What a bad day it was for England. First, they lost 36-3 to the Allblacks in rugby. Then their football team lost 2-1 to France in the last three minutes. Even in the lift today, I heard some Englishmen still talking about it.
Believe it or not, while I was studying in England I was not a big football fan. The closest I got to it was learning, in a Tort case, of the tragic accident at Hillsborough stadium where many Liverpool fans were crushed and killed. Bless their souls.
However, I didn’t waste all three years being ignorant in the country which invented the game. The first big soccer match I recall seeing was during the 1998 World Cup one fine summer day. I watched it in a pub in Bath with two friends and the atmosphere was tremendous. The place was packed; we scampered from pub to pub looking for ample butt-room.
Eventually we found one that actually had a square metre of sitting space. I think we had some beer, I really can’t remember (which probably means we did have some beer).
In full football revelry, every stranger was a friend, and all around us were painted faces shouting, ENG-ER-LAND! ENG-ER-LAND!! The lads beat Tunisia 2-0.
The next England match I watched back in Bristol, methinks, and that was the one against Argentina. I won’t harp on history any further, since some of you England fans are probably still smarting from the mark of Zizou.
Based on my predictions for all Euro 2004 matches (using the BBC’s Flash-based match predictor), there is a good chance that France and England, assuming they beat Switzerland and Croatia, may play each other again in the finals. Sounds like the old Brazil-Turkey World Cup 2002 showdown, eh?
Last snippet of news: Mikael Silvestre, French defender, reveals exactly how goalkeeper Fabien Barthez saved David Beckham’s penalty kick:
"We had a look at all the penalties he took and he was always taking them this way," said Silvestre after France’s last-gasp 2-1 win.
"So Fabien did a good job. He went to his right and it was a great save."
Yaawn. How boringly predictable …
Update: Sweden v Bulgaria coming up. I favour a certain CK model with piercing blue eyes 😉
Update 2: Wow! Sweden 5, Bulgaria 0. What a thrashing! Freddie scored first… And at the rate Italy is going, there is no way they are going to make it to the finals. I wasted 90 minutes of sleep watching them draw 0-0 with Denmark.