After a wonderful and relaxing interlude following Spain in the 2008 European Championship (due to Steve McClueless's Hingerland team not qualifying), when for the first time I saw how it might be to support an international team which could really play, it was back to workhouse bread and gruel yesterday.
England's opening game in the 2010 Word Cup against former colony USA.
England start the game like Dervishes at a mad pace and within 5 minutes have scored an excellent goal. Amidst the cheering I heard myself saying, "too early, too early".
And indeed, Ferrari England turned into British Leyland Hingerland and clocked off for the rest of the first half. The USA, a solid and well-organised, motivated bunch, obligingly took over the game and deserved their equaliser. I will draw a veil of silence and sympathy over the details of their goal (except for mentioning that excuse number 1 from my previous post was indeed wheeled out to explain what had happened).
At least you know at half time our chaps are going to be faced with a wild Italian who is going to give them the bollocchio assoluto fortissimo they richly deserve and not some Steve McClownSchool touchy-feely false-grin palliative teleteubby hugginess. Capello must have done his Italian nutto at them, as they came out in the second half ablaze once again. But there was one big problem ...we had been mind-gamed by those pesky Americans who, although relatively new to football, know a thing or ten about the psychology of sport.
They had roundly announced in the media that they would try to provoke Rooney (our rather-too-provokable, fly-off-the-handle Shrek lookalike) with the intention of getting him red-carded. They then denied this of course, but proceeded in the game to police Rooney robustly. This meant that Rooney, who must have had the litany "don't get provoked" hammered into him in the previous days, couldn't summon the little bit of rage he would have needed to break free for fear of releasing the lot of rage and going over the top. A clever ruse by our upstart cousins from across the pond.
And so Hingerland clocked off once again around the 80 minute mark and settled - shamefully in my opinion - for a draw and a point.
On the positive side, the ITV 'experts' reminded us that England had drawn the first game in 1966 and in whatever year we got to the semi-final and so, therefore, England are going to win the World Cup!