Keep those emails coming to email@example.com…
No More Years of Hurt
Subbing off Lineker
“Will he score, Kevin?”
It could all be forgotten tonight. I’ve never been so nervous. I’ve never been so excited!
Bring it on!!!
No More Need for Dreaming
The last time I truly hoped, truly dreamed and truly enjoyed a major tournament before this was, as is for most, Euro ’96. Maybe viewed through rose tinted glasses but that tournament was the absolute pinnacle of international football for me. The years that followed saw an increasing apathy towards the national side. Poor showing after poor showing meant that when asked the question “Club or country” most would’ve said club.
Those of us that remembered Euro ’96 knew the difference that an international showing makes to us all. After years of division and venom in its various guises and an increasing detachment from our fellow man for one small moment we are united and alive. Club rivalries are put aside, transfer gossip is a footnote and petty squabbles over “the greatest” pale into insignificance. We all live in the now, only looking as far as the next game, never behind, never ahead.
I say to you all though do not take this moment lightly, 4 years is a long time and a lot can change. Teams can rise and fall in the blink of an eye and in those dark days all you’ll have to look back on is these instances to help you dream.
So enjoy it, remember it and when future generations lose the faith point to these moments to assure them that it does get better.
Anthony (Come on Football!), Kilburn
Fun and Games
I have no clever prediction for tonight, and since this team have far surpassed even my most fanciful expectations, it feels more like a free hit than a golden opportunity.
To my mind, the thing that I’ve cherished the most during this tournament, is that this England team seem to actually enjoy playing for England. I’m not talking about passion, or desire, but that the actual experience of playing in a World Cup for England seems to be something they actively like. I don’t know if it was the weight of expectation the nation/press put on previous versions, the expectations they put on themselves, or..something else, but recent versions of England gave the impression that playing for England in a major tournament was a burden, that the ball was to be feared..how we all yelled at Eric Dier in disgust as he chipped another aimless ball onto an Icelandic head – but who was available and not hiding?
This lot though – it feels different. Enough different that I’m not only enjoying the exciting moment, but hopeful that whatever happens in the next 7 days, the next 7 weeks, months or years that they won’t lose this delicate notion that playing for your country can be fun. Let’s do all we can to help them with that please.
I know I shouldn’t, but for the last five minutes I’ve had this image in my head of a very smiley Dele Alli being interviewed on the pitch by Gabby Logan on Sunday evening.
Everything is a bonus now and I’m not usually one for getting caught up in hope…but every night since Saturday I just can’t help drifting off to thoughts like that.
Come on, England.
I’m currently sat in work feeling nervous. Undoubtedly for different reasons than the majority of your readership. You see I am concerned, genuinely 100% concerned that England might actually win this World Cup. Most probably from a meticulously planned set piece or a VAR penalty, perhaps even a rebound off Sterling’s thigh.
I am sorry but your historical bias and perceived entitlement do not allow me to fee any less hostile to Gareth Southgate and this England team. I, like many others do not wish to have to cancel our Sky/BT subs in favour of an overseas broadcaster as I do not wish to be reminded during every game through punditry, commentary or even written reports of England s triumph.
Every time a member of that squad gets mentioned it will not solely be their name, instead being accompanied before or after by the phrase “World Cup Winner”. The hype train has been relentless and the endless It’s Coming Home memes have done you no favours, rest assured the vast majority of the remainder of the UK stands with Croatia tonight and France if required (hopefully not) on the 15th July. Hopefully it’s not coming home after all.
Offt. Best Mediawatch for a while – that ‘Worst Headline of the day’ was a real stinker. Not quite ‘The Names Bond, James Rodriguez’, but a really smelly one anyway. Made me miss your ‘non-football story of the day’ and it’s inevitable manhood-disaster story.
I don’t read The Sun (and eternally thank F365 for meaning I don’t have to) but by ‘that tackle by Jord’ they maybe meant Henderson, not Pickford?
I’ll Get My Croat
I feel bad for how much I enjoyed the ‘Waste Croats’ headline in Mediawatch today.
When a fresh pun (e.g. not the usual ‘Roo’s Next?) is that silly, it deserves some love.
Team of the Tournament
Is it too early to start naming the team of the tournament? After last night’s game mine is heavily influenced by France. Formation 4-3-3:
Lloris; Pavard, Umtiti, Vida, Nagatomo; Matuidi, Pogba, Modric; Hazard, Lukaku, Kane
This will possibly get lost in England/France emails but it’s worth a shot to get people talking about theirs.
Ronaldo Triple Threat
On any other day, today’s mailbox would be filled with comments and questions about a 33 year old being sold for close to £100m. I imagine most mailboxers will have other things on their minds today, so I’ll give my take on it.
After Ronaldo’s comments following the Champions League final I wrote an (unpublished) mail, speculating on his next move. PSG seemed the obvious fit. They have the money and would be willing to spend it on an ageing player. I suggested that, for Ronaldo, now that he has achieved more Champions League successes than any other player, he might have other historical achievements in his sights, specifically, winning the CL with 3 different clubs. This has only been achieved by one other player (Seedorf) and since Ronaldo very much sees the CL as his trophy, I believe he wants a share of this record.
It’s now Juventus, rather than PSG but the logic still fits. It’s maybe surprising that Juventus have this kind of money to spend, but to be honest it might be worth it from branding alone. It definitely raises their prestige amongst “elite” clubs and there will be a media spotlight on them in a way they’ve not had in their recent history. For the player, the move makes sense. Ronaldo gets a slightly easier time of it domestically, playing in a less competitive league. He can save himself for the games that he loves the most and Juventus want to win, the Champions League. Given that Ronaldo sees himself fit enough to play till he’s 40, it wouldn’t surprise me if his long term goal would be to win with Juventus, then a few years later play out his final days with PSG and try to become the first man to win the trophy with a quartet of clubs.
As for Madrid, it’s testing times ahead. They’ll need to find those 44 goals from somewhere. A few Premier League clubs must be getting a little bit nervous…
Mike, LFC, Dubai (Good luck England tonight, from a Scot)
Av, Spurs, I’d be more worried about the reserves for the reserves! There is little over 3 weeks between the end of the World Cup and the start of the new season and there is an awful lot of critical Spurs players still out there after a long season..