they will let you know.
Southgate was left pleading for support, attempting to generate a feeling of pity for his young millionaires.
It was a misguided plea. England may have a smaller talent pool than in Southgate’s playing days but there were nine Champions League players in his starting XI on Thursday and there is no excuse for them to be unwatchable.
The public is beginning to switch off. The official attendance of 61,000 would have been respectable but even the FA blazers in the posh seats were laughing when the figure was announced.
The 90,000-capacity Wembley was barely half-full.
A couple of years ago, FA technical director Dan Ashworth launched ‘the England DNA’ plan to lay down a playing philosophy for all age-group levels.
Yet it is manifestly not in the English DNA to play the sort of slow, turgid, soulless football served up by Southgate’s team throughout most of his 11 games in charge.
Maybe the whole DNA thing was just one of those slogans the FA dreamt up over coffee at their St George’s Park gibberish sanctuary, the result of some weird caffeine high.
Because nobody is entirely sure whether the whole thing has been shredded or whether we’re still supposed to be sticking to it.
What seems certain is that it is counter-productive to stick rigidly to a patient passing game when you have no central midfield players capable of playing an incisive pass.
One solution, worth experimenting with during the coming friendlies, is to move Dele Alli back from No 10, into the deeper role in which he started his Tottenham and England career — simply to fill a gaping hole in Southgate’s resources, where the player Jack Wilshere was supposed to have been might have played.
A plodding midfield pairing of Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson is not going to provide a platform for a side hopeful of beating any half-decent team at a World Cup.
But while Southgate played the sympathy card on behalf of his players, the FA are currently in danger of talking down England’s chances too much.
Just hours before England secured qualification, chief executive Martin Glenn was accusing his players of being mentally brittle.
This was tough on a team which scored meaningful injury-time goals against all three of their main Group F rivals during the qualifying campaign which ends with tonight’s dead rubber in Lithuania.
But will you be tuning in to watch it? Or have you got some paint-drying to monitor or some paper to fold?