12 July 2018

England

England's World Cup team ahead of last night's semi-final
Last evening I sat on my backside for two and a half hours staring at our television set. England were playing Croatia in the second World Cup semi-final. The match was beamed live from Moscow.

There was such hope, such expectation and our young team had gradually won the nation's hearts. These lads were proud to be English, proud to represent their country and they were together - a proper team led by our dignified and articulate manager - Gareth Southgate.

Gareth lives in North Yorkshire and the back line of our defence consisted of  three Yorkshiremen. Shirley used to work with Kyle Walker's mother and I met him at her wedding when he was about ten years old. He was a little devil. Harry Maguire, who spent two seasons at Hull City, is from Mosbrough in Sheffield's southern suburbs and John Stones is from Hoylandswaine near Barnsley.

When asked about this Yorkshireness in England's defence, Harry Maguire smiled and said, "We might not have much skill in Yorkshire but we're hard!"

Anyway, the first half of the semi-final was dominated by England. Kieran Trippier - from Bury, Lancashire - scored a superb goal from a direct free kick. However, our dominance meant that at halftime we should have been going in two or three up, not just one-nil. I have learnt that in football you must take your chances when you are on top or the other team will come back to bite you.

Croatia equalised in the 68th minute and the game headed into extra time. With the teams tiring we gave away a sloppy goal with ten minutes to go and soon it was all over. Football was not coming home after all. In place of elation there was a hollow feeling but like most true football supporters I feel proud of  England's performance in this World Cup. They played with passion and pride and gave it their all. You cannot ask for more but next time, next time... perhaps the manager will pick eleven Yorkshiremen and not just the three in defence.

18 comments:

  1. Oh, what a game that was! I'm pretty sure that 99% of the viewers around the world wanted England to win...what a grand final of France v. England would have been. Imagine the songs, the poems, the movies that would have been made out of that historic match up.

    France v. Croatia...meh. Go France.

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    1. I didn't realise you are a Francophile Vivian. Thought you might be a Croatophile if such a term exists!

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  2. I am not a football fan but I did watch England play!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I hope you were cheering for our boys Maria!

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    2. Yes, of course I was!
      x

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  3. This is why I'm not a sports fan - someone always has to lose :)

    On a serious note, the part of your post that most spoke to me was that a person cannot ask for more than the players giving their all. I completely agree.

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    1. You don't mind losing so much when your team has given their all.

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  4. I like that the team acted with pride and purpose like their manager

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    1. So different from other times. Remember that awful Fabio Capello? He couldn't manage to tie up his pyjamas correctly!

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  5. They gave it their best, absolutely. That's all we can ask.

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    1. I have to remind myself that it is only sport, only a football match.

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  6. I was cheering for England but alas, alas. I have a friend whose last name is Perisich. He says that's the Americanized name of his countryman Perisic. Needless to say he's very, very happy for Croatia today. As for me, I shall now root for France!

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    1. Nice to know that you were supporting our lads Mr C!

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  7. For me, the World Cup was over the moment England lost. I was tired and disappointed, but my heart is not really in it all, as I am usually not watching any footie except for such special events, and only if either Germany or England are playing.
    They did so well in the first half! In the 2nd half, it seemed as if they had lost their spark. There are many Croatians in Ludwigsburg, and you could hear celebratory car horns half the night. I did not want them to win, but I must give them that: They are great runners, really, really fast.
    Tomorrow, I'll probably not be watching the England v. Belgium match, nor the final on Sunday. The weather is far too nice to spend precious sunny afternoon hours watching telly.

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    1. You are right Meike. Halftime seemed to alter the dynamics of the match. It was as if Croatia had suddenly woken up.

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  8. I absolutely agree with your verdict on the first half. We were all over the Croatians and needed to make that superiority count.

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    1. You are a good judge Mr Rhodes.

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  9. Funnily enough, I got heavily into the England matches for the first time ever, swept up by the general euphoria, and there were some tense moments, particularly with the penalties. I can see you're a proud Northerner, YP, but just to redress the balance, Harry Kane and Alli both score some good goals and are from down South......... quietly withdraws...

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