Sunday 11 July 2021

Better luck next time, England

I feel the pain of defeat

It was the summer of 2010, and I was on holiday from the Netherlands in Spain when the World Cup final taking place in South Africa became the focus of my day. I was in my Oranje (Orange) strip, found a friendly Dutch pub and gathered with fellow supporters to cheer our team.

Alas! The game did not go our way and I was marooned on an island of jollity, many of us Dutch visitors crestfallen and disappointed as the Spanish celebrated through the night. My lonely walk back to my hotel, a lesson in the cloak of defeat.

More expectation than presentation

Whilst I have been quite happy with the progress of England through the belated Euro 2020 tournament, I have tempered excitement with much realism. No game was won until the final whistle was blown, though I only watched the last 10 minutes between England and Germany, and we exorcised the demon on our backs.

In supporting Nigeria and England, the level of anxiety is just too high for me to watch a live match, for the semi-final and the final, I followed the match slightly distracted on the BBC live reporting text webpage, giving it a glance every few minutes and hoping for the best.

Better luck next time

If anything, I have never been caught or enamoured by football nationalism or jingoism, each game had to be played on the field in the heat of the moment by the team eking out a clear win or they are left at the mercy of penalty kicks in which we have had very little luck.

That England got to the final was a commendable surprise, but they were to meet a formidable opponent, the statistics of the game suggests Italy had the most possession for little reward. I dared wish there would be a celebratory outcome, but it would not have mattered apart from my joining in the euphoria of the many.

There would be analyses and commentary regarding England’s performance, but the game is over. There are aspects of managerial leadership that should be up for learning lessons, Gareth Southgate, did a good job of preparing the team for the challenges they faced. I literally sat this tournament out like my 7-month self in 1966 when we won the World Cup. Better luck next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are accepted if in context are polite and hopefully without expletives and should show a name, anonymous, would not do. Thanks.