Sunday, July 02, 2006


So England’s world cup quarter final went to a penalty shoot out. The commentators said they wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone. You can tell which players are going to miss by the fear written on their face.

Andrew (aged 7) switched the telly off and ran out of the room when Jamie Carragher missed his retaken penalty. The miss gave Christian Ronaldo the chance to knock England out of the tournament if he scored his penalty for Portugal.

I switched the telly back on in time to see something that impressed me. Ronaldo picked the ball up and kissed it. He was taking time to say that whatever the level of pressure on the moment, he loved playing football. He put the ball down on the spot and then chipped it into a part of the net that no goalkeeper could ever reach.

A triumph of love over fear.

Looking back on it it was inevitable that England would lose. They had played poorly all tournament, the manager had run out of ideas four years ago and only stayed in his job becase it would cost the FA to much money to end his contract. He didn’t seem to be able to adjust to injuries to his first choice strikers.

The only thing keeping England going was the superstitions of fans but even they seemed to have run out by the Quarter final.

Andrew had worn his England wristband, given to him by one of his teachers at school, continuously from the start of the tournament, and told us how it made England win, because his teacher had made it magic. The wristband fell down the toilet three days before the Portugal game.

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