Blog of the Week #20 - Cheer Up Alan Shearer
OK, so this is a teensy-weensy bit incestuous... but the World Cup kicks off on Friday, and I thought a football blog might be the order of the day.
I don't know if I'm unusual for a football fan or not, but I actually prefer watching those games where I have no partisan interest. Watching England play has been an almost exclusively painful experience for me over the years. I can only think of about three games that I have actually enjoyed: the 5-1 against Germany in 2001, the 4-1 against Holland in Euro 96 and the defeat on penalties to Germany on that emotional night in Turin during the 1990 World Cup (and I'm not sure 'enjoy' is quite the right word for that one). At every major tournament we qualify for, we are hopelessly built up as being amongst the favourites, only to stumble our way through to a disappointing, unlucky quarter final exit. It's usually tremendously predictable... as are the scenes of violence in our own towns and cities that seem to accompany England's exit from tournaments (remember Trafalgar Square after Euro 96?).
This time around, we're told, we really just might have a chance. We've got some great players at the peak of their games and it might just all come together.
And it might.....or as the team placed 10th or so in the FIFA world rankings, should we expect nothing more than another quarter final exit?
Nah. Give me a game between any of the other 31 nations on display and I'll be happy as Larry. I love the chance to watch teams from all over the world play: Korea, Ivory Coast, France, Australia, Mexico, USA, Trinidad & Tobago.... and all the rest of them. We'll hopefully see some of the best players in the world playing at their best. We'll see the last hurrahs of some of the all-time greats - like Zidane. We'll also see other players step up to the plate to replace them. We'll see surprises, controversial decisions, penalties, upsets....
It'll be great. And it will still be great even if England get knocked out in the Group Stages without scoring a goal.
Don't get me wrong: I still want England to do well and will certainly be cheering them all the way (what odds on Peter Crouch for the golden boot?) - it's just that it won't ruin the tournament for me if we don't win the damn thing.
So get over to CUAS now - the World Cup predictions league is just starting, and it's not too late to get stuck into the Panini sticker swapsies forum...
[Previous blogs of the week: Delrico Bandito, I have ordinary addictions, Girl With A One-Track Mind, Ditch Monkey, Skinny Legs and All, Wandering Scribe, Sarah, MC Hammer, Lisa Whiteman, Paul Daniels, 2012 Olympic Special, Some Guy On A Journey, The Art of Noise, The American Mystery Deepens, The Thoughts of Chairman Tao, Neil Gaiman, Wonder(ing) Goddess, Helfire, Never Trust A Hippy]