England’s Pain: A Fan’s Perspective
Yes, the World Cup is over, and with today’s attention span being as long as a Twitter post, it’s already long forgotten, especially by American World Cup watchers. Sure, some will remember Spain won, although, it’s doubtful they’ll remember who scored to put Spain over the top of the Netherlands (Andres Iniesta, for those of you who forgot). While I’m still fascinated by how quick the news cycle works, this post isn’t about that. Instead, I’ve asked a great friend of mine to share her feelings about England’s less-than-stellar showing in South Africa.
After the jump, Deb Harrison, a loving mom, wife, and an underrated Internet marketer — British readers, if you have any web marketing tasks, you should check Deb’s services out here — and a voracious football fan gives us a glimpse into the disappointment the English team returned home with after such a lackluster appearance. Her perspective also reminds us being a fan doesn’t always mean cheering for championships.
There’s a lot of sorrow involved as well, right Cleveland fans?
A Brit’s guide to the English Dream (well, Nightmare!)
Way back at the start of the year when FIFA announced the World cup tables and who would be playing who, I thought England would have a pretty easy ride to our trademark quarter final playoff. USA, Algeria, Slovenia, no problem!! We have a new Italian football manager and has got us this far already (we beat Croatia 5-0). Rooney could score a much needed goal after a dry spell, Lampard will have his final glorious moment and we can make the semis, the final, even win!
So the first game against USA and we’re watching it from the local pub on a big screen. Four minutes in, Gerrard slides Emile Heskey’s pass past Tim Howard. However, no one knew this at the time as ITV (one of our mainstream TV channels) decides then was the time to have a commercial break. It flashes back and we are 1-0 up.
A little later on and Robert Green,( our 3rd choice goalie) lets in the mother of all howlers by catching the ball from Dempsey’s attempt and then for what seems like slow motion, the ball jumps out of his hands and goes over the line. Half of us are thinking (or in my case shouting at the screen) “Get Crouchie on! Get Cole on!” 78 minutes in and Crouch gets his chance when he subs Heskey, but 12 minutes isn’t enough for the tall one. Sean Wright-Phillips and Jamie Carragher also sub. Joe Cole is nowhere to be seen.
So after that farce, Algeria should have been a breeze. Surely the England team would have realised where they went wrong and hopefully improve, right?
Wrong. So wrong. Rob Green wasn’t in the line-up and that was the only improvement (I’ve never been so happy to see Calamity James on the pitch!). I’m surprised the players found the pitch, they were all over the place! Rooney was playing like he’d just been neutered and although England players got towards a goal, they were very much on their own.
In the first half the referee was either asleep or had stuck a replica of himself in the middle of the pitch and then buggered off, because Algeria were striking out at players as well as the ball and nothing was done. However on Mr Referee’s return, Carragher puts a foot wrong and gets a yellow card before we’ve all worked out what it was he had actually done.
Peter Crouch only gets about 10 minutes to make a difference, which again is fruitless. Has Joe Cole been caught with Capello’s wife or something? He’s still nowhere to be seen on the field. Other subs are Defoe and Wright-Phillips (again?).
Rooney gets the huff at full-time at being booed by English fans. What does he expect? A pat on the back and chants of “Oh dear little chap. Never mind we’ll get the Slovenians next time!” Naturally the English papers go absolutely mad and Rooney issues a grovelling apology a day later.
Now, unfortunately I missed the first 15 minutes of the Slovenian match as this coincided with the kids’ school run (I was told later on that I hadn’t missed much). Heskey had been ditched for younger talent Jermaine Defoe.
So I was just sitting down to watch the game and promptly stood up again as Defoe’s close range shot meant England were 1-0 up. Yeeessssss!!!
Rooney must have rediscovered his trouser area again as he was now playing like half the player he is at Man United. He was firing in all directions, but a Roo goal was inevitable. Defoe had a chance in the second half to get us 2-0 up but missed it by 8 yards. Cole this time gets a look in when Rooney is seen limping, and Heskey replaces Defoe for about 6 minutes. Even though we won we could really have put away a couple more goals, just to prove that we can.
At full-time we thought that was it, until we heard that Donovan had stuck in a last minute goal for the USA and suddenly we’re playing on Sunday and not Saturday. And we’re playing Germany and not Ghana.
As a result, the majority of Brits felt rather optimistic for the German match. After all the papers had been bigging up the England team and assuring us that overall the Fritz sucked at penalties.
What they failed to mention was that Germany are a younger team, with more spirit and energy than England who just seemed well, old and tired. Two goals in the first half proved that point. Our first goal from Upson was a welcome relief and Lampard’s goal would have seen us draw, which may have given England the motivation in the second half to carry on. The ball went across the line twice and the ref said he hadn’t seen it!!! (At this point, I am glad to say that since then FIFA have sacked that donkey. Ha ha ha ha ha!).
As a result the second half was agony to watch. Joe Cole is subbed in the 63rd minute, but by then the morale of the England team is so low it’s gone underground. Germany’s defence is merely a brick wall and they rightfully won 4-1.
So yes, the English dream was over again before July had began. The British invented football, but there are at least 8 countries that play it better than us. Sadly they were also playing in the World Cup.
Rooney didn’t get his goal, Lampard had his final golden moment snatched from him by a blind referee and now most of the Brits want to know why we don’t just have a good old English Manager like Harry Redknapp or even David Beckham (the campaign’s on FaceBook).
Will we get to Euro 2012? Only if Capello gets rid of the tired mediocre overpaid brats currently in the England team. And if he has some sort of cosmetic surgery that makes him look less like Postman Pat.
As for the final, well I am just glad that Spain won. Holland may have had the defence but the rest of it was just kicking, pushing and any other pure dirt that they could get away with. Unfortunately for them they had an English referee.
So who’s the Daddy now?
No, IntentionalFoul.com has not gone away. We’re simply in the middle of a summer break, powered by a lack of sports and a massive website redesign for our parent company, Ticket Solutions. We’ll be back as NFL Training Camps begin. I hope you enjoyed reading about how fanhood, especially the painful side, is the same all over the world, no matter which team you root for. A painful loss resonates, regardless of what hemisphere you reside in.