Category Archives: England

World Cup 2014: The Spitfire Experience!

fifaSooooo, slightly overdue as this blog post is, I am compelled to write about my experience during World Cup 2014. Do not be fooled by my dazzling rants about the unjust state of the world, nor my refined tea-drinking posts about what one should drink during one’s peaceful afternoon – when it comes to (international) football, I am right up there with your traditional English footy hooligan (minus the violence), swigging the beer, draped in a long England flag and singing ‘God Save the Queen’ in a loud, passionate, tuneless voice. 

At least, I was at the very beginning until England proved YET AGAIN what a sloppy team they were. The last time I wrote about England and an international cup was here in 2012; needless to say, I have no desire whatsoever to repeat myself, which I’m sure would be a hundred times more scathing than last time. I suppose I should have seen the signs; on the day I uploaded the blog post, it received exactly 666 views worldwide. If that isn’t a portent of doom then I don’t know what is.

Moving on, this is not an article about England and their ultimately useless players. It’s about the World Cup as I experienced it, it’s about the excitement, thrills and countless gasps of awe that almost had me in a seizure, it’s about how I (by some bizarre twist of fate) found myself employed as a World Cup Commentator halfway through the Cup, and it’s about some outstanding performances and incredible players that really left a mark in my mind. If there’s such a thing as an unforgettable World Cup then this was surely the one.

jamesWhere do I begin? First with James Rodriguez of Colombia. That boy had some skills! I had never heard of this player before in my life (and I will not lie; much as I enjoy the international cups, I’m pretty much clueless as to who most of the players are – with the exception of Christiano Ronaldo. Who doesn’t know him? Didn’t the man create a museum in his own honour, comprising photos, waxworks and trophies dedicated to him, and him alone? The wonders of an over-inflated ego never cease to amaze). So. Rodriguez. How many goals did he shoot into the net again? And let’s not forget The Mystery of the Magical Locust. The enormous bug landed on his arm just before he scored a terrific penalty. Apparently, this critter represents good luck in South American countries and if anyone tries telling me that that wasn’t a sign then I’ll kindly tell you to open up your mind! Colombia did find themselves booted out, but I’m pretty sure that no one will forget their performance and how well they excelled themselves, same as I’m pretty certain Rodriguez won’t be forgotten in a hurry. 

Guillermo+Ochoa+Mexico+v+Cameroon+Group+70l-AziQZailWho else really stood out for me? Well, of course, Ochoa of Mexico! The wizard goalie whose incredible, albeit ungraceful, blocking proved deeply frustrating for opposing teams. With his practically X-Men reflexes it was impossible to fault him during the matches – and did I mention how handsome he is? What I wouldn’t give to be a football flying straight into those magical hands! Hubba, hubba! You can save me any day! *Wink, Wink!*

Joe Campbell of Costa Rica really impressed me (also for the fact that during my more daring days, I was gambling on the Costa Rican team and they didn’t fail me once) and I also thought his humble, generally pleasant demeanor was a pleasure to watch. Quite possibly the most heart-stopping match I saw was the one between Costa Rica and Greece. Costa Rica were ten men down and completely exhausted, but they still managed to win on penalties. I was hugely impressed by the Costa Rican team and, like Colombia, they truly exceeded all expectations during the tournament. 

pepeOnto the significantly interesting moments of the Cup. Watching Portugal’s Pepe headbutt Germany’s Muller like some kind of angry bull during mating season was an entertainment in itself. Lesson learned, hopefully, Pepe (though judging by your past explosions, we can’t be too hopeful): never headbutt a German. You’ll end up red-carded and on the loser’s bench, frothing and spitting at the mouth. 

And, of course, we cannot forget Suarez. The World Cup is hardly the place to be chomping and biting your fellow human being, but Suarez outdid himself with his enthusiastic gnawing on Italy’s Chiellini, whose subsequent panicked outcries and howling protests would have led us to believe he’d just been bitten by a rabid dog and had contracted a life-threatening disease. Still, Chiellini’s ultimate drama-queen showdown only enforced the incredulity of everyone watching that Suarez the Uruguay Star had just bitten another player on the pitch, and it was off to the airport for him. What was most bemusing was that Suarez gripped his teeth as though in agony right after biting the Italian player; it was almost as though he was shocked at the fact they had just pierced through Chiellini’s flesh. Odd. Perhaps his molars have a mind of their own and they had plunged him forwards without his consent. Either way, we’ll never know. 

suarez

The thrashing that Brazil took from Germany (7-1? Don’t think any of us saw that coming!) was astonishing to watch and I say it with the most genuine empathy that I truly felt for the Brazilians and the fans watching them. I mean, I really did. Watching your home team (and worse, the host nation) be thrashed in such an embarrassing way really pulls at the heartstrings, and I say this as an England fan. Watching Neymar go down also was pretty shocking and his condition was closely monitored with concern by much of the world. I also want to point out a special congratulations to the U.S.A who did very well during this tournament – no doubt this has something to do with being led by the almighty Klinnsman! Speaking of Klinnsman – did anyone really doubt that Germany would win the Cup?

Probably one of the most amazing things about this World Cup was the bizarre shift, the topsy-turviness of traditionally ‘great’ teams being kicked to the curb. Reigning champions, Spain, reigned no more after they were booted out in the first round. Brazil’s performance was hardly superb from the start; Italy failed to wow. If there was ever a time for the underdog to rise, it was during this tournament.

So you may be wondering how I, with my extremely limited knowledge of football and being a woman to boot, ended up as a World Cup Commentator. The answer is, pure chance. Lucky, lucky chance, A very lucky, financially prosperous chance, might I add. And it didn’t matter to me that I had to endure the snide guffawing of men who rarely failed to remind me that I had little knowledge of the game, little knowledge of the players and, therefore, my commentating must surely be void. The fact was, I enjoyed the tournament, I enjoyed the matches and, ultimately, that was all that mattered. I commentated with such fervour that it wasn’t long before I was eating, sleeping and breathing football. So by the end of the tournament I was experiencing post World Cup 2014 blues and aching for the next one. But until that day … onto the Euro!

*Follow me on Twitter here!

Sloppy and Indifferent: The Problem with English Football

There’s no point in denying the truth. England are still suffering from the same illness that has been eating away at them like maggots for the past few years. Their interests lie in money and a shameful celebrity status that glorifies them and reports degrading behaviour such as cheating on their brainless, annoying WAGS. They are paid £100,000 a week. Is it any wonder, therefore, that when it comes to playing for their country, the drive and passion (which, for them, is driven by money) simply isn’t there?

English football players seem to have no comprehension of what it is to stand proud simply for the fact that they have the honour to wear the shirt of England. They seem incapable of setting aside their lust for millions of pounds in order to retain some old-fashioned pride. This is a great insult to the numerous fans who place their faith in them; if you really are being paid so much money generally as a footballer, at least have the decency to perform to the standard that is expected of you.

Take the Euro 2012 competition. After their absolute failure to even qualify some years back, faith in English football had reached an all-time low. Hence why there were hardly any fans who followed them to the Ukraine. Wayne Rooney’s petulant, ungrateful snipes into the camera didn’t do England any favours. However, when they succeeded in their few first games and miraculously found themselves facing Italy in the quarter finals, everyone’s faith was restored and thousands more fans chose to support them in the stands, many using up savings they had acquired for months. Even my own faith jumped back into play and I truly believed that England had transformed their complete apathy into pride.

But how foolish. England seemed to start off well against Italy but the truly strongest side soon became apparent. Italy, by right, should have won something like 10-0. The opportunities they had were incredible, including a goal that was declared off-side. They only won on penalties, which lives true to the English curse for losing in this area, a curse that is probably more of a self-fulfilling prophecy if anything.

However, even if England had achieved a miracle and beaten Italy, there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the worst team won. For England was way behind Italy in terms of strength, speed, agility, coolness and team playing. England were sloppy, sluggish and undisciplined. The worst of the lot was Wayne Rooney. What exactly is that lethargic lump of lard even doing on the pitch? He has shown himself to be average at best when playing in the Euro/World Cup; he was slow, lumbering, red-faced, seemed to be out of breath most of the time and missed a couple of golden opportunities. Really …. is this the best England has to offer? The amount of times that Italy had possession of the ball and actually had the courage to take shots show how unbelievable it was that England made it through to penalties at all. England were weak; they were cowardly and hesitant; they passed the ball to Italy on numerous occasions and, physically, it was as though they were all recovering from a hangover the night before (apart from Carroll who was described as a ‘bull in a china shop’ and Joe Hart, the only player worth mentioning in a non-negative light, who kept cool and confident at all times). There would have been no glory if England had won on penalties and, quite frankly, the Germans would have been laughing their heads off; they would have known that the final was in the palm of their hands.

The best team (by miles) won. But the core of the problem does not lie in lack of talent for England. It lies in a mix-up of priorities. My suggestion is to cut their salaries to the point where they can just about afford a mortgage on a 3 bedroom house; quit glorifying Wayne Rooney as though he were some kind of legend, which he is not; stop reporting their celebrity philanderings, which no one even cares about anyway, except for minions with mundane existences. Let them truly WANT to hold that cup in their hands and teach them the value of national pride. This celebrity-obsessed world has seeped into the heart of football and, unless this way of thinking changes within society, England fans will continue to be disappointed. Don’t listen to those idiotic commentators who praised England for their “courage” “big hearts” and “team spirit” when in reality we all know that there was no team spirit (clearly demonstrated by their non-ability to effectively pass the ball to one another and keep it for more than 30 seconds). As for their “big hearts” if their hearts are so big, why is it they cannot find enough heart to feel the passion of playing for one’s own country and simply desiring glory, rather than money?

It pains me to write as I have. But England leaves me with no choice. This is the fault of the FA, the media and us, the people, especially those deluded ‘fans’ who will still continue to drone on about how wonderful England are and how much ‘fighting spirit’ they have, not realizing that this way of thinking is contributing towards the lack of care shown on the part of English players. Forgive me, but some of us prefer not to bestow praise where it is not due. Praise is to be earned, not a God-given right. When we decide to stop feeding the unjustified egos of the England players by showing the same indifference towards their personal lives as they do towards playing for their land, we may be fortunate enough to see an improvement. Until that day arrives, we can continue to be disappointed by players that are capable of so much more than what they display, all thanks to greed, immaturity and selfishness. Three lions? I saw only mice on the pitch, mice who ran away rather than attacked with full force. Bring them home … and give them a kick up the backside.