World Cup Wash Up.
Wow……just bloody wow.
That was one of the best months of my life, what an amazing experience
I am going to try and break the whole thing down to its component parts.
I have seen the FIFA president saying that, in his opinion, it was the greatest World Cup they have ever run and I cannot disagree with a word of that. There have been some immense games with completely unexpected results; big teams fell early and created a competition which left every remaining team with the sneaky belief they could win it. This was demonstrated with the outstanding performance by the Croatian team who worked their nuts off to get to the final by combining a skilful team of players, with a great team ethic. That ethic is was made them beat England in the Semi, as they never gave up and kept applying pressure which the England boys couldn’t handle.
There were some fantastic games and for me the South Korea destruction of Germany was the highlight. Again a team who had no pressure on them, turned the thumb screws on a team who had all the pressure in the world heaped on their shoulders, which ultimately caused a complete collapse. Brilliant. I don’t have any sympathy for the Germans, purely because they have had lots of glory previously and their time will come again.
Diving….This annoyed the shite out of me and was a major trait of the South American teams and the French……Neymar Jnr made himself look a complete twat in front of the whole world but the French number 5….mututti or something like that….what a wanker. The French played some excellent attacking Football but that tosser made me dislike the team because of the sheer amount of simulation he got up to…when FIFA look back at the tournament with a clinical eye they need to get on top of that shit!
It was a great time to be a travelling England supporter as they actually managed to play some football. The last gasp winner against Tunisia was, I believe, a major factor in Englands journey through the competition; that goal by Kane took the pressure off the team and also took it away from the fans. Instead of fans trying to work out mathematical equations, which had coefficient factors and pie charts of what England and other teams needed to do to progress, they just went totally ballistic and threw beer all over the place! It changed attitudes immediately from ‘is this just going to be another disaster’, to ‘ooooh we can do this’.
Now the competition is over and the feeling of euphoria has ebbed, we can look at the England display and try to figure out what needs to be improved etc.
1) England played some very very good football at times, with superb inter passing play that would have had Brazilians dribbling down their shirts; The problem was that a vast majority of time it resulted in no end product.
2) Raheem Sterling. Played really well but cannot hit the net…its something like 20 games + without a goal…that needs to change or he needs replaced. It would be great if his movement was the reason for others scoring but its not…they are not!. Strikers are there to get goals….shape up or ship out.
3) Learn to be ruthless. If we score early, as we do in so many games, we then have to learn to bang 3 more and kill a team off. Not sit back thinking we are great…..!
4) Jordan Pickford….what a brilliant keeper we have there…excellent.
5) Have a plan B & C….we seemed to have one style of play only….lets just move on and try new things.
Overall a young team did very well….the future is bright…the future is Three Lions.
I cannot heap enough praise onto the country and people of Russia. You have been the most perfect hosts. Your preparation was outstanding and delivery exemplary. The warmth and friendliness from the people of every city has been overwhelming and has ensured that Russia has found a special place in my heart. To everyone I met, I thank you so much for being the superb people you are xxx
I also think this has been a great thing for Russia as well; they have shown to the world what they can do and have quite rightly took centre stage in this world competition. I have found out within the last 24 hours that the Fan ID, that you needed to get into games but also acted as a visa, has been extended until the end of the year (This now removes any time constraints I had to get through the country and means I can slow down and enjoy all there is to offer). This has come about because the Russian government saw how a simple system for the fans brought prosperity…it’s a win win situation.
What a crazy time we have all had.. I can honestly say I have partied with someone from every country represented at the tournament. It has been such a blast. The international language of football breaks down all barriers and when combined with Russian Vodka becomes the basis for a hell of a ride. We have laughed, we have took the piss, we have consoled each other; we sang, drank, danced, talked, drank, then drank some more. Alcoholics Anonymous’s membership has increased by 60% and I need an immediate liver transplant.
A special mention and thanks goes to Frankie ‘Knuckles’ Nevin who became my travel buddy and a massive part of the whole experience. Also :- Chris, Oldham Mark, Kate, Matt, Clarke, Svetlana, Bob, Elena, Oleg, Alexie, Ellis, Robbie, Troopz, Cockney Yank Chris, Joe, Facu, Crazy Croat Bastard, CJ, Cosmo, Henry the Bike, Josh the bike, fat bloke with dodgy haircut who always sat next to me at games, Casey & Jay from BFBS, Tim, Yuri, bloke I saw and spoke to at every game but have no idea who he is, Jensen button the taxi driver from samara, the Mexican polygraph operator, the columbian drug cartel, and every other silly sod I shared time with throughout the competition……THANK YOU.
Final thought…..England in a Semi Final…I bet that pissed the Celts off!
Well its taken me almost a week to get to the point where I had enough drive to be able to write this. I’m currently on a leg of the Trans Siberian express to get me to Omsk on the western edge of Siberia. The plan was to get there quickly to allow me more time to explore, but thanks to Mr Putin and the Fan ID thing, I may now have plenty of time to play with.
I’m full of Man flu but the germs are in battle with alcohol to see who has control of my body.
I’m back on the trail of a lost civilisation and think Siberia could hold many of the answers. Lots of places to visit and I cant wait.
I am a happy man, life is good; I feel free and content.
I have a partial answer to the 3rd question I set out to explore during this journey “can England ever win a major tournament again’…
Answer= not this time…. but it’s coming.
To bring this whole thing up to date. I have arrived in Omsk after what seemed forever on the train. I booked a very small room for 8 euro per night and have basically been asleep for nearly 24 hours. It would appear that vodka had slowly eradicated any physical defence mechanism I possessed, which in turn has allowed the ‘man flu’ to sweep victoriously across my weakened physical form and completely dominate my every waking moment….i am man down :o(
PP,S final diagnosis = sinusitis