So, ladies and gentlemen, the European Footy Thingy starts today and as has been pointed out to me gleefully - nay, gloatingly - by numerous inhabitants of deepest Bavaria, Hinger-land is not taking part.
I have to admit this has left me free to approach this Championship with a relaxed feeling of calm which is wonderful. No frustrated screams of anguish at the TV when the Young English Millionaires show that they still do not understand that the basic principle of passing includes the fact that the ball should go to one of their own team-mates.
I realised that watching England play in one of these competitions is like driving an underpowered car up a steep hill... you clasp the steering wheel tightly and push with all your strength to try and help the struggling, spluttering vehicle make it. After watching England 'play' I would find myself totally knackered from the exertions of attempting to inject some vigour and inventiveness into their tactics from my living room.
Anyhow, for this tournament I have adopted Spain as my team. It should have been Greece but I just can't accept the horrible way they played in the last championships - somehow Otto Rehhagel time-machined the Greeks back to the dour scientific football of the 1970s. It used to be fun watching the Greeks play football and he drilled that out of them - making the team something like football's version of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.
So, Spain... yeah. I watched them play Peru last week and experienced something I had never felt before watching 'my' team play international football - these lads can play! They really can play!! Good football - good moves - skilful runs down the wing - clever defence-splitting passes - erm, WOW!
So, we are stocking up on papas fritas and cerveza and practising the new chant:
Hespan-yar, Hespan-yar, Hespan-yar...