Thursday, 1 July 2010

England In Despair

Well, it gives me no pleasure to have been proved right in my earlier predictions - on Sunday the English football team were indeed humiliated and sent home by a clearly superior Germany.  At least Germany had the grace to inflict a heavy defeat during normal time, without it having to go to penalties.  Indeed, at 4-1 it was England's heaviest ever World Cup defeat.

Yes, Lampard's goal was disallowed, and maybe in some alternate universe it proved a turning point, inspiring England on to victory.  But in this 'verse Germany weathered some pretty sustained pressure and then simply ran the length of the pitch and scored.  Twice.  The disallowed goal will give the disaffected fans something to whine about for the next few years (alright, for many, many years), but it finally makes up for England's disputed goal against Germany in the 1966 final.

Overall it was a lacklustre campaign.  This wasn't helped by the fact that the British press are both vicious and fickle, and having whipped up national hopes (as always) to near-hysterical levels, will now turn on the team, looking for blood.  The goalkeeping error against the USA was instantly (and rather brilliantly) dubbed 'The Hand of Clod', and Monday's headlines proclaimed 'Rout of Africa' and 'Fritz All Over Now'.  The fate of Fabio Capello's stint as boss must now be in the balance.

So what's a nation to do?  Why, turn to tennis, of course.  Andy Murray's through to the Wimbledon semi finals tomorrow.  He's Scottish, but that's near enough for the English papers, who conveniently refer to him as British while he's winning.  And the cricket's going rather well, although the prospect of a whitewash in the current one day series has been spoiled by Australia rather inconveniently winning the fourth test to bring the score to 3-1.

Oh, one more thing.  My wife has asked me to point out that, despite my previous snide comments, she does indeed understand the football offside rule.  And she gave a very convincing demonstration of this using the kitchen table, assorted condiments for players, and a handy hard boiled egg for a ball.  I most humbly apologise.

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